The day has come for FB Corse to make its big track debut, and also to prove to Dorna and the IRTA that they have what it takes to race in MotoGP. This March 15th thru 17th will see the Italian team take to the track at Valencia, where they will have their first track shakedown.
In attendance March 17th will be Dorna’s Franco Uncini and an IRTA representative. The purpose of these men is to assess the FB01’s competitive ability, during what is being called a “timing test’. Intially this has been reported to mean that Dorna and the IRTA are interested in seeing as to whether or not Garry McCoy can take the FB01 around the course within three seconds of last season’s slowest qualifying MotoGP lap time. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case now.
With many series employing a cut-off time for qualifies from the pole setting time, there was the expectation that a similar time benchmark was being used to asses competitiveness in MotoGP, which wants to see good showings, even from the series’ backmarkers. For FB Corse and Garry McCoy this meant the time to beat would roughly be 1’35.00, and for everyone else this will be the first real opportuniy for FB Corse to prove themselves as more than just a bunch of hype and vaporware.
However, Dorna’s Uncini has clarified exactly what sort of assessments he will be making on the 17th, and has disavowed a set time-to-beat measurement. Speaking to GPone, Uncini said:
“The truth is that there is no limit, the story of [getting within] three seconds is not true. How can you judge a bike, on its debut, in that way? If it was +3.1sec should we say no and if it is +2.9sec we say yes? It is a question of reliability, not just performance. I mean, the lap time is a factor, but also the consistency of performance. If the FB01 is fast but cannot make five laps, it will be a problem. It must compete. Stay on track. This is the goal and this is how it will be judged. With one eye, of course, on the whole picture.”
Despite this more subjective assessment, it goes without saying the session in Valencia means high-stakes for FB Corse, and surely the team is keeping their fingers crossed for favorable weather. More as we get it.
Photos of the FB Corse FB01 Race Bike: