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Jan 23, 2013

World Superbike Teams Conclude Troubled Test At Jerez (Updated)

Eugene Laverty (58).



Jerez de la Frontera, 23 January 2013 - Aprilia Racing Team concluded the tests today at the Spanish circuit of Jerez de la Frontera, the last ones before leaving for Australia where, on 24 February at Phillip Island, the 2013 World Superbike Championship will get underway.

Eugene Laverty and newcomer Sylvain Guintoli had to deal with poor weather which had a significant impact on the test sessions yesterday. The sun that came out today on the other hand allowed the two riders to complete the scheduled work, getting in a fair amount of laps at some interesting times.

Both riders fell victim to sliding crashes with no serious consequences, but it wasn't enough to compromise progress or the physical condition of Sylvain and Eugene.

At the end of the day the Aprilia Racing standard bearers were in the top six times, a result that demonstrates the competitiveness of the Italian team in view of the 2013 season.

In a few days the Aprilia Racing Team will leave for Phillip Island, Australia, where two test sessions are scheduled before the race which will mark the beginning of the 2013 WSBK Championship.

Northern Irishman Eugene Laverty, who put the third best time on the boards, looks forward confidently toward the impending season: "Despite the less than perfect conditions of the track, we were able to do some good work. Our progress compared to the tests in November on this same track confirm my feelings. The crash was due to a loss of grip when I tried pushing beyond the track grip limit, but it didn't compromise our testing sessions. Now I'm ready to fly to Australia where we'll finally be able to put these values to work for us on the track".

"These were two very interesting days - commented Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, after only his second time out astride the official RSV4 - yesterday we had the opportunity to lap on the wet track, gathering important information and getting an idea of my feeling with the RSV4 even in these conditions. Today, with the track drying out, lap by lap I was able to find the good pace I had in the last tests. Maybe that led me to push a little too hard and I crashed. Fortunately I came away with just a few scratches! Before leaving for Australia we'll decide on the definitive technical choices, but I think our prospects are good".

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda:

Rea and Haslam complete Jerez test

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have completed a two-day test at Jerez in Spain, their first track outing in the new Pata Honda World Superbike livery and the final European winter test for the team.

The team used its second test at Jerez new to the World Superbike championship calendar for the 2013 season to concentrate on the new electronics package that is being developed from Honda's MotoGP project.

Rea and Haslam also tested a heavily-revised swingarm for their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade machines, together with an all-new exhaust system from Termignoni.

The Pata Honda World Superbike team will now make the long return journey to its base in The Netherlands to make final preparations to the race bikes before they are crated up next week for transportation to Australia.

The team will take part in two further tests at the Phillip Island circuit there, ahead of the first round of the 2013 World Superbike season on 24 February.

Jonathan Rea

We're not really where we want to be right now because we couldn't get as much out of these two days as we would have liked. Some things just can't be fixed on site and the electronics problem we had was one of those. The system was taking too much power away so we really needed more track time to sort that out. However, I felt some good things, like it's catching slides a lot more safely now, so that's encouraging. It's been a frustrating test and shown us that we need more track time before the first round, but that's coming in Australia, so we'll hope for better luck there.

Leon Haslam

It's been a long, tough couple of days and frustrating in a lot of ways. We had some electronics issues and what we thought were engine braking problems. They turned out to be a problem with the brakes themselves. In the end, we changed the pads and threw in a random electronics package and I got maybe four or five laps towards the end of the day. It's been one problem after another but those last laps showed that the bike is going to be good. It was a much needed test but ended up as a frustrating one, so I can't wait to get back on it in Australia.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

We had some big problems on the first day with some glitches in the new electronics, so we had to wait to get a new software patch written and downloaded. The track conditions were not great either, so in reality we could only work in the last two hours or so of the test. In that little time, I think the guys did a great job and Jonathan was able to do a lap of 1m41.6s. Leon had some brake issues today, which set him back a little, and he was using Jonathan's electronics settings which didn't really work for him. The bike is working well though and the new components are performing as we want. We have some more parts to test, so we could do with more than the four testing days we have remaining before the start of the season, but we're in quite good shape for now.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes Fastest Rider At Jerez Test

Newsflash, 23 January 2013

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz experienced one wet day and one dry day in testing at Jerez, but also found improvements on their official Ninja ZX-10R machines in each of the contrasting track conditions.

