Poor weather and a positive Covid test for Danny Kent curtailed Buildbase Suzuki’s preseason testing programme, however, spirits remain high as attention turns to round one in a week’s time.
The team enjoyed a positive test at Snetterton in March – where Christian Iddon got his first taste of the GSX-R1000R. He’ll be campaigning in 2022. Danny Kent also got his first superbike laps in after his injury in August last year – before snow and freezing temperatures meant the team elected to skip the test scheduled for Donington Park.
Ready for a good two days at Silverstone – the venue for round one of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in a week’s time – wind and rain again limited worthwhile track time, while Kent missed the action completely after testing positive for Covid-19.
However, despite the misfortune, Iddon is pragmatic of the work done so far and expects further gains to be made when the racing begins for real.
Iddon said, "It’s not been ideal. The first day at Snetterton was really good but it was my first time on the Suzuki superbike so it was all about seat time and getting used to the bike. It wasn’t until the second and third day we started to change anything meaningful. Obviously it was a shame to lose the Donington test and this one’s been challenging.
"I don’t feel like the bike is mine yet, I’ve not reached the right level of gel. I’m still trying to find the balance of the bike, and we’ve made some changes, some that improved things, some that didn’t, but it’s all valuable data. And testing is different to racing; it’s not that I don’t try during testing but it is different and I feel more comfortable in a race scenario.
"It’s a bit of a double-edged sword that Silverstone is round one. On one hand we know the bike goes well there so that should help us next weekend, but at the same time I want to come here with a sorted bike and maximise the potential. But we’re still more or less where I expect us to be and we’re not alone in this boat. I’m not overly fussed with time sheets: they’re not irrelevant, but they don’t tell the whole story. But that said, not many riders dipped into the 53s and next weekend the race will be a lot quicker. We’ll just keep working next weekend, and hopefully we can have three good races.”
Kent enjoyed even less track time that Iddon after testing positive for Covid-19 before the Silverstone test. While naturally disappointed, the former Moto3 world champion has managed to turn in some laps aboard a superstock-spec GSX-R over the winter, after missing the second half of last season through injury. And though he missed last year’s Silverstone round as a result, he’s also quietly confident ahead of the season-opener based on the bike’s previous results at the circuit and his own performance in the 2021 test, where he finished third on the time sheets.
Kent said, "It’s obviously a massive disappointment to lose out on so much track time. I was really looking forward to this test, especially with round one at Silverstone next weekend, and I was hoping we could have a good couple of days and start the season strongly. Obviously that hasn’t happened but there is still no reason we can’t have a good opening round: the bike works well here, it’s won here in the past, it’s a track I know and have more experience at than others on the calendar, and I enjoyed riding the bike here in testing last year, so, I’m still feeling positive.
"Though I’ve not done many laps on the superbike because of the weather and then Covid, it’s been good to get back on a stocker over the winter after missing so much of last year with injury. It was a complicated injury, and I was bed-bound for a week waiting for an operation, but the hip has been feeling good, it’s not causing me any issues, and I’m just looking forward to getting going."
The opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place on the Silverstone National circuit on 15-17 April.