Conditions finally brightened on Wednesday at Jerez and 13 competitors took full advantage with around six hours of crucial testing.
Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) continued to lead the pack by 0.278s.
“It’s been a positive test. The pace has been really good over the two days, with the race tyre and obviously today, at the end, we put in two SCQs and did a really great lap time. There was a little bit more I could’ve done. I made a few mistakes on that lap but quite happy with the two days went. It wasn’t a perfect lap, but it wasn’t bad. More than the lap, I’m happy with the improvements we’ve made over the two days with what Yamaha have brought. Jonny surprised me with how fast he got on with the bike. That shows the experience he has. I’m really excited to see what Jonny can bring to the table and help develop the bike, and also for me to learn off Jonny. With so much experience, you can always learn something. Really great to have Jonny with Yamaha.”
“Today, we were focused on the 2024 regulations especially with the weight. We tried many solutions with the weight. Putting some weight on some areas of the bike, also trying inside the engine, and did many tests to understand how the bike’s working. It’s not easy because when the bike’s working well, if you add 7kg, the bike feels different especially in the fast corners. We made some distribution to have more data and we got that data for this winter to try to work and try to see what could be the base for starting 2024. Now we go to Malaysia for the MotoGP Wild Card with the aim of having as much fun as we have had this season in WorldSBK.”
Bautista’s new team-mate Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was second with an impressive 1m38.726s lap time, coming within two-tenths of the all-time lap record.
“I’m happy even though we weren’t able to complete not so many because of the track conditions. Even today we only did half a day but I still managed to be fast despite it was the first real test with my new team. There is still a lot of work to do but the fact that we are fast even though we are not yet at 100% of our potential gives me a lot of confidence“.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) adapted well to his new Yamaha R1, finishing third.
“My first feelings with this team have been fantastic, ever since I agreed to make the move. Both the team and Yamaha have been really welcoming and making everything easy. The first test was just about getting familiar with the bike – it was a bit of a shock, I had a lot of different sensations than I am used to – but in a positive way! The R1 is very user-friendly – not necessarily easy to go to the absolute limit just yet, but easy to ride. It generates a lot of traction which encourages you to go fast and inspires confidence. You can get into the throttle and use the power of the machine – it feels good and now I can see how Toprak was riding the way he was, also Loka being so competitive this year. It’s all good! Just a nice first contact with the set-up and the team, so I expect next time we can get more deeply into it. Step-by-step today we have tried some different things, fork spec, different tyre combinations so that I can understand how the Yamaha uses different compounds – I could see from the past that Yamaha have been able to maximise the SCX tyre. I requested some different electronics set-up – but not really too much. I have been using the current “base setting” let’s say of the R1 and in the next test we will start to work on development parts. A really positive experience on both days and the R1 is feeling more like my bike, particularly as we have been lucky with the weather this afternoon and got through more than we expected. I’m sure I could wake up tomorrow and even more performance would come but now I have to wait a couple of weeks…! Thanks to everybody – I really enjoyed myself!”
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was fourth quickest, clocking a 1m39.211s lap time while team-mate Axel Bassani adapted to his new bike, completing over 120 laps during the test.
“I was really happy to get the 70 laps that we put in today. It seems like we had to wait ages for the track to dry but we had some important things to try on the bike in order to to get our first feelings about 2024. With Axel just joining the team the only person who can compare the new items to the previous ones at this test is me. I didn’t feel in my best shape after the race weekend, because of my face and my eyes, but on the bike I enjoyed riding. I also enjoyed the new environment working with Pere as my crew chief. We have a really good idea of what to improve, both from me and the bike. This was a very positive first proper day together.”
Pere Riba – Crew Chief for Alex Lowes
“We finished the test with Alex and some new crew members. It has been quite smooth and positive. It is the first time I have worked with Alex in the pit box, and there is a lot to learn, but it has been very positive. Alex has a very, very good attitude and already we have been testing something for Showa and some things for the future, with a good result. Alex had very good speed during the race weekend he has shown good speed here. He was in good shape even after his big crash. For the first day, the experience together was positive. All the crew worked together very well. I am happy to leave from Jerez with a good feeling and Alex seems to have a nice smile on his face, and this is the most important thing.”
“The bike is completely different so we have to learn everything. Lap-by-lap I started to feel good with the bike and these are only the first two days. It is like one day because on the first day we didn’t run in the afternoon, and also this morning. But, step-by-step, we are trying to learn and to be even better. The bike is completely different and when something is new you have to take time to understand and when you are ready you can push. The only answer to what I need is time. There are a lot of people with a lot of experience in this team so it is nice to be part of it. It’s a special team for me.”
Marcel Duinker – Crew Chief for Axel Bassani
“Over these two days we made around 60 flying laps in all. Axel has done a very good job and it is very pleasant to work with him. I am sure with his previous experience of WorldSBK he can help us to make a step forward. How he was riding the bike and how he explained the sensations from the bike – and the way he is putting his finger on the areas where we need to improve was impressive. Many people used soft compound tyres, but we did not. We were focusing on improving our base set-up with a harder race tyre. That is why many people made big jumps in their lap times today but that was not our target. Our target was to let Axel understand the bike. I am very optimistic and he is a really, really nice guy to work with. It was a very good start and everybody enjoyed it. ”
Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) surprised with fifth place and a lap time of 1m39.335s after completing 70 laps.
Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) emerged as the fastest BMW rider, taking tenth place, ahead of his team-mate Garrett Gerloff.
Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team), Honda’s sole representative at Jerez, completed 39 laps as he continued to adapt to the CBR1000RR-R machine after racing in WorldSSP throughout 2023.
Some riders will test again at Jerez later this month preceding another test at Portimao in early December.
2024 WorldSBK Test #1
Two-Day Jerez Test Times
Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’38.448, 61 laps
Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’38.726s, 52 laps
Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 1’39.179s, 68 laps
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’39.211s, 68 laps
Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 1’39.335s, 69 laps
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa Racing) 1’39.807s, 69 laps
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’39.962s, 58 laps
Brad Ray (GMT94 Yamaha) 1’40.007s, 59 laps
Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’40.103s, 67 laps
Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’40.291s, 47 laps
Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’40.334s, 66 laps
Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.346s, 54 laps
Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) 1’42.110s, 38 laps
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