Now recovered from neck and hand injuries suffered three months ago competing in the Netherlands, McCormick managed five laps aboard his Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati before showers arrived and forced the world’s best “street bike” riders into the pits.
“The track’s a bit like some in Canada, flat and bumpy,” joked McCormick after his return to road race action. “It’s a different sort of bumpy, not whooped out like Portugal, but small edge bumpy, lots of little nooks and crannies.”
“I really like the track, it has a great layout, with a little bit of everything,” continued McCormick of the 5.9 km long, ex-military airfield based venue. “It flows nice, its fun to be back out there, the pavement may be bumpy from the Formula One cars but it’s really consistent and uniform.”
McCormick set the 24th and slowest overall lap of the session with a tour of 2:17.558, but was unconcerned, given the fact he was learning the track and his planned 45 minute outing was cut severely short by typical British showers.
“Those were five good laps, I was just starting to get a sense of the lines and markers,” explained McCormick of his time back aboard the Ducati 1098R Desmo twin. “It’s tough to learn, it’s so wide open here, without a lot of easy reference points. It felt good, I was on my way to getting comfy when it started to rain.”
Concerns about the ongoing status of McCormick’s recently injured neck caused many in the paddock to ask about his recovery following his initial on track outing. “On the first lap, it was a little sore, but the blood hadn’t starting flowing yet,” confirmed McCormick. “After that first lap, everything was fine, no issues.”
“I know that impact-wise my neck could handle it,” explained McCormick, who has been riding a motocross bike at a good pace in recent weeks. “But it’s the force from the wind that you can’t duplicate, like when you sit up from behind the fairing at 200 kph going into a corner. That turned out to be just fine.”
“I wasn’t going fast enough, wasn’t out long enough, to have any issues with the bike," admitted the World Series rookie. “I really like the new Brembo brakes; it now stops like you’ve thrown out an anchor!”
McCormick plans to take part in the second Friday session, slated for 15:30 PM local time, if it isn’t raining.
“From the team’s point of view, there has been a lot of shake up in personal while I’ve been away, so this is really a see-if-I’m-ready kind of outing,” said McCormick. “We’ll move forward with plans for the next round, when everything is sorted and I’m up to speed with my recovery.”
Fastest in the rain-hindered opening Silverstone practice was reining Superbike World Champ Carlos Checa aboard the Althea Ducati 1098R with a lap at 2:06.38. Second best was local hero Tom Sykes on the works Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja at 2:06.632, followed by McCormick’s former room-mate in Italy, Liberty Effenbert team leader Jakub Smrz at 2:07.0. In the top speed stakes, Sykes best straight line run at 291 kph was 15 kph quicker than any of the fast Ducati runners!