Press releases from some of the teams present at the WorldSBK test in Jerez:
Rea fights back to end Jerez test on top, Baz impresses in second
The reigning five-time WorldSBK Champion fended off a resurgent Loris Baz, who is back at the front of WorldSBK
The 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is edging ever-closer as the final test of 2019 is all done and dusted. New motorcycles, team changes and rookie and returning riders made headlines across the two days at the Circuito de Jerez, which took place in more-or-less untroubled conditions. Despite a handful of red flags, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who topped the timesheets, whilst closely behind were Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Having just been pipped for top slot at lunch time, the KRT squad were back on top come the end of the test, as Jonathan Rea was the first rider into the 1’38s. The time, which is under Alvaro Bautista’s race lap record from last year, slotted him nicely at the top whilst teammate Alex Lowes completed day two of the test in fourth place. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) enjoyed a successful comeback to WorldSBK and finished just outside the top ten in 11th, as he continued to become more accustomed to the bike. Aboard the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki, Lorenzo Savadori finished 15th and began to get used to Showa suspension.
Yamaha were once again leading the charge to Kawasaki, although this time it was Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) who was second. The Frenchman bolted up to the top just after lunch but was pegged back by the reigning five-time WorldSBK Champion. Eager to improve the feeling on fresh rubber whilst the bike works a treat on old tyres, Baz is back at the forefront of WorldSBK.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) suffered a mechanical problem which resulted in an oil leak and subsequent crash at Turn 1, bring out the red flags. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) also crashed on oil. Van der Mark finished in third overall, just 0.007 from Baz. Having been inside the top four for most of the day, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) finished seventh, refining his feeling with Ohlins suspension, as he’d not used it before. On the 2020 R1, Niccolò Canepa was eighth. GRT Yamaha’s top rider was Federico Caricasulo in 13th, whilst Garrett Gerloff was 14th.
WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was the leading Ducati Panigale V4 R rider in fifth, as the British rider continued his understanding of the team and bike in WorldSBK-spec. Redding has pleased the entire team at ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati with his quick adaptation, adding to the positive mood inside the box. The focus for the team on a whole was the balance of the bike and to try some new parts on the rear end. For Chaz Davies, the Welshman finished in ninth and was over 1.5s behind Jonathan Rea. BARNI Ducati’s Michele Pirro was in 12th place.
The best of the BMWs was once again Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as the British rider continued his progress and used all of his famed development skills in order to get the bike to his liking. The 2013 WorldSBK Champion leapt up to sixth in the final ten minutes of action, making it three British riders inside the top five. New teammate and former WorldSBK title rival Eugene Laverty was quietly going about his business, as he finished in tenth place on his return to the Shaun Muir Racing fold.
The next test for the WorldSBK circus will take place back at the Jerez circuit before moving immediately on to Portimao, from the 21st to the 26th January. Until then, riders and team personnel will be looking forward to relaxing over the festive periods!
2019 Tests Complete For KRT In Spain
After experiencing two days of good weather at the Jerez de la Frontera tests KRT duo Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes have completed their final on track preparations before the winter break. Both riders experienced positive outcomes from their testing plans.
Five times World Champion Rea ended up fastest rider of all after setting the best lap of 1’38.397, using a qualifying tyre in the last few laps.
Even after the effects of a large oil spill, which left the entry to Turn One covered in cement dust for the last hour, Rea improved his own existing best time before the action finished at 18.00hrs
Rea also concluded the work he and the team had been carrying out on machine set-up to take into the next tests in Iberia in late January, and then into the 2020 WorldSBK season itself.
Lowes, a first time Kawasaki rider for the coming season, undertook only his second test sessions on the official Ninja ZX-10RR but placed fourth fastest overall.
Lowes, who had a fall right at the end of the available tack time, lost his chance to set a single better lap time but spent most of his test working on overall set-up and improvements in braking. He has now settled into his new working environment and is ready for more at the next series of track tests in late January.
