Press releases from some of the teams present at the Jerez WorldSBK test:
Jonathan Rea returns to the top on the final day of testing
Busy two-day test comes to an end at Circuito de Jerez Ángel Nieto with reigning World Champion back at the top of the charts.
Sun shone down on the final day of testing at the Spanish circuit of Jerez, where the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders were able to continue their final arrangements ahead of the 2019 season opener that will be held in less than a month in Australia.
With the temperature being warmer than yesterday day two around Circuito de Jerez Ángel Nieto saw many riders improving their paces and the top ten riders of day closing in less than a second at the front.
Facing some stiff competition from the Yamaha and Ducati rivals, reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took to the track early this morning working on the small 2019 updates for his ZX-10RR. The four-time world champion didn’t lose any time and, in the end, he was able to return at the top of the timesheets, thanks to a fastest lap time in 1’39.160, just a few seconds ahead of the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes.
Stunning with his consistency and overall pace during both the two days, the Yamaha rider closed second in 1’39.372 and he continued to make progress with his machine as he completed 102 laps around the Andalusian race track today. Working on improving the acceleration of his bike and testing new parts for the YZF R1 machine, his teammate Michael van der Mark closed in seventh position with a fastest lap time of 1’40.145.
Focusing on getting more comfortable on his new bike, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a positive two-day test, as he closed also just 0.342 s off his teammate in third position. The British rider was able to be fast on both days, building on his confidence with the ZX-10RR.
Making an important step forward, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) brought his Ducati Panigale V4 R in fourth position, closing 0.460 s off Rea’s lap time. The Spaniard had a busy day gathering as much information as possible to work on, and design the best base set-up for their all-new Ducati machine. On the other side of the garage, Chaz Davies sat out on the opening hours of the day and took to the track later in the afternoon putting in only a few laps, closing the day in tenth. As he was feeling some pain in his back after the crash he had yesterday, Davies decided to take it easy as he aims to be back at his full strength for the next pre-season test that will be held at the end of this week in Portimao. Both independent team riders Michael Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven), who finished respectively ninth and twelfth, worked alongside their new teams producing valuable feedbacks that will be used also by the factory team to improve their Ducati beast.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continued to impress, stunning with his performance along the two days. The Turkish rider finished in fifth position, with a fastest lap time in 1’39.942.
Continuing to work with the new team structure GRT Yamaha WorldSBK rider Marco Melandri had a busy day as he put in a total of 87 laps onboard his Yamaha finishing eighth overall, while his teammate Sandro Cortese had his progression slowed down by a small crash he suffered early in the morning. The German walked away from the accident on his feet but had to wait for his bike to be recovered and repaired before returning to the track in the afternoon and setting the sixth fastest time.
Towards the end of the day, the BWM Motorrad WorldSBK riders Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger had their transponders finally recording a few of their lap times. Happy with the progresses made over the two day, they closed respectively in fourteenth and fifteenth position.
Among the WorldSSPriders Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) continued to lead the way also on day two with Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) closing second just 0.222 s behind him.
Making her debut in the class, Maria Herrera was also out testing aboard the Yamaha YZF R6 of MS Racing. The Spaniard focused on getting acquainted with the new bike and finished her second day of testing with a fastest lap time in 1’46.957.
Whilst the Jerez Test may have finished some of the WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders who attended the two days will now head down to Portugal for the final pre-season test on European soil from 27th-28th January at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve Portimao before the first round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship season in Australia.
Strong First 2019 Test For KRT
Kawasaki Racing Team’s 2019 line up of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam completed a successful two-day test at Jerez in Spain with Rea the fastest WorldSBK competitor and Haslam third quickest.
On a partially resurfaced racetrack the opening day proved to be almost as much of a fact-finding exercise as a regular test at times. With new asphalt being laid in several corners, but not all, everyone had to take some time to adapt to the new feel and grip levels, as the track cleaned up with every lap the riders set.
With warmer weather and better track conditions present on day two both Rea and Haslam found improvements in performance and consistency, and each improved their personal best lap time.
Rea put in a 1’39.160 lap and Haslam a 1’39.502, with each using a normal race tyre set-up to post their best time.
