Day One: Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea sets the pace
Reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has put in a strong opening day on track around Spain’s Aragon circuit, ending the first day of winter testing fastest on unofficial times.
But it was Ducati stealing the headlines, with the debut of the V4 R.
Beginning 2019 with an all new ZX-10RR, Rea was able to use the opening day to work on different settings as he looks at which direction to take for what is set to be a competitive season, putting in 72 laps and the fastest unofficial time. Whilst new team-mate Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) prepares for his debut with the Provec squad, and has been working on getting the first kilometres under his belt. With 67 laps put in on his opening day, it has been about working on set-up of the championship winning machine.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) made his all-important first steps with the Panigale V4 R, taking to the track in the morning he began to understand his new beast. Sixty-one laps were put in overall, and first impressions of the V4 R were fantastic for the British rider. But the work now begins before the opening round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, as Davies and his crew are working to set up an all-new machine.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team had their duo of Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes out on track, as they spent day one of 2019 evaluating some key components in the chassis, working on suspension with Ohlins and working with some new electronics hardware. Lowes set the second unofficial fastest lap time, and with 76 laps recorded he wasn’t wasting the track time he was offered. Whilst van der Mark recorded 72 laps throughout day one.
It wasn’t only Davies who got the first test of the V4 R, as Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was out on track with the powerful beast. Getting used to the sensational new bike, he spent his day working with the Aruba.it Ducati squad as well as his new BARNI team and put in 74 laps around MotorLand.
Day One Unofficial Times (dry track):
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.49.668
2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.51.157
3. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.51.180
4. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team – WorldSBK) 1.51.479
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) 1.51.656
6. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.51.852
Day Two: Ducati V4R takes to wet Aragon track as Kawasaki sits out
The first 2019 pre-season test came to a wet end at Spain’s Aragon circut, as heavy rain in the morning meant only two out of six riders took to the track on Thursday. But it wasn’t a wasted day as the Ducati Panigale V4 R was able to take to the track for the first time under wet conditions.
After topping the unofficial timing screens on the opening day around Aragon, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and his new team-mate Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) opted to sit out of Thursday’s on track action. Putting in 139 laps between them on the opening day, they will now shift their focus to the Jerez test in 10 days’ time. (see day one report below)
But for the two Ducati riders, rain didn’t mean an end to their test. Continuing to understand their new bike, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took to the track for 22 laps, despite being careful to not cause more issues with his shoulder. Experiencing the all new V4 R in the rain for the first time, it was important to get as much track time under his belt as possible.
For Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team), he was keener to get out on track and try out the V4 R in the rain, and the track began to dry in the early afternoon. Following a sensational opening day with his new bike, he was just making the most of the time he has, as in 2019 the Italian will not only have a new bike to contend with but also new circuits. Rinaldi was able to put in 25 laps on Thursday.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team duo of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark also decided to sit out of day two of the test. Lowes was able to set the second fastest unofficial time of the test on Wednesday, and they were able to work through a lot of small updates to their YZF-R1 machines with chassis, suspension and electronics.
Day Two Unofficial Times (wet track):
1. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 2.04.513
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) 2.07.961