The final day of Jerez testing saw a few hours sunshine before the rain returned to dampen proceedings in Spain. While Haslam and Honda topped the wet day one, it was Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki who were on top after completing only 19 laps across the two days.
Behind Rea, 2019 rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) and Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), made it three manufacturers inside the top three.
There was very little track action across both days for the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK outfit, as they kept their reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea in the box for the entirety of day one, before he ventured out to stamp his dominance on day two.
“The weather was not playing ball really. We sat out yesterday because the conditions were quite wet and changeable. One minute it was monsoon weather and then a drying track. Today were found a track that, although it wasn’t perfect and had a few damp patches that compromised the racing line, was consistent enough to try some items on the bike. We tried to focus on getting the bike to turn a little bit easier and I think we made a step forward in that direction. We need to confirm that in our test at Montmelo on Monday before we get to go Australia. We also managed to get a few laps in on Tuesday, where we basically confirmed all the items that we had in November. The positives were that we got to try a different balance of the bike.”
Pere Riba – Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“Yesterday it was raining all day but the day before we got some track time in during the afternoon. We could make some small tests that were in the plan. We did that because the weather forecast said we would have two days of rain afterwards. For us there was no point to ride in the rain on Wednesday. On the final day today we had maybe three hours on slick tyres but some corners were still damp and the lap times were maybe 1.5 seconds from where they should be. We did 19 laps today with standard tyres. Now we go to Montmelo on Monday, which is new track for Johnny and us. I am excited to go there because we have never been there with the Superbike.”
New team-mate Alex Lowes had more work to do in order to familiarise himself with the KRT ZX-10RR and experimented with launch control settings and wasn’t worried about the lack of dry time, as he was fast in testing in years gone by but then got to the first round and it had been a different story. Heading to Portugal, Rea is on top and Lowes is fourth.
“It was a real good test and I am happy I got to ride the bike in mixed conditions. I was fast in the wet and the drying conditions and I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable on the bike. I really enjoyed it and I feel like we are making some steps in the right direction before Phillip Island. I feel I have a good riding position now; one that I can keep. We did not get that much dry track time but I certainly do feel more comfortable than when I got here, so that is positive. Any time you get to ride a new track is great and Montmelo is a new addition to the calendar. It will be important to get in as many laps as we can and a good a understanding of the bike. Any track time is important to let me keep building on my confidence for the first race.”
Two-time race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu was in fine form across the test and despite suffering a turn 1 crash on Wednesday, he bounced back to lead the way for the majority of the second day. However, once Jonathan Rea had gone out, Razgatlioglu was pushed back to second, although just over two tenths behind the Ulsterman. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) joined his team-mate at the sharp end and completed the top five, 1.7s behind Rea.
Making it three manufacturers inside the top three, Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) took his Ducati Panigale V4 R around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto track. Having raced at the track more than most of his competitors from his MotoGP paddock days, the 27-year-old British ace had a good run at a circuit he knows well in order to learn the WorldSBK-spec of the V4 R’s intricacies.
“My first goal is to get to know the bike well, to get to know the team, to understand the tyre behaviour in the best possible way, to work to create a solid base. If I have to be honest, I am very satisfied with what we have done so far. I have had a good feeling during these two days even if, obviously, the weather has not helped us. I still feel comfortable in both wet and dry conditions. There are some areas where we need to improve but the balance of these days is very positive”.
Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had a tough test and was 15th at the end of it all, crashing twice on the first day and completing less than 30 laps on day two.
“We worked on the bike and that didn’t allow me to focus on performance. I can’t hide the fact that we have encountered some issues in these tests but I am sure we can be much more competitive in the next two days at Portimao. The base to work on, obviously, is very good but we need to put together many laps. That is why I hope to have four days in dry conditions between the tests in Portugal and Australia. This would allow us to arrive in the best conditions in the first race of the season”.
Day one saw the highly awaited first public appearance of the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R and it ended the day on top of the WorldSBK pile in the hands of Leon Haslam (HRC Team). On Thursday, the bike couldn’t quite replicate the position, but it was a good indicator of what the bike was capable of in drying conditions. Haslam finished in sixth come the end of play and hailed the support of HRC, giving him the confidence to achieve great things.
