Gardner on top after Day 2 WorldSBK off-season test in Jerez
Australian Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK] has put in a dominant performance at the conclusion of the WorldSBK off-season two day test held in Jerez, setting the fastest time in the field of a 1:38.448.
Remy Gardner: “It’s been a positive test. The pace has been really good over the two days, with the race tyre and obviously today, at the end, we put in two SCQs and did a really great lap time. There was a little bit more I could’ve done. I made a few mistakes on that lap but quite happy with how the two days went. It wasn’t a perfect lap, but it wasn’t bad. More than the lap, I’m happy with the improvements we’ve made over the two days with what Yamaha have brought.”
“Jonny surprised me with how fast he got on with the bike. That shows the experience he has. I’m excited to see what Jonny can bring to the table and help develop the bike, and also for me to learn off Jonny. With so much experience, you can always learn something. Really great to have Jonny with Yamaha.”
Gardner’s benchmark time put in after 61 laps completed was over two-tenths faster than WorldSBK rookie Nicolo Bulega [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati], who found himself in an impressive second place, and lapping over a second faster than two-time World Champion and teammate Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati].
Rounding out the top 3 fastest times completed was Jonathan Rea [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK], seeing out a strong transition to the Yamaha R1. With 68 laps complete, Rea completed his fastest time of 1:39.179s, with former teammate Alex Lowes [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK] trailing close behind in forth with a 1:39.211.
Jonathan Rea: ““My first feelings with this team have been fantastic, ever since I agreed to make the move. Both the team and Yamaha have been really welcoming and making everything easy. The first test was just about getting familiar with the bike – it was a bit of a shock, I had a lot of different sensations than I am used to – but in a positive way! The R1 is very user-friendly – not necessarily easy to go to the absolute limit just yet, but easy to ride. It generates a lot of traction which encourages you to go fast and inspires confidence. You can get into the throttle and use the power of the machine – it feels good and now I can see how Toprak was riding the way he was, also Loka being so competitive this year. It’s all good! Just a nice first contact with the set-up and the team, so I expect next time we can get more deeply into it. Step-by-step today we have tried some different things, fork spec, different tyre combinations so that I can understand how the Yamaha uses different compounds – I could see from the past that Yamaha have been able to maximise the SCX tyre. I requested some different electronics set-up – but not really too much. I have been using the current “base setting” let’s say of the R1 and in the next test we will start to work on development parts. A really positive experience on both days and the R1 is feeling more like my bike, particularly as we have been lucky with the weather this afternoon and got through more than we expected. I’m sure I could wake up tomorrow and even more performance would come but now I have to wait a couple of weeks…! Thanks to everybody – I really enjoyed myself!”
Alvaro Bautista’s seventh place was put down to a strong focus on the newly placed 2024 weight regulations and ruleset, which Bautista said in his post-test interview that that was where the teams focus was during the test. The newly-announced rules for 2024 include a new weight system, where riders under the reference weight of 80kg have to add 50% of the difference, which see’s Bautista having to add 7kg to his V4 R to comply.
Alvaro Bautista: “Today, we were focused on the 2024 regulations especially with the weight. We tried many solutions with the weight. Putting some weight on some areas of the bike, also trying inside the engine, and did many tests to understand how the bike’s working. It’s not easy because when the bike’s working well, if you add 7kg, the bike feels different especially in the fast corners. We made some distribution to have more data and we go that data for this winter to try to work and try to see what could be base for starting 2024.”