CIA Landlord Insurance Honda riders Jules Cluzel, Hikari Okubo and Robin Mulhauser head down under to the official test at Philip Island in Australia this week ahead of the opening round of the 2017 World Supersport Championship at the same venue on 24-26 February.
For the riders the test is an opportunity to continue the progress already made at the tests in Jerez and Portimao in January. The Philip Island test gets underway on Monday 20th February for two days and on Friday 24th February the team return to the 4.4km Philip Island circuit to kick off the new season at Round One of the 2017 World Supersport Championship.
Hikari Okubo said: “I’m very happy to be starting my second season in the World Supersport Championship. Last year in Australia I had a big crash and couldn’t finish the race so it’s not a good memory but I think I showed good potential there and this year I want a single position finish and a better result.”
Robin Mulhauser: “I’m really looking forward to working hard on the next two days of testing to improve again my good feeling on the CBR600RR and getting ready for the Australian World Supersport race. I can’t wait to be there.”
Jules Cluzel: “I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike. Philip Island is a typical, fast circuit and it’s always nice to ride there. I have already won there twice so I have good memories. I am happy that I am continuing to adapt to the bike, it came better from the first test in Jerez to Portimao and it should be better again at the Philip Island test. I’m happy because my flight to Australia is tonight and that means the first race is coming. I’m really looking forward to fighting for good positions and to achieving our target of winning the World Championship.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “Here we are approaching the first round of the 2017 season with four days of testing under our belt and two more to come at the official test at Philip Island. The testing has given Jules time to adapt from the 3 cylinder to the 4 cylinder bike and put him in good shape for the race. Same for Robin really coming from Moto 2. He did the four days now has another two in Australia so we should be in a really good place by the time practice starts and prepared for the race. It’s good for Hikari to be testing again and getting up to speed. It’s a very important second year for him and I’m sure he will show his potential.
Obviously it is very important to be as fast as possible and to make an attempt for pole position but one of the main things we have to focus on in the test is managing the tyre use during the race. It’s always hard on tyres at Philip Island and we have to be able to do race distance.
So we’re really looking forward to the start of the season, everything looks good, it’s time to get going and mount a serious challenge for the World Championship.”