Jerez WorldSBK test: Champion Rea finishes on top

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea waited a day and a half for some dry track time at the Jerez test and took full advantage, finishing on top of the timesheets with Toprak Razgatlioglu second and Scott Redding third.

Rea little to try because he already knows the ZX-10RR so comprehensively, new team-mate Alex Lowes did more work. The WorldSBK race winner experimented with launch control settings and wasn’t worried about the lack of dry time, as he was fast in testing in years gone by but then got to the first round and it had been a different story.

The pair will not go to Portimao with the rest of the pack but will test at Barcelona on Monday instead.

Two-time race winner Razgatlioglu was in fine form across the test and despite suffering a tune one crash on Wednesday, he bounced back to lead the way for the majority of the second day.

However, once Rea was on track, Razgatlioglu was pushed back to second, although just over two tenths behind the Ulsterman. Michael van der Mark joined his teammate at the sharp end and completed the top five, 1.7s behind Rea.

Redding was third on his Aruba Ducati Panigale V4R. Having raced at the track more than most of his competitors from his MotoGP days, the 27-year-old British ace had a good run at a circuit he knows well in order to learn the WorldSBK-spec of the V4R’s intricacies. Chaz Davies had a tough test and was 15th at the end of it all, crashing twice on the first day and completing less than 30 laps on day two.

Day one saw the highly awaited first public appearance of the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R and it ended the day on top of the WorldSBK pile in the hands of Leon Haslam. On Thursday, the bike couldn’t quite replicate the position, but it was a good indicator of what the bike was capable of in drying conditions. He finished in sixth come the end of play and hailed the support of HRC, giving him the confidence to achieve great things. For Bautista, the objective is still to find a good base setting and to learn the technicalities of an in-line four-cylinder motorcycle, something he has never ridden before. Bautista ended day two in eighth.

In seventh place was the first of the Independent riders and Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha). The 26-year-old WorldSBK race winner was right in the mix across the two days of testing, testing with the new 2020 Yamaha YZF R1. The wet weather running was confirmation that the team have improved the set-up of the bike in general, whilst they also practiced race starts and refined their electronics. Along with Baz in the top ten were other Independent riders were Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Goeleven) and Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha), the latter of which suffered two crashes.

Outside the top ten was Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad) in eleventh, as the BMW squad didn’t try too much during the second day. Combined with teammate Eugene Laverty, the two did 65 laps in total across the second day with a primary focus on Laverty, who hailed the chassis but has engine desires in order to move forward. With two chassis to test, the Shaun Muir Racing team will be busy with more development at Portimao; Laverty was 18th.

Orelac Racing were up in 12th place with WorldSBK rookie Maximilian Scheib, who quietly impressed around the WorldSBK paddock at Jerez. The Chilean rider’s main aim was to familiarise his way with the ZX-10RR, whilst placing fourth out of the Independent riders.

Third on day one, it was 13th for Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) on day two, whilst Sandro Cortese (Barni Racing Team) was 14th on his deputising duty. The German rider, who liked the feeling from his Ducati Panigale V4 R, is still without a ride on the 2020 grid. Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) was 16th on his Ducati, ahead of Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing).