Nicky Hayden tops Jerez WorldSBK Test on Wednesday
There were novelties aplenty as the Jerez WorldSBK test moved into its third day on Wednesday. After topping both Monday and Tuesday, Kawasaki Racing Team took its pre-planned break (in fact, World Champion Jonathan Rea headed for the nearest karting circuit), while the Althea BMW Racing Team had finished for the week; however, the German bikes will test at Vallelunga in Italy on Monday 14 December.
There was no shortage of activity, however, as Ducati, Honda and Yamaha all tested for the first time at this particular gathering. As had been the case on the previous two days, good weather was on offer in the Spanish Province of Cadiz, with only several small clouds intruding on an otherwise clear, blue sky and accompanied by warmer temperatures than those of Tuesday. For the first time this week, the WorldSBK riders shared the circuit with a selection of Honda and Ducati MotoGP counterparts.
At the Aruba.it Ducati-Racing SBK Team, Chaz Davies was looking to carry on from where he left off in Aragon last week, without the thick fog which had significantly lessened his workload at MotorLand. On the other side of the garage, Davide Giugliano climbed aboard a WorldSBK machine for the first time since the July crash at Laguna Seca which left him with a fractured D3 vertebra. The Welshman was second quickest, with the Italian naturally adopting a cautious approach.
On another Ducati Panigale R, Xavi Fores – who subbed for Giugliano in Aragon – made his debut in Barni Racing Team colours, having signed up as its 2016 rider. The Valencia rider made the top three, just over two tenths of a second down on Davies.
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden focused on the finer aspects of the CBR1000RR SP; in doing so, the American submitted the quickest lap time of the day in the form of 1’41.512. A long way off Rea’s 1m40.139 set on Tuesday, but still a great start for the American to be quicker than Davies and Giugliano on a day where he shared the track with the Ducati Panigale R riders.
Hayden’s team-mate Michael van der Mark had used the previous test to work on running with a full fuel load, in order to become more familiarised with the feeling of the bike in the early stages of races; something he struggled with at times in 2015.
With each squad being able to choose whether or not they fit a transponder, no lap times appeared on the timing screens from the Pata Yamaha World Superbike Team bikes.
In Aragon, Alex Lowes had seemingly become the first rider this off-season to put in a race simulation, describing the YZF-R1 as feeling like ‘my bike’. Today, despite a mishap when he crashed at Turn 2, Lowes looked to maintain the positivity alongside 2014 World Champion Sylvain Guintoli.
Newly-appointed tester Marco Melandri had been aboard the MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine for the first two days this week, while race rider Leon Camier had been scheduled to ride on Thursday and Friday. In an apparent change of plan, Camier was already on-track on Wednesday, with the main aim being to trial a new fuel tank on the F4 RR prior to a break in the action before testing continues next year. The Englishman ended proceedings in fourth place, ahead of Giugliano and van der Mark.
Just a single FIM Supersport World Championship rider was present on this occasion, as 2015 runner-up P.J. Jacobsen continued his work with the Honda CBR600 RR. He put in a best effort of 1’43.977, which on his first day of the week is just nine tenths of a second slower than Kenan Sofuoglu’s rapid pace of Tuesday.
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