Brookes flies at first Nor­ton TT test

BSB star Brookes blown away by Nor­ton’s fast and sta­ble new TT racer

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn - OLI RUSHBY BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

MCE Bri­tish Su­per­bike star Josh Brookes made his de­but on the fac­tory Nor­ton ma­chine at Jurby air­field last week as he prepares to re­turn to Isle of Man TT ac­tion.

Brookes and team-mate, fel­low Aussie Dave John­son tested the 2017 Nor­ton SG6 racer at the Manx cir­cuit over two days. The new bike is said to be a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment on the Nor­ton SG5 John­son took to a near-131mph lap last year.

Re­turn­ing to the TT for the first time since 2014 with Nor­ton, 2015 BSB cham­pion Brookes ad­mits he had no idea what to ex­pect from the made­for-the-tt pro­to­type.

“I want to say the test went bet­ter than ex­pected but I didn’t re­ally know what to ex­pect, so it wouldn’t be fair to say that!” he told MCN. “As soon as we’d got the po­si­tion­ing and ev­ery­thing right, we headed out for a few laps and in­stantly felt quite strong. We set about mak­ing some steady changes as I would in the early stages of a BSB meet­ing, oil vol­ume in forks, then the springs and then worked with the damp­ing a lit­tle bit. I was burn­ing around do­ing lap af­ter lap, the pace was good and con­sis­tent.”

Pow­ered by an ex-aprilia Motogp CRT mo­tor ca­pa­ble of in ex­cess of 220bhp, the Nor­ton has been known to be quite a hand­ful in re­cent years but this isn’t some­thing Brookes says he found a prob­lem. In fact, the 2015 BSB champ reck­ons he’d like more bot­tom end grunt from the scream­ing V4.

“The bike doesn’t seem to have a lot of bot­tom end power. It’s re­ally good at the top but you tend to be go­ing in a straight line when us­ing that sort of power so there’s noth­ing to tame up there!

“It lacks the ini­tial jump off the cor­ners I’d be used to in short cir­cuit rac­ing, but I’m not too both­ered about that at the TT be­cause it’s more about flow and top speed – which we’ve got!

“It’s prob­a­bly one of the most sta­ble mo­tor­bikes I’ve rid­den. At top speed I was push­ing the bars to try and en­cour­age a bit of move­ment to see if it would get worse but it didn’t. The bike stayed per­fectly straight and I could have rested my tea on the fuel tank!”

While Brookes is im­pressed, he re­mains grounded as he looks to his next test with the team and ac­knowl­edges even the bumpy Jurby air­field cir­cuit is noth­ing like the iconic 37.73-mile moun­tain course.

“We’ve only had one test so we can’t as­sume it’s all great from that! We need to test some­where else and try dif­fer­ent things, but I’m im­pressed so far.”

Brookes wants more bikes

In or­der to get more track time as he re­turns to the moun­tain course for the first time in three years, Brookes is keen to source both Su­pers­port and Su­per­stock ma­chin­ery to race at the TT.

The Aussie is in talks with for­mer BSB boss Martin Hal­sall about rac­ing an R6 in the Su­pers­port cat­e­gory with both Brookes and Hal­sall telling MCN they are con­fi­dent of a deal com­ing to­gether in time.

He’s also try­ing to con­vince his BSB out­fit, Anvil Hire Yamaha, to run their Su­per­stock-spec R1 on the roads but that’s look­ing less likely with the team keen to keep their fo­cus on BSB.

North West hopes dashed

Nor­ton had hoped to get the SG6 racer out at this year’s North West 200 in May but MCN can re­veal that’s now un­likely.

MCN un­der­stands John­son could com­pete in the event with his BMW TT Su­per­stock team, while Brookes looks set to wait un­til the end of May to make his roads re­turn as prac­tice gets un­der­way at the TT.

‘ The TT is all about flow and top speed and we’ve got plenty of that’ JOSH BROOKES

Josh Brookes takes a break af­ter pil­ing on the miles at his first Nor­ton test

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.