Jerez WorldSBK test: Lowes chases Rea as Bautista crashes

Picture: GeeBee Images

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea continued his sensational pace out on track for the second and final day of WorldSBK testing at Jerez as he continued to work on getting the chassis in tune with the engine on his ZX-10RR.

Explaining that his new bike offers even more potential than the 2018 Ninja, he was a force to be reckoned with, setting the fastest lap time of 1.38.713.

On the other side of the garage, new team-mate Leon Haslam was left with one bike after a big crash on Monday. However this didn’t stop the Brit putting the laps in, as he reached over 100 on the second day. Ending the day in third with a time of 1.39.766, Haslam was able to continue with his base setting of the ZX-10RR and will take some strong pace into the winter.

It was a telling two days for the Pata Yamaha boys, as they began to understand the work they will need to do to bridge the gap to the green and red machines out on track. Working through their small updates for 2019, Alex Lowes had a strong day sitting in second position for most of the day, bridging the gap to fastest man Rea.

For team-mate Michael van der Mark, it was a tough test as he was still riding injured from his crash in Qatar, which resulted in a fracture to his wrist. Working to get more grip and acceleration on exit among other factors, Lowes finished in second position overall, 0.664s off Rea’s pace while van der Mark was sixth and 1.379s behind.

Lessons continued to be learnt for the Aruba Ducati squad with Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista getting to grips with the all-new Panigale V4 R. British rider Davies is continuing to struggle with his shoulder injury sustained over the summer break, meaning he isn’t riding at 100 per cent. Moving his focus over to electronics and throttle connection on his new machine, it was a busy day for Davies who finished in fifth overall.

Bautista had a more challenging second day with his V4R, suffering two crashes but able to walk away from both, Bautista was still happy with the bike as he works on his base set up and understanding the WorldSBK machine. Putting in an impressive pace on his debut, Bautista was able to finish in fourth, with a lap time of 1.39.845.

For new WorldSBK team GRT Yamaha, Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri were continuing to get to grips with the YZF-R1. Happy with the progress they have made, 2018 WorldSSP champion Cortese was still working on adapting and adjusting to an SBK® machine, whilst Melandri was working on his base setting and with the Pirelli tyres.

Combined times for both days

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’38.713
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1’39.377 (+0.664)
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.39’766 (+1.053)
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’39.845 (+1.132)
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’39.852 (+1.139)
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1’40.092 (+1.379)
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Team) 1’40.235 (+1.522)
Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.592 (+1.879)

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