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Tuesday 5th July 2011

NEW CASTROL HONDA LINE-UP HEADS FOR BRNO

The Castrol Honda team heads to Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend (8-10 July) for round eight of the 2011 World Superbike championship with Britain’s Alex Lowes standing in for the injured Jonathan Rea.

Lowes, from Lincoln in the east of the United Kingdom, has raced at the 5.4km Brno circuit during his time in European Superstock championships two years ago, but this will be his first outing on a full SBK-specification Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade producing more than 215bhp.

The 20-year-old began the season in the British Superbike championship campaigning an Evo-specification CBR that carries a virtually stock engine and does not feature the sophisticated electronics of the SBK machine.

However, Lowes showed that he could compete with other riders on full specification superbikes – performances that brought his talent to the attention of many, including the Castrol Honda World Superbike team, and resu lted last month in him taking over the British Superbike ride of the injured Stuart Easton.

Lowes’s relative youth contrasts with the experience of his new Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus, who took part in his first SBK event when Lowes was just seven years old - the Spaniard has now competed in 212 World Superbike races.

Xaus, still only 33, was exactly the same age as Lowes for his first SBK outing and knows the Brno circuit well, although his best result to date has been fifth place in race one last season.

Alex Lowes

After the British Superbike race weekend just gone, I’m happy to be able to focus 100% on Brno now and I can’t wait to get on the bike there. I went to the team workshop last week and the guys made me feel really relaxed and welcome and went through a circuit map with me to discuss the gearing and other settings that Jonathan used last year. I also tried the bike for size, but r eally didn’t change anything except lowering the front brake lever a little and adding a thumb lever for the rear brake. I’ll walk the track with the guys when I get to Brno and then just aim to keep improving in every session over the weekend. It’s difficult to know what to expect in the way of results until I get out there, but my aim is simply to enjoy myself, work hard and do the best that I can to make the most of this chance.

Ruben Xaus

After the last round in Spain we are obviously looking for an improved performance because the weekend there was not good at all. We were suffering some chatter at the rear so I need to work with my team to eliminate that in the fastest way possible. Everything is close in the championship this year and many times the top 15 riders are covered by a second. It’s that last second that is always the hardest to find but I’ll do my best with the team to search for it.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

First of all, on behalf of the team, I’d like to extend a really big welcome to Alex. We already spent a day together at the workshop last week, when we got to know him a little bit and dialled out some early settings issues with the bike, like handlebars, footrests, seating position and so on. We are all really looking forward to having him on board this weekend at Brno where we have done well as a team in the last couple of years. We are hoping for a productive and solid weekend.

2011 World Superbike Championship, round eight, Brno, Czech Republic – schedule (local times):

Friday 8 July
11.30 Free practice (60 min)
15.30 Qualifying practice (60 min)
Saturday 9 July
10.45 Qualifying practice (45 min)
13.45 Free practice (45 min)
15.00 Superpol e 1 (14 min)
15.21 Superpole 2 (12 min)
15.40 Superpole 3 (10 min)
Sunday 10 July
09.20 Warm-up (15 min)
12.00 Race 1 (20 laps – 108.060km)
15.30 Race 2 (20 laps – 108.060km)

 

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