Jonathan Rea leaves the Motorland Aragon circuit as the fastest man from the two-day World Superbike test at the circuit. Rea spent the day working on the engine management and electronics. The 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R has shown itself to be a powerful machine, but the acceleration is not as easy to manage as the 2015 bike. Rea's Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes also lapped Aragon on Tuesday, after choosing to sit out the first day of the two-day test due to the weather conditions.
Nicky Hayden turned his first official laps as a World Superbike rider on Monday, putting the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR through its paces for the first time. The test did not get off to a particularly auspicious start, the day delayed by a wet track and thick fog, which took a long time to clear. Nevertheless, Hayden took his first laps shortly before one, to try to get a feel for the bike. The first exit was on wet tires, the track still damp, and there was no serious action on the circuit until late in the afternoon, when the sun finally broke through the clouds.
Testing for the 2016 World Superbike is underway, with Kawasaki and Crescent - now switched from Suzuki to Yamaha - taking to the track at Jerez for a two-day test starting Tuesday. The test marks Yamaha's return to World Superbikes for the first time since their departure at the end of 2011.
The press releases issued by Kawasaki and Yamaha appear below:
Yamaha WSBK Returns to the Track with Lowes and Guintoli
Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the final round of World Superbikes at Qatar:
Maiden win for Torres in Race 1 after spectacular battle with Rea
The Spaniard ends Great Britain's winning streak as Sykes claims final podium place.
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.
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.
Press release previews from the series organizer and teams ahead of the Jerez round of World Superbikes:
#JerezWorldSBK poised to crown a new Champion
Rea only needs a top 10 finish in Race 1 to clinch the title at the Pirelli Spanish Round.
Jonathan Rea is just six points away from the ultimate goal in WorldSBK: the eni FIM Superbike World Championship title of 2015.
Previews of this weekend's upcoming World Superbike round at Sepang from the series organizers and the teams:
World Superbike heads to Malaysia for Round 10
Sepang International Circuit stages the Pirelli Malaysian Round.
For the second time in its history, the Sepang International Circuit is all-set to host a round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. Just a stone’s throw from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the venue first featured on the calendar last year. It now returns two months later in the year than it did in 2014.
Once upon a time, the Suzuka 8 Hour race was a big deal. A very big deal. It was the race the Japanese factories sent their very best riders to compete in, the event often being written into the contracts of the top Grand Prix and World Superbike riders as part of their factory deals. The list of big names to win the race is impressive. Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Daryl Beattie, Aaron Slight, Doug Polen, Scott Russell, Noriyuki Haga, Colin Edwards, Daijiro Kato, Alex Barros, Shinichi Itoh, Tohru Ukawa, Taddy Okada. And of course Valentino Rossi. There, they faced the very best of the Japanese Superbike riders, as well as the regulars from the World Endurance Championship, of which it forms a part.
It may have been an honor to have been asked to do the race, but the GP riders were far from keen. Held in July, the race fell right in the middle of the Grand Prix season. Racing in the event meant multiple flights to Japan for testing and practice, then the grueling race itself in the oppressive heat and humidity of a Japanese summer. It meant doing the equivalent of four Grand Prix in the space of eight hours, then rushing home to get ready for the next race. The best case scenario meant they started the next Grand Prix event tired and aching from Suzuka. The worst case was a crash and an injury that either kept them off the bike or left them riding hurt. The only benefit was that it kept the factories happy, and marginally increased a rider's chances of extending his contract with the manufacturer for a following season.
Gradually, the race fell out of favor, and more and more riders had clauses added to their contract specifically excluding them from being forced to race at Suzuka. Mick Doohan was one of the early absentees. Valentino Rossi did it twice, won it the second time around, and swore never to race at the event again. It was simply too demanding for a rider chancing a championship. In the early years of this century, the race languished in relative obscurity. The name of the event still echoed in the collective memory of race fans, but it passed without much comment. Except in Japan, where it remained the pinnacle of the JSB season, and the battleground for the Japanese manufacturers.