The Red Bull Honda WorldSBK team arrived in Assen after some tests at Motorland Aragon and Portimao, with a new spec engine for Stefan Bradl but the same set-up as the most recent Motorland Aragon race for Nicky Hayden.
The team technical manager, Pieter Breddels, explained the why it was only Bradl who used the new spec.
“This morning with Stefan we already made some changes from Portimao to here,” he stated. “We only use it with Stefan at the moment as he had that engine problem so he is running lower on the engine quantity than Nicky. So for him it was time to seal a new engine but Nicky not yet.”
As Breddels explained, the quest for better performance is never-ending but the spec of new engine was looking for smoothness in power delivery. “Beside just adding more power on top we try to concentrate a lot on providing really smooth power delivery, which we actually succeeded in, but we had some inconsistency in the engine building, so we are still investigating that side. Also, when we tested at Portimao, yes it was smooth but it did not produce the power we wanted, that we saw on the dyno. Those are the two things we have to get a grip on. So it felt smooth but we need more time on it, to do some adjustment, because smooth does not necessarily feel fast for the rider. We know this is the way, to go so we will continue with this but we actually need more time, as always. We just did some mapping changes to suit the engine but we need more track time to adjust everything.”
The next chance the team will have to work on the engine is more than likely their next test session in the season. “The only extra test planned at the moment is straight after Donington, at Misano, so we will join Ducati on 31st May”.
Speaking of Hayden, he had a bizarre experience in race one at Assen, fighting his way forward and then losing places as his bike started to misbehave under him. His team found a cracked engine hanger on the right side of the chassis, which could have been caused by a collision on the first corner with Michael van der Mark’s Yamaha. Hayden, who had been as high as tenth from 13th on the grid, was eventually 14th in race one after his bike started to go wandering under him.
By Gordon Ritchie