Honda today released the following press release, confirming PJ Jacobsen as their rider in the World Supersport championship:
Press releases from the World Superbike teams who tested at Jerez:
If the first day of the combined WSBK test was hampered by a wet track at the start, on Wednesday, it was fog which delayed the action. The fog blanketed the track at 10am, when the track was due to open, but it lifted quickly in the warmth of the Andalusian sun. An extra ten minutes was tacked on to the end of the day, to compensate for the loss of the hour or so in the morning.
It may have been a different day, but the timesheets still had the same leader. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes continued to dominate the timesheets, becoming the first WSBK rider to lap the track in under 1'40, posting a lap of 1'39.924, three tenths under the pole record at the track. The two factory Aruba.it Ducatis were close behind, Davide Giuliano impressing with a 1'40.047, Chaz Davies finishing third six hundredths of a second slower than his teammate.
Nicky Hayden's adaptation to WSBK is progressing well, the American beating his Ten Kate Honda teammate by under a tenth of a second and finishing with the fourth fastest time. Michael van der Mark was fifth, ahead of Xavi Fores on the Barni Racing Ducati. Jonathan Rea was uncharacteristically slow, ending the day in seventh without ever chasing a really hot lap. The Kawasaki man ended just ahead of the Pata Yamaha of Sylvain Guintoli, Alex Lowes considerably slower, still struggling with a shoulder injury.
Tom Sykes was the fastest man after the first day of the group test for World Superbike series, lapping well under the race lap record set by teammate Jonathan Rea here last September. The Kawasaki riders showed that the ZX-10R is already an extremely competitive machine, needing only some minor fettling to get it ready for 2016.
Chaz Davies took second place, just over a tenth behind Rea, the Aruba.it Ducati man benefiting from a couple of days test at Portimao last week, and already up to speed. Davies ended over a tenth ahead of reigning world champion Jonathan Rea, the second Kawasaki man nearly a third of a second off the pace of his teammate. Nicky Hayden showed he is making the transition to the World Superbike series extremely well, not far off the pace of Rea and even heading the timesheets at one point. Hayden and Ten Kate Honda teammate Michael van der Mark put in a lot of laps on Tuesday, and were out early on when the track was still drying.
Alex Lowes was fifth fastest on the Yamaha YZF-R1, despite still lacking strength in his shoulder from a crash at the end of last year. The Pata Yamaha team still have plenty of work to do, but the pace of the new Yamaha is already promising. Teammate Sylvain Guintoli was not quite so fast, ending the day in 9th.
The World Superbike championship is to undergo a radical shake up. Today, the Superbike Commission, WSBK's rule-making body, announced two major changes aimed at improving the health of the series.
The first change is the most noticeable. As predicted when the 2016 WSBK Calendar was published, World Superbike races are to be held on both Saturdays and Sundays, with Race 1 being held on Saturday, Race 2 on Sunday. This means that Superpole has now been moved to Saturday morning, rather than the afternoon.
The move, the Superbike Commission says, is to provide a fuller experience for fans at a WSBK weekend. The move has been made after consultation with the teams, TV broadcasters and with circuit owners, which produced positive feedback. How fans will react remains to be seen: the AMA ran races on Saturday and Sunday during the DMG era, which met with a mixed reception, but that era in the US was so tainted by the DMG it is hard to know whether the issue was with the format or much wider.
Testing has finished at last at Jerez, with the onset of the winter test ban for both MotoGP and World Superbike teams. The final day of testing for the World Superbike squads ended as it had been all week, with the Kawasaki pair on top of the timesheets, and both men breathtakingly fast once the teams broke out the qualifying tires. It was Tom Sykes who walked away as fastest, the Yorkshireman obliterating the official Superpole record by just shy of a whole second. Sykes' fast lap left Jonathan Rea in second, though he was also no slouch. Rea ended eight tenths faster than the Superpole record. There is a chance he could have gone faster, but a crash in the afternoon put an end to his day's testing.
Xavi Fores made an impressive debut as a full time WSBK rider, ending the test as third fastest on the Barni Ducati, eight tenths behind Sykes but still well under the existing Superpole record, as was Nicky Hayden. The Ten Kate Honda rider made a strong impression on his second test on the Honda CBR1000RR, adapting well to the Pirellis and riding a production bike again. Hayden ended well ahead of Chaz Davies, the first of the factory Aruba.it Ducati riders, while Davide Giugliano made good progress on his return from a long layoff from injury. Leon Camier was the last of the WSBK riders, working on major electronics updates for the MV Agusta F4.
Testing continued for the fourth day at Jerez, the track getting busier than ever as more and more riders joined the fray. Once again, only the World Superbike riders had transponders, the MotoGP teams electing to keep their times private.
The Kawasaki pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea returned to action after a day off on Wednesday, and were once again the fastest of the WSBK riders. Sykes took top honors on Thursday, finishing just ahead of his teammate Rea, the difference just one hundredth of a second. Chaz Davies made a big step forward on the Aruba.it Ducati, improving his time by nearly three quarters of a second, and ending half a second off the pace of Sykes. Nicky Hayden was the sole Honda representative, teammate Michael van der Mark having gone home with problems in his arm, and Hayden too improved, half a second quicker than Wednesday and within seven tenths of Sykes' time. He finished ahead of the other two Ducatis of Xavi Fores and Davide Giugliano, as well as in front of the MV Agusta of Leon Camier.
