While the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes were circulating at Valencia, along with the Althea WSBK team, Ducati and Kawasaki wrapped up their test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in preparation for the 2015 World Superbike series. The two Ducati riders were once again fastest, building on the work from Monday, with Davide Giugliano topping the timesheets ahead of teammate Chaz Davies. Jonathan Rea managed to just pip his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes, an impressive enough performance on his first ride out on the ZX-10R, though reports from the track suggest Rea may have set his best time on qualifying tires.
All of the riders have a lot of work to do, with new technical regulations that restrict the tuning of the engines and limit electronics to a factory-supplied kit. Ducati has the least amount of work to do, the factory already having prepared for 2015 during the 2014 season, and having not to change much as a result. Kawasaki had more work on their hands, much of it falling on the shoulders of Tom Sykes, as Jonathan Rea's main objective at Aragon was simply learning his way around the bike. Also present at the track were a number of journalists and test riders, who got to ride both Tom Sykes' WSBK ZX-10R and the EVO spec Kawasaki ZX-10R with which David Salom took the 2014 EVO crown. Among those doing media laps were former Moto2 race winner Jordi Torres.
Below are press releases issued by Ducati and Kawasaki after the test:
The Ducati Superbike Team concludes its first winter test sessions today in Spain
Alcaniz (Spain), Tuesday 18 November 2014 – The Ducati Superbike Team and riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano have completed the first of a series of winter tests, which took place this week at the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragon, in mainly dry conditions and with very positive results.
The Ducati Superbike Team’s winter test schedule got started this week at Motorland Aragon. The team, also strengthened as a result of reconfirming both of its riders, Welshman Chaz Davies and Italian rider Davide Giugliano, was able to make the best possible start to its preparations for the new season. Work begins just two weeks after the final races of the 2014 season were held in Qatar.
Yesterday, in fairly cold conditions and on what was a damp track after overnight rain, the team focused on testing the new Panigale in its 2015 Superbike configuration, working with new electronics, new components and a new engine, that is closer to that of the production bike, in line with the 2015 regulation. In the afternoon, and on a dry track, both Davies and Giugliano completed approximately fifty laps, recording some very interesting lap times in the process.
Today, conditions allowed the team to work well with no interruptions to the programme. A great deal of important data was collated and the choices previously defined and tested by the development team were consolidated. The day concluded positively, with continuous improvement on the previous day’s performance in terms of lap times.
Winter testing will continue for the Ducati Superbike Team next week, with the Italian squad taking to the Spanish circuit of Jerez from the 26 to 28 November.
Quotes at the end of testing:
Chaz Davies - Ducati Superbike Team #7
“We’ve had two very positive days. This is the first time that I’m starting winter testing with the evolution of the the same bike with which I finished the season and this is important in terms of continuity in our work. The approach with the new bike has been very easy because the sensations are very similar to those I had with the bike I rode in Qatar. We’ve carried out some tests to confirm some of the solutions used during this season and the new components introduced on the 2015 bike have given us some very clear and positive feedback. The new electronics are working well and the new engine behaves in a fluid, linear way. I’ve had fun and look forward to getting back on the bike next week.”
Davide Giugliano – Ducati Superbike Team #34
“It’s all gone very well, we’ve tried many different things, all of which have led to improvements in areas where we needed them. I’m very pleased with the 2015 package because as soon as I got on the bike I felt comfortable, and we were able to concentrate on set-up and the testing of new components right away. Going fast at Aragon is very important to me because it’s a track that has always given me problems. We still have to work on pace which is the most critical aspect for me, but already over these two days we’ve seen that I was able to lap consistently fast with used tyres. This is very positive as we look ahead to next week’s tests at Jerez.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“The first test in preparation for the 2015 season has been a positive one and I’m pleased that the configuration defined during the latest development tests in September and October has been supported by Chaz and Davide, who have confirmed the chosen solutions. We’ve still got a lot of work to do but the stopwatch tells us that we’re on the right path and rewards the huge amount of work put in both at home and on the track during the season. Aragon and Jerez are two very different tracks so it will be important to consolidate the information and results collated here when we get to Jerez next week, so that we can be confident when we resume in January.”
Motorland Winter Test Wraps Up For KRT
The new-look Kawasaki Racing Team of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea completed their first winter test in preparation for the 2015 season with two days of action at Motorland Aragon in Spain, on 17 and 18 November. It was the first chance for Jonathan Rea to ride the Ninja ZX-10R after he was recently confirmed in the KRT team for 2015.
With several technical changes about to be introduced to the FIM Superbike World Championship next year the team worked on the many modifications to the Ninja ZX-10R, which include lower levels of engine tuning and fewer areas of machine adjustability than in 2014.
For the first time the riders used the MotoGP version of the Motorland Aragon circuit, rather than the more familiar SBK layout. Despite losing track time on day one after a rainy start each rider completed a high number of laps, with Sykes posting just over 100 and Rea around 80.
Neither rider was concentrating on lap times at this early stage but Rea made a best lap time of 1’51.1 on Motorland’s MotoGP layout, which will be used by the WSB class in 2015. Sykes set a best of 1’51.2 on a medium compound tyre choice, which he used all through this shakedown test for reasons of consistency and repeatability.
Next up for the KRT squad is more track evaluation of the 2015 equipment, this time at Jerez - the other Spanish circuit to have been recently confirmed on the 2015 WSBK race calendar. There will be two two-day sessions for tom and Jonathan at Jerez; 24 and 25 November and then 27 an 28 November.
Tom Sykes: “As we all know there are a lot of new technical regulations for 2015 and as soon as I left pitlane on day one I knew that we have a lot of work to do. I changed my mindset after that because we had a big list of things to try, plus some requests from KHI. We never got the chance to find a perfect package so we just focused more on race pace and evaluating things. We found a set-up and worked through the list of items to test. My approach was to find out where we are right now and what we need to do to get faster. I was also working on my riding style on the new set-up because in some ways it was ground zero at this test. We will work with a strong sense of the development direction we should take to arrive at the first round in Australia in a good place.”
Marcel Duinker, Tom Sykes’ Crew Chief said: “The new regulations mean that the bike is very different. If you have been working so hard on the previous bike and been so successful it is quite a shock when you have to almost start from scratch because the new rules give us quite a few limitations. Tom set a 1’51.2 lap and did 101 laps in total despite losing track time on day one due to rain. We started on a medium compound race tyre and stayed with that compound each day. This was so that we were able to make a proper comparison because we used a lot of new material. At the next test in Jerez we still have quite a lot of things to test and we were just a bit limited in time here. We need to find our set up and because the new rules are so different we need more time to discover our performance.”
Pere Riba, Jonathan Rea’s Crew Chief said: “I feel quite positive about this first test. We used our new bike to suit the 2015 rules for the first time and at the same time we have a new rider in Jonathan Rea. On the first day it was raining in the morning but then it was a good day of testing because we started to understand what Jonathan needed. He is a very good rider, very professional and the information we received is really good. It helps us to understand which direction we needed to go in to develop the bike. Jonathan did around 40 laps each day. It was a first test so we had to look for the base setting for the rider and the machine. That meant we spent quite a lot of time in the pit box making changes, but it worked out positively.”