Jonathan Rea setting the pace as WorldSBK testing underway at Jerez
Mike Jones second quickest of FIM STK1000 riders
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes made a positive start to their 2017 championship preparations on the new Ninja ZX-10RR during a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with Rea going fastest of all and Sykes placing third.
Two-time champion Rea set a lap of 1’39.809 on the final afternoon, after also posting the fastest lap on the opening day. His eventual leading time was achieved with a standard race tyre fitted front and rear, as he wanted to concentrate on a race set-up only at this stage.
2013 world champion Sykes finished his two-day test with a 1’40.219 best lap for third best lap time of the entire test sessions. He also used a race tyre combination to set his quickest time.
Both Rea and Sykes experienced crashes on day two but came back with determination to complete their programme of work and improve their individual performance.
This test was used partly to underline which material and components they will use to take on the challenge of the first two rounds of the season in Australia and Thailand, and to evaluate some development parts, especially in terms of suspension.
The dry weather conditions that favoured both days of track action at Jerez allowed the KRT duo to make consistent progress in many areas, with one more Jerez test session in Europe to complete before the last pre-race outing – the official organisers’ tests at Phillip Island – between 20th and 21st February.
“It is nice to set such a good lap time at this time of the year but it is testing and I have never been the best guy for one lap. We have been able to make many fast laps in these winter tests, however, and we have found a bike set-up that has been working well. The grip level at this test was a little bit lower than in November but we have been able to find consistency as well. With the different character on the track we have been able to evaluate different rear shocks. Showa have been working so hard and I am really impressed. I felt my own ‘bike fitness’ was not great as I have been off the race bike for so many weeks now. I am looking forward to the next test to try and do a lot of laps. I need some more mileage to feel like I did during the season last year.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“Jonathan’s best time was done with standard race tyres. This afternoon we made a small change with the balance of the bike, to make things more sharp and to concentrate on finding a lap time. We also found some good things with the electronics so Jonathan felt good with the bike. We decided not to put in a qualifying rear tyre as there was no point. We know if he had put in a qualifier he would be faster. I was happy on the first day that the track did not have fantastic grip yet because it is better to work in those conditions to understand the bike. When you have good grip almost everything you test feels good. We have to understand the best way possible with low grip and high grip so this test was very positive.”
“I am happy enough even though I suffered with my neck all day today after a crash, while I was riding the bike at least. That took the edge off me a bit but we still did a lot of things with the bike and tried a lot of different set-ups. Jerez is not my strongest circuit anyway but thanks to Marcel, Danilo and all the boys we finished the day very happy. I feel all the information we have from today means we will be strong. We were able to make real progress. We are still struggling in some areas but we will keep working and I feel we are putting in enough laps and mileage during testing to build ourselves a stronger package for Phillip Island and round one.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes
“We continued our test schedule from where we finished last November at Jerez. It was not the perfect test back then but we continued well here; we made a good step forward. We know the regulation change from 2016 to 2017 means we have to adapt the bike set-up as well as we can. Then it is up to the rider, but we made some fundamental tests regarding new parts and today we put all the good things together. At the end of the day Tom was fairly happy with his speed and consistency. We made a good step and we will continue next week in testing. I am sure after the second day of those tests we will be ready to move to Phillip Island for the first race.”
Milwaukee Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadro second quickest while teammate Eugene Laverty taken down
As the team continues to make progress with the new generation of Aprilia RSV4 RF, the test focused on setup and verification of 2017 development parts ahead of further testing at Portimao later this week.
Lorenzo Savadori, entering his second WorldSBK season, finished the day’s running with a fantastic 2nd place just over 0.111s shy of the top. As he continues to hone the new Aprilia RSV4 RF to his style, the team are hoping to carry on the fast pace found today.
Rider Eugene Laverty was hit by another rider on the entry into Turn 1, resulting in a crash which finished his test early. Eugene will focus on recovery for the Portimao test this weekend.
Team Manager Mick Shanley
“It was a very bittersweet day for us in a way. Lorenzo is adapting really well to the team and to the 2017 RSV4 RF. We’ve worked through a lot of things with him so far and to finish second today is a really good result. He’s achieved his personal best times here this week, and we’ve got a few new things for him to try. Eugene struggled with some chatter during the course of the day and we’ve been working through that. He slowed towards the end of a run and unfortunately got struck by another rider, which caused a crash and ultimately cut his test short. He’ll recover in time for Portimao and we’ll keep working hard to develop the bike for him. We’ll have a good debrief tonight with the guys and put our plans into action, and we should be in place to head to Portimao in a good position.”
“It was a good day for me today, and we got lots of laps in which was really important. We tried a few different things with the setup and the tyres, and I was able to set a fast time and finish second. The track was cold during the day so it didn’t always work so well with the tyres, but the bike ran well and we learnt a lot. We still have a lot of work to do to reach the top of the field, but the team is working well and for me it is great to do some real testing. I’m hoping to learn a lot more at Portimao, and I will work hard to make some good progress before we start the season at Phillip Island.”
“It was unfortunate to crash today. I got hit from behind going into Turn 1, and there was nothing I could do. The bike got stuck under the barriers but the damage wasn’t too bad. It’s been a tough day and I’ve struggled with chatter going through corners, and I have to work hard to keep the bike stable. It’s useful to find issues like this early so we can work on them, and we have a few plans in place to address them. I should be in good shape again for the test in Portimao; I’m a bit sore but we just need to keep working hard and working through the issues we’ve had at Jerez.”
