2017 January WorldSBK Test Press Releases

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

Two-time champion Rea set a lap of 1’39.809 on the final afternoon, after also posting the fastest lap on the opening day. His eventual leading time was achieved with a standard race tyre fitted front and rear, as he wanted to concentrate on a race set-up only at this stage.

2013 world champion Sykes finished his two-day test with a 1’40.219 best lap for third best lap time of the entire test sessions. He also used a race tyre combination to set his quickest time.

Both Rea and Sykes experienced crashes on day two but came back with determination to complete their programme of work and improve their individual performance.

This test was used partly to underline which material and components they will use to take on the challenge of the first two rounds of the season in Australia and Thailand, and to evaluate some development parts, especially in terms of suspension.

The dry weather conditions that favoured both days of track action at Jerez allowed the KRT duo to make consistent progress in many areas, with one more Jerez test session in Europe to complete before the last pre-race outing – the official organisers’ tests at Phillip Island – between 20th and 21st February.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is nice to set such a good lap time at this time of the year but it is testing and I have never been the best guy for one lap. We have been able to make many fast laps in these winter tests, however, and we have found a bike set-up that has been working well. The grip level at this test was a little bit lower than in November but we have been able to find consistency as well. With the different character on the track we have been able to evaluate different rear shocks. Showa have been working so hard and I am really impressed. I felt my own ‘bike fitness’ was not great as I have been off the race bike for so many weeks now. I am looking forward to the next test to try and do a lot of laps. I need some more mileage to feel like I did during the season last year.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I am happy enough even though I suffered with my neck all day today after a crash, while I was riding the bike at least. That took the edge off me a bit but we still did a lot of things with the bike and tried a lot of different set-ups. Jerez is not my strongest circuit anyway but thanks to Marcel, Danilo and all the boys we finished the day very happy. I feel all the information we have from today means we will be strong. We were able to make real progress. We are still struggling in some areas but we will keep working and I feel we are putting in enough laps and mileage during testing to build ourselves a stronger package for Phillip Island and round one.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Jonathan’s best time was done with standard race tyres. This afternoon we made a small change with the balance of the bike, to make things more sharp and to concentrate on finding a lap time. We also found some good things with the electronics so Jonathan felt good with the bike. We decided not to put in a qualifying rear tyre as there was no point. We know if he had put in a qualifier he would be faster. I was happy on the first day that the track did not have fantastic grip yet because it is better to work in those conditions to understand the bike. When you have good grip almost everything you test feels good. We have to understand the best way possible with low grip and high grip so this test was very positive.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Tom Sykes, stated: “We continued our test schedule from where we finished last November at Jerez. It was not the perfect test back then but we continued well here; we made a good step forward. We know the regulation change from 2016 to 2017 means we have to adapt the bike set-up as well as we can. Then it is up to the rider, but we made some fundamental tests regarding new parts and today we put all the good things together. At the end of the day Tom was fairly happy with his speed and consistency. We made a good step and we will continue next week in testing. I am sure after the second day of those tests we will be ready to move to Phillip Island for the first race.”

Milwaukee Aprilia have completed two days of testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain, finishing the day in 2nd place

As the team continues to make progress with the new generation of Aprilia RSV4 RF, the test focused on setup and verification of 2017 development parts ahead of further testing at Portimao later this week.

Lorenzo Savadori, entering his second WorldSBK season, finished the day's running with a fantastic 2nd place just over 0.111s shy of the top. As he continues to hone the new Aprilia RSV4 RF to his style, the team are hoping to carry on the fast pace found today.

Rider Eugene Laverty was hit by another rider on the entry into Turn 1, resulting in a crash which finished his test early. Eugene will focus on recovery for the Portimao test this weekend.

Team Manager Mick Shanley:

"It was a very bittersweet day for us in a way. Lorenzo is adapting really well to the team and to the 2017 RSV4 RF. We've worked through a lot of things with him so far and to finish second today is a really good result. He's achieved his personal best times here this week, and we've got a few new things for him to try.

Eugene struggled with some chatter during the course of the day and we've been working through that. He slowed towards the end of a run and unfortunately got struck by another rider, which caused a crash and ultimately cut his test short. He'll recover in time for Portimao and we'll keep working hard to develop the bike for him.

We'll have a good debrief tonight with the guys and put our plans into action, and we should be in place to head to Portimao in a good position."

Lorenzo Savadori:

"It was a good day for me today, and we got lots of laps in which was really important. We tried a few different things with the setup and the tyres, and I was able to set a fast time and finish second.

