Carrick’s Glenn Irwin issued an upbeat report following the second day of the opening Bennetts British Superbike test at Monteblanco in Spain.
The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider, who finished third in the Showdown in 2018, was second quickest on the time sheets on Thursday, four-tenths down on Jason O’Halloran (McAMS Yamaha ) and marginally ahead of BSB rookie Scott Redding on the PBM Be Wiser Ducati V4 R.
Irwin said he was surprised by his pace on the ZX-10RR as he prepares for the final day of the test on Friday before setting off for Portimao in Portugal for further testing on Sunday and Monday.
“It’s been good, really productive so far. There is lots to get through and we did our first proper time attack today,” Irwin said.
“It was enjoyable to just go out with the intention of pushing the bike really hard.
“We had some electronic issues that Andrew [Torniero] worked really hard to fix. We made a plan for today and that plan worked electronically, but now at this pace we have rode into the same little things.
“It’s not a problem or an issue because it’s something that can be solved, so I’m really happy with how things have come on with the bike,” he told the official British Superbike website.
“Chassis-wise [the team] did an awesome job today and we have improved a lot, so I was surprised to go second fastest. I felt good on the bike… it’s been a good two days so far and we’re continuing to learn as a team and understanding each other, so long may it continue.”
His younger brother Andrew was ninth quickest on the Honda Racing Fireblade, 1.199s off the top time.
Former British motocross champion Graeme Irwin, who will compete in the Superstock 1000 class this year for Team 109 Kawasaki, was 23rd overall on his Superstock machine.
Newcomer Irwin was only around 1.5 seconds slower than Richard Cooper on the Buildbase Suzuki, who was the leading Superstock rider.
BSB rider Josh Elliott was 11th fastest on the OMG Suzuki while David Allingham was 19th on the EHA Racing Yamaha.
A host of road racers are taking part in the test, including Dean Harrison, James Hillier, Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston, plus North West 200 record-holder Alastair Seeley.
EHA Yamaha rider Seeley will be gunning for the British Supersport title in 2019 alongside his annual appearance at the international road race.