Almost all of KRT’s rivals were also present at Jerez, providing a good measure of where the overall Kawasaki effort stands in the ambition to retain championship titles in 2020.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Overall it was pretty good. I had good motivation for this test. Normally at the end of a busy season it is easy to get lost but we focused on quality rather than quantity. We did a lot of back-to-back testing of things we had ideas to try out during the year. Then we tested some new items and new ideas. The biggest thing was in my riding position on the bike and getting used to the rear brake lever on the handlebar, plus some different engine braking. Aside from that Pirelli brought some different tyres. At the end we could do a time attack with a qualifying tyre and that put us right there. It was hard at the end doing that, because a couple of hours before the session finished there was oil all over Turn One. The track was compromised a bit but I still feel that we did a really good job at this test, both with our outright pace and also consistency. We are where we should be and I am really happy to sign off on an incredible 2019.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “The test was really positive as my feeling with the bike was very good. After the Aragon test, Marcel and I wanted to work on the braking because how I rode my old bike was a little bit different. But already from the first laps here we made a big step, and today I felt really comfortable with the braking. This, I am really happy about. We did some longer runs today and I could keep it in a nice consistent pace, which was another really good thing. Obviously, at the end I fell while using a qualifying tyre but that was just a small detail. I have had instantly a good connection with all the mechanics and working with Marcel is really easy. It has been real good fun to be here with two good days and good weather; it has been enjoyable.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “We did the best lap time with the Q tyre, after the oil spill. Jonathan did very well at this test so I am happy, as usual. I am always happy because he is always there. We collected almost all the information we wanted during these winter tests - just one small item is missing - but we can test that in January. We understood the balance of the bike that we have been using in the last couple of races, and we also worked with the suspension and electronics, quite deeply. In some small details we collected a lot of information, also with a different bike balance. We found positives here, positives there, so depending on track conditions and layouts we can use this one, or another one. This was the target of the winter tests. Jonathan was enjoying the bike and we go into the winter break at the top of the lists again. This makes for a little bit happier Christmas.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “I am a very happy crew chief. We set targets for the previous test at Aragon and also here in Jerez. Here, we even went a bit further than our target and we tried everything we needed to try. On fresh tyres, and over distance, we can match the fastest guy on track at this moment. What else can we wish for? I am already looking forward to January.”
As well as the official KRT squad’s efforts at Jerez Xavi Fores rode the Kawasaki Puccetti Ninja ZX-10RR at these tests and finished 11th fastest. Pedercini Racing Team rider Lorenzo Savadori enjoyed his first ride on the Ninja ZX-10RR and finished up 15th fastest.
Razgatlioglu and Van der Mark Race Ready After Positive Jerez Test
Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark are eager to return to action in 2020, after rounding out the 2019 season with a positive two-day test in Jerez. Razgatlioglu showed just how quickly he's adapted to the Yamaha R1 he'll campaign in Pata Yamaha with Rizla colours next year, by posting the second quickest time of the test. Loris Baz and van der Mark finished hot on the heels of the 23-year-old Turkish rider, with all three Yamahas inside the top five. It was also a positive test for the GRT Yamaha rookies, Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo, who took advantage of almost perfect weather conditions in Spain to continue their familiarisation with the WorldSBK specification Yamaha YZF-R1.
Between them Razgatlioglu and van der Mark completed more than 300 laps of the 4.423km Jerez circuit over the course of the two-day test, as they worked their way through an intensive test schedule as part of Yamaha's ongoing development program for the 2020 season. The two Pata Yamaha riders were assisted in this task by Yamaha EWC and test rider, Niccolò Canepa, who finished the test ahead of a number of WorldSBK regulars in eighth place on the timesheet.
While Razgatlioglu, van der Mark and Canepa focussed on development, Caricasulo and Gerloff continued their adaptation to the GRT Yamaha R1 machines on which they'll make their WorldSBK debuts in 2020. Caricasulo ended the test 13th on the timesheet, despite losing most of the second afternoon due to a crash on dropped oil on the entry to Turn One, with teammate Gerloff finishing one place further back, but just a tenth of a second behind his teammate.