The track was cold during the day so it didn't always work so well with the tyres, but the bike ran well and we learnt a lot. We still have a lot of work to do to reach the top of the field, but the team is working well and for me it is great to do some real testing.

I'm hoping to learn a lot more at Portimao, and I will work hard to make some good progress before we start the season at Phillip Island."

Eugene Laverty:

"It was unfortunate to crash today. I got hit from behind going into Turn 1, and there was nothing I could do. The bike got stuck under the barriers but the damage wasn't too bad.

It's been a tough day and I've struggled with chatter going through corners, and I have to work hard to keep the bike stable. It's useful to find issues like this early so we can work on them, and we have a few plans in place to address them.

I should be in good shape again for the test in Portimao; I'm a bit sore but we just need to keep working hard and working through the issues we've had at Jerez."

Milwaukee Aprilia now head to the Portimao circuit in Portugal for two days of testing before final preparations to ship out to Phillip Island in Australia.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team back on track in Jerez for the first tests of 2017

With the season opener in Australia almost a month away, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies for the first tests of 2017.

Both riders followed a detailed program to evaluate various engine, electronics and chassis upgrades developed for the Panigale R, making several setup comparisons.

Melandri and Davies clocked 124 and 131 laps respectively, posting almost identical lap times and both showing steady improvements in terms of lap times as well as race pace. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on January 28-29 in Portimão (Portugal) before heading to Phillip Island (Australia) for the final pre-season tests ahead of the first race of the season.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) 1:40.313

“It’s been a really positive test. I expected some more difficulties after the meniscus surgery, but actually I felt quite well. The team is doing a great job and everyday I feel more comfortable on the bike. We still struggle a bit on fresh tyres, also because with the cold climate it’s more difficult to warm them up, but we’re heading in the right direction. I would have liked to do a race simulation, but we’ll wait until Portimão because I had some blisters in my hands after such a long break. Physically I feel fine though, I recovered completely and I’m sure I’ll be 100 percent fit for Phillip Island.”

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) 1:40.324

“All in all, this first test has been OK. It’s always a bit tiring from a physical standpoint because we step on the bike for the first time in two months, but we progressively got into the swing of things. Also, Ducati brought a lot of stuff and we ticked off the most important items on the list, but we still got work to do in Portimão. We got progressively quicker, even mixing things up a bit in terms of our setup. That’s what testing is about, working through a program slowly but surely to step up to new challenges. If I had to race tomorrow, we would probably stick to a more familiar setting, but we’ll focus on pushing the boundaries before heading to Australia.”

Two-day test at Jerez draws to a close as Honda WorldSBK Team debuts new Fireblade

The Honda WorldSBK Team has completed today the first private test of 2017 at Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Official Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl were able to try for the first time the WorldSBK-spec version of the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 they will use throughout the 2017 edition of the FIM Superbike World Championship.

Blessed by good weather conditions – despite cold temperatures in the morning – the test proved very useful for Hayden and Bradl, who were able to put in a considerable amount of laps. Both riders worked hard with their crews over the two days while trying to get an early understanding of the new package, before making some first set-up changes.

On the final day, the team successfully put to test the performance of the bike with qualifying tyres, with Hayden finishing as the sixth quickest rider of the test and Bradl being only three tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

The Honda WorldSBK Team will be back on track this weekend at Portimão’s Autodromo do Algarve with another two-day test, the last one before travelling to Phillip Island for the traditional World Superbike official test and the opening round of the season.

Nicky Hayden 69

103 laps / 1'40.548

It has been two useful days of testing here at Jerez and luckily the weather was on our side in the afternoons. The team has done a great job to put the bike together and bring it here, despite the short time they had available to prepare them. We used yesterday almost exclusively as a shakedown day and in the afternoon we were able to make some decent runs, while today we tried to work more on the bike performance, just to get the bike in the right window, and a bit of a direction. We’ve made a couple of steps but it’s obvious we’re still behind our competitors at the moment. There’s still a lot of work to do and time to make up; when we used the qualifying tyre the time we set made us look closer than we actually are. Overall we found some positives today: we worked a lot on finding more grip and the bike ran smoothly without any glitch. The team has a little bit of time now to understand the data before Portimão.

