Bennetts British Superbike teams aren’t permitted to go testing in exotic places or even Spain this season in order to save some wedge so an increasing number of riders are getting themselves training bikes in order to stay track sharp over the big winter break.
Oxford Racing Ducati’s Thomas George Bridewell II is one such rider and he has his own, self-funded (at a discount) Panigale V4R which he will use to keep himself bike fit but what exactly is a training bike? Team boss Steve Moore explains:
“Well there is some confusion. Racing, testing and practice are all very different things and serve different purposes with different costs, so we use different bikes.
“Testing is using a BSB-spec bike, with the whole team there to run through what works on all aspects of setup. Chassis, electronics, motor specification, tyres. It’s very involved and very expensive in terms of logistics, staff and material costs of using a full superbike.
“To save a lot of budget, there will be no testing this year in southern Europe for BSB Superbike teams or riders. All the teams were in agreement and the organisers have instead launched a UK based testing programme, so the track time is fully relevant to our racing too.
“This is great for the teams to save money and have more relevant testing, but it leaves the rider without action for six months. So, apart from just getting grumpy about not riding, it’s impossible to keep bike fit and focused, so they go practicing.
“You’ll see riders on mini-bikes, pit-bikes, off-road riding and as we get closer to the start of testing in the UK, they pack a van and go to few tracks with a modified road bike spend a few days riding round to warm up for the testing programme and season.
It’s a good compromise. The cost of lapping round on a road bike and the logistics required are a tiny fraction of Superbike testing costs and the rider gets fit enough that we don’t waste valuable testing time while they warm up after the break.
“As well as a BSB team we are a motorcycle shop and workshop, so we prepare many track-day Ducatis, so it was simple to put a V4R together for Tommy. It’s not a gift, he bought it himself… with some staff discount.
“The spec of training bikes is simple, it’s a road bike with road bike electronics, swingarm, brakes, just with some track upgrades from K-tech, Termignoni, HEL performance, Fullsix Carbon and Spider racing (I make no apologies for name dropping our sponsors, who helped with this bike too)
“Then we paint it and add the Oxford Products logos and he’s ready to go and get fit and train.”