With most of their WorldSBK competitors out together for the first time in 2019 at the 4.423 km long circuit in Andalusia at this test, it was an important one for KRT to measure where they are with the most recent version of the Ninja ZX-10RR.
Both sides of the KRT garage left Spain, for the next tests in Portugal, full of confidence and motivation after a positive start in their run-up to the 2019 season, which begins for real in Australia in late February.
The Portimao tests will take place on Sunday the 27th and Monday the 28th of January.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “That was positive, very positive. I felt much better on the bike today and we found some good tyre consumption results. Yesterday the track was really green and I struggled a bit with that. Pirelli have brought some different tyres that we had to put in the plan today. Aside from that we just kept working with the chassis set-up and we found some big improvements. We are continuing to work with electronics but we are not doing too much fine tuning. We played around with wheelbase length a little bit. We had a clear direction in the last winter test and I preferred the bike a certain way. Here I just sacrificed a little bit of turning-in performance and that is what we tried to look for today, to make the bike a bit a little bit more manageable. I enjoyed today and started to ride with a smile on my face. Finding good improvements throughout the day kept motivation high and the track was in much better shape. I felt like over one lap, and in terms of consistent pace, we are in a really good place.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “This test was really good. We made some big steps and played around with a lot of set-up and adapted my style quite comfortably. From a race tyre point of view I am really happy. I am a little frustrated because I messed up while using a qualifying tyre. I was less than a tenth off until the last split and then a made two mistakes on both the qualifiers that I used. So I was actually slower on the qualifiers, but the race tyre lap time was really positive. To finish third with a race tyre, I am really happy with that.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “As always in winter testing we are trying to prepare as best we can for Australia. Yesterday we tried some different areas of work, with the engine and the balance of the bike, but the track was not in a very good condition. The temperature was quite low and this affects the tyre wear a lot. Today the weather was better and we improved some points that we were looking for from yesterday. And we were also just getting information for Australia. From here we go to Portimao and we have to build the bike from the results of these two tests. It was positive all round - the lap time was good, Johnny made his lap time with the race tyre, and he was quite consistent with his lap times. At the end of the day we are happy.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Leon Haslam, stated: “I am very happy with the final result we have on the timing screens. To be that close to Johnny was our target and we reached our target. I am sure all the other guys around us used a qualifying tyre to make their best laps but we did it on the base tyre we have been using all winter, and the last part of last year. We made some small changes to the bike but most of the job was done by Leon, adapting to the bike and taking more performance out of it. I am sure that there is more to come. I am looking forward to the Portimao test and I am already thinking about the season opener. I am excited.”
Strong Start to 2019 Season for Yamaha WorldSBK Riders
Alex Lowes got his 2019 WorldSBK campaign off to a flying start in the first test of the new season in Jerez this week. The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider finished the two-day test second on the timesheet, just 0.2s off the top spot, while Michael van der Mark declared himself happy with the progress made during the test, which he finished in seventh position. Both GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders, Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri, continued their familiarisation with the Yamaha YZF-R1 they'll campaign for the first time this season, ending the test in sixth and eighth place respectively.
A recently resurfaced Jerez track and cool conditions meant a cautious start to the test for Pata Yamaha’s Lowes and van der Mark, both of whom used the first day to confirm set up changes tested at the same circuit back in November. It was Lowes who set the pace on the opening day, storming to the top of the timesheet with a lap time of 1’40.442. Van der Mark, who is still recovering from a wrist injury sustained in the final race of the 2018 season in Qatar, ended the day fifth with a time of 1’41.047.
With improved conditions for the second and final day of testing in Jerez, both Pata Yamaha riders switched their focus to evaluating a number of chassis upgrades, with positive results. Lowes once again led the Yamaha charge, posting a time of 1’39.372 to end the day second fastest, while van der Mark also improved his pace, with a lap time of 1’40.145 securing him seventh position on the timesheet.
For the GRT Yamaha riders the focus during the two days of the Jerez test was to continue the familiarization process started back in November at the same track. Both Cortese and Melandri completed an extensive test program, as they worked with their respective crews to set up the YZF-R1 machines they’ll race this year to suit their individual riding styles.
Melandri identified a number of areas on which to focus when the team moves on to Portimão to continue testing later this week, while Cortese declared himself satisfied with progress after setting his fastest time right at the end of the test with a base set up that gave him more confidence to push for a fast lap.
