Steve Makes Strides Forward at Phillip Island Steve Martin made strides forward with the set-up and handling of his Honda CBR1000RR at this weekend's second round of the 2007 Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Australia. Set-up ...
Steve Makes Strides Forward at Phillip Island
Steve Martin made strides forward with the set-up and handling of his Honda CBR1000RR at this weekend's second round of the 2007 Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island, Australia.
Set-up changes throughout the weekend enabled the Aussie to make progress with his lap times over the three days and take 11th place on the grid in Superpole, followed by a 10th place finish in race one. Further improvements in results were hampered in race two however when clutch troubles forced Steve to retire on the first lap of the 22 lap race.
Steve commented, "After the first round at Qatar I knew there was a lot of work we still needed to do on set up, but when I went out for the first session at Phillip Island the bike felt completely wrong.
"For that to happen at a track I know like the back of my hand and also somewhere where I normally go really well, I knew right away what we needed to change in order to get an ideal base setting for my riding style. And by the end of the second qualifying on Saturday morning I was feeling much happier with the bike's set up and handling.
"So it was very frustrating when I was out on my final fast lap at the end of that qualifying session and it started to rain, as I had to back off towards the end of the lap and wasn't able to improve my time or qualifying position.
"The qualifying tyres also weren't working too well and I was experiencing a lot chatter, so for Superpole I just had to ride round and my 33.9 got me 11th which I was actually surprised at!"
As is tradition at the picturesque costal circuit of Phillip Island, Sunday morning's warm up session brought rain and while still on slick tyres, Steve was able to run competitively with the other machines out on the damp track.
Recounting the first race on Sunday Steve said, "I got a pretty good start and passed a few guys. My lap times were consistently in the 1:33 bracket and I was able to catch Nieto. I knew I could get past him but was struggling for opportunities and instead of waiting for a bit longer which I should have really, I took a bit of a chance to outbrake him going down into Honda corner and ran off, allowing Neukirchner to pass me and put me back to 10th rather than taking 8th which I was aiming for! And that's where I stayed until the end of the race."
Steve pulled another good start in race two but knew by the first corner there was a problem with the clutch. "I felt really good off the start but some how fried the clutch, which I'm not sure how as we use launch control! But that was my race over as the clutch was slipping too badly to ride and so I had to pull in at the end of the first lap.
"Considering we are one of the very few teams who didn't test at Phillip Island over the winter prior to racing here, I'm encouraged by what we achieved in terms of set up and progress for going forward. There's still a lot more work to be done on the electronics as the bike is too rough and aggressive on the throttle, but that's our next area to look at and hopefully we'll then make more strides forward, both with the bike's performance and also with results."
Steve now returns home, just a few hours drive north of Phillip Island, for a final week with friends and family, before returning to Europe with Sandra and Axel for the start of the European rounds of the WSBK Championship.