KRT and Yamaha sits out the rain after Rea set day one pace
The first 2019 pre-season test came to a wet end at Spain’s Aragon circut, as heavy rain in the morning meant only two out of six riders took to the track on Thursday. But it wasn’t a wasted day as the Ducati Panigale V4 R was able to take to the track for the first time under wet conditions.
Continuing to understand their new bike, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took to the track for 22 laps, despite being careful to not cause more issues with his shoulder. Experiencing the all new V4 R in the rain for the first time, it was important to get as much track time under his belt as possible.
“Despite the forecast, yesterday I was hoping we might get lucky and have a dry track in the morning, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case. The day started and finished wet. We had to ride in the rain at some point anyway, so that’s what we did today and actually it went OK. I wasn’t looking for the limits of the bike in these conditions, keeping also an eye on my shoulder, but we still managed to tick off a few items on our list. We’ll start in Jerez from where we finished here. We have a good base to begin with and our ideas are quite clear, which is the most important thing at this stage.”
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
“Overall the test has been positive, even though unfortunately conditions weren’t ideal today. We still did a few laps in the wet to verify the behavior of the Panigale V4 R, collecting important information while at the same time avoiding unnecessary risks. We’ll head directly to Jerez from here to continue our development program, hopefully in more favorable weather. We want to make the most of the last testing days before the new year.”
For Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), he was keener to get out on track and try out the V4 R in the rain, and the track began to dry in the early afternoon. Following a sensational opening day with his new bike, he was just making the most of the time he has, as in 2019 the Italian will not only have a new bike to contend with but also new circuits. Rinaldi was able to put in 25 laps on Thursday.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), where Alvaro Bautista will make his debut alongside Davies, on November 26 and 27.
After topping the unofficial timing screens on the opening day around Aragon, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and his new team-mate Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) opted to sit out of Thursday’s on track action. Putting in 139 laps between them on the opening day, they will now shift their focus to the Jerez test in 10 days’ time.
Rea’s technical crew had used this test to make back-to-back comparisons between the 2018 and 2019 official WorldSBK machines, with Rea stating that he feels there is a lot of potential in the new bike already. Rea set his fastest lap times on the 2019 machine.
“Day two of our test was cut short by wet weather so we were not able to refine the base set-up of our new 2019 Ninja ZX-10RR – but first impressions were positive after back-to-back tests with the 2018 machine. It is clear that the potential of the 2019 bike is much higher. To achieve that potential we need to delve into more set-up changes and that will require more time. It needs a bit more of a base setting because the new engine character has more power and more potential, especially under acceleration and on the brakes. That requires a little bit of a different riding style, so I need to understand that together with all my crew, in the next weeks. It was a simple back-to-back test here but in Jerez we can start to test more items with the chassis, electronics and some engine components.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“Our test was good. With our new engine upgrade we have some new parts and it ‘talks’ differently to the rider. That needs time for us to understand how to give the best to Johnny, especially in terms of feeling. Apart from that, his lap times were really fast and we have already collected positive information. It is a shame that is was raining today and we decided not to test in the wet. All the items we needed to try need dry conditions, or else you cannot understand them properly.”
Leon Haslam set an impressive 1’51.479 lap on his first day back in the paddock he knows well from his earlier WorldSBK career. Rains arrived early today and continuing throughout, so the decision was made not to take to the track.
“The test was positive and I am getting to know all the guys in the team. We missed some track time on the opening day, but even then it could have not gone any better. We got quicker each time we went out and the pace was quite competitive, considering we were not looking for that. We were just evaluating and understanding things. We are taking it step-by-step and we have another two days at Jerez to test again before the winter break. So far, so good.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Leon Haslam
“I was very happy and confident from the very beginning of the tests. We have a BSB champion in our house with a lot of experience on different bikes, different championships and different tyres. Day one went very well. We had two different bike set-ups to put us in the correct direction for chassis development. He clearly chose one of them and with some minor changes towards the end of day one, Leon was in the ballpark with our closest competition, who had won several races in the past few years. So from this point of view I am very happy, but unfortunately day two was wet. After this single day on track and with the positive results, we are confident we will continue doing well in Jerez.”
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team duo of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark also decided to sit out of day two of the test.
Lowes was able to set the second fastest unofficial time of the test on Wednesday, and they were able to work through a lot of small updates to their YZF-R1 machines with chassis, suspension and electronics.
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