Superbike riders Peter Hickman and Ryan Vickers and the team’s Superstock riders Alex Olsen and Jack Nixon took to the Norfolk track for three days of action in mainly sunny conditions.
Hickman and Vickers spent the weekend working through various ideas, strategies and settings with the BMW M 1000 R as they began an intense programme of testing to get ready for the first race of the year next month.
And while the test was about gaining vital data and giving the chance the riders to share feedback rather than worry about times, both riders emerged strong, with Hickman ending the weekend eighth quickest while Vickers ended his debut weekend with the team 14th.
Alex Olsen, back with the team for a second season in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, was quick from the outset, consistently running within the top three to end the weekend second quickest and a mere 0.032secs off the top spot.
Reigning Pirelli National Junior Superstock Champion Jack Nixon enjoyed his first weekend with the team as he steps up to the Superstock class, quickly getting to grips with the larger machinery to post the 14th best time.
“It’s been five and a half months since I’d ridden a Superbike so Friday was a little bit of a shock to the system but it did feel pretty much the same as last year and it felt like coming home which was really nice.
“It’s been good just getting back into the swing of things. We had some new ideas some new strategies to try which we have been trying and while it’s not quite right yet, we’re working through it. I’ve got a new engine spec so we’re working with that and trying to get everything working together. For now we’re working through things which we believe will be an improvement in the long run and we’re happy with the progress we’ve made over the weekend.”
“I’ve really enjoyed the first test, we were quite lucky with weather so it was the perfect opportunity to get used to the new bike. It’s really good having Pete as a team-mate as I can listen to his feedback and find out more about how this bike is different to last year’s and it’s great that we can overlay our thoughts and data and everything else to understand the changes and make things better.
“I’ve been working on getting myself comfortable and understanding what I need to make me feel how I need to. I’m feeling better every time I ride the bike and I can’t wait to get out again.”
“I’ve gelled with the bike really well and felt really comfortable straight away. There’s a few things we’ve tried that we didn’t get a chance to try last year but I think we’ve found something in the bike and I feel fitter in myself. Last year I wasn’t 100 per cent but now we’ve worked a lot over the winter getting my fitness back up and I feel good.
“Last year when we came here, we struggled a bit but we just worked on setting our own pace all weekend and we’ve found something so it’s worked. Whatever we’ve done has worked which is great.”
“It’s been a brilliant few days, I’ve got to meet and know my team better and of course, it’s been a bit of a learning curve to say the least, but the crew have really helped shorten that learning curve for me.
“I’ve been making lots of progress every day. I managed to get to about a second and a half off Alex which at this stage I’m fairly happy with but we’ll look to keep improving. It’s going to take a bit of time but I want to be at the top as soon as possible, the team believe in me, I believe in myself, the bike’s good so I’m really looking forward to getting back out soon.”
“It’s been a really strong and solid test for the whole team at Snetterton. We’ve got two new riders with Ryan and Jack so for them, it’s been a weekend of getting to know the bikes and the team and I’ve been really pleased to see how quickly they’ve fitted in.
“I’m happy with the progress all of the team has made. Peter has returned from the winter really fired up and ready to work even harder this year and while this is still just testing and not about lap times, he’s worked very hard and has come back with great feedback the whole team can work with. Alex, too, has had a great start and I think we can say the first test has been a success. On to the next one, where hopefully we can make even more progress in anticipation for the season ahead.”