HONDA BACK ON THE MONEY
O’halloran tops Snetterton test after making big steps on Honda Fireblade
Jason O’halloran took Honda back to the top of the timesheets at last week’s MCE British Superbike test at Snetterton, just in time for this weekend’s fourth round at Knockhill. The Aussie set a quickest time of 1m 48.297 to place ahead of Glenn Irwin and Jake Dixon to re-affirm the progress the Louth-based squad are making with the all-new Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2.
While their road racing counterparts were struggling with the bike on the Isle of Man and also in World Superbikes, O’halloran demonstrated the clear strides the BSB team have made with the machine after his podium at Oulton Park last time out and now believes the team’s first win of the season isn’t far away.
“To be honest, I was hanging it out a lot at Oulton to do what we did there,” O’halloran told MCN. “But, we made a small improvement with the throttle connection at a test at Knockhill a couple of weeks ago and the guys made another step forward before Snetterton last week.
“It’s not perfect, and I’m not sure it ever will be, but we’re getting close enough now where we can ride to a pretty good level.”
While the team are still awaiting many of the new bike’s race parts, they tested a new rear linkage at Snetterton last week which proved to be a big improvement for O’halloran, especially in the colder conditions.
“We started out with the bike how it was at Oulton and then moved on to testing the new link. We’ve struggled the last couple of years with grip and we have two different link options. I like one of them, but it doesn’t work too well in the cold so we have to go back to the other one, but with this new option it’s sort of in the direction I prefer and gives us a lot more grip. It might not improve our lap time much in the hot but it could do when it gets cold, which should make us stronger towards the end of the year.”
Now for the first time the Aussie is starting to think about returning to the top step of the rostrum, 12 months after his debut victory at Snetterton.
“I don’t mind Knockhill, but it’s not been one of my strongest tracks. However, the bike we’ve got now will work much better at Knockhill than I’ve had a bike working in the past. I’ve got extra motivation going there as I know if I can get a strong result there I can be really strong at the places that follow like Snetterton and push for our first win of the year.”
While O’halloran’s side of the garage is clearly making progress, his team-mate Dan Linfoot continues to struggle with the fly-by-wire throttle at Snetterton. He finished the test eighth fastest.
‘It’s not perfect – I’m not sure it will be, but we’re close’ JASON O’HALLORAN