Press releases from some of the WorldSBK teams after the Jerez test:
KRT Duo Light Up Jerez Tests
KRT’s official WorldSBK championship riders Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea played a leading part in a two day test session at Jerez in Spain, between 23rd and 24th January. Sykes set the fastest time of all with Rea just behind in the final rankings.
With the holiday season receding into the rear view mirror, that means that we are getting closer to seeing bikes on tracks. Testing starts this week for both the MotoGP and WorldSBK paddocks, and before testing, the Movistar Yamaha team will present their 2018 livery later on this week as well.
The action starts on Tuesday in Jerez, where virtually the entire WorldSBK paddock is gathered for a two-day test. The Andalusian track will see the first real test of the 2018 WorldSBK machines, with the teams all having had the winter break to develop their bikes under the new technical regulations - new rev limits, and better access to cheaper parts.
All eyes will once again be on triple and reigning WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea, the man who dominated at Jerez in November. Rea was seemingly unaffected by the new rule changes, saying less top end merely made the bike easier for him to ride. Teammate Tom Sykes will be hoping to match Rea's pace, and adapt to the new character of the bike.
Having claimed an unprecedented third title in a row WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea looks back on an action packed year
Jonathan Rea wrapped up a third world title in 2017 and on the final day of winter testing the Northern Irishman sat down with the us to reveal all.
Having become the first rider in history to win three consecutive WorldSBK titles Rea was honored by the Queen mid-season and made an MBE. Receiving his award in London from Prince William would be the start of a whirlwind tour for the champion. From Jerez to London to Andorra for the FIM Gala, to Japan for Kawasaki duties, the off-season is busier than the WorldSBK season but Rea is grateful for everything he receives.
“It's been incredible and honestly I don't have words to describe how I feel,” said Rea. “It's amazing to be able to go to London and receive my MBE. It's something that I can't believe has happened and it's only starting to sink in what we've been able to achieve together. I was looking back this week and it feels like it's only recently that I was a kid with a dream and wanting to be in the world championship. To have the success of the last three years has been beyond my wildest dreams.”
The start of December marks the beginning of what is rapidly becoming a tradition in the world of motorcycle racing. After the Jerez test in late November, it is now "Why Is Jonathan Rea Faster Than A MotoGP Bike" season. At Jerez, Rea pushed his Kawasaki ZX-10R WorldSBK machine – down 35+ bhp and up 10+ kg – to the fourth fastest overall time of the week, ahead of eleven MotoGP regulars (including two rookies), three MotoGP test riders and Alex Márquez, who the Marc VDS team were using to train up the new crew recruited to look after Tom Luthi's side of the garage while the Swiss rider is still injured.
How is this possible? And what does this mean? Are WorldSBK machines too close to MotoGP bikes? Why are MotoGP manufacturers spending ten times as much to be shown up at a test by Jonathan Rea? And why, for the sake of all that is holy, does Jonathan Rea not have a MotoGP ride?
The answer to all but the last of those questions is buried away in the bigger picture of the laps posted throughout the week. When you examine the numbers, the picture is a lot more complex than the headline times seem to suggest. Tires, temperature, and track all play a part. But all of that can't disguise a rather outsize dose of talent.
Many Britons wonder why British riders do so well in WSB and not so well in MotoGP. It’s a long story, says Mat Oxley…
Congratulations are due to Jonathan Rea; heaps of congratulations: his MotoGP-beating lap time at Jerez last week, his history-making third consecutive World Superbike title, his record-breaking points haul, his MBE, his BBC Sports Personality of the Year nomination and much, much more. All richly deserved by a great talent riding at his peak.
But as for all the WSB versus MotoGP talk of recent days – following last week’s combined WSB/MotoGP tests at Jerez – it’s just hypothetical barroom banter. Sam Lowes knows this better than most, having competed in WSB, MotoGP, World Supersport and Moto2. On Saturday he tweeted, “Stupid all the talk about WSB and MotoGP at Jerez. Means nothing. Lots of awesome riders on awesome bikes. Different tyres. Impossible comparison.”
Just like last November, when Rea also topped the Jerez tests, social media has been buzzing with the Northern Irishman’s performance; with many wondering why he hasn’t been signed by a MotoGP team.
It has been a very busy track at Jerez, with a total of 27 bikes on track at some point or other on Wednesday, with a good mixture of MotoGP, WorldSBK, and the Honda Racing BSB team of Jason O'Halloran and Dan Linfoot. What the first day of testing showed is that the WorldSBK bikes are almost as fast as a MotoGP machine – or at least, a Kawasaki is, shod with qualifiers and ridden with sufficient attitude by Tom Sykes in this case – and that the new surface means the track is a good deal quicker than it was when the MotoGP race was held here back in May. Full times are here.
As it is a private test, there is very little official communication from the teams, despite the fact that a group of journalists – including myself – is here in the paddock. KTM and Suzuki have been forthcoming and helpful, Ducati are cagey, Aprilia don't have much to test, and Honda are secretive – and all of the work is currently falling on Cal Crutchlow's shoulders, as the Repsol Honda team are saving their test days for next year. Honda are not as secretive as Yamaha, however, who are holding their private test over in Sepang, under a virtual media blackout. All we know about that is that Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Johann Zarco, and Kohta Nozane will be on the bike, as Jonas Folger is still not fit enough to be riding.
When the 2018 WorldSBK season begins, Jonathan Rea will face arguably the biggest test of his reign as the series champion. He spoke to us about the changes
Three years of unparalleled success have seen Jonathan Rea notch up 39 victories, 70 podiums and three WorldSBK titles. To put those numbers into context, only Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss, and Nori Haga have won more races in their WorldSBK careers. It truly has been a historic run of form for Rea and Kawasaki.
For WorldSBK, though, the achievements have been outweighed by the reaction of fans to these results. Feeling that significant changes were needed to ensure a more competitive balance for the field, they have introduced a wide range of new regulations to curtail the Kawasaki dominance. The goal isn't to stop Rea and Kawasaki winning but simply to allow other manufacturers to get on an even keel.
Press releases from the WorldSBK series organizers and teams after the final race of the year at Qatar: