Jonathan Rea has topped the final World Superbike test of the 2017 preseason, a few days before the season kicks off in earnest at Phillip Island. The reigning champion was fastest in the morning session, though he had to cede top spot to Marco Melandri in the afternoon. But the Kawasaki man had gone fast enough in the morning to just edge the Ducati of Melandri, and end the test as fastest overall.
Kenan Sofuoglu's World Supersport title defense is off to a rough start. The Kawasaki rider has been forced to withdraw from the first two rounds of the 2017 season to have surgery to fix a hand injury he suffered in a training crash.
After three glorious days for MotoGP testing, the weather at Phillip Island has taken a turn for the worse. The first day of the final two-day test for the WorldSBK series ahead of this weekend's opener was hampered by strong winds and intermittent showers, wreaking havoc on the teams' testing programs.
The 2017 WorldSBK calendar is close to being finalized. When it was announced at the combined WorldSBK/MotoGP test in November of last year, the calendar featured thirteen rounds of racing, only twelve of which had been confirmed. The missing round, many present at the test felt, was a Jerez-shaped hole waiting to be filled. Now, MotoMatters.com has learned, the penultimate round of World Superbikes will indeed take place at Jerez.
Chaz Davies has ended the Portimao WorldSBK test on top of the timesheets, the factory Ducati rider quickest on both days of the test. Behind Davies, the field got an interesting shake up, with the Milwaukee Aprilias making a big step forward. After a tough couple of tests, Eugene Laverty made a major step forward with the RSV4, managing a quick pace on both race and qualifying tires. Teammate Lorenzo Savadori was third, just a fraction behind his teammate.
World Superbike testing continues, this time at the spectacular Portimao circuit in Portugal. With the Kawasakis absent, Chaz Davies topped the timesheets, heading up Eugene Laverty on the Milwaukee Aprilia and Davies' Ducati teammate Marco Melandri. Pata Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark set the second fastest time, but the Yamahas rode without a transponder, and their times were unofficially released by the teams to Speedweek.com.
Press releases from some of the WorldSBK teams after the first test of 2017 at Jerez:
Strong Restart For KRT After Two Days On Track At Jerez
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes made a positive start to their 2017 championship preparations on the new Ninja ZX-10RR during a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with Rea going fastest of all and Sykes placing third
The 2017 season is now officially underway, as bikes roll back out for testing. First up are the denizens of the WorldSBK series, with most of the major teams getting underway at a sunny but not especially warm Jerez de la Frontera circuit. A good selection of teams are present, including the Kawaski, Honda, Yamaha, Ducati factory teams, the Milwaukee Aprilia squad - now resplendent in their official 2017 colors - the Althea BSB team, and Puccetti Kawasaki.
We have had a lot of people asking us over the past few weeks whether we will be producing our usual 2017 MotoMatters.com Motorcycle Racing Calendar. The good news is that the answer is yes, we will. The bad news is that we are running badly behind in production, meaning it will not be ready in time for Christmas.
The current plan is for printing to start in the next few days, but that will probably mean it will not be ready to be shipped in time for Christmas. We do hope to be able to ship in time for the start of the new year. As soon as we have a production date, we shall put the calendar on sale on the website.
The Superbike Commission, governing body for the WorldSBK series, met at Madrid to introduce a number of changes to the rules for the World Superbike and World Supersport championships for 2017. There were some minor changes to the sporting regulations, as well as a couple of tweaks to the technical regulations. But there were also two major changes which will have a significant impact for next season and beyond.
The biggest change is also the most surprising and the least comprehensible. There is to be a major shake up in the way the grid for the second World Superbike race is set. The Superpole session run on Saturday morning will continue to set the grid for Race 1. The grid for Race 2, however, will be partially set by the results of Race 1, using a slightly complex formula.