Sykes was up to his expected fast pace very early in the test and set a 1'40.5 second lap on a qualifying tyre today, then did a 1'41.6 second lap on a race tyre. There were many riders from different classes at this test, including most of Tom's main rivals, and Sykes continued his strong pace from previous tests to head the field again.

Young French rider Baz made great improvements once more and although the team opted not to use timing transponders like their main rivals at this test, Baz set a best laps time that would place him in the top six of all the many riders on show. This was a pleasing result as he lost a lot of time in the pit box after he had a crash at turn two midway through the second day and his bike had to be rebuilt.

The first day at the tests was held in changeable and never fully dry conditions. Some heavy spells of rain made sure that the track would stay wet all day, not helped by the lack of sunshine. The track conditions rapidly improved on the second day, held in cold but sunny conditions throughout.

This was the final European test before the Superbike and Supersport riders head to Australia for more tests at Phillip Island, and then round one of the championship at that same circuit on 24 February.

Tom Sykes: "We have to be very happy after this test. Yesterday we had some wet track time and for some people it was maybe not very good but for us it was very valuable. We learned some things yesterday and also today in dry track conditions. Eventually we had decent track conditions and we got up to speed. We were able to test very constructively. Both days have been very valuable and I would like to thank the team and Kawasaki because our test schedule has been very good and all the time we have been moving forward. For this I am happy. This circuit is quite special and for sure it is not our strong point but looking at what is on paper we are not in a bad situation. On a race tyre we did a long run and was able to set a 1'41.7 time after 14 laps with this tyre option. Overall I am happy to have achieved what we have achieved and am looking forward to the next test at Phillip Island."

Loris Baz: "It was a good test even if we missed two or three hours today after a fall. It was a shame because we had some more things to try but we still made a big step forward and I am happy with what we found. I had a good feeling with the race tyre and also the qualifying tyre. I could not do a good time with a soft race tyres at the end because I did three laps on it and each time I found some other rider in front of me. I am sure I could have made a good time and I am not so far from Tom. Also, using a qualifying tyre it was the first time I was able to make a big improvement so I am happy with that because with only three riders on each starting row in 2013, Superpole qualifying is going to be very important. The front end feeling we have now gives me a better way to use the good grip from the rear tyre. I am happy to go to Phillip Island now."

Crew Chief Sykes, Marcel Duinker: "We made some changes in the suspension of the bike yesterday in the wet and it was not so bad, because last year in similar conditions we struggled in full wet conditions. That is why we were out on track all day on day one, and we managed to find something that was quite simple but it improved our performance. We made some big changes on the bike during this test, some quite fundamental things just to find the direction. This is something you do not do on a race weekend because it is too risky but it worked out here and we found a good direction. We also found some befits from the changes in dry conditions, in both pace and tyre life. We found another step here, like in Jerez and Aragon last year. We only had one dry day but we are on schedule for Australia as we have understood the main points and have improved our bike."

Crew Chief Baz, Pere Riba: "I am quite happy with the results of the tests. We worked well in Almeria and here in Jerez and even though in the first day it was raining it was very useful. Loris got used to the track and we made some changes on the bike, and understood some new points. We also had the information from the last test here to compare. It looks like we have made a step forward with Loris; about the settings of the bike and about himself. He understands how to ride the bike a little bit more. We are still learning and from Loris's side he knows he can still improve his lap time. We are focused on some particular points with Loris, because he is a tall rider, a little bit heavier than many others because of this, so we have to work with that. Other than the time we lost after his small crash today in second corner going so slow pushing the front. I am really pleased because we made good improvements on the front fork and for Loris's overall feeling, on the front and rear."

More, from another press release issued by Kawasaki:

Kawasaki Mahi Racing Out Of The Starting Blocks

Newsflash, 23 January 2013

Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret made their final European test of the winter season at Jerez, finding one dry day of weather in which to test the latest specification Kawasaki Mahi Racing Ninja ZX-6Rs

Even though the first day was wet Sofuoglu set many laps in his quest to find a good set-up on his machine, something he feels had eluded him fully in rainy conditions in 2012 even though he won the title on a Kawasaki last season.

