Day one at Jerez has concluded for the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) putting in a late lap in FP2 to go top. Despite a late red flag after a spectacular crash for Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) left gravel and debris on the track at Turn 4, a flurry of action concluded the session with many changes in positions.
Championship leader Alvaro Bautista was on top in FP2 for the majority of the session before being knocked off his familiar perch by Van der Mark for a brief moment. The Spanish rookie, who has raced at Jerez many times, went back on top in the closing stages with the fastest lap of the weekend. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had a tough day at the office, but you can never discount the Welshman; the former WorldSBK runner-up finished eleventh overall.
Michael van der Mark continued his strong performance from the morning session, becoming the first rider to go into the 1’39s in FP2, improving in the final five minutes to consolidate his strong pace. His teammate, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was again a prominent figure at the sharp end, ending the day in fourth, with the Pata Yamaha pairing enjoying the return to Jerez.
The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK strategy for Jonathan Rea looked to be to send him out and get him to dial laps in, with the reigning four-time WorldSBK Champion setting numerous consecutive fast laps. On his tenth lap, Rea improved his time before finally improving to third on the combined timesheets, improving his time in the latter part of the session but remaining in third. His teammate Leon Haslam completed the day in ninth in the session and overall.
2013 World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) didn’t improve his time overall until very late in the session, placing fifth overall, ahead of Tissot Superpole on Saturday. Whilst Sykes showed strong signs of improvement, Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was out on track for the first time. With no lap time set in FP1, FP2 proved crucial for the German rider, who finished 15th at the end of the day.
A strong start in FP1 for Melandri saw the Italian crash in FP2, albeit with himself being OK and riding the bike back to the pits. He finished sixth on combined times. Teammate Sandro Cortese improved his time and completed the day in seventh, with a strong end to FP2. It has been a strong start for Yamaha at the Acerbis Spanish Round, with four in the top seven.
In eighth place, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Barni Racing Team) enjoyed a strong FP2 and maintained his top ten placing from FP1. The Italian was the second Ducati in the session and also, the third Independent team rider behind the GRT duo. Turkish Puccetti Racing rider Toprak Razgatlioglu finished tenth at the end of the day.
WorldSBK returnee Loris Baz was back with a bang, as he had a massive crash at Turn 4, although he was OK. His bike cartwheeled through the gravel trap, bringing out a momentary red flag for debris.
Álvaro Bautista – P1
“Today it was a very positive day, even though in the morning session we had a few problems with excessive tyre wear, probably because of the track conditions after the rain that fell overnight. In the afternoon therefore the work focussed on this aspect in particular. I really liked one of the new rear tyre solutions for its durability and consistency even though we used it over a distance that was longer than that of the race, at the same time also improving the feeling with the front over this morning. Tomorrow we’ll focus more on fine-tuning the chassis because I’m convinced we can make a further improvement and as a result another step forward.”
“It’s been a really positive opening day and I felt good with the bike from the start. The changes we tested in Misano really seem to have worked and that inspired a lot of confidence in the R1. We knew this afternoon would be interesting once the track temperature went up, so we wanted to see how the bike reacted to that. Again, I was quick from the start, but we still need to do a bit more work to improve on the brakes, as I’m still struggling a little to get the bike stopped. But, overall, I’m really happy with the first day here in Jerez.”
Jonathan Rea – P3
“It was a really positive day in the end as we managed to turn things around. The biggest challenge was coming from riding the Endurance machine in Japan only a few days ago to this morning. I got a little bit lost with my feeling on the bike. Also, since they re-asphalted the surface here the grip is so, so high. It is an abnormal feeling to ride on it and you do not understand the limit because the grip is so high. So, I am just trying to acclimatise to that. I also tried all options of rear tyres to confirm our understand of which one to use. In the afternoon session we changed a few things to give me a bit more confidence on the brakes and we reconfirmed the step we made in a Misano test with my position on the bike. I was happy with where we were.”
Alex Lowes – P4
“We made a good start in FP1 this morning, finishing the session second behind Michael. This afternoon I did just over race distance on a set of tyres, which dropped us down the times a little but the pace was still good. We’ve got some new parts that we weren’t able to test over a long run at the Misano test because of the weather but, after today, we have a much better understanding of the bike and where we’ve improved. I’ve always been fast here in Jerez, so I know I can do the times, but we just wanted to work on the bike on worn tyres and in the hotter temperatures this afternoon, to get a better feel for how it’s going to be in the race tomorrow. A good start to the weekend and one on which we can build for the race tomorrow. I’m happy.”
Tom Sykes – P5
“I’m quite happy because all things considered we weren’t chasing a lap time so I’m relatively happy to be in the top 5, but the focus today has been trying to understand some components over the distance. Our lap times have been consistent but we still need to see if it is competitive for the race tomorrow. We still need to look at a tenth here and there during the lap but overall I am happy with the progress of the S 1000 RR considering how early we are in this project. My target now is to have a good run of the next four rounds and it starts here in Jerez.”
Marco Melandri – P6
“I’m feeling much better on the bike with a different riding position and that also gave me a better feeling with the tyres. Now we have to work in a slightly different way for the set-up but I’m happy, because for the first time I’m not so far from the front and it looks like we are going in a good way. I think our weekend here in Jerez can be different to the last few races.”
Sandro Cortese – P7
“It was a very positive start and we saw an improvement in both the base setting and the lap times between the two sessions today. The conditions were very special, very hot, but the second session was more or less the same time as the race tomorrow, so it gave us an opportunity to work on set-up in very similar conditions. We had a positive test in Misano and the updates we got from Yamaha are all working well, so I’m happy and confident for tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam – P9
“This morning wasn’t too bad but we were suffering in the same areas as Imola to get the bike to stop. This afternoon it was harder and kept losing the front. We found a better way right at the end, and even on 15 lap-old tyres I set my best lap over the session. So there were some positives but it was a tough one. It looks like it will continue hot like it was this afternoon. So that is something we need to look at, make a bit of a plan and then see where we can get to tomorrow.”
