Despite heading home early from what was four days of testing for many of the WorldSBK competitors it is clear that despite not even attending the final day, Team Kawasaki and the KRT ZX-10R is still far ahead of the competition.
In fact, Tom Sykes, 1m38.735, would have made him ninth quickest amongst the 18 MotoGP riders that also took to the track this week. (MotoGP Test Report Link)
“We’re relatively happy, I want to say a big thanks to the team because they’ve been working really hard. We’ve got to make the most of this opportunity, because it’s been no secret I’ve not been as happy and performing as well as I should and could be. But this winter testing for me is all about releasing my speed, which I know I’ve got, and so far the plan is going very well and I’m happy with the progress we’re making. All things considered at the moment, we’re heading in the right direction. I’ve been out on my own quite a bit and it’s good to be learning how to work with the new regulations for next year.”
Jonathan Rea missed even more time than Sykes, having to head back to London to collect his MBE.
Jonathan Rea was delighted with his pace from Jerez, and he is beginning to build his confidence with the 2018 Ninja machine. Keeping a cool head throughout the test, he is content with the progress made, and noted the importance of heading back out on track directly after a crash at turn 12.
“I was in one suit yesterday with the tie and today with my Alpinestars suit, so it’s a completely different world! Today has been great; we have ticked many boxes for our 2018 bike. Monday was an initiation test and today we have focused mainly on chassis items, and then for the rest of the day we have dedicated to Showa. There are a lot of positives, some things are at the same level as before, some better and some worse but just going through the motions of testing – which is not my favourite thing to do – but it’s really positive.”
“It was a big crash, as soon as I touched the front brake I just lost the front tyre, and I did everything to try to keep the bike up – I dug in my knee and my elbow but unfortunately it was gone. We’ve been riding on a very high level with the race tyre today, so I was getting more confidence and was going faster and faster but we crashed, but it was important to get back on the bike for my confidence. I hurt my neck a bit in the crash so I need to get it looked at, and sometimes you can do too much testing but we will see tomorrow and keep it at a calm level.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) topped the final day of the test in the absence of the Kawasaki men and ended the test third overall behind the KRT riders.
Melandri’s team-mate Chaz Davies had fallen in a a high-speed crash towards the end of the first day and an MRI showed a sprain of the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments of the right knee, coupled with a contusion, as well as a contusion in the left wrist. The Welshman will now head home and visit a specialist to undergo physioterapy and rehabilitation.
“Unfortunately, a crash in the opening day prevented us from going through our program. Now I’ll rest for a few days to reduce the inflammation, and next week I’ll visit a physioterapist to devise a recovery plan. It’s the first time I injure my knee, so we just need to be patient and hopefully we’ll be good to go in a few weeks’ time.”
Continuing to enjoy riding the WorldSBK Paniagle R, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was once again out first out on track, putting in an impressive 82 laps of the 4.4km circuit. Ending the final day at the bottom of the timing screens, he has been working hard to understand the pace of the Superbike machine.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) was putting up a strong fight to secure the fastest time of the final day, and was provisionally sat in the top spot at the half way point. Ending the day with a time of 1.39.770, its clear himself and his new crew chief Andrew Pitt have found a strong setting on his YZF-R1.
Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark finished the day fifth overall, continuing to look for an improved pace – ending the day with 1.40.199, seventh on combined times.
Most notably of the day, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) made some big improvements on just his second day with the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, putting in a time fast enough to see him third fastest on the final day, fifth ovearall, and shaving a second off his day one lap time. With 76 laps under his belt on day two, his final lap time was 1.39.797.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was able to continue working on the set-up of his Panigale, securing the fourth fastest time of the day with a 1.40.002. Focusing mainly on race pace as opposed to fast laps, the Spanish rider will be happy with his progress after clocking in 58 laps.
Honda’s British Superbike Team was also testing at Jerez with Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran.
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