Rea tops day one at Aragon from Redding

Winter testing for WorldSBK season 2020 got underway overnight at the Spanish circuit of MotorLand Aragon, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading a nine-strong group of WorldSBK riders (plus WorldSSP300’s Ana Carrasco) on the time-sheets.

The Northern Irishman’s best time of 1:50.416 was four-tenths-of-a-second faster than Scott Redding who nonetheless hit the ground running on his debut with the Racing team.

The day began slowly, with overnight and early morning rain leaving the Alcañiz track in a drenched state. While every team was present and ready to go when the pit-lane lights turned green no one dared to touch the tarmac until an hour later, when Carrasco took her Kawasaki Ninja 400 for the first laps of MotorLand Aragon as the showers ceased.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Scott Redding
Scott Redding

Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) was out next onboard his WorldSBK-spec Ducati V4 R, for the first time in full gear. While the early laps were tentative, the 26-year-old’s times dropped progressively throughout the day – even topping the leaderboards at one point – before settling on a 1’50.868 with 51 laps completed.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Redding
Scott Redding

For his Welsh team-mate Chaz Davies, this will be the first time he can face a full winter testing season with the V4 R in proper conditions – he was still awaiting surgery on his right collarbone twelve months ago – which will be key to building a title challenge for 2020 after a fluctuating first year. Day One saw him work on new ideas concerning the chassis and electronics of his Ducati.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Chaz Davies
Chaz Davies

Completing the trio of Ducatis present in Aragon was Leon Camier on his BARNI Racing debut. The Englishman is focusing exclusively on getting to know the V4 R, before diving deeper into the bike’s configuration.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Camier
Leon Camier

After midday, the track began to slowly dry out with times finally dropping below the two-minute mark around 2 pm, which prompted the first appearance of both Kawasaki Racing Team riders on the Spanish tarmac.

Having proven that the package is as good as it’s ever been, Rea and Crew Chief Pere Riba’s focus in these early stages is on small details destined to make the bike turn a bit easier while not losing any stability. Rea suffered a crash in the session but was OK otherwise.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Jonathan Rea
Jonathan Rea

While their work revolves around fine-tuning the package, for Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) these early laps are all about getting an understanding of the bike as a whole.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes

The Englishman lands on a new machine and inside a new team, with new relationships inside Provec Racing just as important to develop as his feeling with the ZX-10RR. On day one at Aragon, the final three hours of the day were enough to complete 37 laps, with a best time a second behind his Championship-winning team-mate.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Alex Lowes
Alex Lowes

The manufacturer with the strongest representation at MotorLand Aragon is Yamaha, who put out all four riders – two Pata Yamaha, two GRT Yamaha Junior Team – on the 2019 version of the YZF R1, with the new 2020 model ready to hit the tarmac in Jerez, in two weeks’ time.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Toprak Razgatlioglu
Toprak Razgatlioglu

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) showed that he could be instantly competitive on his new bike, finishing the day only a fraction of a second from team-mate Michael van der Mark.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Toprak Razgatlioglu
Toprak Razgatlioglu

For the Dutchman the true test will come in that Jerez test at the end of November, when he meets the evolution of his previous race-winning machine; here, on Wednesday, a few extra components including a different throttle were tested, as van der Mark and new Crew Chief Andrew Pitt began working together for the first time.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Garrett Gerloff
Garrett Gerloff

Meanwhile, GRT Yamaha’s two representatives began to prove why the Italian team has put its trust in two rookies for 2020. Garrett Gerloff, not only racing on the WorldSBK YZF R1 for the first time but also on Pirelli tyres (and on European tarmac), was immediately competitive, coming within less than a second of van der Mark’s best time.

WorldSBK Test Nov Aragon Day Garrett Gerloff
Garrett Gerloff

His Italian team-mate Federico Caricasulo, on a Superbike for the first time after several years on Supersport machines, recorded more laps than anyone as he finds his feet in a new class.

Track action continues on Thursday, the riders then set off for a two-week break before travelling to Jerez.

2020 Aragon WSBK Test Day One

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’50.416 – 27 laps
  2. Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) 1’50.868 – 51 laps
  3. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’50.941 – 39 laps
  4. Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) 1’51.176 – 37 laps
  5. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’51.313 – 47 laps
  6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’51.567 – 37 laps
  7. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) 1’51.867 – 52 laps
  8. Leon Camier (BARNI Racing Team) 1’52.902 – 37 laps
  9. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) 1’53.514 – 57 laps