2016 European Superbike championship, Jerez
We find all the European championship paddock on the Jerez circuit for the penultimate race weekend of the championship.
The racing motorcycle has been rebuilt thanks to the support of Kawasaki Europe has made every effort to provide a new frame and other spare parts on time.
The engine ran at the workshop the day before departure, everything seems ready for this penultimate appointment in European Championship.
Pierre Texier is currently fifth, one point behind fourth, there are three races to make a difference, including two at Jerez.
Thursday free practice.
The weather is good, and announced rather hot and dry for the weekend.
The first session went well except for data acquisition, new, that has nothing recorded. The problem is solved for the second session.
Pierre suffers breakdown
in front of us after one lap, the bike abruptly extinguished at the end of lap, electrical failure...
We change the blown fuse and Pierre restarts and returns by pushing. The fuse meleted while exiting the stands, when he removed the speed limiter.
Electrical equipment may have been damaged in the Portimao huge crash. We disconnect all non-vital equipment but failure is always here.
We are rapidly fuse over and have to go to buy some in town.
After several hours searching we find a slightly damaged wire under the frame at the front.
There are a few minutes in the final session and we send once more Pierre on track without too much hope, yet Pierre ends the session on its wheels and finally we collect informations.
The day is almost lost but better it happens on Thursday.
Friday free practice.
Two session of work, to try different tires etc. The first is going well, with good progress in soft tire and a new personal best on this track.
The track evolves over time and we plan to try the extra soft tires in the afternoon in hot conditions.
Peter therefore soars with this new tire but passes only once in front of the stands... down? crash? A van brings us the damaged bike, but without Pierre, he's in Medical Center for check-up
There are plenty of damages, the rear is destroyed, the front rim is bent. Curiously neither front nor sides have damages. We have spare parts to fix but this is our last saddle then finished stunts!
Pierre returns to the box, he hurt his left shoulder, but the views of radios he has nothing broken.
"I have fallen in number two corner, I lost the front at the point of rope, slowly, I stayed under the bike and then that have had almost stopped, it rolled over on the runway! I was holding the handlebars and my arm went with."
Lost an additional session, the driver is injured, the weekend continues as it started...
Pierre is suffering from his shoulder, he slept badly, the bike is fixed but our test program is practically not started, while we need already among the best hope to fulfill our goals. We no longer have the right to make mistakes.
The bike is not going at all, it has an unusual behavior, we go back on the settings but it changes nothing. Pierre has no confidence in the front, the bike does not turn, he must force with his shoulder, the lap times are very bad.
We have two hours to solve this new problem.
With hindsight the bike seems twisted, we improvise a geometric control and seeing a large misalignment of the wheels, a twisted frame again?
Difficult to determine the exact origin of the problem, we are working to rectify the alignment using the available settings.
We also modify the handlebar position in the hope of improving the comfort of Pierre.
We will finally be able to try the tire that has a beat yesterday.
Pierre rushes in worn tire to validate the behavior of the bike, it is much better. So we run the new tire very early because we have a lot of work to do on it.
The behavior of the bike is as expected but Pierre complains about a big lack of grip, the traction control is much too active, despite a lot of work done on the electronic to improve acceleration.
We work on tire pressure to learn and the session is already over.
We're twelfth position
on the grid for the two races tomorrow. What a desappointment.
Michelin calls us because one of our rim is damaged, indeed, it is square! This is the rear rim of the friday crash we reused for the second qualifying because the tire had only one lap.
This would explain well the strange lack of grip with the tire.
We are quite concerned about fuel consumption, this should be OK with our current level of performance, but nothing is sure with top times and a heavier bike.
Sunday, the warm-up and races.
We opt for a different configuration of the rear suspension which should allow Pierre to activate earlier in large curves and enjoy the warm-up to validate this.
Pierre runs well despite the shoulder pain that are worse, we will keep this configuration.
Refueling was done to the maximum and Pierre was instructed to limit consumption during sighting and warm-up laps.
Here we are far on the grid at the end of the fourth line, as in the first race of the season in Valencia. Pierre is placed on the right side, in the dirty side but inside the first turn.
He will have to take a good start and then finally riding in he's real level pace.
Pierre is seventh in the first lap and then passes sixth
in the second lap, he improved his best time from Friday to almost a second with a full tank!
He spent the rest of the race at this place with three and then two drivers just behind him who will continually try overtaking.
On the last lap Pierre managed to take half a second ahead of his pursuing. Fortunately because the bike gives signs of gas in the last straight to finish! He retains his position.
Pierre reinforces its fifth championship but the gap with the fourth which was only one point goes up to seven.
We choose at the last moment for the rear tire extra soft although we do not have sufficiently tested, especially over time.
We have no miracle solution on consumption, with warm temperature the engine should consume less fuel but also reduces density...
While we wait for Pierre on the grid he seam really slow to arrive. He's having a problem.
The race director is tell us that Pierre broke
on the other side of the circuit and it will be brought by car.
We see evil Pierre not trying everything to get on the grid and are reluctant to return to the box. Whenever a motorcycle appears at the entrance to the straight line we are ready to run on the grid.
A lady comes running stalls, "Peter is back the box!"
We run with all the material to him. It is a fuel leak problem, the hose may leak, it never happened. We quickly dismantle the tank with the help of a nearby mechanic, the hose is just not well connected.
We change the rear wheel, which was planned to be done on the grid, let the full complement of fuel then send Pierre to the pit exit, from where he will start the warm up lap for to be placed on the grid in last position at the start.
Pierre has no tire warmers, the front tire is completely cold now.
The bottom fairing of the motorcycle contains a lot of fuel and gets half empty on the rear tire when Pierre starts, it lacks fall, it is nonsense.
A commissioner has put Pierre on the eighteenth and last place of the grid.
The lights go out and Pierre takes once again an impressive start. He should compete in drag racing.
With a cold front tire probability of falling is huge and we do not expect much from the race begin.
We do not believe our eyes, Pierre finished the first lap in seventh position!
With two competitors in front of him! Eleven ranks on a ride and without wasting time, it's hard to believe!
It is not out of the woods, he will have six laps before the tires do not work fully and the rear one might not finish the race if it has been damaged by inadequate temperature.
We'll never know because Pierre, at the end of the fourth lap suddenly raises his hand in passing in front of his box and finishes the lap in slow motion... The bike has failed
What a shame to waste such a feat!
This time the transmission crown dropped, another unprecedented failure for us. Certainly we are cursed.
Fortunately Pierre does not lose in the championship but fourth place is definitely out of reach.
There is only one last race and Pierre Texier is ranking:
- fith in 2016 European Superbike championship,
- first Kawasaki
Check the standings here.
We thank our partners KART System, LS2, Pam Racing, Louit moto and Poupiz Performance.