Stefan Bradl 6

99 laps / 1'40.854

This having been the very first test with the new bike, we expected it not to be the smoothest of rides. Overall, though, it wasn’t so bad! Today we made some important improvements compared to yesterday. We still have to do some work on corner exit in order to find some more grip – and speed – out of turns. Obviously, we didn’t have enough time to react massively on the bike, we are just making small steps to try and get a first understanding of the new Fireblade. Overall it has been a positive two days of testing, because the weather allowed us to lap consistently around the track. Despite some expectable teething issues, it wasn’t too bad. In just two days we’ll be in Portimão, where we will continue with our work.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

For being the very first outing with the new Blade, we can say we’re quite satisfied. We did not have any issue with the engines so we managed to do a great deal of laps. We gathered a lot of data in order to understand the behaviour of the new ride-by-wire system, especially in relation to the throttle body, and after some teething problems things ran smoothly. The engine is already a little bit faster than last year’s one, knowing this one is far from the spec we will bring to Phillip Island. The engine mapping was still not optimised and that made it a bit more difficult to set everything up, although this had to be expected. We’ll have this one sorted before Australia. Time to go to Portimão now, where only Stefan has ridden - but not raced - before.

2017 Spanish Shakedown Proves Positive for Pata Yamaha

2017 has officially begun for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team as Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark successfully concluded the first half of a four-day test scheduled on the Iberian Peninsula. Circuito de Jerez provided the opening location for the Yamaha duo's return to their YZF-R1's and with two full days on track under the Spanish winter sun, both riders completed extensive and important work.

Yamaha's engineers had worked relentlessly throughout the short winter break since the end of the November tests preparing extensively modified, new-spec YZF-R1's for the 2017 season, so Tuesday's initial track action was more of a shakedown for the Pata Yamaha Team. Carefully evaluating the raft of upgrades and modifications, both riders found their rhythm around the 4,423m circuit as the day progressed, while the team gelled well with their new colleagues from Yamaha Motor Europe and Yamaha Motor Japan.

Lowes concentrated his efforts on electronic performance development on the opening day, honing the new Yamaha strategies before switching his attention to more detailed chassis set-up work on Wednesday. Specifically focusing on the front forks set up and corner entry performance for his final day at the Spanish circuit, the Englishman also used the afternoon session to set out on a race-simulation. Initially thwarted by a red flag on his third lap, he eventually completed a 23-lap run with consistent and positive times. Lowes concluded the two days with a lap-tally of 138, his best time - a 1'40.600 - set on the same race compounds used during October's race event.

Focusing on chassis set up to fine-tune his feeling with his newly-acquired WorldSBK-spec YZF-R1, van der Mark spent the first hours on track assessing the developments made since November. With the hardware in place, the Dutchman used the second day to concentrate on the electronics, completing 145 laps and utilising his teammate's feedback from the previous sessions as well as his own impressions to create a progressive and successful overall test for the Pata Yamaha outfit.

Portugal's Autódromo Internacional do Algarve is the concluding location for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team as it prepares to head west for a further two days of testing scheduled for Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January.

Alex Lowes

1'40.600 / 138 laps

"Another good day's work for us at Jerez! Today we worked hard with some new chassis settings and found something that works with my style that I am looking to try and improve further when we get to Portimao. I also completed a race simulation this afternoon so I can be happy and positive with both mine and the whole team's work over the two days. The power delivery and throttle connection really took a step forward compared to last year as well, it has been nice to make progress in that area - I really enjoyed the bike here at Jerez! Thanks to all the boys, and let's keep the momentum going this weekend."

Michael van der Mark

1'41.450 / 145 laps

"It's been another busy day today. During the morning we made a big step forward with the handling of the bike and I felt so much more confident. After that we just kept trying different chassis elements to see what I prefer or not. Today proved that we are really consistent which is good but we still have to make another step in terms of pure performance. I'm sure the guys have enough data to work on to improve the bike even more, and on my side I think there is something more I can do to help the laptime with the R1, so we will see what Portimao brings."

Althea BMW Racing concludes testing in Spain

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Althea BMW Racing team has concluded a two-day test session at the Jerez de la Frontera racetrack in Spain, two days that unfortunately didn’t exactly go according to plan.

On track with its two SBK riders, Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger, and its Stock rider, Marco Faccani, the Italian team planned to make the most of the two days available to continue the preparation work ahead of the opening round of the championship, taking place over the weekend of 24-26 February at Phillip Island in Australia.

Completing more than 60 laps each during day one, and making the most of the stable weather conditions, the two Superbike riders focused on the setting of their BMW S 1000 RR, identifying some new solutions on which to continue the work in coming weeks. Unfortunately, day two did not go so smoothly, with a crash for Torres cutting his test short. Having injured his right shoulder, the Spaniard preferred to rest up today so as to be ready for the next tests at Portimao this coming weekend. Reiterberger completed a further 60 laps today, but there is still significant work to do.

