Jonathan Rea has ended the Barcelona WorldSBK test at the top of the timesheets, after a battle of wills with Ducati's Scott Redding. The pair chased each other to impressive heights during the morning session, throwing new tires at fast times until Redding decided that focusing on used tires was a more productive use of his time than continuing to chase Rea's fast time. "It was fun, it was spicing up the day, but I said, OK, one of us is going to end up with a big crash, because we keep going faster and faster and faster!" Redding commented afterwards.
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Testing is underway again for the WorldSBK series, with the main protagonists assembled at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona. Scott Redding ended the day as fastest, the Aruba.it Ducati rider getting up to speed quickly again, finishing nearly two tenths faster than reigning champion Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki.
Testing has concluded at the Misano private test, with a few changes to the riders present on Thursday. KTM skipped the final day, while a group of WorldSSP riders entered the fray.
Aleix Espargaro was the fastest rider on the final day, getting to within a couple of hundredths of Miguel Oliveira's best time from the day before, demonstrating the potential of the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP. Espargaro was happy with both the speed and the pace of the bike, though the reliability of the bike remains a question mark, which will only be removed once the racing begins. The Aprilias were the lone MotoGP bikes on track on Thursday.
Bradley Smith closed the gap to the front by half a second, the Englishman preparing to take the place of Andrea Iannone for the first races of 2020, while the Italian is waiting for his appeal against a doping ban to be heard.
The weekend attendance of 54,437 were treated by close racing in the first two races with a promise of more for the last race of the weekend.
World Supersport has slick tyres available to them for the first time, and for safety, there is a mid-race pit stop for a tyre change. No more than ten laps can be raced on one rear tyre, and at least forty five seconds must be spent in the pits.
The first ten lap Superpole race of the year would award points to the top twelve finishers, with the top nine determining the grid for race two. Garrett Gerloff was un fortunately ruled out of the rest of the day due to a crash caused by Sandro Cortese. Cortese would start the race from the back of the grid. Eugene Laverty also crashed in the warm up and suffered a concussion, ending his weekend.
The opening race of 2020 took place on a try track that is notoriously punishing on tyres as riders are only upright down the straight, spending the remainder of the lap on the sides of their tyres. With the weather behaving, and no horrible geese invading the track, twenty two laps of close racing ensued.
This year, World Supersport gets slick tyres, and no longer need to use road-legal tyres. Twenty five minutes would determine the grid for tomorrow's race.
Twenty five minutes of qualifying would determine the grid for the first race this afternoon. Scott Redding was quickest in all three sessions, wet or dry, and is favourite to take pole on his debut Superpole. Leon Camier didn't take part and would sit the remainder of the weekend out.
Andrea Locatelli was within under a tenth of a second of Sam Lowes's 2013 outright lap record, setting the quickest time of the session on this year's slick tyres. Jules Cluzel and Randy Krummenacher joined him with 1'32 laps.
Scott Redding was quickest for the third time this weekend, ahead of Michael van der Mark and Jonathan Rea. Redding heads to Superpole as the favourite and all nine riders at the top set their fastest times in the last session, with only Leon Haslam in the top twelve needing to rely on a time from the previous day. Leon Camier was ruled unfit after FP2 when it was clear his shoulder injury from Aragon was too much for him to compete with.
In a session split by two red flags, one of which was resolved by a man on a scooter chasing birds off the track, the dry weather gave riders a chance to try out the new for 2020 slick tyres, which let Randy Krummenacher set a lap that was quicker than the previous race lap record and within four tenths of a second of Sam Lowes's 2013 outright lap record. Krummenacher's switch to MV Agusta shows potential, with his teammate Raffaele de Rosa third quickest. Former Moto2 rider Andrea Locatelli was second quickest, swapping the top spot with Krummenacher throughout the session.
Red flags were brought out for debris on track, causing a five minute break in the middle of the session, but at least the rain stayed away and gave us full-speed qualifying. Series rookie Scott Redding ended the day on top of both sessions, getting to within four tenths of a second of the race lap record towards the end of the second session. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark were within half a second of Redding's best time with Leon Haslam exactly half a second off.
In a wet session that had only three riders recording a time for the majority of the session, Andrea Locatelli came out quickest, in spite of only recording four timed laps. Corentin Perolari was second quickest after ten laps.
Alvaro Bautista opened the season on his Honda, setting out on a damp track while everyone else stayed in, finishing their breakfast. He knocked out a couple of laps before he was joined by Jonathan Rea. Series rookie Federico Caricasulo followed out on his Yamaha with Xavi Fores on a Kawasaki shortly after. Ten minutes in to the new year and only four riders were showing up on the timing screens.