Chaz Davies – P11
“Today has been a bit tricky and we struggled a little bit with the front overloading all the time. We need to rebalance the bike to give me better feeling and speed on entry, connect the dots in the middle of the corner and keep the corner speed. Despite these problems, I’m fairly confident of improving tomorrow, it’s just that we were a bit too wide of the mark today. Jerez is a different track to Imola, and what works there doesn’t work here so we’re going to have to make some changes.”
Loris Baz – P13
“it was an up and down first day, let’s say. I’m not really happy because I’ve given my guys a lot of work to do tonight with the fast crash at the end of FP2, which definitely wasn’t in the plan, but we also need to understand why I crashed because it was a bit strange. Apart from that the day was going well; we weren’t that far from the other four Yamaha riders and we managed to improve on the set-up we finished with at the Misano test. We need to continue working in this way tomorrow and then use the race as another opportunity to increase our understanding with the bike. I’m looking forward to tomorrow already.”
World Superbike Friday Combined Times
BAUTISTA Alvaro ARUBA Racing Ducati 1’39.428
VAN DER MARK Michael Pata Yamaha Team 0.226
REA Jonathan Kawasaki Racing Team 0.304
LOWES Alex Pata Yamaha Team 0.411
SYKES Tom 66 GBR BMW Motorrad Team 0.506
MELANDRI Marco GRT Yamaha WorldSBK 0.602
CORTESE Sandro GRT Yamaha WorldSBK 0.629
RINALDI Michael Ruben BARNI Racing Team 0.862
HASLAM Leon Kawasaki Racing Team 0.911
RAZGATLIOGLU Toprak Turkish Puccetti Racing 0.976
DAVIES Chaz ARUBA Racing Ducati 1.209
TORRES Jordi Team Pedercini 1.314
BAZ Loris Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha 1.427
MERCADO Leandro 3Orelac Racing VerdNatura 1.490
REITERBERGER Markus BMW Motorrad Team 1.614
DELBIANCO Alessandro Althea Mie Racing 2.300
TAKAHASHI Yuki Moriwaki Althea Honda 2.497
BRIDEWELL Tommy Team Goeleven 2.588
KIYONARI Ryuichi Moriwaki Althea Honda 2.744
The opening day of FIM Supersport World Championship action saw plenty of action throughout the two sessions. Come the end of play on the opening day, it was Bardahl Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team duo of Federico Caricasulo and Randy Krummenacher that were on top, with Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) back in third. A brief red flag was shown earlier in the session for Glenn van Straalen, who crashed, leaving a lot of gravel on the circuit needing to be cleaned away.
It was a strong end to the day for Caricasulo, who just pipped his Swiss teammate overall by 0.048s. The duo has been battling all season, with the WorldSSP title pendulum swinging from one rider to the other. The end of day one at Jerez sees the Italian on top overall, at a track he won at from pole in 2017, whilst Krummenacher couldn’t improve his time. In third position, Jules Cluzel, who hadn’t featured at the front for the majority of the session, improved at the end of the session to consolidate his top three placing.
Fourth position belonged to Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusuta Reparto Corse) raced up the order late on, confirming his pace after his podium at Imola. Fifth place went to 2017 WorldSSP Champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). The Frenchman suffered a small tumble at Turn 2 but rounded the day off in fine style. In sixth position on combined times was Austrian rider, Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing). A track at which he has very little experience on, Gradinger has had a strong start to the weekend.
Seventh position saw a solid start to proceedings for Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), as the Japanese rider goes in search of his first career podium. Behind him, the first of the home-heroes, Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing), who was just 0.3s off of a top three slot, whilst in ninth, Britain’s Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) was reacquainting himself to the Jerez circuit. Tenth position went to Smith’s teammate, Ayrton Badovini.
A brief red flag was brought out after a crash for Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) at the penultimate corner, with gravel on the circuit as a consequence. His fellow countryman, Jaimie van Sikkelerus, made a return to action after his surgery between rounds. They finished 18th and 25th respectively.
World Supersport Friday Combined Times
De Rosa 1m43.136
Quero Martinez 1m44.242
Van Straalen 1m45.195
Van Sikkelerus 1m46.980
It was an exciting opening day for the WorldSSP300 Championship, as after the opening two Free Practice sessions, lap times were already under the existing lap records for the class at Jerez. Heading the timesheets on day one, championship leader Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), aiming to keep his 100% record after the opening rounds of the season. Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team) and Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) were second and third respectively.
Gonzalez set about his Friday looking to build on his positive start to the season, with the Spaniard coming to the circuit as championship leader and favourite for a home win. Heading the timesheets, he looks set to enjoy another great weekend. It was a positive start for Marc Garcia, who returns to the scene of his 2017 title win. The Spaniard made it a 1-2 for home-heroes, whilst Galang Hendra Pratama was flying the Indonesian flag high in third.
In fourth position, Tom Edwards (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) had a strong session and was in fourth place on the combined sheets. The Australian’s time was 0.779s from the top time but with plenty more track action, expect him to be strong throughout the remainder of the weekend. Fellow Australians Tom Bramich and Jack Hyde were 37th and 44th respectively.
Fifth position was the first of the Group B riders, with Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), with Mika Perez (Scuderia Maranga Racing) in sixth.
Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) was only ninth in Group A in FP2, subsequently leaving her outside of the top ten overall, whilst Scott Deroue (Kawasaki Motoport) was also languishing down the order; both riders with work to do ahead of Saturday and Sunday.
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