Faccani, on track with the Althea BMW Stock bike for only the second time, made good progress yesterday together with his technicians, working hard and recording some interesting lap times. Unfortunately, he too suffered a crash and, with an injured shoulder, he remained in the garage today, a pity considering the positive work completed yesterday.

The new Althea MF84 team was also in attendance at Jerez and, under the guidance of team manager Michel Fabrizio, worked to help its young rider, German Julien Puffe, build confidence with his new bike. Having completed roughly 100 laps with his BMW over the two days, the first approach has been encouraging.

The Althea BMW Racing team will be back on track later this week for further testing at Portimao (28-29 January). Raffaele De Rosa will also be present for those tests, helping the team as it continues with its preparation ahead of the season's opening round.

Sofuoglu Focuses On Opening Round As He Recovers From Training Injury

Five-time FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is rapidly recovering from a right wrist injury suffered at his training track in Turkey a few days ago.

Sofuoglu, the most successful WorldSSP rider of all time, crashed while riding his personal Supermoto machine as part of his final off-season preparations, shortly before a winter test session at Jerez and forthcoming Portimao track outing in Portugal.

Kenan has had to miss the Iberian tests but his new team-mate Kyle Ryde took over as a lone Ninja ZX-6R rider in the official team at Jerez recently. He will also continue in that role at the forthcoming tests in Portimao.

After more medical checks on his injury Kenan fully expects to be able to ride at the final official tests at Phillip Island between 20th and 21st February, shortly before the first round of the year on Sunday 26th February.

Sofuoglu has not had an operation to repair his injury and is not expected to have one before heading to Australia for the first round of a busy season.

Manuel Puccetti, Manager Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, stated: “Kenan and I have spoken a lot with the Clinica Mobile recently and they confirm that he has a broken wrist - close to the scaphoid but it is not the scaphoid - and a dislocation, but they said that after 20-25 days should be enough for him to come back to the official tests at Phillip Island. He will not be 100% but enough to be able to ride the bike. We will know soon if he will be ready but they say he has enough time to come back. But, the bone is broken so we will know when he jumps on the bike, honestly.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda conclude first test of 2017 at Jerez

Wed, 25 Jan 2017

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda completed a successful two day test at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain today with the team happy overall with the progress made.

The fair testing weather at the 4.428km (2.751mi) Andalusian circuit allowed Cluzel, Okubo and Mulhauser good track time to focus on different settings before the team move for a further two days testing at Portimao in Portugal at the weekend.

Jules Cluzel said: “We tried many things on the bike to understand my feeling on the bike with the chassis. For sure from yesterday to today I feel better on the bike, I feel more like it is my bike but I need more. I still need to adapt to the four cylinder. Even though I was riding this bike before, for me it is like a new bike. I had three years riding a three cylinder and it is really different so this is something I need to understand. We will see later.”

Hikari Okubo said: “I’m happy with the testing because I tried a new riding style to help improve braking for corner entry which is better and I think I have more potential with this. Step by step I will improve. I am happy to be going to Portimao next so I can do many more laps and I want to try the new riding style again.”

Robin Mulhauser said: “These two days were all about discovering. So yesterday I discovered the Supersport bike and the team, my crew. I am happy with what we did. We did a great job and tried many things. At the end of today we tried something that will make the tyre work well so yes it looks good for sure. I don’t think we need to focus on lap times right now but I think there is lots of potential and we will see.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It was good to do this test, for Jules especially with him coming back to our team and to the four cylinder CBR600RR CIA Landlord Insurance Honda. The first time he rode for us he came from Moto2 to a Supersport machine and the only change is the chassis. Now coming back from three years on a three cylinder MV takes time to adapt but we tried many things and learned a lot. Obviously if we were concentrating on lap time he could have gone a lot faster but we were focusing on the changes we need to make at all circuits when we face different situations. We have some more things to try in Portimao, clutch settings and riding position to stand Jules in good stead for the opening round in Australia.”

Same for Robin coming from Moto2 to adapt to the Pirelli tyres and back to the Supersport bike. I think he progressed very well over the two days. He is happy and working well with the team so it’s a positive start.

Hikari had a big crash here at Jerez last year so it is not his best circuit and it was good for him to come back and get up to speed. Portimao is a new circuit for Hikari so it will be good for him to learn the circuit this weekend.

It’s been a very positive two days but there are no points for testing so we will de-brief and try some more things to be ready and in the best possible shape for round one at Philip Island.”

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