Photo gallery: British Superbikes ride out freezing Snetterton testing

Track action from British Superbikes testing at Snetterton. Photo: Simon Parker

Track action from British Superbikes testing at Snetterton. Photo: Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

It was the final chance for the best of British to test their machines ahead of the new season – but one that left most of the paddock wondering if foreign fields may have been a better day after all.

Josh Brookes tackles Snetterton during British Superbikes testing. Photo: Simon Parker

Josh Brookes tackles Snetterton during British Superbikes testing. Photo: Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's Snetterton circuit has hosted the British Superbikes and its support series on Wednesday and Thursday last week for final testing before the new BSB season starts at Brands Hatch next month.

This time last year, the warm spring temperatures left the Superbikes paddock delighted at their decision to save some of their precious budget and stay in the UK for pre-season testing, rather than making the trip into mainland Europe.

This year, the freezing cold sessions have been of limited use – and may make the opening skirmishes of the campaign more unpredictable than ever, as the teams try to get to grips with their machines during the first race weekends.

'The biggest problem we've had is actually having weather to run and test with,' said Samsung Honda team boss Havier Beltran.

'Wednesday was effectively abandoned and with temperatures down at three or five degrees, it's a bit of a waste of time out there – the guys go out with tyres at 80 degrees and one or two laps later they're down to 40, and we stand a high risk of losing somebody. So we can't push and we can't do anything in those conditions.'

Not that Beltran is unduly worried once the real stuff gets going. With a new look line-up of three-times BSB champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and super quick starlet Alex Lowes, the Samsung boss has high hopes for 2013.

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'We certainly expect both riders to be at the front and chasing those podiums,' he added. 'Kiyo is a different person this year, a lot happier in everything he is doing and actually enjoying riding the bike.

'And Alex is a bit like a hosepipe – you turn it on flat out and watch the end wiggle around a bit, where he's all over the place. But he's great to work with and really taking on board what we're trying to get across to him.

'If we keep him on the bike, he's going to win races and he's going to win a championship. So we're really looking forward to Brands.'

Both Kiyonari and defending champion Shayne Byrne will be pushing for a record fourth British Superbikes title this year – although Lowes, who made a big impression last season, does not plan to let the big boys have it all their own way.

'Kiyo and Shakey are the main boys trying to make a bit of history, but I'm going to try to spoil the party a little bit,' Lowes smiled.

'I know I'm quick enough to do that. It's just going to be down to me using my head and being consistent, because the speed is there.'

Snetterton will host round five of the British Superbikes championship on July 5-7 – by which time the weather should be significantly warmer.