With three days at the Spanish circuit of Monteblanco Red Bull Honda’s planned test of their new Magneti Marelli electronics system was expected to be comprehensive and possibly even conclusive.
Poor weather handicapped any truly meaningful tests of the Marelli system, according to the comments of Red Bull Honda WorldSBK team manager Kervin Bos.
“We had three bad days for riding because the weather was really poor,” said former racer Bos at the end of the third day in Spain. “It was cold, raining, dry, raining, dry, raining. I think we did 30 laps today and it was not all sunshine and perfect weather. But today we had most of the laps dry. We rode with our Magneti Marelli system, with the latest spec we have available, and we just tested some general things to get used to this system.”
The Honda Marelli ECU and ancillary parts have so far only been used in WorldSBK by the new satellite team from Triple M, but at this test it was just the ten Kate-operated Red Bull Honda team and Leon Camier on show, alongside several top BSB runners from different manufacturers.
Judgement of the Marelli system was not easy in such a conditions, especially with maybe only 50 laps in total set over three days, according to Bos. “Only Leon was here and it was honestly very hard to tell because the weather was really bad. The track temperatures were really cold so it was hard to judge and make some comparison. It was mostly for the mechanics and for the engineers to use on the system on a general level. Performance-wise, we cannot judge yet.”
The Marelli system tried out in Monteblanco was the same as the one used by Triple M and their rider PJ Jacobsen so far in 2018, with just some software tweaks for Camier’s own riding preferences.
“The hardware is the same because we have developed it in house at Ten Kate, so the Red Bull Honda guys have made it – the wiring the design the brackets and the sensors, etc, so the hardware is exactly the same,” said Kervin. “Software is rider-dependent, of course. Every rider will make his own setting configuration, etc. PJ has his own style and own way of riding. But this was a more general test to run it and get used to it.”
The poor weather was an unavoidable blow for a team that will have to introduce its new – and homologated for all Honda teams – ECU system sometime soon. According to Bos, that date is still not completely defined.
“We still do not have a real date planned yet for when we are going to run the system,” said Bos as the clock ran out on the available track time at Monteblanco, with even more rain finishing the day off. “That is also more of a position that we need to take with Honda. For our point we will stick with the plan that we have, which is to develop the system and the running date on the correct moment. There are deadlines but it still unclear when it is really necessary to use. At this stage nobody knows exactly when it needs to be homologated.”