The MIE Racing Honda Team is on site at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia where it has now completed the final pre-season test sessions prior to the start of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, which will play out this coming weekend at the same Australian track.
During this week’s test sessions, the team had the opportunity to make final preparations for the upcoming season-opener. Riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado worked hard with their technicians, making a series of modifications to their CBR1000RR-R machines throughout the sessions as they continue to identify the most suitable base set-up for the bikes. Both riders completed well over 50 laps on each day, with the almost ideal weather conditions working in their favour. Day two saw the duo improve on their day one times, although there is still room for improvement.
Rookie Eric Granado is gearing up for his first WorldSBK races as a full-time rider, while Hafizh Syahrin takes on his second consecutive season with the MIE Racing Honda Team. Last year’s Australian round was also the WorldSBK season-finale, which means that Syahrin has very recent race experience of the track. Granado, on the other hand, will be looking to build on the progress made during this week’s official test sessions as the first practices of the 2023 season get underway on Friday.
The weekend’s race schedule remains unchanged with respect to 2022, with practice on Friday, Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday, and the Superpole race and Race 2 playing out on Sunday. The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is one of the most appreciated tracks on the calendar, and not just because of its stunning coastal location. Located in the Australian state of Victoria, and roughly 140km south of Melbourne, the fast and flowing 4.445km track comprises seven left-hand corners and five right-handers.
“These two days have been very useful for us, as this was basically our only full pre-season test for which we had time to prepare. So we took time to get back up to speed with everything and understand the new bike, which has quite a different character compared to last season. I also have a new crew chief and he works in a slightly different way, so it’s been good to get to know each other better. A big thanks to my team as they’ve been working so hard on very little sleep since getting here. I tried to do my best throughout the sessions, and I hope that we can make pick up the pace and make better inroads during the first race weekend.”
“The test’s been positive in that this was the first time we were able to use the full day and complete many laps. We’re still far from where we can be of course, but right now we need to focus on better understanding the bike and particularly the electronics, which are new to me. I’m still looking for the right confidence with the throttle and power delivery, but we’ve clocked up some miles and have improved little by little. The target for this test was of course to prepare for the first rounds rather than attempting a time attack or anything, and so that’s what we did. Unfortunately, I suffered a crash yesterday and so was riding with painful feet today but luckily nothing is broken and I’ll be ready for the weekend. It’s going to be a challenging first round for me, with three races and windy conditions, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to make progress and find a good setup for the races.”
Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Length: 4.445 km
Pole position: left
Corners: 7 left-hand, 5 right-hand
SBK RECORDS: Best lap – Rea (Kawasaki) 1’30.075 (2019). Superpole – Sykes (BMW) 1’29.230 (2020).
2022 SBK RESULTS:
Race 1 – 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 3. Razgatlioglu (Yamaha); 3. Lowes (Kawasaki)
Superpole race – 1. Bautista (Ducati); 2. Razgatlioglu (Yamaha); 3. Rea (Kawasaki)
Race 2 – 1. Bautista (Ducati); 2. Rea (Kawasaki); 3. Lowes (Kawasaki)