Team Hero EBR had a forgettable year at WSBK in 2014, but, it still will return to the WSBK paddock for 2015. The team’s return is perhaps in name only, as major changes have been made to EBR’s WSBK presence, Most notable is Team Hero EBR’s new riders — Larry Pegram and Niccolo Canepa — with Pegram having double-duties, as he will act as the Team Manager in charge of the Pegram Racing crew, which will take over running the Team Hero EBR program. Larry Pegram was the rider who brought EBR its only points in the 2014 season, scoring two points at the crash-filled Laguna Seca round.
Team EBR Hero made good use of the superb weather in southern USA recently to try out their new rider line-up of American Larry Pegram and Italian Niccolo Canepa in preparation for the 2015 season. The team tested at Louisiana’s NOLA circuit and also at Jennings racetrack in Florida, using Pegram’s AMA bikes, with WSBK suspension and Pirelli tires.
Larry Pegram is both team manager and rider for the team’s second year in the World Superbike Championship and thought Niccolo would benefit from a test of the EBR Hero 1190RX before the next year’s January tests in Portugal and Spain.
First of all, I would like to say how positively the tests went and also how well Niccolo adapted to the bike. After just a few laps he was smiling and happy and that made the whole team feel good. NOLA and Jennings are two very different types of tracks and it was good to see how the bikes behaved at each one. Jennings is a fairly small track, with lots of different types of corners and a short lap time. NOLA is bigger and has faster straights and harder braking so, between the two circuits, we were able to gather a lot of information. I think Niccolo was surprised about how well the EBR Hero 1190RX performed and, once he had turned a few laps, he was already pushing it and finding out what it could do. I was surprised how comfortable he was on the bike so quickly. He was fast right from the get-go and ending up by breaking the Jennings lap record by 7/10ths of a second!
We were using my bikes from this year, with full World Superbike spec suspension, Pirelli tires and ‘fly-by-wire’ electronics. Over the tests, we swapped bikes from time to time and that was very interesting because Niccolo and I had virtually the same comments and feedback. I think it’s going to be very exciting next year – Niccolo has experience of the tracks and that’s going to be a big help, as he will know his way around from the first lap. He is great to work with and his feedback is very good. I know the bike very well, so I really feel that we can move this amazing project along. Of course, there’s a lot of work to do before next season starts, but these tests have been extremely encouraging and now we’re all looking forward to our next time on the track.
It was good to leave Europe’s weather behind and ride a bike in Louisiana and Florida in perfect conditions. Not only the weather was good, but so was the EBR Hero 1190RX! I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. It didn’t take me long to feel comfortable and start pushing and trying to find its limits. The bike is a lovely package. It handles and steers really well and I enjoyed myself a lot during the tests.
It was very interesting to try the bike on two different types of racetrack and that gave us a superb opportunity to try lots of different thing and get very used to it. Larry and I swapped bikes several times and we both had similar comments, so we know we’re heading in the right direction. At Jennings I broke the lap record, which made us all very happy. There’s more to come from this bike for sure. My first taste of it has been very good and positive and now I cannot wait to ride it again and see how far we can progress