So with our second road trip completed we arrived at the hotel just outside of the circuit at Almeria, yet again a bit of a late night but it didn't really matter as I was real excited about getting out riding the following day.
After getting to the circuit about 9-30 in the morning it was obvious from a track temperature point of view it would be a little while before we would be on track, saying we I mean Keith and I as Rat Boy had decided to skip this day as he was having some issues riding the previous days and had been going more and more downhill with them.
The team took the extra bit of time to prepare some stuff to test including a different swing arm etc and we finally got on track around 11, on one of my first flying laps I went straight on at the end of the back straight and it was obvious that despite the fact we'd already done a heap of work engine braking wise we still had a bigger heap more to do!!! Almeria's funny because towards the end of the long straight there's a little slip road type thing that's always been a great braking marker reference but no matter how much I tried there was no way I could get the bike slowed enough to make the apex of the penultimate turn which I seemed to run into way too hot every lap, that said we made a bit of progress in that area and indeed in other areas especially parts where I had to roll in and out of the throttle to open or close my line a little, as soon as I first experienced the problems Almeria seemed to be the perfect track to test at because it really high lighted the problem due to the amount of time you have to spend right on the side of the tyres in the middle section of the lap.
We actually were a little bit restricted in some ways with what we could actually do with the bike in order to work on the chassis setting but I know that as soon as the team get the bikes back to the UK we know exactly what we need in order to push things forward so that's very comforting, it was always going to be the case I guess, new bike, new rules I guess it was always going to be a bit of suck it and see where we're at then get back to the UK to really get some work done on the actual tracks we're going to be racing on.
Typically Almeria is a circuit that's very hard on tyres both front and rear and one of the things I finally tried again was a different front tyre, I wouldn't use it all last year on the Honda and have to admit to being a little reluctant full stop on the Kawasaki but I'm really pleased I tried it in the end because it definitely helped us to make some clear steps regarding where we need to go with the setting of the bike, sure riding in Spain with good track temperatures one thing and rolling round a freezing Snetterton's something else so we'll have to reevaluate back in the UK but initial thoughts and feelings were very good indeed, another real good thing was how consistent I could be on a longer run, I felt very comfortable riding at and maintaining a pretty fast pace which bodes well under the new rules.
I got to try a new rear linkage towards the end of the day which had both positive and negative effects in different areas so until we've made another step we'll not be retesting that, right towards the end of the day when we'd made a bit of progress I put in a new rear tyre with a used front to have a bit of a stab at a faster lap which I managed but the rear was spinning a fair bit even on the first lap which is unusual, my first lap was my fastest of the day but entering turns 1 and 3 on the 2nd lap the bike chattered sideways into both turns so rather than push again I aborted it, we could've put two new tyres in and then really pushed but I was happy enough with the lap time so we put some used tyres in and done a longer run on them staying at a real good pace throughout the run so all in all it was a really positive test for us and exactly what we needed before returning to the UK where we know we'll have more stuff to try and hope to get things that little bit more dialled in, the great thing is when the flag drops at Brands hatch in about three weeks time we'll find out exactly where we are, are the lap times in testing mean naff all at that point it's time to get down to business and that's exactly what I plan to do!!!! I just want to say a big thanks to all of the team for all the hard work they put in throughout the test, it's great to be back working with them again, lets hope they can steer me to another BSB title!!!!!! Take it easy, Shakey #67