Leon Haslam says Honda has "not even got to the stage" of fine-tuning its new World Superbike challenger as testing has so far been about “fundamental parts”.
HRC returns with a full factory effort in WSBK in 2020 for the first time since ’02, having taken a step towards that last year with increased support.
Haslam and Alvaro Bautista have helmed the development of the all-new CBR1000RR-R this winter, completing several private tests last November before making its first public test outing at Jerez earlier in January.
Ending the Portimao test just 0.851 seconds off top spot in sixth, Haslam sang the praises of Honda’s current development path and insists the team has “so much to look forward to” still.
“Honestly we have so much to look forward,” Haslam said to WorldSBK.com. “It’s not just fine-tuning the bike – we’ve not even got that stage yet. With normal bits of clicks here and there, we’ve not even touched the bike in that respect.
“We’re just trying fundamental parts, fundamental test items and that’s what’s brought us so close already.
“So when we fine-tune it I’m really looking forward to that stage.”
He added: “Obviously that’s what we’re aiming for [to be competitive in Phillip Island], the test is going to be important.
“The work from now to the test is important. Every day especially with a new project is always really important.”
Bautista was over a second behind Haslam in 15th after the two days of running at Portimao, but admits Honda was “maybe more inside the box than out” due to an increased test programme brought about by a lack of running at a weather-interrupted Jerez test.
“Yeah, for sure it has been a really hard test for us because in Jerez we could not test many things because of the weather,” Bautista said.
“So here we had to concentrate all the work of four days into two days, and we had a lot of items to try here.
“Maybe we were more inside the box than outside, but I think we get a lot of data for the future, for the development of the bike and we’ll see next test in Australia before the first race.”
Leon Haslam, Team HRC
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Leon Haslam, Team HRC, Scott Redding, Aruba.it Racing Ducati