Poor weather forecasts trimmed the two-day Misano test on 11-12 May to a smaller scale version of the original planned test, with neither regular KRT rider in attendance this time around. Full-time WorldSBK riders’ test time is, literally, limited. Using it in the best way possible is therefore an imperative.
That’s part of the reason why it came down to test rider Florian Marino, a rider with vast experience across a multitude of racing categories, to evaluate electronic functionality of new developments at these current Misano tests.
On-track testing is such an integral part of each major team’s overall chances of WorldSBK success that the series organisers and the FIM have put limits on it, in various ways.
To make sure the teams can get some kind of festive season break, tests cannot be carried out between 21 December and 4 January. Even more significantly, each full-time rider is allowed to have no more than ten days of in-season testing, with this period starting one day after the previous season’s final round and ending on the final day of the current season.
From 2023 onwards teams can opt to have two half days of testing from inside their ten day rider allocation, for reasons of adverse weather, cold morning track temperatures, keeping some track time for ‘emergency’ use later in the season, etc. There is also a special ‘Suzuka 8 Hours’ exception, which allows top riders competing in the EWC round at Suzuka to test the EWC version of their regular machine for an extra two days - but only at Suzuka itself. That track is not on the current WorldSBK calendar, so there is no specific set-up advantage to be gained.
There are also restrictions on how close to any WorldSBK round you are allowed to test at that same circuit. For instance, the KRT test team will finish on 12 May at Misano, but the actual race weekend does not start until 1 June. That is far enough away from the testing ban that would come in 11 days before any race weekend.
As well as the inherent value of testing your own new parts, strategies or set-up ideas, private tests are also usually a chance for the top riders to pit themselves against each other, without the pressure of aiming for points scores, or having limited track time as they do in any race weekend. You can often measure yourself against your rivals, before making the hard-headed final specification or set-up choices for the next races.
Never underestimate the role of testing for a team like KRT, because it is how to fix issues, rise to challenges and finally maximise overall performance, making everyone ready to go out and challenge for maximum World Championship points.
Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “Testing is so important, especially when things do not work out as planned, and especially because we don’t give up. In 2019 Alvaro Bautista won at the first four rounds, but we won the title. Of course we are in a worse position than 2019, we are not naive, but the concept is to never give up until game is over. Not winning empowers us to work really hard to come back stronger. We need to explore all the areas to find the way to fight to win every race. That’s the target. We could not finish some upgrades we were working on with the bike, so we will try to find other options to test before Misano. We are especially trying to find more than 45º tarmac conditions to test on. We organised a small team to come with Florian to check some functional steps in electronics. This Misano test still very important for KRT, even we do not come with all our weapons this time. The test has been quite good regarding some targets we were aiming for. The track temperature was not enough to work with items we wanted to work on with Alex and Johnny, but checking the functionality of some software adjustments has been very useful. We tried some other items with the set up to understand the reactions of the bike. We also made some mileage control with sensors and other things. So, a very productive day on Friday. We started at 9:00 and finished at 18:00. Congratulations to Florian for his hard work, and we are now returning home to test at Jerez on the 18th, to test with all the team.”