Official tests at a revamped Imola circuit provided a chance for Makoto Tamada to re-join his Kawasaki World Superbike team-mate Broc Parkes on track, after missing several WSB races through injury.
Despite his time away from the heat of WSB competition, and his unavoidable lack of full race fitness, Tamada finished 15th overall, with a time of 1’50.414, set on qualifying tyres. He had set very similar times on race tyres also, and was therefore reasonably satisfied with his return to action.
Parkes did not opt for qualifying rubber in the final session of the second day, but worked on overall race set-up and new chassis parts.
His pace on Thursday morning put him 19th, with a best lap time of 1’50.583. Broc and his team made great progress on day two, despite going through a tough first day on Wednesday.
Official tyre supplier Pirelli brought new solutions to the tests and the team also evaluated those, as well as working through an extensive programme of internal development work.
On 26 July the team will race at Brno, in the tenth round of the championship, where conditions are hoped to be slightly cooler than the two blistering days of testing everyone endured at Imola. Track temperatures hit 62°C at times at Imola, which now features a new and very tight chicane on the start-finish line.
Makoto Tamada: “My wrist was quite painful on the first day at the test after a couple of months off the bike. I also had some arm pump, but day two was much better for me. The test programme started slowly, as we tried many different settings, but by the end of day two I was happy to be in the top fifteen, and also happy with the machine’s progress.”
Broc Parkes: “We struggled on the first day but we got some good inroads towards the end on the race tyre and were happy with the race pace overall. On day two we tested a lot of new things and ironed out some problems we’ve been having and completed our test programme. We’ve made some real progress at the test and I feel that we’ve got a decent setting ready for the Brno race.”