P78 Bri­tish-built bike and new Aussie rider un­der Jurby record in first test

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROADS RAC­ING RE­PORTER

Nor­ton’s new TT rider, David John­son said he was “pleas­antly sur­prised” af­ter test­ing the new SG5 ver­sion of the Bri­tish-built TT bike on the Isle of Man last week.

The fastest Aus­tralian ever around the TT Moun­tain course was in­side lap record pace on the Nor­ton at the Jurby air­field cir­cuit. “The bike is a lot bet­ter than last year’s ver­sion,” John­son smiled. “It feels re­ally good and we have a lot more test­ing to come.”

The im­prove­ment in the per­for­mance of the Aprilia Rsv4-pow­ered ma­chine is down to an all-new Mag­netti Marelli elec­tron­ics pack­age, and re­vised chas­sis. The new ig­ni­tion sys­tem has al­lowed Nor­ton’s race en­gi­neers to har­ness the phe­nom­e­nal power of the 230bhp V4 and make it more use­able in a lighter and more re­spon­sive frame.

“The guys in the team have done a re­ally good job with the elec­tron­ics and we have got every­thing on the bike now,” John­son ex­plained to MCN af­ter his out­ing at Jurby.

“There is auto-blip, anti-wheelie and trac­tion con­trol, and it will be good to go to the BSB test at Oul­ton Park and com­pare it along­side all the other bikes that will be there.”

With John­son on TT press launch du­ties on the first day of the three-day test, Nor­ton’s res­i­dent test pi­lot Steve Plater was in the hot seat on the open­ing day of ac­tion at Jurby.

“I tested here about a month ago on the SG4 and that showed up quite a few of the is­sues that were wrong from last year,” the for­mer Se­nior TT win­ner said as he echoed John­son’s sen­ti­ments about the bike’s im­prove­ments.

“It needed an aw­ful lot of work but a lot of that was to do with elec­tron­ics. With the new sys­tem you can feel any changes you make straight away rather than just go­ing on a wing and a prayer and guess­ing.”

Plater was also im­pressed by the SG5’S han­dling fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the new frame and lighter chas­sis, and said: “I tested with the steer­ing dampers off first be­cause it’s all about sta­bil­ity. I could keep it pinned out there in fifth and sixth over the bumps and now it’s mint with the dampers on it.”

Last year’s ver­sion of the Nor­ton racer had been crit­i­cised by Cameron Don­ald, who has rid­den the bike since 2014. The Mel­bourne man had ques­tioned the speed of the de­vel­op­ment of the V4 but th­ese re­cent changes ap­pear to have ad­dressed many of the is­sues that have pre­vi­ously dogged the Nor­ton.

The Bri­tish en­gi­neers will also be en­cour­aged by Plater’s as­sess­ment that the new bike, which is largely a de­vel­op­ment tool for Nor­ton’s own V4 road bike project, is now ready to race at this year’s TT.

Stun­ning Nor­ton SG5 has a new frame and elec­tron­ics pack­age Nor­ton de­vel­op­ment boss, TT star Mick Grant sees John­son out of the Jurby pit

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