A new track greeted the entire Word Superbike paddock for round two of the championship, as the series heads to the Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the first time. Team Hero EBR had with two free practice sessions to work through on the 4.554km (2.8-mile) circuit near the town of Buriram in Thailand.
Niccolo Canepa rode to 18th place on the combined timesheets after two free practice sessions, encouraged that his previously injured left ankle and the intense 36°C (96.8ºF) ambient temperatures had less of an affect on him than he had expected before taking to the new circuit.
On a track layout which has two long straights and many stop-start corners Canepa set a 1:37.692 lap in the afternoon session on his Hero EBR 1190RX.
Rider/team manager Larry Pegram set his best day one lap time of 1:38.772 in the morning to go 23rd overall with one more day of track action remaining before Sunday’s races.
Pegram had a productive morning but was unable to improve his ultimate one-lap pace to move up the rankings in the afternoon session, especially as the ambient and track surface temperatures gradually climbed through the day.
“This morning went pretty well time-wise and then we had some little gremlins pop up, which is normal at a new track you have never been to before. Things like gearing and chassis settings etc. This afternoon it was hot and I could not get into a rhythm, making mistakes and making more the harder I tried. We went about the same speed as we went this morning but we did not progress. I am sure tomorrow will be better because we have the data and experience from the first day to work with. For us the layout of the track is maybe too simple because the main strength of our bike is that the handling is better than anything else. On a layout like this we are just not getting the chance to fully exploit that advantage.”
“My ankle injury has turned out pretty good and the weather conditions were not as bad as Malaysia was last year. Also this track is very easy in its layout and you do not get tired compared to other ones. There are long straights where you can get some rest. It is good and better than what I expected. The handling on this bike is maybe the best I have ever experienced in my life. In the corners it is impressive how fast I can be compared to the others, and with an even more powerful engine this bike would be a surprise for everybody in the paddock. I rode many bikes in many categories and I feel this chassis is one of the best, maybe the best one. We have to work to find more horsepower and then it will be real fun for everybody in the team.”