Be Wiser Ducati’s Josh Brookes would be happy to take his Panigale V4R racing tomorrow after a successful Bennetts British Superbike tests at Portimao.
The Australian former champion got his first taste of the new bike in BSB spec at Monteblanco last week before the circus moved over to the Algarve on Sunday for two days and it was there Brookes made the most progress although he believes there is a lot more to work out with the Panigale.
“I think we left quite a lot on the table but I am happy with where we got to and if we had to race tomorrow I think we would do fairly well, a good chance of a podium, looking at what the other people achieved and what was visible from them,” Brookes told bikesportnews.com.
“The team was very good, I found them very accommodating which was quite satisfying. The bike looks fancy but you can’t bank on looks it has to operate well.
“The first test was less than satisfying. It was good to be back on a bike and going through all the motions of what that entails. I am sure, like every rider, you want to be going quickly and making progress - and most of all beating your competitors.
“That wasn’t happening very efficiently. We tried a few things with the bike and we weren’t finding any rear grip. It was quite irritating making so many changes and not finding any clear direction.
“I made some small progressions in some areas and staying quite close to the main group but not really improving the key area. And then I got food poisoning, so the end of the final day I couldn’t ride, I was so sick. Then we had a rest day, which I desperately needed.”
The team had ordered a softer rear spring from Ohlins as Brookes was struggling for edge grip at Monteblanco but after it arrived in Portugal, he found it wasn’t needed as the track was suited to a harder spring that was already in the truck.
We started at Portimao with a fresh sheet. New track, new direction and at first it wasn’t immediately fast but by the end of the first day we made enough changes and made some progress with how I would like the bike to feel.
“I was in a good position and then on the finishing up day, we didn’t want to stand still, and a lot of the day we went through all the changes you have to go through even if they don’t show any signs of progress.
“You have to do it so you have an idea of what might help and what definitely won’t. From a rider’s perspective, it can be annoying to have to go through all those variables. We made some more improvements with the bike and I was in the top four or five.
“I think a few people put fresh tyres in late but I had to leave an hour early to get to the airport.”