LOCAL racer Peter Hickman has just returned from Spain where he completed a successful test with the MSS Bathams Kawasaki Superbike team.
He and teammate Michael Rutter took part in a three day test at the Alcarras circuit in Spain as part of his preparation for the new race season, which kicks off at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend.
With new regulations coming into play for the 2012 season, an understanding of the Motec single spec engine management set-up was key to the objectives of the test.
Local Spanish ace, and good friend of the team, ex-World Supersport winner Pere Riba was also on hand to help with both rider and machine set-up.
Peter was delighted with the new Kawasaki ZX10R and said: “The test has gone really well. I had a new bike and also a new track to learn and put in over 120 laps during the three days.
“The weather was good, not too warm and a bit windy but at least it was dry. I am really impressed with the new bike and I have settled in with the new team very well.
“The bike feels strong, my initial impressions have been really positive. We made a few changes throughout the trip but mostly it’s been about learning the bike and getting miles under my belt.
“We are going in the right direction and keep improving.
“We ended up a fair amount underneath the Spanish lap record – which I’m real happy about! I’ve only been running race tyres and the general feel is great, so I’m happy!”
Team manager Nick Morgan added: “We made headway with the bikes but they were already on good pace at the end of last year.
“What was so rewarding was seeing how the riders both improved their times and built up such an understanding with their crews, in such a short space of time.
“I feel that we now have very good communication and support for all sides of the garage, which will be invaluable come race weekends.
“Peter got faster and faster and really kept working at adapting to the bike rather than the other way round which was refreshing.
“We have been working hard on the new Motec system which is responding very well and giving him confidence with the limited electronic control we now have.
“Overall I am very happy with how the test has gone and we are now on a high ready to continue testing in the UK,” he added.
Hickman, who hails originally from Alford, will join his team for a further round of testing back in the UK ahead of the opening round of the British Superbike championship which takes place at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend of April 6-9.