"I immediately felt some strong points" – Vierge optimistic after first test on new CBR1000RR-R

Thursday, 23 November 2023 18:14 GMT

Vierge was able to get on the new-for-2024 CBR1000RR-R machine for the first time at Jerez with both Team HRC riders praising the updated model

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was one of a handful of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders to hit the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto on Wednesday and Thursday as the Spaniard tested Honda’s vastly upgraded CBR1000RR-R machine for the first time. The #97, like teammate Iker Lecuona, was full of praise for the new bike after his first outing with it although outlined where there could be some improvements before racing gets underway in February.

JEREZ TEST OVERVIEW: “we really feel the strong points!”

Vierge was at EICMA when the bike was unveiled and immediately pointed out that, while it may look similar, there were a lot of differences internally as the Japanese manufacturer look for gains in WorldSBK. The one-time podium finisher explained how he felt when got on the new bike after testing it for the first time, stating that they were riding a base setup without changing too much while also feeling the strengths of the new CBR1000RR-R straight away.

Giving a review of the test, Vierge said: “We are happy. It has been a really good two days of testing and track conditions have been really good, so we can do many laps. The first test has been more about adapting ourselves to the new bike. We didn’t want to change too much. We rode with the base setup that they prepared for us Tetsuta in Japan. The first impressions have been really good. The bike looks similar but there are many changes. We really feel the strong points. At the moment, we can’t take enough advantage about the new strong points but it’s just the beginning; we didn’t change many things on the bike, we just did laps to see how everything works. Really happy and now we have some weeks to analyse all this data and to prepare a new plan for Portimao. We have another day before the winter break.”

COMPARING MACHINES: “felt a little strange in the beginning… there’s a lot of room to improve”

The #97 has been with Honda for two seasons, scoring one podium in that time in 2023, but was able to provide a comparison of where the improvements have come on the new machine. Despite admitting to feeling “a bit strange” when getting on the 2024 model to start with, the Spaniard quickly adjusted to it. At the end of the test, Vierge outlined where he felt the biggest change was in comparison to the 2023 model.

He explained: “I started with the old bike and when I jumped on the new bike, I immediately felt some strong points compared to the old bike. We had two years with the old bike so, at the beginning, I felt a little bit strange in some areas. During these two days, I was able to adapt and start to feel better. Right now, we are going a little bit faster than with the old bike, but the good point is that with the old bike, we always feel like we’re on the limit and we don’t know how to go faster, with this bike it’s like there’s a lot of room to improve. We need to understand the direction to follow to take profit from all the new things.”

MORE TO COME: always searching for gains

Whether it’s a new bike or an old one, every manufacturer and rider will be searching for improvements. Vierge explained one area where they could make more gains, saying: “The electronics are quite different so I think we can make a big step forward with that. The bike has, compared to last season’s bike, a lot of traction and drive but we are missing a little bit of that. We’ll try to use the electronics to find the edge grip earlier.”

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