HRC Team manager Colom on COVID-19 and CBR1000RR-R competitivity

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 11:04 GMT

Team HRC Team Manager Jaume Colom believes that when WorldSBK resumes, the show will be just as spectacular as the season opener, as well as commenting on the CBR1000RR-R

The arrival of Team HRC in the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has been an exciting one, although for the moment it has been paused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jaume Colom, team manager for the Japanese manufacturer in WorldSBK and with an extensive experience in motorcycle racing paddocks, is looking to return HRC to the front of the WorldSBK field. From the current situation to the high level of competition in 2020, Colom leaves no stone unturned.

Jaume, a new project always brings new variables, but the COVID-19 pandemic is one that was completely unpredictable…

This situation we are experiencing is something totally unexpected and it is not yet clear how it will evolve. We have never experienced anything like this. Obviously the most important thing now is the health of people, of families who are having a really bad time and therefore the sporting aspect takes a back seat. Everything has to go back to normal. When COVID-19 is eradicated and the situation stabilises, we will be able to resume the sporting activities worldwide and talk about restarting and the calendar.

What feelings are the riders conveying to you about the situation and home confinement?

Well, Alvaro has been confined at home for more days and cannot practice any outdoor activity. Leon has had a bit more time, because the restrictions in the UK didn’t start until a little later, but now his training is also from home. Usually, they would combine different activities so as not keep their preparations from being too monotonous, but now they have gone on to do only the routines that can be practiced at home, without a gym, motocross, or mountain biking. This surely is causing some anxiety and, should it remain like this for some time, it can also be stressful.

How is this hiatus affecting the team and development plans for the Honda project?

We knew that the beginning would not be easy. At a logistical level, we have started from scratch, from the most basic things, going through all the material, tools and personnel. This requires many hours and a lot of work. I am very excited about the project, but we have to wait for the current situation to improve and we can recover normal life and work.

From a sporting side, the current circumstances affect us a lot, because what we need are hours of training and being on the track. Work has continued in Japan, but with the bike and its development, we cannot do anything. As I say, in HRC the activity has continued, but working in the office is not the same as working on the track. All the data we got from Australia has been analised – what would help us now is to keep on riding the bike.

How do you rate your first race weekend?

One advantage for us was having two very experienced riders. It is something that also helps a lot to get the bike ready. We went to Australia not knowing what level we would be at, we couldn’t get much done in the preseason tests due to poor weather conditions . We would have liked to train some more and get to Australia with a better developed bike. That wasn’t the case, and we left Phillip Island with a bittersweet aftertaste…

What aspects would you highlight from those first races?

On the one hand, we saw that we were relatively close to the top riders. Leon and Álvaro’s times proved that. But due to one thing or another, the race results left us wanting more… The positive thing is that we saw that we have a lot potential. The bike’s top speed and power are very good, but other things need to be adjusted: chassis, suspensions. From what we could see in Australia, we are not far from the other bikes, so when we can continue working and developing the bike, our intention is to get to the top as quickly as possible.

Has the team or HRC set a deadline to achieve the best results?

No timing has been set, but obviously we are all here to win, or at least to try to win. There is hope and desire, if we can win in our second race we won’t wait for our fourth. We need to fit all the pieces, on the personal, technical and organisational side. We have not set a deadline, saying ‘from the fifth round we must win’, but we all press ourselves to give as much as possible.

Do you expect the same level of competitiveness and even racing that we saw in Phillip Island when the season resumes?

I think we will continue to have the show we saw in Australia. The break affects us all, so when we return to compete we can expect many races like those we saw there. This would be good for the fans, if we could continue to see that level and that level of excitement in every race. Having six, seven or eight riders reaching the finish line in the same second is the best thing that can happen to motorcycling!

You can enjoy Honda’s first full season back as a full factory effort since 2002 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!