WorldSBK Testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya came to end on Thursday with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) fastest despite fierce competition from Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) as the trio battled it out for fastest lap in the last few minutes of the test.
American rider Gerloff had spent the majority of the day at the top of the time-sheets before Rea overhauled Gerloff with a few minutes to go in the test. Towards the end of the day, the pair were on track at approximately the same time as they both looked to set the fastest lap time, with Rea coming out on top after Gerloff had a small crash in the second sector.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“It has been a positive two day test. In some of our previous testing we had been held up by the weather and this is the first time we have been on track with all our rivals. We have been satisfied with all the results. We tested many items on the bike from a chassis point of view, engine point of view and electronics. The new Ninja ZX-10RR is starting to feel really comfortable for me. On the final day we worked on our race set-up and I did a race simulation that got interrupted – but I was really happy with the pace, especially in the middle of the day, when we were trying to simulate the race time. We did a time attack at the end with the SCX tyre and I was able to be quite fast. We ended the test positively and we are looking forward to Motorland Aragon in a few weeks time, where we will continue to work our chassis and make more steps before round one.”
Pere Riba – Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“Here at Barcelona it has been positive. Jonathan never stops growing and this winter he has been hard with himself physically, mentally and it is amazing. He is still making steps forward, which is strange after six years of winning the championship, but he is maybe in the best form I have ever seen. In terms of the test, the technical things, we are happy because we confirmed things we tested already in Portimao and Jerez, but only for a short time then as we were sometimes disturbed by weather conditions. Here, we could do two complete days. This track is demanding in some areas and that is good. It has a long straight and we worked on some parts in the engine. It was very positive. We kept working on the electronics to improve the weakest points. From the chassis side we also used something from Showa, improving the balance. We tried a new link to understand some areas we like to improve a little bit, in terms of position and loading the rear. The only negative was the even though Johnny made the fastest lap of all, which was very good, we used a Q but it was not working the way we expected. We had another Q but we did not use it so Jonathan did his best time on an SCX tyre. I believe some of the other guys did their lap times with a Q tyre. We are happy with this test. We will go to the next test keeping making the package stronger.”
Rea, who posted a 1’40.264s and completed 66 laps, had been trying out small items on his new Kawasaki ZX-10RR while Gerloff, who also had a crash at Turn 1 during the day, was working on the base setting of his Yamaha YZF R1, the American completing 69 laps on the second day.
Gerloff’s crash allowed Redding to move into second place right at the end of the session as the British rider continued to work on improving his Ducati Panigale V4 R, with team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi in fifth place despite a late technical issue that brought his session to a halt, and one of two separate incidents around the same time to bring out the Red Flag.
Garrett Gerloff – P3
“I really like this track, the new layout of Turn 10 – modified over the winter – gives it a nice flow. I feel very good with my Yamaha R1 and we have collected a lot of data that will be useful for us in the future. I am very happy because I feel strong both on the single lap and when it comes to the race pace. See you in Aragon.”
Jonas Folger (MGM Bonovo Racing) secured a top five finish for the day with a late lap to move the German into fourth, less than a tenth ahead of Rinaldi, with Folger looking into the finer details of his BMW M 1000 RR and getting through a long list of settings to try out.
Jonas Folger – P4
“The test started very well on the first day. After the Jerez test, there had been some new developments regarding the electronics. The support provided by BMW is great and it helped us a lot to make such a step in the development between Jerez and Barcelona. I was very happy with the behaviour of the BMW M 1000 RR. As a result, we had a great base for our work from the first lap on. On Wednesday, we tried a lot with the electronics and also the one or other thing at the chassis. On Thursday, we more focused on tyre performance, to see how long the tyre lasts respectively what we need to do over the distance of more laps. Overall, I am very happy with the job we did here as a team and I really enjoyed riding.”
Fellow BMW rider Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) made it two BMWs in the top six on day two but the Brit was seventh on combined times.
Tom Sykes – P7
“It has been a very useful test. We’ve been able to find out a lot more about the new BMW M 1000 RR and we definitely gathered a lot of information. We’ve made a good step forward in terms of the engine performance and certainly a couple of other areas on the bike but I would still like to work on traction from the chassis and we are looking at a few different options already. For me, it was good to add two more days of testing to the bike. It is still very new and coming here against our competition, we were able to see exactly where we need to improve. So it was a very, very useful test and I am happy to get this information under our belt and build on that. The whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has a few weeks now where we can work with the information we have gained over the past two days.”
Rea’s team-mate, Alex Lowes, was in eighth place on combiend times as his recovery from a shoulder injury continues with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) the lead factory Yamaha rider in ninth; Locatelli had been spending the two days focusing on long runs.
Alex Lowes – P8
“This test was really good for us although yesterday I struggled more than I expected with my shoulder. This track has a lot of changes of direction. In the afternoon I did not feel comfortable on the bike so we put on some strapping, but I think it made the shoulder worse, maybe because of the restriction. But, today I felt good. We finished a bit early, so I could not do a time attack at the end of the day, but my pace on race tyres was good. Low 1’41s; I am happy with that. I worked through all the list of priorities for this test and managed to get the whole thing done – that is why we finished a bit early. We have a good plan of what we need to work on in the remaining tests before the start of the season. A positive day overall so I am looking forward to going hime now, rebuilding my physical condition overall and getting back on the bike for Aragon.”
