After taking the Panigale V4 R to the racetrack for the first time at Aragon with Chaz Davies, the Factory Ducati squad resumed action at full capacity in Jerez with MotoGP exile Alvaro Bautista having his first chance to get acquainted with the V4 Ducati.
In sunny conditions, with temperatures around 15 degrees, Bautista and Davies clocked 65 and 49 laps respectively. The Spaniard’s priority was to get acquainted with the Panigale V4 R and the Pirelli WSBK tyres. The 34-year-old showed good chemistry with both the bike and the team to post the second-best time of the day, a 1m39.979. On only his first acquaintance with the bike, and on very different tyres than he is accustomed to, that could be an ominous sign which might have the competition sweating a little
“It felt like the first day at school and, while it’s still very early, I’ve been enjoying the bike quite a bit. For sure, the V4 R is different compared with the Desmosedici, in terms of engine, chassis and tires, but the character is similar. You need to ride it differently though, a bit smoother. We did not make many changes, just small adjustments, and we basically just tried to get as much kilometers as possible under our belt to get acquainted with the whole team. I was surprised to be this fast, but we must not get carried away and we’ll keep following the same plan tomorrow.”
At the top of the timesheets though it was that familiar face, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), didn’t waste any time setting the pace.
Working on suspension, tyres and finding a balance with their chassis and weight distribution for their new engine, it was a productive day for the reigning world champion who came out on track at 1300 to shoot right to the top of the timing screens. Rea ended day one with a time of 1.39.657, and put in 57 laps.
Chaz Davies was third quickest and continued to work through the differences that the new Panigale V4 R brings to the table compared to the booming V-Twins he has raced for many seasons.
“We’re figuring out the new bike step by step and, while it’s still early, the start has been positive. The package definitely has great potential. I’m very confident we have a better weapon to fight with. That said, we just need time. We’re trying to walk before we can run, because there is a lot to learn about the V4 R and it’s easy to get carried away. So, I’ve been cautious, trying only a few changes throughout the day. We have to find the nuances and differences with the previous bike, and put all the experience together, which is the path we’re going to follow tomorrow as well.”
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) continued to work through the parts and updates they had last week around MotorLand Aragon.
With elements of their chassis, swing arm and electronics to work on, the 2018 race winners had another productive day in Spain. Lowes was never outside the top four and ended in fourth with a time of 1.40.296. Whilst van der Mark was taking a more steady approach and ended with a time of 1.41.572 in seventh position.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) also continued to get used to his new bike and team, although the Briton had come from a BSB spec’ ZX-10R that he used to win the British Superbike Championship, there are still many differences and despite a crash through turn five in the early afternoon, the British rider ended day one in fifth putting in 71 laps, with a time of 1.40.390.
Brand new WorldSBK team GRT Yamaha had their first day with the step up into the premiere class, with experienced Marco Melandri and WorldSBK rookie Sandro Cortese. Spending their first day getting adapted to the YZF-R1, the team are taking things step by step and were able to put in 125 laps collectively. Melandri ended day one in sixth, whilst Cortese finished the day in eighth.
It wasn’t only SBK teams testing, as there were three FIM Supersport World Championship teams out on track. MV Agusta Reparto Corse had 2018 star Raffaele De Rosa out on track, whilst Kawasaki Puccetti Racing took to the track with Hikari Okubo and Team Pedercini Racing were putting in the miles over the winter.
Action resumes on track Tuesday for the final day of pre-season testing in November.
Jerez WorldSBK Test Day One Unofficial Times
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.39.657
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.979 +0.322
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.40.202 +0.545
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.40.296 +0.639
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.40.390 +0.733
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.663 +1.006
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.41.572 +1.915
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