Five times WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea saw out both days of this test in Spain, in good weather conditions and - despite a halt to the proceedings many times for red flags – was fastest on qualifying tyres and race rubber.
He took time on day two get going to what turned out to be a final speed close to the track best pace all while using a new thumb-operated rear brake.
“The track felt quite different today than yesterday, especially for the most part of the morning,” Rea told bikesportnews.com. “Maybe there was more grip and the bike was not ‘floating’ enough.
“Whatever way it just compromised our setup a little bit but once we understood that we were able to refine it a little bit. I just started feeling comfortable again. We did a lot of good work, and finished the test with a good sensation. We covered all our bases.”
Rea also finished with a best lap of 1’38.397, which is only a fraction from his own track best of 1’38.247, set in Superpole this year.
Rea did not, however, do a final day long run – deliberately it seems. “It is sometimes easy to get lost this time of year doing a long run, but we did a race distance on most of the rears we used and my consistency and pace… I feel pretty strong. So we will just keep working.”
Pirelli always bring development options to these kinds of winter tests, and this test was no different. “The front tyre they brought to Aragon also, but I had a different feeling here,” said Rea about one of the options. “It felt like it was very good in some areas of the track and struggling a little bit in others. One of the rear tyres was really positive and I felt really strong with one of those.”
Not usually the most enthusiastic of testers, Rea was clearly more than up for some stopwatch wrestling at Jerez.
“I had good motivation for this test,” he stated. “Normally at the end of a busy season it is easy to get lost but we focused on quality rather than quantity. We did a lot of back-to-back testing of things we had ideas to try out during the year.
“Then we tested some new items and new ideas. The biggest thing was in my riding position on the bike and getting used to the rear brake lever on the handlebar, plus some different engine braking. At the end we could do a time attack with a qualifying tyre and that put us right there.
“It was hard at the end doing that, because a couple of hours before the session finished there was oil all over turn one. The track was compromised a bit but I still feel that we did a really good job at this test, both with our outright pace and also consistency. We are where we should be.”