WorldSBK 2022 preparations continued at Jerez this week
The Kawasaki Racing Team tested at Jerez this week with Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes in the company of BMW and HRC.
While the KRT line-up is unchanged for 2022, this week was a good chance for Scott Redding to better familiarise himself with the BMW M 1000 RR after leaving Ducati. The Brit had ridden the BMW for the first time a week earlier during a private test at Estoril and after his initial feedback BMW modified the M 1000 RR in relation to ergonomics and basic set-up ahead of testing this week at Jerez.
Along with Michael van der Mark, Redding and the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team tested engine specifications for 2022, as well as chassis modifications. The direct competitive comparison allowed the team to determine the work direction in preparation for the next test in the new year.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“There have been a lot of new things at this test. In general, it has been important to test with all four riders, including the two new additions Baz and Redding, before Christmas. It was good to have all four riders on the same bike on the same race track. We brought a lot of new test items that we either confirmed or evaluated with all four of the in order to get the right direction. With two new riders you of course first to get used to the way they give their feedback and how to transfer their comments but we managed that very well. We then also compared this feedback with that given by van der Mark and Laverty who already knew the bike very well. We have ticked all boxes in our test programme but maybe might do some further laps tomorrow. We gathered a huge amount of information and this is now to be analysed. Overall, we found very good directions and in general, I am very satisfied. We take a lot of positives back home. Now we will have a well-deserved Christmas break but then we will continue to intensively prepare for the season. We are very optimistic looking forward.”
Eugene Laverty who was heavily involved in the development of the BMW M 1000 RR, will be racing with the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team in his third season with BMW. Loris Baz is already familiar with the BMW S 1000 RR, on which he rode in the WorldSBK in 2018, and uses the test to learn more about the M RR as he prepares to join Laverty in the team for 2022.
Loris Baz – Bonovo action BMW Racing Team
“I am happy to be back with BMW and about the opportunity to be back in WorldSBK. I was really looking forward to that test to have a first impression. A December test is never the most crucial one of the season but it’s really important for getting to know the team, to meet the people and for the feeling you are going into the winter with. The test was a lot of work, we did a lot of laps. Also, I was back on the bike after nearly three months and it is never easy when you jump on a bike that is completely different. The test was about understanding how the bike works and also to try to give the best input based on the differences of all the bikes I know. I have riden a lot of bikes in WorldSBK so I was trying to adapt to the bike and at the same time give the right input on what we can improve on that bike. The M RR has a lot of strong points, we just need to put them together to get a bike that works well from a riding side. When you start working with a new bike, you have to switch from one riding style to another but we did a good job, completing over 150 laps. Yes, I am happy. We tried some new parts for next year and mainly a lot of things on the electronics, and with every run we went faster and I felt a bit more confident on the bike. I am satisfied with the job so far.”
Over at HRC the two new riders, Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge, benefitted from excellent weather conditions during this first outing with their new bike and team, an experience that proved positive. The pair were able to make the most of the track time available to them and, despite the sessions coming to a premature end for Iker after he suffered a fall at turn 12 which resulted in fractured little finger.
Leon Camier – HRC Team Manager
“We’ve essentially made a very good start and both Iker and Xavi have adapted very quickly to the bike and to the team – you could sense that they’re highly motivated. The lap times were good right away, but this was not our goal and so we were not pushing for those. It was all about trying to understand the bike, the tyres and the changes we made, which have most related to electronics at this initial stage. Their comments were in line with what we already knew about the bike, and that’s impressive at what is their first test. We used our current bike so that they could understand the base set-up and what we have now, and then they’ll be able to evaluate the updates we’ll introduce next year. Conditions have been very good throughout the whole test, so even though Iker missed the final day, he was able to take advantage of a lot of useful track time and has already completed a lot of work. Of course, we need more time on track with both riders, so that they gradually gain experience. It’s an all-round learning process, but so far everything has been going very well”.
While other teams had new riders and personnel to bed down within their team structures over at KRT is was largely situation normal. Rea and Lowes carried out evaluations of new components and settings on the official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to allow the KMC and KRT technical staff to work over the winter break on improving real race performance for the new season which starts in early April 2022.
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“The test has been positive and for three days the weather has been good. We concentrated on the chassis side at first, comparing different items with a good result. Johnny gave us very good and accurate information and comments and this helps us a lot to develop things and understand our direction. On the first day we tried something from Showa, something new, and Johnny was also very happy with those items. On the second day we analysed everything and prepared for riding again on day three. We have ten test days during the whole year so we have to save some days for the future tests. On the final day we focused more on the engine side because KMC has been working hard to send us some new material for 2022. We focused with the engine and clutch and Johnny was very happy. The rhythm in terms of lap times was very strong, and we did not use a qualifying tyre. I am honestly very pleased and happy to finish this test in this direction because Johnny was ‘talking’ very deep with the bike and enjoying riding it, and this is very important.”
There will now be a short winter break from track action for the team, with the next scheduled test taking place at Jerez once more, in late January.
“It has been a really fun two days riding. We structured the test to ride on day one, then have a day off to let the mechanics work on the bike. We got going again on day three. We found out a lot of good information and I am really happy with the team, Showa and KMC for their continued hard work in bringing new parts to test. I had a lot of fun on the bike and we managed to get through everything we had on the list at this test. Now is the important time because we will act on our findings and try to improve and re-evaluate some items again in January. The weather was great at Jerez, quite consistent, and we got a lot of valuable track time in. To be honest, this test was quite challenging mentally because I did a lot of work and I had been off the bike for quite some time. I’m really looking forward to going home now and spending Christmas with my family and just having some downtime. I want to recharge now before I get stuck into my winter training again and look forward to the next test in January.”
2022 WorldSBK Calendar
April 8-10: MotorLand Aragon, Spain (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
April 22-24: TT Circuit Assen, the Netherlands (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
May 20-22: Circuito Estoril, Portugal (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
June 10-12: Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, Italy (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
July 15-17: Donington Park, UK (WorldSBK/SSP)
July 29-31: Autodrom Most, Czech Republic (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
September 9-11: Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, France (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
September 23-25: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
October 7-9: Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal (WorldSBK/SSP/SSP300)
October 21-23: Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina (WorldSBK/SSP/
November 11-13: Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, Indonesia (WorldSBK/SSP)
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