While four of the five Yamaha riders can now look forward to some much-needed time off over the winter break, van der Mark will have to wait another couple of weeks before finally hanging up his leathers for the season. The 27-year-old heads this weekend to South East Asia, where he'll attend an event in Jakarta as a guest of Yamaha Indonesia. The next stop on van der Mark's travel itinerary will be Malaysia, where he will contest the inaugural 8 Hours of Sepang race for Yamaha alongside MotoGP regulars Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team - P2 - 1'39.226
"It's been a solid two days for me aboard the Yamaha R1 here in Jerez. The conditions meant we were able to complete a lot of laps and test a lot of new parts on the bike, with very positive results. The focus here was on evaluating new components rather than chasing a fast lap, but my lap times have been consistently quick, so I'm happy about that. We had some issues with the rear spinning up out of the turns, which was losing me some time, but we managed to make a big improvement in this area this afternoon ahead of my race simulation. I think I've adapted now to the Yamaha, as my feeling with the bike is good. I leave Jerez a little bit tired after such an intensive test program, but happy with second place on the timesheet and with the progress we've made."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team - P4 - 1'39.287
"After the rain in Aragon it was good to come here to Jerez and have almost perfect conditions for the final two days of testing this year. Normally in testing you have both positives and negatives as you work your way through the program, but these two days were overwhelmingly positive. We completed a lot of laps, trying different things on the bike, and we managed to find a solution to the spinning issues we had during the second half of the season. Working with my new crew has also been easy; it's already like we've spent a season together, so this test was a great way to end 2019 on a high note and I'm already looking forward to getting back on the bike in January."
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team - P13 - 1'40.613
"For me, this has been a very positive test. We improved a lot, both in consistency and pace, and we finished the two-days closer to the fast guys than we were in Aragon. I was hoping to push for a good lap time on the qualifying tyre at the end, more to get a feeling with the tyre than anything else, but it wasn't possible after I had a big crash on oil dropped on the entry to the first turn this afternoon. Anyway, I leave here happy with where we are right now and I'm already looking forward to picking up where we left off today when we return to Jerez in January."
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team - P14 - 1'40.714
"It's been good to get some time on the bike in the better conditions we've had here in Jerez, as it's made it easier for me to assess the differences from lap to lap. This was a problem at the first test in Aragon because of the wind, the effect of which was unpredictable. The feeling with the bike is good, but the Jerez track feels a little more connected in terms of the rhythm and the flow so, for me, to be consistent on every lap has been a little bit tricky. Luckily, we have the data from the official team, so I've been able to make comparisons, but there are definitely a few things I need to work on. We've tested a lot of things on the bike, with the normal mix of positives and negatives but, overall, the feeling is good, and we just need to keep working in the same direction when we return here in January."
Aruba.it Racing – Ducati wrap up 2019 with two days of busy testing for Chaz Davies and Scott Redding at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain
The final two days of testing for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team in 2019 concluded today at the Circuito di Jerez – Angel Nieto, with Scott Redding and Chaz Davies ending up fifth and ninth quickest overall on their Ducati Panigale V4 R machines.
Making the most of two days of ideal weather conditions, the two British riders continued with their scheduled testing work, focussing mainly on the bike set-up and trying out some new tyre solutions brought by Pirelli to the Jerez circuit.
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #45) – 1’39.466 (70 laps)
“Today we tried to find a bit more rear grip, something that I’ve struggled with here at Jerez since yesterday, and thanks to the work of the guys in the team in the end we found something that helped a lot. We’re still not where we’d like to be but we’re making progress. As well as testing the new tyres brought by Pirelli, we managed to work a bit more with the electronics, which are totally new to me in Superbike. In general I was quite happy by the end of the test, it’s good to have that bonding between myself and the Panigale V4 R and know which direction to work in ready for the 2020 season.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #7) – 1’40.000 (77 laps)
“It was a busy couple of days, and all in all I’m pretty satisfied. We had some new parts to get through but mainly we were just trying a lot of different things to find a good base set-up. I think we learnt a few things, working on the rear of the bike to help the weight transfer, one goal which we improved at this track. Now it’ll be nice for me and the team to have a break and recharge our batteries but it doesn’t take long before you want to go racing again next season.”