The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK teams now head to Portimão for two more days of testing on Sunday and Monday, after which the bikes will be packed and shipped to Australia for the opening round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship at the Phillip Island circuit.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P2 – 1’39.372
"It's been a good two days here in Jerez. My best lap today was done on a qualifying tyre. I managed a 1'39.8 with the race tyre, so I found half a second on the qualifier, which is quite good because I think there's not as much of a gap as there used to be. The bike felt good in qualifying trim and we did a good long run in race trim. The new track surface was quite hard on the tyres, especially the front, but it's good to have this information now, ahead of the race. We tried a lot of things on the bike today, confirming some of the changes we made yesterday, which was positive given the change in track conditions. This afternoon we worked on the front of the bike and, at the start, we went a little bit in the wrong direction, but then came back and found some improvement, so a proper testing day. Now I'm looking forward to Portimão, where we'll test what we've learnt here on a completely different track. Big thanks to the team and to Yamaha for the work they've done over the winter; it certainly looks to have paid off."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P7 – 1’40.145
"It's been a really positive test. For me it was important to see how my wrist is after the winter break and I'm feeling quite good with it. I'll certainly be fully fit once we get to Phillip Island for the first race. Once the track had cleaned up yesterday afternoon we tried so many things on the bike, with some big improvements that I like a lot and I think Alex thinks the same. There's obviously been a lot of hard work done over the winter and it's good for the people who put in the work to see their efforts rewarded at the first test of the season. I'm happy with what we achieved here in Jerez and now I'm looking forward to Portimão."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P6 – 1’40.075
"At the end it was a very good test for us. Yesterday we couldn't really test anything as it took some time to find some grip on the new asphalt. On the second day we managed to do a lot of work. Unfortunately I also had a crash, which lost us some time, but at the end of the day we made some very big changes to the set up, mainly because I felt too much on the limit with the bike. In the last hour we improved a lot and it felt much easier to ride fast, so we ended on a high. Now we need to see what happens in Portimão, which is a very different track, but we know from the past that if a bike works well in Jerez then that also translates to other tracks."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P8– 1’40.469
"These two days in Jerez have been positive. Today we were able to understand many things and my race pace wasn't so bad. But, for me, at the moment the problem is that every time I put in a new rear tyre I struggle a lot and I cannot be fast for a flying lap. But at the end of the day we have learnt something. We need time; it's not easy, but we have to come back, progress step-by-step, follow my feeling and then try to push harder when I'm ready."
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team concludes its first test of 2019 at Jerez
After a positive start yesterday, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team successfully concluded its first tests of 2019 at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain). Alvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies clocked 103 and 58 laps respectively, posting the 4th and 10th best time in the combined WorldSBK rankings and moving forward with the development of the Panigale V4 R.
Bautista, who adopted a progressive approach on the recently resurfaced track, made progress with his work on the setup to finish in 4th position overall with a personal best of 1:39.620, more than two seconds faster than yesterday. Davies, on the other hand, narrowed his track activity due to back pain, still managing to complete 18 laps today with a personal best of 1:40.621 (10th). The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action with both its riders in Portimão (Portugal) for two more days of tests, scheduled for January 27-28.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1:39.620
"It's been a couple of positive days. After the winter break, it was important to get back on track, in order to readjust to the speed but also to get accustomed to the new bike. The new tarmac made it a bit more difficult for us. The grip was very low and so were the temperatures, so we couldn't find a good feeling in day one. Today, however, we managed to work better. The track improved and it was warmer outside. We're still focusing on riding position and the base setup in general. We tried some changes that I've liked, and now we'll make more evaluations at Portimão, a track that I don't know, so it'll be very interesting."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:40.621
"Today we focused on the engine, and in the end the lap time was OK given the short amount of time we had on track, but I think we could have made bigger improvements. Unfortunately, it's been a tricky day. I just felt some pain in my back yesterday. It had nothing to do with the crash, but it got worse overnight. I managed to get treatment twice so I was still able to get some laps in, which was very important. It seems we're going in the right direction. Next stop is Portimão, a completely different track, and the foremost priority will be to complete our full program before we head to Australia."