Day One: Rea on top with rookie Bautista close behind
MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders were out to make some strong steps for 2019. With four teams out on track, we were treated to an abundance of new bikes, new riders and new teams and plenty of laps were put in around the 4.4km track.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has been working through his testing programme, meaning he had a busy day around the circuit. Working with suspension, tyre work, finding a balance with their chassis and weight distribution and their new engine, it was a productive day for the reigning world champion who came out on track at 1pm and shot right to the top of the timing screens.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is continuing to get used to his new bike and team and is focusing on putting in as many laps as possible throughout the two days in Andalusia. Despite suffering a crash through turn five in the early afternoon, the British rider ended day one in fifth putting in 71 laps.
Aruba.it Racing – Ducati had a big day in Jerez as their new recruit in Alvaro Bautista began to get to grips not only with his new team, but also adapting to the World Superbike machine. Focusing on his pace with the all new Ducati Panigale V4 R, he was able to impress on his first day of the ‘new era’, setting a 1.39.919 after an impressive 65 laps, he ended the day in second position. Whilst for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who is embarking on his third day with his new bike – his second in the dry – he was still working on base setting for 49 laps. His time of 1.40.202 put him in third overall.
Brand new WorldSBK team GRT Yamaha had their first day with the step up into the premiere class, with experienced Marco Melandri and WorldSBK rookie Sandro Cortese. Spending their first day getting adapted to the YZF-R1, the team are taking things step by step and were able to put in 125 laps collectively. Melandri ended day one in sixth, whilst Cortese finished the day in eighth.
Continuing to work on improving the gap to the front runners, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) continued to work through the parts and updates they had last week around MotorLand Aragon. With elements of their chassis, swing arm and electronics to work on, the 2018 race winners had another productive day in Spain. Lowes was never outside the top four and ended in fourth with a time of 1.40.296. Whilst van der Mark was taking a more steady approach and ended with a time of 1.41.572 in seventh position.
Jerez Day One unofficial times:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.39.657
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.979 +0.322
3. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.40.202 +0.545
4. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.40.296 +0.639
5. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.40.390 +0.733
6. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.663 +1.006
7. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.41.572 +1.915
8. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.41.972 +2.315
Day Two: Rea continues to lead the way as Jerez test comes to a close
Four MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship teams continued to work on their 2019 set-ups on day two at Spain’s Jerez test on Tuesday. The eight riders completed over a combined 600 laps of the 4.2km circuit, as steps were made ahead of the opening Yamaha Finance round at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Despite this, it was still four-time world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who led the way.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued with his sensational pace out on track for the second and final day of testing, as the 2018 world champion was continuing to work on getting the chassis in tune with the engine on his ZX-10RR. Explaining that his new bike offers even more potential than the 2018 Ninja, he was a force to be reckoned with, setting the fastest lap time of 1.38.713. On the other side of the garage, new team-mate Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team – WorldSBK) was left with one bike after a big crash on Monday. However, this didn’t stop the Brit putting the laps in, as he reached over 100 on the second day.
It was a telling two days for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team, as they began to understand the work they will need to do to bridge the gap to the green and red machines out on track. Working through their small updates for 2019, Alex Lowes had a strong day sitting in second position for most of the day, bridging the gap to fastest man Rea. Whilst for team-mate Michael van der Mark, it was a tough test as he was riding injured from his crash in Qatar, which resulted in a fracture to his wrist.
Lessons continued to be learnt for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad with Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista getting to grips with the all new Panigale V4 R. British rider Davies is continuing to struggle with his shoulder injury sustained over the summer break.
Whilst for Bautista, he had a more challenging second day with his V4 R, suffering two crashes during the day around Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto. Able to walk away from both crashes, Bautista was still happy with the bike as he works on his base set up and understanding the WorldSBK machine.
For new WorldSBK team GRT Yamaha, Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri were continuing to get to grips with the YZF-R1. Happy with the progress they have made, 2018 WorldSSP champion Cortese was still working on adapting and adjusting to an SBK® machine, whilst Melandri was working on his base setting and with the Pirelli tyres.
WorldSSP riders were also out on track for the final day of action, with some valuable track time on offer for many riders. Raffaele De Rosa was out with the MV Agusta Reparto Corse squad searching for those final steps to secure the win that he was so close to securing in 2018. Lucas Mahias was out on track again with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, getting used to the bike after a big crash yesterday and Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was back on the ZX-6R, working on updates.
Jerez Day Two unofficial times:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.38.713
2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.39.377 (+0.664)
3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.39.766 (+1.053)
4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.845 (+1.132)
5. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.852 (+1.139)
6. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.40.092 (+1.379)
7. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.235 (+1.522)
8. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.592 (+1.879)