In the dry he found even more improvements in front end feel and performance as he and his peer group experienced much better track conditions than on the first day. Now running his number 1 plate as 2012 champion Kenan's best lap today was a 1'43.890 seconds, the fastest of the whole test in the Supersport class.

Foret, who caught a cold shortly before the tests began, focused most of his energies on the second dry day of action, working on set-up options. He set a best of 1'45.290 seconds but is confident that when the team get to Australia for the final test, and then the first round itself, they will be on the pace to compete.

David Salom also tested at Jerez for the Intermoto Kawasaki team, setting a best lap time of 1'46.027.

Kenan Sofuoglu: "Yesterday was very wet sometimes but I am happy that we found good improvements in our wet set-up. I did not have a good feeling until late yesterday in those conditions. By the end of the day we had made a very big improvement. We changed a lot, so I am very happy. I wanted to make a lot of laps in the morning today when the track was drying out. I am leaving here very pleased because at the test in November I had some problems in the dry with the feel on the front, because of my riding style. Now I am satisfied because they found some suspension improvements for me and they will now go and build some new material to give me a wider range of adjustments to work with. I am sure they will make another improvement so I am happy with the team, the bike and the package. I really wanted to come here to test again before we went to Phillip Island so I could see if the other teams were ready or not, so I am happy that the test went well and that my team will be ready to fight in the first race."

Fabien Foret: "In previous tests we have been unlucky with the weather and then a big crash. Again here we found bad weather weather but today we had a dry track to work on. We took a direction in set-up that we found was not the right one for me and my riding style but now we know what to do. I would have liked to have been on the pace before we go to Phillip Island but I know I will be when we get there. The way of working is good but we have some stuff to adjust to - but that is why we go testing. It is all a learning experience for all of us in this new team."

More, from a press release issued by FIXI Crescent Suzuki:

FIXI Crescent Suzuki finishes European pre-season tests on a high-note

FIXI Crescent Suzuki has made a very positive start to the new 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season following two successful Spanish tests.

The final day of the test at Jerez today gave both Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel a full day of fine weather to assess their respective Suzuki GSX-Rs and complete their pre-season testing schedule. Camier looked extremely impressive as he recorded the fourth-fastest time of the day, with his quickest lap coming on the final one of his 77 circulations. Camier's best time of 1'41.184 was less than half-of-a-second off the top-time set by Marco Melandri on a BMW. The Englishman was able to evaluate the new-spec engine, as well a try out the 17'' wheels that WSBK will be using this season and test new electronic software and mapping during the final day.

Cluzel continued to make an impact on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R and finished the day in an impressive ninth place. He completed 52 laps of the Jerez circuit and clocked a best time of 1'42.635. He was hindered slightly by a small crash and some technical issues that cost him valuable track time, but was pleased with his efforts and is looking forward to the next test.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will now examine all the data garnered from the two Spanish tests and use it to make improvements for the next outing at Phillip Island, when the team will have four days of testing in readiness for the first race of the 2013 season, which is scheduled for Sunday 24th February at the Australian circuit.

Leon Camier:

"I am quite happy with the way everything has gone at the test. We had both wet and dry days, so we were able to try lots of different things. I do feel that my riding could have improved, it felt like my timing was a little bit off, but maybe that's just because Jerez is a completely new track for me. I know that it's achievable to be up there with front guys and given that we have only had half-of-a-day dry track time here at Jerez and some of the riders in-front of me were here for three days late last year, I am very positive about the performance. It will be good to get to Australia and push the bike a bit harder, as it's a much quicker track and we'll be able to see what it can do there. I'm looking forward to the season."

Jules Cluzel:

"It has been a good test in both the wet and dry conditions. At the end of today I was able to push a bit more and understand more how the FIXI Crescent Suzuki behaves. I really enjoyed myself and I know that I can go faster. I did a 10-lap run today, which is my longest so far on the Superbike, this helped me be more consistent and find my reference points. My biggest problem today was the wheelies, it's hard to control the bike with so much power! I have learned a lot of things, but know there is more to come and I look forward to Phillip Island and improving further."