“Tricky weather conditions of course but every time we made an exit, we were testing something different, getting through the list of things we wanted to try. Our priority is to get through the many items we need to test, so we need dry conditions for a lot of that, but it didn’t hurt to complete some laps in the wet on Wednesday. Today the track was never fully dry, but all in all we did what we needed to do. We put together something we wanted to try at the end of the day but then it started to rain again so we’ll keep working on that in Portimão. Hopefully we will have some better weather conditions there. It’s exciting to have a competitive team-mate like Alvaro, it looks like we both have a similar understanding of the bike. Having the backing of Honda and HRC is so important; it’s a new bike and so a lot of development goes into that. The team also really wants to succeed, and that confidence really inspires me to do my best.”
For Bautista, the objective is still to find a good base setting and to learn the technicalities of an in-line four-cylinder motorcycle, something he has never ridden before. Bautista ended day two in eighth.
“Wet, mixed testing days like this are never easy, especially for us with a brand-new bike as we have development to do. We need more mileage in the dry obviously, but we have been able to collect some useful data at least. We start with no references so time will tell where exactly we need to focus our efforts on the bike. I am working to adapt my riding style, having ridden different machines in the recent past. Today the conditions were a bit better than yesterday, albeit not completely dry, and we had the chance to use the slick tyres. My impressions were good, I think we have a lot of potential and that we need to work to fine tune everything. Basically, the initial goal in this early phase of the project is to push hard with the set-up so that we can perform at the top level as soon as possible.”
In seventh place was the first of the independent riders and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha). The 26-year-old WorldSBK race winner was right in the mix across the two days of testing, testing with the new 2020 Yamaha YZF R1. The wet weather running was confirmation that the team have improved the set-up of the bike in general, whilst they also practiced race starts and refined their electronics. Along with Baz in the top ten were other Independent riders were Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GoEleven) and Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team), the latter of which suffered two crashes.
Outside the top ten was Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eleventh, as the BMW squad didn’t try too much during the second day. Combined with team-mate Eugene Laverty, the two did 65 laps in total across the second day with a primary focus on Laverty, who hailed the chassis but has engine desires in order to move forward. With two chassis to test, the Shaun Muir Racing team will be busy with more development at Portimao.
“Despite how bad the weather conditions have been we have actually been able to do some good fundamental work on the electronics and some small changes on the chassis. In an ideal world we would test all our parts at racing speed however having said that we have been very productive in the small time we have had. In conditions like this I’ve not been looking at the time sheets, the track changes every 20 mins and there is nothing I would achieve by risking everything, we’ve used the track time to understand some electronic parameters and now we can take this understanding forward and pencil it into our testing plan over in Portimao this weekend.”
“We are in a much better position than where we were from the last test, however the lap times may not reflect that as I’ve taken a role of test rider over the last two days. We have made good progress with the electronics and other small parameters on the bike so heading into Portimao with some good weather hopefully we can kick on a little and start improving our lap times.”
Shaun Muir – BMW Team Principal
“We’ve had a big list of parts to run through this test, the wet conditions did change the sequence of what we were going to be testing but this allowed us to give extra emphasis on our electronic updates. Both Tom an Eugene worked through our list which was definitely a benefit, unfortunately we didn’t get to work on the chassis and swing-arm during this test but heading over to Portimao in a couple of days this will allow us to gain a clear direction to work in. In summary of the two-day test and the constant changing conditions we have not been looking at the lap times, in any respect that’s not what we are here to do and our focus has solely been on development and overall I feel it’s been a valuable and constructive test.”
WorldSBK rookie Maximilian Scheib familiarises himself with the ZX-10RR, whilst placing fourth out of the Independent riders.
Third on day one, it was 13th for Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) on the dry day two, whilst Sandro Cortese (Barni Racing Team) was 14th on his deputising duty. The German rider, who liked the feeling from his Ducati Panigale V4 R, is still without a ride on the 2020 grid.
Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) was 16th on his Ducati, ahead of Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing).
Jerez Test Day Two Times
Van der Mark 1m42.707s
Fuligni 1m45.643s (SS)
Cluzel 1m46.345s (SS)
Perolari 1m47.040s (SS)
Van Sikkelerus 1m47.711s (SS)
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship launches their season in Australia at the thrilling Phillip Island, with the Yamaha Finance round from February 28-March 1. Tickets available at Ticketek. For info www.worldsbk.com.au
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