2015 Jerez World Superbike Post-Race Test: Baiocco Fastest On Qualifiers, Kawasakis Quickest On Race Rubber
The vast majority of the World Superbike grid stayed on at the Jerez circuit on Monday, to continue work for the remaining two rounds of the WSBK season. Work was focused primarily on set up, and especially electronics, with Pirelli bringing new tires for the riders to try.
Ducati worked on electronics, including traction control and engine braking strategies, as well as some new fork parts to optimize front end feel. Kawasaki had new engine and chassis parts to test, the bike working well enough to finish as fastest on race rubber. The focus for freshly-crowned WSBK champion Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes was improving performance during the second half of the race, when tire wear starts to play a role.
Aprilia had a lot of work to do, chasing power delivery through electronics and also chassis set up. Honda were less busy, having new brakes to test and playing around with chassis geometry. Crescent Suzuki had the easiest day, choosing not to participate in the test on Monday.
Press releases from the teams and series organizers after the World Superbike and World Supersport races at Jerez:
A press release interview with the 2015 World Superbike champion:
Jonathan Rea: Superbike World Champion 2015
After finishing fourth in the first WorldSBK race at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) became the FIM Superbike World Champion for the first time in his career.
Born in Northern Ireland in 1987, Jonathan only joined the Kawasaki Racing Team for the 2015 season, after taking part in his first full WSB season in 2009.
He made an immediate impact on the Ninja ZX-10R in winter testing and won the first race of the year for Kawasaki, at Phillip Island on February 22nd. He won 12 of the first 20 races, and has not finished off the podium in any of them, before arriving in Spain to lift his crown.
A Q&A with Jonathan follows, below, plus some of his remarkable facts and statistics and comments from Kawasaki and his KRT team.
Q: What does it feel like, personally, to have a year like this, especially after having been in the championship for such a long time?
A press release on Jonathan Rea from the series organizer:
Jonathan Rea: 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Champion
An undeniable talent seals an indisputable world title.
The Pirelli Spanish Round has gone down in history as the WorldSBK race meeting at which Jonathan Rea was crowned World Champion of 2015. The British rider, standard bearer of the Kawasaki Racing Team, clinched the ultimate goal in Race 1 courtesy of his fourth position. He has been pursuing the title since his first full campaign in 2009.
Rea first mounted the all-conquering Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R at MotorLand Aragon on 17 November 2014, supported all the way by Team Manager and former rider Guim Roda. The Northern Irishman arrived in Malaysia at the start of August already with a mathematic chance of claiming the title, despite three rounds still remaining of the 13. After Race 1 at Jerez, he has now won 12 races this year and picked up 20 podium finishes from the first 21 races. He is chasing Doug Polen’s 1991 record of 17 race victories in one season, which can now only be equalled.
The temperature climbed to 29ºC, taking the track to a slow 43ºC.
With Jules Cluzel out of the race this weekend, it would fall to PJ Jacobsen to keep championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu in check.
Jonathan Rea needs a top ten place to secure the title, but can he manage that in the cool weather without his favourite SC2 front tyre?
With air temperatures of 31°C and track temperatures eleven degrees above that, Kenan Sofuoglu was clear favourite for pole position, especially as his main rival Jules Cluzel is out.
Superpole took place under a warm Spanish sky, the clouds doing nothing to lower the scorching temperature. Jordi Torres had the fastest time going into qualifying.
Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea led the untimed practice session with seven riders under four tenths of a second of the quickest lap.
Kenan Sofuoglu has over half a quarter of a second over all his rivals apart from PJ Jacobsen who is a quarter of a second off his time.
Jules Cluzel suffered a high speed crash in FP2 yesterday and has fractured the tibia and fibia of his left leg, ruling him out of contention this weekend and leaving the championship fight between Sofuoglu and Jacobsen.
Nico Terol replaces Cluzel on the MV Agusta.
In cooler weather, Jordi Torres took the top spot as all but three riders improved on their times from yesterday. Lorenzo Mercado and Michael Van Der Mark are the two favourites in Superpole One to progress to Superpole Two.
The top nine riders qualified within half a second of each other.
The warmer temperature slowed the session down, making it much slower than this morning, but Alex Lowes was able to master the hotter track and set the quickest time of the session ahead of Jonathan Rea and Jordi Torres.