After the Suter BMW of Forward Racing, the FTR Kawasakis of BQR and the Aprilia ARTs, the last of the CRT bikes will get its first run out on track today. San Carlo Gresini's Michele Pirro will take the Honda-powered FTR out at Imola for a preliminary shakedown test today, Friday, with two more days of testing to follow for Gresini's CRT machine. According to GPOne.com, the bike will only get an hour of track time on Friday, to test that everything is working correctly.
The bike had initially been due to make its debut at the Aragon CRT test earlier this month, but a shortage of parts - the seat unit and subframe were not yet ready, according to GPOne.com - meant that the debut had to be delayed. Given the cold and windy conditions at Aragon, which saw the bikes which did attend confined to their garages for much of the time, the Gresini team did not lose out too much by not attending the test.
The Gresini CRT bike features a rolling chassis designed and built by FTR, housing a Honda CBR1000RR engine prepared and tuned by World Superbike specialists Ten Kate Racing. Though the bike will benefit from the ride-by-wire system which has only recently been made legal in WSBK, the engine is expected to be down on power. Reports that the bike will produce around 220 hp would put it some 30+ hp down on the factory prototypes, and about 10 hp down on the Aprilia engines used by Aspar, PBM and IODA. The CBR1000's relatively narrow bore - the standard engine uses a 76mm bore, well below the permitted maximum of 81mm that all of the factory prototypes use - excludes chasing high engine speeds, the usual method of making power, and so the bike will have to rely on agility and braking to compete with the other CRTs.
The Gresini CRT machine will receive its first public outing at Jerez on Friday, at the final IRTA test before the season starts at Qatar.