WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding took over as the fastest man around Motorland Aragon on day two of testing, beating the time set by reigning champion Jonathan Rea yesterday on race tyres and then finding half a second on a Pirelli qualifier.
Redding topped today’s times by less than a tenth from Aruba Ducati team-mate Chaz Davies as the pair put in 1’50.403 and 1’50.475 laps respectively but when the sticky rubber came out - for the first time for Redding - the current BSB champion put in a 1’49.929 compared to Davies’ 1’50.185.
Rea set a 1’50.416 yesterday but didn’t turn a wheel in today’s firstly wet and then freezing cold conditions at the Spanish track preferring to keep himself in one piece for the upcoming Jerez test.
That left Alex Lowes as the only rider waving the Kawasaki flag on day two. The 2019 bronze medallist already mentioned the day before that 25 dry laps were “not enough to understand the bike completely”, so Thursday’s inclement weather will not have helped.
Heading onto the track shortly before 2 pm, Lowes nonetheless managed 50 laps and improved his performance from the day before, closing the gap with the leading riders and even dipping into the 1’50s with a Q. Jerez will hopefully give the 29-year-old more time to work on a set-up suited to his riding style.
Over to his old colleagues in Yamaha, Michael van der Mark continued his calm approach to pre-season while he awaits the 2020 YZF R1. A small crash at Turn 11 was the only blotch on an otherwise positive day in Spain, with 20 timed laps completed.
Toprak Razgatlioglu meanwhile – testing with two bikes and a teammate for the first time in his career – was still focused on getting more laps under his belt yet managed to improve his fastest lap from Wednesday by six tenths of a second, finishing the day as best Yamaha and fourth overall.
With two riders of a similar build and both relying strongly on front-end feeling, much of the work on both sides of the Pata Yamaha garage has been in the same direction, in terms of set-up.
On the GRT Yamaha side of things, Garrett Gerloff topped his efforts from day one by a full seven tenths of a second, propelling him into sixth on the timesheets and only 0.05s behind van der Mark’s fastest time.
The US rookie, testing Pirelli tyres for the first time on Wednesday, has lauded the performance of the front compound while also finding the rear tricky to understand in these early stages. Going by his Thursday improvements, the 24-year-old is a quick learner – although a nasty, late crash at Turn 2 will keep him on his toes for next time (rider OK).
Closing the timesheets from the other side of the garage, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) nonetheless closed the gap with the more experienced riders in front of him, dropping into the 1’52s.
The Italian youngster has been working on electronics and his riding style, as he makes the steep jump from Supersport machinery to WorldSBK – not just in terms of power, but set-ups, braking and weight.
Leon Camier was the first WorldSBK rider to set out in the morning and occupied first place on the timing sheets until the final three hours of running, yet his day was over nearly as quickly as it started.
A slip at turn nine left the English rider feeling significant pain in his left shoulder – the same one he had surgery on last July – which prompted a quick visit to Alcañiz hospital. Thankfully, Camier was back in his garage a couple of hours later, although the day was over for him with just four laps completed.
Aragon WorldSBK test day two times:
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’49.929 – 60 laps
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’50.185 – 30 laps
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’50.653 – 50 laps
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1’50.657 – 36 laps
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1’51.088 – 20 laps
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) 1’51.133 – 25 laps
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) 1’52.477 – 39 laps
Leon Camier (BARNI Racing Team) 2’03.047 – 4 laps