Andrea Locatelli – P9
“I’m really happy about the second day here, we improved a little bit more in respect to yesterday and also now the feeling is a bit better on the R1 Superbike. We were able to try some things but in the end, we understand a lot more and I’m confident that we can make another step in Aragon during the next test. Barcelona is not an easy track and at the start we had too much spinning on the rear tire, together with the guys we worked to improve this and they did an excellent job over the two days. Now, we will see, but the position is not so bad for the start! For sure we can still improve a lot before the first race.”
Team GoEleven’s Chaz Davies secured a top ten position with tenth place; the test Davies’ first chance to get on his machine for the first time in five months.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) was the lead Honda rider in tenth place on day two as the team worked on numerous items such as seat positions to improve the centre of gravity of the CBR1000 RR-R as well as new exhausts, an engine upgrade and new swingarms but was fifth overall from his better time recorded on the opening day of the test.
Leon Haslam – P6 (Day One)
“I’m happy with how these tests have gone because we’ve enjoyed great weather conditions and we’ve been able to make good use of both days. I realised straight away that the updates HRC brought for the bike were promising, because we were fast right away, at a track where I wasn’t particularly comfortable last year. And I really like the change they’ve made to turn ten too, as my feeling is now much better through that section. Most importantly we haven’t just been quick over the single lap, but also in terms of our race pace, which is crucial and one of the points I wanted to improve on compared to last year. In Jerez we worked a lot on my riding position and balance, while here we’ve focused mainly on the electronics. Day two saw us try a few different things but in the end we came full circle, ruling out certain things and reverting back to yesterday’s setting. Towards the end of the final session, I tried to improve on my best time of day one, but my lap was interrupted when the red flag came out unfortunately. Overall, we’ve had some constructive track time here though.”
Team-mate Alvaro Bautista completed just six laps on day two, with the Spaniard opting to not test too much following a chest injury he picked up in a motocross accident recently.
Alvaro Bautista – P16
“Last weekend I had a small crash while training with the MX bike and I hit my chest. Once I got on the bike here in Barcelona, I realised that the pain was more intense than I expected but, luckily, we were still able to complete yesterday’s testing schedule. We had a lot of new items to test, across different areas of the bike, from the engine setup to the electronics, the weight distribution, and my riding position. HRC has done a great job over the winter. We are happy and are preparing a good base for the start of the season, and the bike is much more consistent throughout the entire lap, especially in terms of the electronics. This morning I was unfortunately in a lot more pain and, considering that we did a lot of work yesterday, the team and I decided that I wouldn’t ride. I tried, to see if I could make some finishing touches but I stopped after a few laps. Anyway, we gathered a lot of information to send to Japan and I’m very confident that we can make further progress during the next tests.”
Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished the test in 11th place following a late run on the SC0 Pirelli tyre in Barcelona, having first tried it in Misano, leap frogging Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in the closing stages of the test. Bassani had hoped to have a time attack on the qualifying tyre which is new for him.
Kohta Nozane – P12
“As usual, this was my first time on this track. I didn’t expect the circuit to have so many ups and downs, and on the first day I struggled to improve my lap time. On day two, we had an issue in the morning which slowed our work down, but things got better in the afternoon. My target was to get below the 1’42.000 mark and I managed to do so thanks to my first ever run with the qualifying tyre, with which I still need to gain experience. This track proved to be a difficult one for me, but I ran more than 160 laps in total, and I am very pleased with the work done.”
Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) racked up 111 laps on day two of the test as he continued to get accustomed to his new surroundings, improving his time throughout the afternoon to finish the day in 13th place.
Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had an eventful day with two crashes in the afternoon: a small incident at Turn 1 where he was able to return to the pits and a crash at Turn 5 which, along with Rinaldi’s technical issue at the same moment, brought out the Red Flag.
Michael Van der Mark – P15
“It has been good to be on track again, especially with the other competitors. We still have a lot of things to try and to discover on this bike especially for me. Sometimes it’s not easy but we found some positive things on the bike and there is a lot of data. Overall, over these two days of testing with hardly any problems which is really important for us because so we could do a lot of laps in order to improve the bike for the next test.”
Van der Mark’s former Yamaha team-mate, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) completed only nine laps on day two, with the Turkish rider being withdrawn from the test in the early stages following two positive PCR tests for COVID-19 which he took today. He is now self-isolating in accordance with Spanish health authority guidelines.
Toprak Razgatlıoğu – P11
“The test yesterday was not bad, not a perfect day for me but still I feel the new R1 has good potential for this season. After working with my team and looking at the data last night, I think today would have been very good for us because where to improve was easy to understand. I feel great, but unfortunately, the PCR test was positive. This is outside of my control and now I only focus on being ready for the next test.”
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was in 16th place, just a tenth behind Razgatlioglu, as he got to test the 2021 ZX-10RR for the second day as he worked on understanding the new bike which features different engine characteristics and electronics.
Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was working on braking issues from day one where he was sliding under braking, finishing in 17th place with Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounding out the field.
WorldSBK 2021 Catalunya Test Combined Times
Michael Van der Mark
2021 WorldSBK Calendar
29 – 30 Mar
31 Mar – 1 Apr
21 – 23 May
11 – 13 June
2 – 4 Jul
23 – 25 Jul
TT Circuit Assen
20 – 22 Aug
Circuito de Navarra
3 – 5 Sep
17 – 19 Sep
24 – 26 Sep
Jerez – Ángel Nieto
1 – 3 Oct
15 – 17 Oct
Circuito San Juan Villicum
12 – 14 Nov
Mandalika Street Circuit***
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit**
*All dates, events and the attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the global pandemic and the approval of the corresponding governments and authorities.
** (STC) Subject to contract / *** (STH) Subject to homologation /**** (TBA) Venue/event/date to be announced
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