World Superbikes

Barcelona WorldSBK Test Day 2 Times: Rea And Redding Battle It Out For Top Spot

Jonathan Rea has ended the Barcelona WorldSBK test at the top of the timesheets, after a battle of wills with Ducati's Scott Redding. The pair chased each other to impressive heights during the morning session, throwing new tires at fast times until Redding decided that focusing on used tires was a more productive use of his time than continuing to chase Rea's fast time. "It was fun, it was spicing up the day, but I said, OK, one of us is going to end up with a big crash, because we keep going faster and faster and faster!" Redding commented afterwards.

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Barcelona WorldSBK Test Day 1 Times: Redding Leads Rea, As Baz Is Fastest Yamaha

Testing is underway again for the WorldSBK series, with the main protagonists assembled at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona. Scott Redding ended the day as fastest, the Aruba.it Ducati rider getting up to speed quickly again, finishing nearly two tenths faster than reigning champion Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki.

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The Whys And Wherefores Of Van der Mark's Decision To Leave Yamaha

Michael van der Mark at the 2019 WorldSBK round at Assen - Photo by Tony Goldsmith

The WorldSBK rumour mill spun into action by the news that Michael van der Mark would leave Yamaha at the end of this season. The Dutchman has enjoyed a very successful three seasons with the Crescent Racing-run operation, and there’s little to suggest that he won’t be winning races this year.

The news was first broken by Speedweek, with Ivo Schutzbach reporting that Van der Mark would switch to BMW. The website has always had their finger on the pulse of what’s happening at BMW, so it would be little surprise if this rumour turns into fact very soon. The news, though, is still a surprise.

How did it all come to this?

Van der Mark and Yamaha had seemed like a perfect match for much of their time together. The 2014 Supersport World Champion arrived and formed one of the strongest line-ups in WorldSBK when he was paired with Alex Lowes. There was little friction between the two, and their relationship grew into one of great respect and, as much as is possible in racing, friendship.

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Michael van der Mark To Leave Yamaha WorldSBK Team At The End Of 2020

Yamaha have announced that Michael van der Mark will be leaving their WorldSBK team at the end of the 2020 WorldSBK season. After what will be four seasons with the Pata Yamaha squad, the 27-year-old Dutchman has decided to leave for pastures new.

There is as yet no confirmation of where Van der Mark is heading, but reports on Speedweek suggest his destination is likely to be BMW. With Kawasaki already having signed Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, and little interest from either Ducati or Honda, BMW is the obvious choice.

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Misano Private Test: Aleix Espargaro Fastest On Final Day, Redding Smashes WorldSBK Record

Testing has concluded at the Misano private test, with a few changes to the riders present on Thursday. KTM skipped the final day, while a group of WorldSSP riders entered the fray.

Aleix Espargaro was the fastest rider on the final day, getting to within a couple of hundredths of Miguel Oliveira's best time from the day before, demonstrating the potential of the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP. Espargaro was happy with both the speed and the pace of the bike, though the reliability of the bike remains a question mark, which will only be removed once the racing begins. The Aprilias were the lone MotoGP bikes on track on Thursday.

Bradley Smith closed the gap to the front by half a second, the Englishman preparing to take the place of Andrea Iannone for the first races of 2020, while the Italian is waiting for his appeal against a doping ban to be heard.

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Misano Private Test: Oliveira Fastest After Two Days, Aprilia And Ducati Test New Aero

It has been a busy couple of days at Misano, with the KTM and Aprilia MotoGP teams, and test teams from Suzuki and Ducati, joined by WorldSBK representatives from the KRT Kawasaki squad, and a small army of Ducati teams. The MotoGP and WorldSBK riders have been able to try out the new asphalt at Misano in the blistering heat of an Italian summer.

Miguel Oliviera is fastest after the first two days, the Red Bull Tech3 rider just a couple of tenths faster on Wednesday than Pol Espargaro had been on Tuesday. Oliveira's best time of 1'32.9 is two thirds of a second off Maverick Viñales' pole time set last September, two tenths off the outright race lap record set by Andrea Dovizioso in 2018, and 1.3 seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo's pole record from the same year.

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MotoGP And WorldSBK Back On Track: Three Days Of Testing At Misano

World championship motorcycle racing takes another step back to the season returning at Misano. The next three days sees both MotoGP and WorldSBK teams testing at the Italian circuit, preparing for the resumption of hostilities at Jerez in July and August.

Present are the MotoGP teams of KTM and Aprilia, allowed extra testing due to their status as concessions teams. Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith are riding for Aprilia, the second test for the Italian factory. Espargaro was forced to miss the first test, unable to travel to Misano, and so waited for this test to get back on track, as he explained to Tammy Gorali in an interview a week ago. He joins Bradley Smith, promoted from test rider to permanent rider for 2020, to replace Andrea Iannone, still suspended after a positive doping test.

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