The fourth day of the Jerez combined MotoGP and WorldSBK test saw the World Superbike stars come to the fore. At the end of the day, it was Jonathan Rea who blew the field away, using a Pirelli qualifier to go faster than both WorldSBK and MotoGP riders alike. Rea had spent the early part of the day running a 20-lap race simulation, before chasing a fast lap to leave the test on later in the day.
Rea's time was fast by any standards. It was half a second quicker than Tom Sykes' pole record from earlier in the year, and even faster than Valentino Rossi's pole time during the MotoGP round back in May. That comparison is not entirely straightforward: temperatures during the MotoGP weekend were much higher (the WorldSBK Pirellis work much better in cooler temperatures than the MotoGP Michelins), and Michelin were still struggling at Jerez with the aftermath of the rear tire problems which had emerged in Argentina.
Rea was not alone in being so fast. Three of the top five times were set by World Superbike riders, with Chaz Davies third quickest (and also just under the pole lap record) and Tom Sykes fifth fastest.
Alvaro Bautista was quickest of the MotoGP riders. With Andrea Iannone having headed home, the Ducatis had the field almost to themselves, with seven of the top eight times set by riders on Desmosedicis of varying spec. Bautista led the way on the Aspar GP16, ahead of Loris Baz on the GP15. Hector Barbera was third quickest MotoGP rider, once again on a GP16, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia.
Track action was curtailed or abandoned for several riders. Andrea Iannone had completed his workload on Wednesday, and did not ride, though test rider Takuya Tsuda did take his bike out for a spin. Sam Lowes, still suffering after his big crash at Valencia, did only limited laps, not able to ride the bike to full effect. The Milwaukee Aprilia WorldSBK team were also absent, having finished up their test on Wednesday.
Over in Sepang, Yamaha wrapped up their final test of the year. As it was a private test, there was no news out of it, apart from the usual tweets from team members expressing their happiness with how the test went. Unofficial and unconfirmed lap times had Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales both very close in times, and lapping in the low 2'00s, while the Tech 3 riders were said to have improved. An official statement from Yamaha has yet to be received.
Official times from Thursday:
|1||19||Álvaro Bautista||Ducati GP16||1:38.946|
|2||76||Loris Baz||Ducati GP15||1:39.184||0.238||0.238|
|3||8||Héctor Barberá||Ducati GP16||1:39.542||0.596||0.358|
|4||41||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia RS-GP||1:39.675||0.729||0.133|
|5||9||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP17||1:39.766||0.820||0.091|
|6||17||Karel Abraham||Ducati GP15||1:39.776||0.830||0.010|
|7||51||Michele Pirro||Ducati GP17||1:39.887||0.941||0.111|
|8||45||Scott Redding||Ducati GP16||1:39.985||1.039||0.098|
|9||43||Jack Miller||Honda RC213V||1:40.307||1.361||0.322|
|10||36||Mika Kallio||KTM RC16||1:40.505||1.559||0.198|
|11||12||Takuya Tsuda||Suzuki GSX-RR||1:40.942||1.996||0.437|
|12||72||Hiroshi Aoyama||Honda RC213V||1:41.003||2.057||0.061|
|13||38||Bradley Smith||KTM RC16||1:41.621||2.675||0.618|
|14||22||Sam Lowes||Aprilia RS-GP||1:42.312||3.366||0.691|
|1||1||Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:38.721|
|2||7||Chaz Davies||Ducati Panigale R||1:39.116||0.395||0.395|
|3||66||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1:39.461||0.740||0.345|
|4||33||Marco Melandri||Ducati Panigale R||1:39.694||0.973||0.233|
|5||122||Alex Lowes||Yamaha YZF-R1||1:40.142||1.421||0.448|
|6||2||Leon Camier||MV Agusta F4||1:40.693||1.972||0.551|
|7||60||Michael Vd Mark||Yamaha YZF-R1||1:41.328||2.607||0.635|