The World Superbike teams and riders will next be back on track from 22nd to 27th January 2020 when the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be involved in four days of testing, first at Jerez (Spain) and then at Portimão (Portugal).
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at Jerez de la Frontera for the first test of the winter.
Tom Sykes and new addition Eugene Laverty spend two days testing in southern Spain.
Many new components for the BMW S 1000 RR.
Eugene Laverty: “I think I can tell I’ve got a bike with the best chassis I’ve ever ridden”.
Jerez de la Frontera. In preparation for the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK), the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has completed its first test of the winter at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP). The team, with riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and new addition Eugene Laverty (GBR), spent two days evaluating a host of new components for the BMW S 1000 RR on Thursday and Friday.
The extensive test programme saw the team work on areas such as the chassis, electronics and ergonomics. Sykes and Laverty enjoyed good test conditions in dry and sunny weather. Laverty took to the track on the 2019 version of the RR on the first morning, in order to familiarise himself with the BMW Superbike. He then switched to the version for the 2020 season, complete with new components, in the afternoon.
The team will now use the information gathered by Sykes and Laverty at the Jerez test, in order to continue the further development of the RR for the 2020 WorldSBK season. The next tests are scheduled for January, firstly at Jerez de la Frontera, then at Portimão (POR). The opening round of the 2020 season takes place from 28th February to 1st March on Phillip Island (AUS).
Quotes after the test at Jerez de la Frontera.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Already during the final stages of the past season, we have been working intensively on the further development of the BMW S 1000 RR for 2020. Our first winter test in Jerez de la Frontera has been very productive. Among other things, we were able to test various chassis variants, new shock absorber elements, a range of tyre options, and electronic updates. Tom had a few minor issues at the start of day one, but they were resolved quickly and we were able to complete the busy programme, which included many test points. Eugene first had to find his feet on the RR, but was soon able to start to configure the bike to his own personal requirements. We are happy with the progress he has made at his first test with the RR. We must now analyse the large amount of data and comprehensive rider feedback we have received, which will help determine the direction we will take to start the 2020 season.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “We’ve completed two full days of testing with Tom and Eugene; we got through an awful lot of work. We are generally pleased with the outcome. We’ve found a clear direction for Tom on his chassis set-up which lets us move forward in a specific direction we know he will be comfortable with. We worked through a big list so we’re really pleased for Tom. Eugene had to take some time to get used to the electronics package on the BMW S 1000 RR and over the Christmas break, we will further work on a strategy for him. He was getting quicker and quicker but only until the point where he was ready to push. But we are very still happy with his first test. He was running consistent times and we are satisfied with the progress. Overall, we are happy going into the break. We had no major issues and we get the bikes ready now and come back for the tests in January.”
Tom Sykes: “Definitely I think we had a very strong test and credit to all the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We had a big list to go through and they were working so hard. I am very satisfied with what we achieved. We really tried a lot on the BMW S 1000 RR, definitely made progress and for me now I can go into the winter feeling happy with our performance. Certainly on race tyres as well, we found quite a step and also over the distance. The bike was working nicely and we obviously tried the qualifying tyre at the end. It was incredible but after two strong sectors I unfortunately made a small mistake in the hairpin and crashed. But I was interested in how the bike feels with high grip and I also went for another lap after the crash. For me that was good because we have extra information going into the winter and the guys can keep working. So for me that was a good test with a consistent track to work through a very big list and that’s what we needed all season. Thanks to the whole team and the guys back at the factory for working so hard to make things possible. I think the decision to skip the Aragón test paid off because it was a very structured test and we worked very well.”
Eugene Laverty: “Overall, it was a good test. I think I can tell I’ve got a bike with the best chassis I’ve ever ridden. The way the bike turns and enters the corner is incredible. It’s surprising just how physical it is to ride right now. We have to get the power under control for the corner exit. Once I can get that it will be even more rideable. Right now I can wrestle it for one lap if we wanted to get a lap time but it’s testing so it’s not necessary. So we’ve been working and just trying to tame the beast a little bit so we can get a bike that is going to be comfortable for 20 laps. The chassis is incredible and that’s the important thing. The base of the bike is good, now it’s just another fine-tuning of the electronics.”
