LOOK, no strings could be the mantra for Castrol Honda this weekend.
The World Superbike team are taking to the track at Imola with a ride-by-wire throttle system being used in a top race.
Team members have spent the last few weeks developing the system, which will be used next season, and testing it on its CBR1000RR bikes, ridden by Ruben Xaus and Jonathan Rea, who gave the system a thorough test in Misano last week.
Castrol Honda are using the system for the first time after the FIM’s Superbike Commission sanctioned the use of electronically operated throttle valves.
The Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola lies south-east of northern Italian city Bologna. Seventy per cent of the near-5km circuit has been resurfaced.
While the Castrol Honda team has been successful at Imola, Jonathan Rea has never claimed a podium place at the track, but Ruben Xaus, back for the first time since hurting his back at Brno in July, has had three wins there.
Jonathan commented: “Imola has so much history and I remember the great battle between Castrol Honda’s Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss there back in 2002. It’s a circuit I really enjoy riding but I didn’t have so much luck last year, crashing out of a really wet Superpole and breaking my wrist, which ended my season a little prematurely.
“Since then, I’ve had a similar injury on my other wrist, but it was good to come back at Nurburgring in the last round. The Misano test last week was pretty good and allowed us to see the potential of the new ride-by-wire system. There’s more work to do though, and we’ll continue development of t he package at Imola this weekend with one eye on the 2012 season, although of course I’ll be aiming for two good results for myself and the team.”
His team-mate Ruben added: “I always enjoy going back to Imola —
it’s a very special circuit and I have enjoyed some success there in the past. It will be a good place to ride again after two months off the bike after the Brno crash. The test last week at Misano was good for me and I was very happy with the new package, which allows me to be a lot more comfortable on the bike.
“The CBR feels stronger and faster and I am able to control the bike better, so the two days last week was a good motivation for me. I am really looking forward to riding it
again at Imola.”