There were a couple of crashes on Thursday as well, with Ducati test rider Michele Pirro falling heavily but walking away relatively unhurt. Less luck for Eugene Laverty, though, the Aspar Ducati rider crashing and fracturing his arm in the fall.
Testing concludes on Friday.
Times from Thursday at Jerez:
The third day of the combined World Superbike and MotoGP test at Jerez saw a lot more action on track at the Spanish circuit, as some teams left and several more arrived to start testing. The BMW Althea and Kawasaki teams were the absentees, while the Ten Kate Honda teams, Barni Ducati and Aruba.it Ducati teams, Leon Camier at MV Agusta, and the Crescent Yamaha World squad all joined the World Superbike fray. The Repsol Honda and Gresini Aprilia teams were both out with their official MotoGP riders, while Michele Pirro was on testing duties for Ducati. The Aspar Ducati team were also circulating, with Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernandez out working on the GP14.2.
Despite the (relatively) heavy traffic on track, the timing sheets remained relatively empty. Only the Ten Kate Hondas, the Ducati Panigales and Leon Camier's MV Agusta F4 were fitted with transponders relaying official timing back to the circuit systems. The Yamahas of Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli, as well as all of the MotoGP bikes, were out without any official timing, and so no lap times were reported.
Reigning World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea has once again topped the timesheets on the second day of the combined WSBK/World Supersport test at Jerez, the Kawasaki man putting in a scorching lap at the end of the day to assert his authority, demoting his teammate Tom Sykes into second spot, over a third of a second behind him. Sykes was hampered by a small crash in the Michelin corner, and was unable to improve his time at the end. German IDM Superbike champion Markus Reiterberger set a very impressive pace, ending his second day with the Althea BMW team just two hundredths of a second slower than the 2013 WSBK champ Sykes, and nearly half a second faster than his teammate Jordi Torres. Reiterberger still has a lot to learn in World Superbikes, the IDM technical rules a lot more restrictive than those in WSBK.
James Ellison improved his time from Monday by over half a second, the BSB rider joined by his GBMoto teammate Peter Hickman. Hickman's times were nowhere near that of Ellison's, but given that Hickman is fresh off the plane from Macau, where he won his first Macau GP, that is hardly surprising.
Monday saw the first day of a week of action for various classes at Jerez, with testing scheduled for the Kawasaki, Yamaha and Ducati World Superbike teams, as well as Ducati, Aprilia and Honda's MotoGP teams later in the week.
For the first day of action, the Kawasaki World Superbike and World Supersport teams were joined by the Althea BMW squad, MV Agusta's WSS effort, and James Ellison of the BSB GBMoto squad. Jonathan Rea ended the day as the fastest man, a little way off the Superpole time from the race in September, just beating out his teammate Tom Sykes at the end of the session. The two Kawasakis swapped fastest times at the end, Rea prevailing at the flag. Althea made their debut on BMW S1000RRs, German IDM champion Markus Reiterberger making an impressive test debut, finishing ahead of his new teammate Jordi Torres. BSB rider James Ellison was the slowest of the Kawasakis, his lower spec BSB ZX-10R 1.6 seconds off the pace of Rea's WSBK machine.
Kenan Sofuoglu was the fastest World Supersport rider, his countryman and Superstock 600 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu a second behind him. Razgatlioglu is making the switch to the Superstock 1000 class for 2016. Randy Krummenacher made his World Supersport debut at Jerez, ending the first day 1.6 seconds behind Sofuoglu.
The FIM today announced a radical shake up of the World Supersport series. In an attempt to cut costs, the technical rules are to be changed to bring them in line with the rules used in most major national championships. Those rules are generally much closer to the existing Superstock regulations, though with a little more freedom to make modifications.
The goal of the change is twofold. Firstly, to cut the costs of being competitive. History has shown that this aim is always very hard to achieve, with teams finding a way to spend the money they get in sponsorship. The second aim is to make the championship broader, and attract more wildcards at local rounds. This is a much more reasonable goal, and the fact that wildcard riders will be able to enter on the bike they have spent all season racing on in their national championships should make it easier for them to get up to speed and challenge the established riders for podiums and wins.
With the Supersport rules being revised to bring the technical level of the bikes to a lower spec, the Superstock 600 class is to be scrapped. Instead, a separate category is to be created inside the World Supersport class, open only to riders racing in the European rounds.
The press release from the WSBK press office, containing further details, appears below:
Since Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari was arrested on charges of corruption, money laundering and tax evasion earlier this year, the team's places in MotoGP have been in jeopardy. Yamaha immediately stopped its support for the team, meaning that Forward did not have bikes for the 2016 MotoGP season. After his release from arrest, and, according to his lawyer, the dropping of the charges of corruption, Cuzari was confident he would be allowed back on to the MotoGP grid, and was in talks with both Aprilia and Ducati for the supply of bikes. His fate, Cuzari told us at Misano, was in the hands of Carmelo Ezpeleta.
The head of Dorna appears to have decided that Forward Racing's future does not lie in the premier class, at least for the foreseeable future. Today, Forward Racing announced they will not be racing in MotoGP, but will be turning their focus towards the World Superbike championship. Forward will be working with MV Agusta to assist with their World Superbike and World Supersport efforts from 2016. Cuzari has been appointed Team Principal for the team, and given responsibility for MV Agusta's racing department.
Press releases from the series organizers and teams after the final round of World Superbikes at Qatar:
The last race of the season was fifteen floodlit laps.
After a red flag fron an early spill before anyone recorded a lap, the restarted 42 minute session would finally see Cal Crutchlow's 2009 lap record fall.