With the next round of World Superbikes just under two weeks away, the top WSBK teams are already in Spain and testing at the Jerez circuit. The private test sees the factory Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia teams, as well as the Pata Honda and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki teams working on set up ahead of the Aragon round on 13th of April.
Sunny weather saw fast times posted, Marco Melandri taking an early lead, eventually to be displaced by the Ducati duo of Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies. Giugliano posted a very strong lap, six tenths under the race lap record, and just four tenths off the pole record set by Eugene Laverty last year. Giugliano was also significantly quicker than the trest of the field, four tenths faster than teammate Davies, and nearly half a second ahead of Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki, with Jonathan Rea just behind Sykes on the Pata Honda.
For most of the teams, the work being done was about testing software updates. For Ducati and Aprilia, there were only minor updates from the software they raced at Australia, while Honda was working on more significant updates to their traction control strategies worked on previously at a private test at Cartagena. The improvement saw Rea within a tenth of reigning world champion Sykes, and less than two tenths behind Davies in 2nd. For Suzuki, Eugene Laverty spent time working on a new swingarm, ending the day in 10th, 1.6 seconds off the time of Giugliano.
The World Superbike riders also had company from the Ducati MotoGP team. Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and Michele Pirro are also present at Jerez, taking advantage of the testing concessions granted under the last-minute rule changes ahead of the 2014 season. No lap times were released for the Ducati MotoGP team. Testing continues tomorrow and Wednesday, though the weather looks set to take a turn for the worse.
Unofficial times, courtesy of the World Superbike website:
|1||34||Davide Giugliano||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1:41.056|
|2||7||Chaz Davies||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||1:41.468||0.412||0.412|
|3||1||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:41.545||0.489||0.077|
|4||65||Jonathan Rea||Honda CBR1000RR||1:41.624||0.568||0.079|
|5||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Aprilia RSV4||1:41.754||0.698||0.130|
|6||22||Alex Lowes||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:41.821||0.765||0.067|
|7||33||Marco Melandri||Aprilia RSV4||1:41.905||0.849||0.084|
|8||76||Loris Baz||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:41.932||0.876||0.027|
|9||91||Leon Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR||1:42.153||1.097||0.221|
|10||58||Eugene Laverty||Suzuki GSX-R1000||1:42.648||1.592||0.495|
|11||44||David Salom||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||1:43.642||2.586||0.994|