Paul Denning Team Manager:

"It has been a bit frustrating overall with the weather, as the track didn't really dry out properly until this afternoon. All things considered though we have had a good test and are only just behind our competitors despite them having more track time from the test last year - so to be so close in such a short time has got to be a good signal for the season ahead. Leon rode really well and as far as I can see he didn't make any mistakes at all. He did seem to ride well within his abilities and was very smooth all through the test. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R is certainly going in the right direction, but it is difficult to really analyse its performance here as the riders have to control wheelies and keep the bike calm, rather than being able to use full power, which is something we will be able to do at the next test.

"Jules looked really good in the rain yesterday, but he was frustrated by a small crash today that cost him time as the bike was repaired and then he had a technical issue that kept him in the garage for a while. His attitude has been first class throughout, he is positive and upbeat and his lap-times are pretty good considering he's had so little experience on a Superbike. Once he's got a few more laps under his belt, I'm sure he'll find the rhythm easier and he'll and be up there with the fastest guys. Jules is definitely not scared of opening the throttle and we are excited to have him on the team!"

Jerez Test Day Two Classification:

1. Marco Melandri 1'40.758: 2. Davide Giugliano +0.103: 3. Eugene Laverty +0.286: 4. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +0.426: 5. Jonathon Rea +0.883: 9.JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +1.877:

More, form a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Winter testing Jerez.
22nd to 23rd January 2013.

Jerez, 23rd January 2013. The RR is back on track: The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team continued its preparation for the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship with two days of testing with the new 2013 race version of the BMW S 1000 RR in Jerez (ESP). On Tuesday, rain affected the testing programme on the Andalusian track but today it was sunny and the team was able to work in good weather conditions. In total, works rider Marco Melandri (ITA) completed 153 laps (677 km). His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) did 124 laps (549 km) on his RR.

Marco Melandri:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
"I am happy with this test. Today was a very good day and we could work a lot. As over the winter break I was struggling with a shoulder injury, it was not too bad that we had wet conditions yesterday because I could do some laps and train the shoulder without too much pressure. Today was very positive and I think we are well prepared for Phillip Island. We tested a lot of things, for example regarding electronics and got a clear understanding which direction we have to take. Of course, there is still work to do but especially with the chassis and the electronics we made a good step. Overall, I will head to Australia in a very confident and happy mood."

Chaz Davies:
Bike: BMW S 1000 RR
"I am very happy. Since the last test back in November we made really good progress. I am starting to get a really good feeling for the bike. I did not go to the limit today so it is good to see that the lap times were not too bad. I am very happy about that. The guys did a great job over winter and have made many improvements to the bike. Also within in the crew we get not know each other better and better. So everything is going in the right direction. For sure, I still need more time and laps on the bike but we will do more testing in Australia and continue the progression."

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"Overall, it was a good test. It was nice to be back on track after the winter break. For sure, it was a very busy winter and everyone was working really hard to prepare the 2013 race version of the RR. It was good to see that at its first outing, the new machine was working well and that we improved in many areas, especially in terms of chassis and engine. This is the result of the great job everybody in the newly structured team did over the last weeks and we are very happy about that. We believe that the bike has a lot of potential and that we are well prepared for Phillip Island.

We have been working mainly on the chassis, comparing the 2013 bike to the 2012 version and evaluating some new parts and the feedback from both riders was positive. Both riders are happy with the new bike and have a good feeling with it. Marco was consistently faster than at the November test, even if the track was slower now. We are also happy that his physical condition is fine now after his shoulder injury. At this test, we could confirm that his shoulder is working well and that everything will be okay for the first race. Chaz improved his feeling with the bike a lot and is feeling comfortable on the RR. In terms of lap times, he reduced the gap to the competitors significantly. In addition, he and his crew gel together more and more."

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"It was a positive test for us. The team and the riders are very happy with the work we have done and with the results we have achieved. Regarding the first race, we are very confident. Now we will continue to work hard back at home and we will use another four days of testing in Australia to further improve. Overall, we look forward to the season start in a positive mood."
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