The MIE Racing Honda Team has been out at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal for some important test sessions this week as it continues to prepare for the 2023 Superbike World Championship. Riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado were both in attendance and rode half a day each on both Tuesday 31 January and Wednesday 1 February, alongside other Superbike teams including the factory Honda squad.
Weather conditions fortunately remained dry and sunny throughout, allowing the team to complete a wide variety of tests on many new items they had to test for the first time and giving rookie Granado the chance to build further confidence with the CBR1000RR-R. While the Brazilian completed a brief test at Jerez in December, these sessions marked Syahrin’s first opportunity to ride since the conclusion of the 2022 WorldSBK championship. The test was therefore very important, allowing both riders to get back into the riding ‘groove’ after a period away from the tracks.
The MIE Racing Honda Team is doing all it can to ensure its riders are comfortable aboard the bike and so the technicians have worked hard on bike set-up and geometry as they look for a base set-up for the CBR. Both team and riders are satisfied with what they have accomplished this week and will now continue the preparations back at base, so as to be ready for the final pre-season tests, set to take place on 20-21 February at Phillip Island, Australia, just a few days prior to the championship’s opening round at the same circuit.
“Eric and I completed two half days of testing each here at Portimao. I rode yesterday afternoon and again this morning, so essentially one day in total. We’ve tested an updated version of the bike, a completely new package that includes a new swingarm, so it was not to easy to find a base set-up in such short time. I basically tried to complete as many laps as possible in order to understand as much as possible and to provide feedback to the team. It is very important to arrive in Australia with at least a base from which to start during the official test, where we will need to focus 100% on moving our package in the right direction. These two days have also allowed me to get used to the bike again and try to get the body back up to full power and speed after a two-month break. As I said, when we arrive in Australia we will approach the work differently and concentrate more on refining set-up. I know our times here were not very close to the top, but this was our first test while the others already had a session at Jerez. We nevertheless found good feeling on the bike and this is very important.”
“It was a positive test because I was able to test the bike for the first time in the dry. This was very good because it meant I could start to understand how the bike works in dry conditions. This was also my first experience of riding at Portimão with the Superbike, so not easy of course because this track is very technical and difficult, and it took me a long time to find the lines. But I had fun, and we did a lot of work with the team to understand how everything works. We tried some new parts that Honda brought us, so this meant we spent a lot of time in the garage changing things, mainly electronics and set-up to make the bike work better with this new upgrade. So, unfortunately, this meant I didn’t complete as many laps as I would have liked but at least we lapped in the dry, without focusing on times and without putting in soft tyres to make a time attack, simply focusing on ourselves to understand how to work better together. Then during the tests in Australia and especially in the first race, we’ll give it our all to put in the best possible performance.”