WorldSBK Testing wraps up in Spain
Scott Redding had stole the headlines from Jonathan Rea on the opening day of WorldSBK Testing at Catalunya but on the final day it was World Champion Jonathan Rea that was back on top of the time-sheets as the pace picked up markedly compared to day one in what was another sweltering day at Montmelo.
The two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is set to host a WorldSBK round for the first time on 18-20 September, saw 17 WorldSBK riders on track.
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki – P1
“This morning I used a race tyre, the soft tyre and then two qualifying tyres. That was the target this morning – to work on ultimate pace and see what we could do. After that we started to work with the set-up again and tried to confirm some items on the front to give me some more stability. We backed-to-backed both bikes to find if we confirmed the set-up of what we arrived with at the Misano test. I preferred that to my old base set-up so it seems like we have moved our base set-up away from what I had. I don’t know if that is because the temperature suits that kind of bike set-up or if my riding style has evolved during this lockdown period and it has changed. But what I am requesting from the bike now I have a good feeling with this one. In the afternoon I waited for the temperature to be at the maximum to do two longer runs on both bikes to understand some test items. We felt pretty happy and now we look forward to Jerez.”
Pere Riba – Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“Our test has been really, really positive. We had some info from the last test here in January that we collected for this test. We started with that base set-up and then we focused to understand the hot conditions and how to use the tyres. This track is very demanding on tyres, and it is the key point. We have been very focused on making a good lap time and working over a long distance. I am very happy because we reached all the targets that we put on the paper and Johnny was also the fastest one – this morning when the track temperature was cooler. We used a qualifying soft tyre and took the fastest lap. We also confirmed some items we tested in Misano and I feel very good. Johnny is in very good shape after the long break because of Covid-19 and he did a great job here; very calm and working well.”
The quickest pair had used the relative cool of the morning to set their outright benchmarks before then concentraing on long-run testing later in the heat of the day to work on their race set-ups for longevity in the heat.
Scott Redding – Ducati – P2
“I am satisfied with this test. We have worked very well these two days especially with used tyres. This morning’s challenge with Rea was a lot of fun. We pushed hard but after a few fast laps I wanted to remind myself what the real objective of the test was. That’s why we did a long run this afternoon. I couldn’t try the time attack because of a technical issue but it doesn’t matter”.
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) evaluated various updates for the BMW S 1000 RR, which have been worked upon during the enforced break since the season-opener in Australia. The fine-tuning primarily centred around finding the best possible basic set-up for round two of the season at Jerez de la Frontera.
Shaun Muir – BMW Team Principal
“We had some items to test and, very importantly, track familiarisation to get ready for the upcoming race later in the season. The updates that we had to test were mainly electronic strategy related and a lot of the other work that was focused on were race simulations runs and tyre wear in the latter stages of the race. I’m generally happy with both Tom and Eugene. It was very difficult to judge lap times overall with it being very cool in the morning and most were pushing for the times early on. Once the temperatures rose, we concentrated on the race runs. Overall we are happy, we’ve had a good test in Lausitz and here in Barcelona so now we can look forward to the restart of the WorldSBK Championship at Jerez.”
Tom Sykes – BMW – P3
“I’m feeling really good as we had a very productive test in Germany and have continued that same form here into Catalunya. It’s great to be here as I have never ridden the track so I’ve really enjoyed the layout of the whole circuit. We’ve had a good test schedule and worked through a lot of test items with the BMW S 1000 RR gathering some crucial information. It’s clear to see that the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has been hard at work during this difficult period as we arrived here with a lot of ideas. It’s been working on different geometry settings, front and rear suspensions parameters, chassis options and we have certainly improved the electronic strategy. We are still exploring these set ups; we just need some time to put all this together.”
Team-mate Eugene Laverty was also right in the mix and concluded the top six overall and was just over a second from top spot, despite a crash in the morning on the Q tyre. Neither finished inside the top ten during the hotter afternoon session as both worked on race pace, eager to get the bike dialled in on the new circuit.
Eugene Laverty – BMW – P6
“This test has been my best run on the bike yet, it’s been fantastic and in particular my race run in that final session there. I did a race run yesterday which was a good pace, but I knew I had more to give today and I proved that. We lapped from the start in the 1’43.300’s and by lap 18 we were at 1’43.900, which was incredible compared to what a lot of the others lads were doing over the race distance. This morning I had some good pace on the ‘X’ tyre and then jumped to the ‘Q’ tyre but had a little crash. The crash was a similar crash to the one in Phillip Island which is something we need to look at. Overall I’m happy with the test and I’m looking forward to getting out in Jerez in a few weeks’ time.”
Championship leader Alex Lowes backed up Jonathan Rea’s efforts with fourth for KRT as he continues his adaptation from Yamaha to Kawasaki. Working on rear end set-up and acclimatising to the changes of direction, Lowes built on refining his braking style from day one and ended the test satisfied with his efforts.
Alex Lowes – Kawasaki – P4
“In the final hour or so we put everything together what we had found positives with and the bike was working really well. We did more laps than I thought – 107 today – so a busy one. But I am really happy with such a positive second day here. This is still a learning process and with the amount of laps I have done I am trying to learn as quickly as possible. I am happy with my pace this afternoon, it was strong and a little bit faster than I expected, which is always nice. After such a long break in the season it has been easier to get back into the swing of things than I thought but it will be nice to get a couple of weeks off now before the back-to-back races that restart the season. My pace with the used tyres is more competitive than with the new tyres, same as we saw in Phillip Island. Luckily for me we have had the same characteristic here. On used tyres I am feeling good with the bike. Joining this team, every day I am learning more. It is a fantastic team and I am enjoying it a lot.”
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla completed a combined 332 total of laps over the two days, with riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Michael van der Mark making best use of this important track time ahead of the second round of the series in Jerez (31 July – 2 August).
Both riders continued to refamiliarise themselves with their R1’s after a four-month layoff and to test different parts before both setting their quickest times in the final hour before the lunch break. Turkish racer Razgatlıoğlu was fifth with a time of 1m41.217, despite a crash without injury at the exit of Turn 7, as Michael van der Mark went seventh quickest overall with a time of 1m41.679. The Dutchman lost some time with machinery problems on day two.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Yamaha – P5
“I’m happy because I was able to ride the Yamaha R1 again! We tried many new parts and sometimes they didn’t work, but we found some new things that did make improvements. It’s not been a bad test at all, it was very important as it’s a new track for me and we are now ready for the race in Jerez. I only knew this circuit from video games, so it was good to get some laps in before we come back here later this year. The first day was quite difficult after so much time away from the bike, and I had a huge crash on day 2 and I’m lucky to have no injury. But even with this, we were quite fast and we improved the R1, so we can be happy.”
Michael van der Mark – Yamaha – P7
“It was nice to be back on the bike; it’s been a while and also it’s been 10 years since I’ve last been here, so it was all quite new. We had so many new things to try and I think we can be quite happy with this test, even if it doesn’t maybe look as good from the results alone. We had so many new developments and we were just focused on improving the bike, because in the last four months the guys have been working really hard at home. A lot of positives on the R1, I’m happy to be back after four months not riding and I’m ready to be racing again. I can’t wait for the restart in Jerez.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team
“It’s a pleasure to be back at the racetrack with the team, riders and Yamaha engineers, ahead of the restart to the season. The Barcelona Grand Prix circuit is a new one for our team and both of our riders, so after four months off the bikes yesterday was a little challenging to get fully back up to speed. Nonetheless, we still got through a reasonable amount of work, maybe leaving more questions than answers, but with a good night’s sleep the riders were ready to go this morning. The crew chiefs and engineers had also made a clear plan for today and we were a lot more competitive. Testing here in these conditions is almost like running at two different circuits as the temperature increases, and the grip level drops significantly. We were quick in cooler conditions and we’ve improved the bike to be a lot closer in hotter temperatures than we were yesterday. Some problems, some challenges, and an extremely busy couple of days, but in the end a great job by Michael, Toprak and all the team, and now we are looking forward to Jerez.”
Ducati’s Chaz Davies (worked hard on used tyres, before pushing hard on the final lap which allowed him to end up the afternoon session in fourth place and ninth overall.
Chaz Davies – Ducati – P9
“It was very important to get back on track to work again on some of the solutions we already tried at Misano. They were two intense days in which we worked well and they were also important to get familiar with this circuit in conditions similar to those we will find during the race weekend. All in all I am satisfied and the aim now is to get to Jerez in the best possible condition“.
HRC still seem to be struggling for pace and unlike most of the others this was the first time back on track for the squad since the Phillip Island season opener. Their pace further hampered by missing much of the morning session as the team worked through some issues with the new Fireblade. Set-up of the electronics was a focus for the team but due to travel restrictions some key Japanese staff were unable to join them at the test and they are a long way from realising their potential. Leon Haslam was P12 and Alvaro Bautista P14.
Leon Haslam – Honda – P12
“Today has been quite productive despite a long stop in the garage this morning. Yesterday was less ideal as I had a crash in the morning: a wheelie turned into a big high side, so that definitely woke me up after the long break! I hit my head and ankle but luckily did no serious damage. Having said that, we had a productive afternoon on the second bike anyway, and as I said, another good session this afternoon. The main aim here was to analyse our Phillip Island performance and try to iron out a few of the issues we had there. I feel that the bike has great potential but that, considering the brand-new package, we simply need time. Many small things create a good package, and we are trying to find all that in what is a very short space of time. One positive is that Alvaro and I agree on many things, so this makes development a little smoother. All in all, I’m pleased. I hadn’t been at this track for 18 years, so it’s been good to get a feel for it again seeing as we’ll be racing here later in the summer. I feel we’ve been able to get up to speed here and then, as of the next test, we will have a long list of parts and elements to test.”
Alvaro Bautista – Honda – P14
“This is only our first test back and so understandably it took me a little time to reset mentally and find the right feeling with my bike again, but now I already feel like I’m back in the groove let’s say. We haven’t really tested anything new here – that’s something we’ll focus on next time – and so we’ve concentrated mainly on confidence, and also on the electronics, working to find more traction through the corners and improve our braking on corner entry. I hadn’t ridden at this track for a while, and never with the Superbike of course, but it seems like it offers quite good grip; the levels are not at all bad, particularly considering the heat. Today we had to spend some time in the garage as the engineers had to analyse a lot of data to fix some issues we had, so we missed the chance to go for some fast lap times during the best part of the day. We’ve been productive anyway, and it looks like we’ve found some things to work on again next time out, when we will also have the HRC engineers present with some new parts for us to test.”
WorldSBK Catalunya Test 2020 Combined Times
- REA Jonathan Kawasaki Racing Team 1’40.450
- REDDING Scott ARUBA Ducati 1’40.606
- SYKES Tom BMW Motorrad 1’40.956
- LOWES Alex Kawasaki Racing Team 1’41.137
- RAZGATLIOGLU Toprak Pata Yamaha 1’41.218
- LAVERTY Eugene BMW Motorrad 1’41.494
- VAN DER MARK Michael Pata Yamaha 1’41.679
- BAZ Loris Ten Kate Yamaha 1’41.881
- DAVIES Chaz ARUBA Ducati 1’41.903
- MERCADO Leandro Motocorsa Racing 1’42.024
- GERLOFF Garrett GRT Yamaha 1’42.121
- HASLAM Leon Team HRC 1’42.126
- CORTESE Sandro Pedercini Kawasaki 1’42.187
- BAUTISTA Alvaro Team HRC 1’42.320
- CARICASULO Federico GRT Yamaha 1’42.333
- SCHEIB Max Orelac Racing VerdNatura 1’42.436
- BARRIER Sylvain BRIXX Ducati 1’44.323
2020 WorldSBK Championship Standings
- Alex Lowes – Kawasaki 51
- Scott Redding – Ducati 39
- Toprak Razgatlioglu – Yamaha 34
- Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 32
- Michael van der Mark – Yamaha 31
- Alvaro Bautista – Honda 20
- Loris Baz – Yamaha 20
- Chaz Davies – Ducati 19
- Leon Haslam – Honda 17
- Tom Sykes – BMW 17
2020 WorldSSP Championship Standings
- Andrea Locatelli – Yamaha 25
- Raffaele De Rosa – MV Agusta 20
- Jules Cluzel – Yamaha 16
- Corentin Perolari – Yamaha 13
- Lucas Mahias – Kawasaki 11
2020 WorldSBK Calendar
March 1 – Phillip Island, Australia
- August 2 – Jerez, Spain (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- August 9 – Portimao, Portugal (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- Aguust 30 – Aragon, Spain (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- September 6 – Aragon, Spain (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- September 18 – Catalunya, Spain (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- October 4 – Magny-Cours, France (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
- October 11 – Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina (TBC) (WSBK-WSSP)
- November 8 – Misano, Italy (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
TBD – Donington Park, UK (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
TBD – Assen, Netherlands (WSBK-WSSP-WSSP300)
TBD – Losail, Qatar (WSBK-WSSP)
TBD = To be determined
TBC = To be confirmed