Matteo Baiocco heads Jerez WorldSBK Test
17 World Superbike regular spent Monday back on the track that hosted the weekend’s eni FIM Superbike World Championship round at Jerez.
Some riders were testing new developments with Pirelli while others were testing development parts on their machines.
Althea Ducati’s Matteo Baiocco concentrated on ‘long runs’, gradually making small changes to the Ducati Panigale R. Baiocco only participated in the morning sessions and put in 25 laps but still managed to top the overall timesheets for the day by nearly half-a-second ahead of newly crowned World Champion Jonathan Rea. Baiocco’s time was also three-tenths faster than the best race lap time achieved during the Jerez WorldSBK race weekend.
Jonathan Rea put in 61 laps with a best of 1m41.340 marginally ahead of teammate Tom Sykes’ 1m41.353. Countryman Leon Haslam was fifth on the Red Devils Aprilia RSV4 with a 1m41.404, which also happened to be the fastest time achieved in the warmer afternoon session. Morning track temperature was around 30-degrees but things warmed up considerably in the afternoon with 50-degree track temperatures recorded.
Jonathan Rea stated: “Today we concentrated more on testing some new parts for 2016. Near the end of the day we tested some new front suspension settings and aside from that we went back over the weekend set-up and used the hard front tyre that we did not use in the race. We confirmed that it is still my favourite tyre. We ticked off some things we needed to do and this was a valuable test. We got through our test programme but we did not work on out-and-out pace, it was just evaluating things that we need to try and narrow the winter test programme down. Now we have the championship wrapped up we have one eye on finishing the season and one eye on 2016.”
Tom Sykes stated: “We lost a bit of time with two issues today but overall I am relatively happy. We evaluated some good items and we did a race run at 2pm. It was much, much stronger than the pace we managed in race two yesterday, so that makes me happy. In the end I think we maybe found some more positives. We did all our lap times on the race rubber from yesterday. I think that, other than the two issues, we had a very productive test. These kinds of days are ones I look forward to, to try to get to the next step. This test gives us a lot more food for thought and we will be able to move on more strongly from today.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, commented: “The test was very good, especially because during race weekend we could not use the front tyre Johnny usually uses. It was difficult in general because the level of the track grip was quite poor and in the high temperatures it became even worse. So Johnny could not ride as he normally could yesterday. Today’s test was very good because we compared the front tyres and understood them. For the future this was very important for us. Apart from that we started to try some small details about next year’s bike. That has been quite a positive day so we are happy with the information we have taken from the test.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, commented: “We had two interruptions of this very important test, which is one of only two tests during the season. We had quite a busy schedule. In the morning we lost around two hours from our testing time. Just after lunch we carried out a race simulation with some new chassis components and the tyre we suspected after race two would have been the best. We were quite a bit faster than the winner of race two’s race time. This makes me very positive. We have tested most of the important items we had here, some for the remainder of the season and some in preparation for next year’s bike. I am very pleased with the result.”
The Aruba.it Ducati Superbike Team tested some Antispin and Engine Brake Control strategies; the refining of software updates introduced during the recent race weekend; some front set-ups and different internal Öhlins suspension settings. The team made the most of being able to work more systematically and calmly than it can during a race weekend. Davies lapped with times in line with yesterday’s performance, completing a total of 68 laps. Unfortunately a technical problem kept Scassa in the garage for most of the morning session but in the afternoon the Italian was able to make 51 laps.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #7) – “We had a lot to do this morning and as a result we didn’t make the best of the cooler conditions. This afternoon went well, considering the heat. We made some changes because in recent races we’ve been losing grip on the new tyre and so that was my priority for this test. I feel we’ve taken a step forward there, and I was able to make my fastest time in the very hot conditions of the afternoon which shows we’ve found some speed with the new tyre. Aside from that, we’ve done some electronic work and a few other small things. It’s been a useful day.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director – “Post-race tests are always useful but also difficult. To lap consistently after the effort and tension of a race is always very hard for the riders. At the same time however, we obtain some very precise feedback, so close to race references. The schedule was a full one but we’re pleased with the information collected as it will be very useful for the two final championship rounds. We’ve just completed another weekend with great results but the work never stops and we would of course like to finish the season continuing the positive trend seen so far.”