North Coast V-Twins Racing with KTech make impressive ASBK debut with Ducati V4R at Phillip Island.
North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech made their debut with the stunning Ducati V4R and experienced Superbike pilot Beau Beaton at the season-opening round of the 2020 ASBK at Phillip Island over the weekend of 28 February to 1 March in front of an enthusiastic WorldSBK crowd. The North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech team arrived at Philip Island with a brand-new Ducati V4R that had, until this weekend, never seen a racetrack.
The bike had been run in for a couple of tanks of fuel around the team’s headquarters in Coffs Harbour before being stripped of the road gear, fitted with some premium quality Racers Edge Performance race fairings, K-Tech DDS Pro suspension components and Pirelli slicks days before being transported to Phillip Island ready for its debut outing.
Without the benefit of having completed the official ASBK PreSeason test in early February Beau started the weekend trying to find a base setting for the V4R that has little in common with the Panigale 1199R he last rode in ASBK back in 2017. Luckily the Boost Mobile Racing with K-Tech Team were able to assist in giving Beau an idea of where to start for the first practice session held on Thursday afternoon. After the first few laps of that session, Beau had identified the area’s that he could focus on to make the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R suit his style with the production K-Tech DDS Pro suspension.
Working hard between sessions with his pit crew of Barry Horner and Phil Canning, Beau was hands on changing the springs to get more weight on the front to provide the feedback he was after. Having made all the changes required the bike was ready for Timed Practice early on Friday morning. Unfortunately, the weather gods did not smile on Phillip Island on Friday morning and the twenty-minute Timed Practice, with the top nine riders going straight to Q2, got underway on a damp track with low track temperature. Having only one bike and having never ridden the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech V4R in the wet before, Beau, Barry and Phil fitted a set of Pirelli slick tyres in the hope there would be a drying line towards the end of the session. With the clock ticking down Beau bit the bullet and headed out on a still damp track with slick tyres and an untried suspension setup based on the information gathered in the sole practice session the day before.
There was an immediate improvement in the feeling and balance of the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R and despite the tricky conditions Beau was able to put in four laps at the end of the session, a 1:42.2 his fastest on the fourth and final lap, to secure ninth place and a ticket directly to the Q2 session to fight for the top twelve positions on the grid. Friday afternoon saw an improvement in track conditions and the Q2 session got underway on a mainly dry track. This was the first real opportunity for Beau to evaluate the changes made to the setup of the K-Tech DDS Pro suspension. Beau had made some additional changes to the suspension after Timed Practice but during Q2 found that he had gone a little too far and the bike was not delivering the feel and balance he was after. As the session was only fifteen minutes long there was no use in wasting a perfectly good soft tyre when a spot had already been secured on the fourth row of the grid so Beau pushed as hard as he could to record a 1:36.4 on a used race tyre.
The first of three races for the round got underway on Saturday morning in front of a healthy crowd just before lunch and was also televised live on Fox Sports. Beau got a good start considering his limited experience with the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R and completed a hectic first lap in fourteenth position right on the tail of Max Croker’s Suzuki. By lap two Beau was maintaining a solid lead over 4-Times AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes who was making his ASBK debut, holding down thirteenth position in a field that boasts over thirty national championships. Hayes managed to find his way past on lap five with Beau maintaining consistent lap times and recording a top speed of 300kp/h several times during the race. By lap six long-time rival Linden Magee was on Beau’s tail and the two diced for a few laps before Magee found his way past. Beau gained one position in the standings on lap nine when Matt Walters retired but lost that position to hard charging Kiwi Sloan Frost on the penultimate lap to greet the chequered flag in fourteenth position.
A solid point scoring ride for Beau in the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R’s first race. Saturday afternoon saw the ASBK field back out on track for race two. Beau had made some changes to the tyre pressures of the Pirelli slicks to assist with the longevity of the tyre over the twelve-lap race distance at one of the most demanding tracks in the world for tyres. Another frantic first lap saw Beau sitting in fourteenth again at the beginning of lap two, right on Hayes’s tail and in front of young gun Croker. Hayes crashed on lap two promoting Beau into thirteenth position with Croker managing to get past on lap three until Beau repaid the favour on lap six. Unfortunately, the next few laps saw Beau lose a few positions as he was struggling to hang onto the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R, the ride position is considerably different to the older 1199 V-Twin and fatigue due to not being comfortable on the bike took its toll in the dying stages with Beau crossing the line in seventeenth to score four points. With the assistance of the Boost Mobile Racing with K-Tech Team Beau made changes to the ride position for race three and immediately felt more at home on the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R. Completing the first lap in fourteenth Beau was in a group a four dicing for eleventh position, separated by mere tenths of a second. Gaining one position on lap four when Aiden Wagner ran off track Beau was feeling good on the bike and managing to hold off old sparring partner Magee. Aiden Wagner relegated the Beaton Magee battle one position as he charged back through the field on lap eight. At that stage of the race .6 of a second covered Beau Beaton on the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech V4R, Magee on his BMW and Kiwi Sloan Frost on his well-developed Suzuki as the trio engaged in a highly entertaining dice.
Magee got to the front of the group on lap ten, Croker joined in on the action and both he and Frost got past on lap eleven. Feeling better on the bike than he had all weekend Beau pushed hard and the four riders crossed the line in close company, all moving forward one position as Wagner ran wide again on the last lap. Beau completed race three in fifteenth position and took another solid points haul in an impressive debut for the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Team who had to start the weekend with a completely new project. The next round of the 2020 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul for the North Coast V-Twins Racing with K-Tech Team will be Round Three at The Bend Motorsport Park from 7-10 May.
“Really happy how this first round with the new North Coast V-Twins Racing with KTech Ducati V4R went” said Rider and Team Manager Beau Beaton. “For our first weekend I just concentrated on getting a feel for the bike, it really is made for tracks like this, and luckily I was able to get some assistance from Adrian Monti from the Boost Mobile Racing with K-Teach Team on setup direction. We made small changes all weekend, I wanted to go big but thankfully Adrian kept me under control, and we used a fair portion of the weekend as a test. I could not have done it though without the assistance of Barry Horner and Phil Canning who both worked hard for me all weekend. I felt comfortable in race three and had a great dice with Linden, Sloan and Max. We now look forward to round three at The Bend and hopefully get a test or two in before that. I have never ridden at The Bend before so that will be a great new experience for me”.