World Superbikes

Surgery Season: Riders In Every Class Go Under The Knife In Preparation For 2017

If ever there was a time to be disabused of any notions of the glamorous life a professional motorcycle racer leads, the weeks immediately following the end of the racing season, after testing has been completed, is surely it. Riders around the world head into operating theaters and physical rehabilitation facilities to have more permanent fixes applied to the temporary patch up jobs done to allow them to keep racing during the season. 

Jerez Test Analysis: Would Jonathan Rea Really Beat The MotoGP Riders On His WorldSBK Kawasaki?

In a typically robust column written at the end of last week, David Miller, editor of Bikesportnews.com, suggested that the time which double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea had set on Thursday at the combined WorldSBK and MotoGP test at Jerez had made the MotoGP bikes look a bit silly. Rea had ended the day as the fastest rider on the day, setting a time of 1'38.721, nearly a quarter of a second faster than Alvaro Bautista, who was riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 at the track.

Rea had set the time on a modified version of a road bike, costing something in the region of €300,000, beating the satellite Ducatis (estimated lease price, just shy of €2 million), satellite Hondas (official lease price €2 million, actual cost to lease about 50% higher than that), and the factory Suzuki, KTM and Desmosedici GP17 ("I'm sorry sir, you'll have to put your checkbook away, this one isn't for sale").

Miller draws a number of conclusions from this, some sound, some based more on hyperbole than reality. The claim that MotoGP is no longer a prototype series is unfounded. MotoGP bikes (and their predecessors, the 500cc two strokes and four strokes from whence they came) have never been prototypes, as Grand Prix racing was hobbled by rules from the birth of the series in 1949. The ban on forced induction, imposed in the 1930s when the excess of horsepower made possible by supercharging far outweighed contemporary braking technology, was left in place.

Interview: Marco Melandri On His Return To World Superbikes

The return of Marco Melandri to WorldSBK in 2017 has been one of the biggest talking points in the series over the last few months. The Italian has won 19 races from 100 starts in the championship, and as a former 250GP world champion and 22 times Grand Prix winner his credentials are highly impressive.

The last two years have been a blot on his copybook however. Having enjoyed an exceptionally strong finish to the 2014 WorldSBK season Melandri looked well placed to finally win a second world title. Winning six races and finishing fourth in the standings looked to be a perfect springboard for a title run the following year.

Aprilia had other ideas, however, and with Melandri forced to race in MotoGP the relationship turned sour. The then 32 year old walked out of MotoGP and out of racing mid-season. In a forced retirement Melandri has had to keep busy and while he felt that he could still race at the front he sought other challenges including opening a shop with his sister.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

Jerez Test Friday Times: Pirro Fastest On Day Lost To Rain

The final day of testing at Jerez saw little testing happening, with most of the teams having packed up and headed home. The weather had given them little reason to stay: it was a rain-soaked day, with the weather getting worse in the afternoon. Only the factory Ducati World Superbike team, Ducati MotoGP test rider Michele Pirro, Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda, Yamaha World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark, KTM test rider Mika Kallio and Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama set a time, with Tsuda and Ducati's Chaz Davies putting in the most laps.

2017 WorldSBK Calendar Released: Portimao Returns, Jerez, Sepang Disappear

The provisional 2017 World Superbike calendar has been released, but unlike the MotoGP calendar, which is unchanged, there are a couple of minor differences to the schedule. The World Superbike class will contest 13 rounds, just as they did in 2016, spread across three continents. Sepang and Jerez have been dropped, and Portimao makes a comeback.

Jerez Test Thursday Times: Jonathan Rea Beats MotoGP Bikes

The fourth day of the Jerez combined MotoGP and WorldSBK test saw the World Superbike stars come to the fore. At the end of the day, it was Jonathan Rea who blew the field away, using a Pirelli qualifier to go faster than both WorldSBK and MotoGP riders alike. Rea had spent the early part of the day running a 20-lap race simulation, before chasing a fast lap to leave the test on later in the day.  

Jerez Test, Day 3: MotoGP versus WorldSBK

With MotoGP and WorldSBK sharing the track Jonathan Rea led the way for most of the day. We sought out three opinions on the differences between the bikes....

As the sun set on the third day of the Jonathan Rea hogged the limelight with the second fastest time of the day. With MotoGP bikes sharing the track with WorldSBK runners the big story was that Rea spent most of Wednesday leading the way.

The question in the aftermath however was how does this reflect on both championships?

Rea was a tenth of a second off the fastest time of the day set by Hector Barbera. The speed and performance of the Kawasaki rider was hugely impressive but is this a sign that the production bikes can hold their own or is it a fortuitous confluence of circumstances?

Jerez Test Wednesday Times: Barbera Fastest In MotoGP, Rea Dominates WorldSBK

Wednesday saw some MotoGP teams join an expanded World Superbike field at Jerez for the first day of combined testing, and the first day with official timing. With the weather much improved, it was a busy day with teams spending a lot of time on track.

At the end of the day, the Ducatis led the way in MotoGP, Hector Barbera and Loris Baz putting the Avintia team on top, ahead of the Aspar Team's Alvaro Bautista. Scott Redding ended up as fourth fastest, a thousandth of a second quicker than Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia.

Pages

Subscribe to World Superbikes