WorldSSP: Andrea Locatelli set the pace on the final day of testing in Jerez
With weather conditions welcoming more track action it was the Italian WorldSSP rookie to end the final day of testing on top
Sun shone down again on the second and final day of testing at Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto where WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders continued their preparations for 2020. With the track becoming faster today compared to Day 1, it was this time former Moto2™ rider Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) to set the pace ending on top of the WorldSSP timesheets.
Unfortunately, the best lap of the Italian was also the last that he was able to put in today, as in the afternoon he got involved in a three-rider crash due to the oil left on track by the Yamaha of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team). Despite that Locatelli was still able to put in 44 laps today while trying different tyre compounds and adapting to his new team and his new WorldSSP machine.
Second overall was another rider coming over from the Moto2™ paddock as Phillip Öttl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) closed 0.046 s off Locatelli’s best lap and just 0.014 s ahead of Randy Krummenacher. It didn’t take long for the 2019 WorldSSP World Champion to adapt to the new environment of the MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse garage, as he declared to be thrilled about his new squad and the project. After having closed Day 1 on top, the Swiss rider did only 31 laps today ending with a 1’42.743 as his best lap for the day. On the other side of the garage, Federico Fuligni completed 85 laps today to finish sixth overall.
EAB Ten Kate Racing rider Steven Odendaal was fourth ahead of Kallio Racing rider Hannes Soomer, while his teammate Isaac Viñales finished 7th ahead of former Moto3™ rider Can Öncü, who also tried to do as many kilometres as possible to adapt quickly to his new Kawasaki of the Turkish Racing Team.
Closing the order, Belgian rider Loris Cresson (Team Toth) returned on track today after the nasty crashed suffered on the first day of testing in Jerez, completing the day with a best lap in 1’45.621.
Double Testing Spill In Spain For Cresson
Whilst Loris Cresson survived two high speed spills in Spain, the same couldn’t be said for his Yamaha R6 which took a battering after the Belgian crashed twice in the final pre-season test in Jerez. The incidents restricted track time and meant that the final day was spent on a ‘superstock’ spec engine after the team rebuilt the youngster a bike from scratch.
Despite the two crashes, one each day, the #84 rider heads into the winter break happy with the progress made, given his Jerez outing was the first appearance in his new guise – Team Toth by RPM84.
Loris will now focus on being fully fit for a final pre-season test ahead of the 2020 FIM Supersport World Championship season opener in Australia at the beginning of March.
Loris Cresson: “It’s safe to say that the test didn’t go exactly how I planned but overall we can be satisfied with the work we did, especially around the general set-up, which is all we could focus on after I destroyed the bike on Friday. I made about twenty-eight laps at the beginning with a ‘stock’ configuration and the feeling was pretty good. We switched to the Supersport spec bike and the lap time was coming. We made a small change and went back out and I high sided coming out of the last turn. I tried to control it, but the bike had other ideas. Luckily, I escaped any major injury, but it swelled up a lot. The main thing was that we were able to ride again on the final day albeit on the ‘Superstock’ spec machine. We weren’t worried or focused about lap times here, so we continued. The second day we tried many things including big changes in suspension. The lap time of course wasn’t comparable to the times we know we can do with the full spec bike, but I felt good with the way the bike worked, and importantly how we all worked as a team. We decided to try to the new slick tyre, which we have to use next year, and honestly, I don’t know what happened. I crashed again at about 180kmph and again the bike was again in a bad way. My knee is now three times bigger than normal and my ass is all blue. It’s not how we wanted to go into the winter test ban, but it was the first shakedown and better to have these problems now than in the season. Monday, I have surgery to remove the plate from my collarbone from a previous injury and the guys now have time to rebuild everything ready for 2020. I want to wish everyone that supports me a very happy Christmas and all the very best for the new year!”