Ducati men fourth and fifth on the timesheets
Both Ducati riders followed a detailed program to evaluate various engine, electronics and chassis upgrades developed for the Panigale R, making several setup comparisons.
Melandri and Davies clocked 124 and 131 laps respectively, posting almost identical lap times and both showing steady improvements in terms of lap times as well as race pace. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action on January 28-29 in Portimão (Portugal) before heading to Phillip Island (Australia) for the final pre-season tests ahead of the first race of the season.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) 1:40.313
“It’s been a really positive test. I expected some more difficulties after the meniscus surgery, but actually I felt quite well. The team is doing a great job and everyday I feel more comfortable on the bike. We still struggle a bit on fresh tyres, also because with the cold climate it’s more difficult to warm them up, but we’re heading in the right direction. I would have liked to do a race simulation, but we’ll wait until Portimão because I had some blisters in my hands after such a long break. Physically I feel fine though, I recovered completely and I’m sure I’ll be 100 percent fit for Phillip Island.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) 1:40.324
“All in all, this first test has been OK. It’s always a bit tiring from a physical standpoint because we step on the bike for the first time in two months, but we progressively got into the swing of things. Also, Ducati brought a lot of stuff and we ticked off the most important items on the list, but we still got work to do in Portimão. We got progressively quicker, even mixing things up a bit in terms of our setup. That’s what testing is about, working through a program slowly but surely to step up to new challenges. If I had to race tomorrow, we would probably stick to a more familiar setting, but we’ll focus on pushing the boundaries before heading to Australia.”
Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl try out new Fireblade SP2 with Hayden sixth on the timesheets
Official Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl were able to try for the first time the WorldSBK-spec version of the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 they will use throughout the 2017 edition of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Blessed by good weather conditions – despite cold temperatures in the morning – the test proved very useful for Hayden and Bradl, who were able to put in a considerable amount of laps. Both riders worked hard with their crews over the two days while trying to get an early understanding of the new package, before making some first set-up changes.
On the final day, the team successfully put to test the performance of the bike with qualifying tyres, with Hayden finishing as the sixth quickest rider of the test and Bradl being only three tenths of a second slower than his team mate.
The Honda WorldSBK Team will be back on track this weekend at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve with another two-day test, the last one before travelling to Phillip Island for the traditional World Superbike official test and the opening round of the season.
Nicky Hayden – 103 laps / 1’40.548
“It has been two useful days of testing here at Jerez and luckily the weather was on our side in the afternoons. The team has done a great job to put the bike together and bring it here, despite the short time they had available to prepare them. We used yesterday almost exclusively as a shakedown day and in the afternoon we were able to make some decent runs, while today we tried to work more on the bike performance, just to get the bike in the right window, and a bit of a direction. We’ve made a couple of steps but it’s obvious we’re still behind our competitors at the moment. There’s still a lot of work to do and time to make up; when we used the qualifying tyre the time we set made us look closer than we actually are. Overall we found some positives today: we worked a lot on finding more grip and the bike ran smoothly without any glitch. The team has a little bit of time now to understand the data before Portimão.”
Stefan Bradl – 99 laps / 1’40.854
“This having been the very first test with the new bike, we expected it not to be the smoothest of rides. Overall, though, it wasn’t so bad! Today we made some important improvements compared to yesterday. We still have to do some work on corner exit in order to find some more grip – and speed – out of turns. Obviously, we didn’t have enough time to react massively on the bike, we are just making small steps to try and get a first understanding of the new Fireblade. Overall it has been a positive two days of testing, because the weather allowed us to lap consistently around the track. Despite some expectable teething issues, it wasn’t too bad. In just two days we’ll be in Portimão, where we will continue with our work.”
Pieter Breddels – Honda WorldSBK Technical Manager
“For being the very first outing with the new Blade, we can say we’re quite satisfied. We did not have any issue with the engines so we managed to do a great deal of laps. We gathered a lot of data in order to understand the behaviour of the new ride-by-wire system, especially in relation to the throttle body, and after some teething problems things ran smoothly. The engine is already a little bit faster than last year’s one, knowing this one is far from the spec we will bring to Phillip Island. The engine mapping was still not optimised and that made it a bit more difficult to set everything up, although this had to be expected. We’ll have this one sorted before Australia. Time to go to Portimão now, where only Stefan has ridden – but not raced – before.”
WorldSBK Test Times Sepang January 2016
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team): 1.39.809
- Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia Team): 1.39.920
- Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team): 1.40.219
- Marco Melandri (Aruba It.Racing- Ducati): 1.40.313
- Chaz Davies (Aruba It.Racing- Ducati): 1.40.324
- Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team): 1.40.548
- Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official Team): 1.40.600
- Xavi Forés (Barni Racing): 1.40.738
- Stefan Bradl (Honda World Superbike Team):1.40.854
- Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Team): 1.41.450
- Randy Krummenacher (Puccetti Kawasaki Racing):1.41.566
- Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing):1.41.578
- Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing): 1.41.619
- Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia Team): 1.41.886
- Zulfhami Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura): 1.44.410
- Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda):1.45.199
- Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda): 1.44.410
- Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura):1.45.507
- Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing): 1.45.625
- Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda):1.45.852
- Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha): Sin tiempo registrado
- Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha): Sin tiempo registrado
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing-Junior Team):1.43.343
- Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing-Junior Team): 1.43.670
- Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team): 1.43.769
- Julian Puffe (Althea MF 84): 1.46.176