World Superbike: Rea Tops Testing At Catalunya

World Superbike: Rea Tops Testing At Catalunya

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:

Redding and Razgatlioglu fight at the top of day two, Rea leads overall

It really is too close to call as whole variety of riders and manufacturers showcase their improvements…

The two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship teams and riders has concluded with many talking points before the first round. The scorching heat, high track temperature and slippery circuit meant that crashes and Red Flags were in abundance and that times for the top ten didn’t improve on this morning’s session, leaving Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as the rider to beat, albeit by the slimmest of margins.

 

Jonathan Rea (1) testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea (1) testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

After times failed to improve in the afternoon, Jonathan Rea leads the way on exit from Montmelo. The Ulsterman set a blistering lap in the morning session that was never headed, meaning he leaves the test with a good feeling aboard his ZX-10RR. Teammate Alex Lowes backed up the team’s efforts with fourth as the Championship leader continued his adaptation from Yamaha to Kawasaki. Working on rear end set-up and acclimatising to the changes of direction, Lowes has already built on refining his braking style from day one. All in all, a strong showing for the Spanish-run squad.

It was another British rider in second place as Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) led Ducati’s charge in Catalunya. The rookie was top in the afternoon session and come the close of day one and was a mere 0.156s behind Rea overall after day two. His goal was to work on the bike’s performance in hot conditions, although this was hampered by two technical gremlins throughout the day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) worked on chassis direction was fourth this afternoon and finished ninth overall, although race pace looks good.

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team had a very strong showing on day two, with Tom Sykes leading their charge in third place. The 2013 World Champion was one of just three riders in the 1’40s after the morning session and enjoyed his first time out at the circuit, doing plenty of race simulations. Teammate Eugene Laverty was also right in the mix and concluded the top six overall and was just over a second from top spot, despite a crash in the morning on the Q tyre. Neither finished inside the top ten during the hotter afternoon session as both worked on race pace, eager to get the bike dialled in on the new circuit.

The first Yamaha on the timesheets was in fifth place and Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team). The tenacious Turk wrestled his Yamaha into position after getting back up to speed, although a morning crash at Turn 7 and afternoon technical issues suggested that it wasn’t all plain sailing. Teammate Michael van der Mark also had a morning technical problem as he concluded the test on seventh. The aim for the Dutchman was to focus on rear grip whilst both riders aimed at just getting laps under their belt.

The first of the Independent riders came home in eighth place overall and that was Loris Baz. The French star was on the pace on his 2020 Yamaha R1 and focussed on tyre life in hot conditions and his work gave him third in the afternoon on day two. However, Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) made it two Independent teams in the top ten and despite an afternoon tumble between Turn 2 and 3, was seventh in the afternoon and tenth overall. It was a great afternoon showing for Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and teammate Federico Caricasulo; they were eighth and eleventh this afternoon, with Gerloff just missing out on an overall top ten.

After missing much of the entire morning session, Team HRC were out on track in the afternoon heat. Leon Haslam was up inside the top five after lunch but finished in ninth, whilst Alvaro Bautista was cemented to 15th, and whilst not testing any new parts, electronics refinement was key. Haslam would end up 12th overall whilst Bautista was 15th but not a full day on track, the potential is yet to be reached for the team and its new Honda CBR1000RR-R.

In World Supersport, it was Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) who shone the brightest as he got his YZF R6 into a good position at a circuit he knows extremely well. Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) was second ahead Cluzel’s teammate, Corentin Perolari, who suffered a small crash in the morning session but was otherwise OK.

Top six after day two:

1.) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’40.450

2.) Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) +0.156

3.) Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.506

4.) Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.687

5.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) +0.768

6.) Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.044

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Rea Fastest Overall At Catalunya Tests

Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes have successfully completed an intense two day test at their team’s home circuit of Montmeló, with Rea setting the best lap of all during this morning’s slightly cooler session.

Although both official KRT riders worked on machine and tyre set-up to suit the hot conditions they expect to experience at the next few races, they were also fast over one lap. Rea set a best-of-test 1’40.450 single lap time and Lowes was fourth overall with his 1’41.137.

Hot and dry weather conditions characterised this test at the new-for-WorldSBK circuit of Montmeló, with both KRT riders enjoying the full experience of testing their machines around the challenging 4.627km layout.

In all, 17 WorldSBK riders were at the Montmeló circuit for this test, giving Lowes and Rea a good reference of their main competitors’ performance levels after a long halt to the 2020 season.

This test had two main uses for the entire KRT squad, which is based just a short distance from the track itself. The first was a final on-track preparation before the season restarts at Jerez in a few weeks. Secondly, it was ideal preparation for the Catalunya race weekend itself, which is scheduled for the weekend of 18th to 20th September.

The WorldSBK season will restart for real – after what will be almost a five month break due to the global Covid-19 pandemic – at Jerez de la Frontera with race days on the first and second of August.

 

Jonathan Rea (1) testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea (1) testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Jonathan Rea, stated: “This morning I used a race tyre, the soft tyre and then two qualifying tyres. That was the target this morning – to work on ultimate pace and see what we could do. After that we started to work with the set-up again and tried to confirm some items on the front to give me some more stability. We backed-to-backed both bikes to find if we confirmed the set-up of what we arrived with at the Misano test. I preferred that to my old base set-up so it seems like we have moved our base set-up away from what I had. I don’t know if that is because the temperature suits that kind of bike set-up or if my riding style has evolved during this lockdown period and it has changed. But what I am requesting from the bike now I have a good feeling with this one. In the afternoon I waited for the temperature to be at the maximum to do two longer runs on both bikes to understand some test items. We felt pretty happy and now we look forward to Jerez.”

 

Alex Lowes (22) at speed during testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Alex Lowes (22) at speed during testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Alex Lowes, stated: “In the final hour or so we put everything together what we had found positives with and the bike was working really well. We did more laps than I thought – 107 today – so a busy one. But I am really happy with such a positive second day here. This is still a learning process and with the amount of laps I have done I am trying to learn as quickly as possible. I am happy with my pace this afternoon, it was strong and a little bit faster than I expected, which is always nice. After such a long break in the season it has been easier to get back into the swing of things than I thought but it will be nice to get a couple of weeks off now before the back-to-back races that restart the season. My pace with the used tyres is more competitive than with the new tyres, same as we saw in Phillip Island. Luckily for me we have had the same characteristic here. On used tyres I am feeling good with the bike. Joining this team, every day I am learning more. It is a fantastic team and I am enjoying it a lot.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “Our test has been really, really positive. We had some info from the last test here in January that we collected for this test. We started with that base set-up and then we focused to understand the hot conditions and how to use the tyres. This track is very demanding on tyres, and it is the key point. We have been very focused on making a good lap time and working over a long distance. I am very happy because we reached all the targets that we put on the paper and Johnny was also the fastest one – this morning when the track temperature was cooler. We used a qualifying soft tyre and took the fastest lap. We also confirmed some items we tested in Misano and I feel very good. Johnny is in very good shape after the long break because of Covid-19 and he did a great job here; very calm and working well.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a very good test and we are prepared for the second race of the season at Jerez. We know we should have very hot conditions there. We started off with a base set-up and then understood in which direction we needed to work when it is hot and slippery. That is what we achieved. Alex is fast and consistent. Over half race distance it was quite impressive, so this makes us very confident. I think in the end we made the most laps of anyone at this test and we have a happy rider. We are ready now for Jerez.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “We have finished in Montmeló and it has been a good test. Our conclusions are positive because after two days we can understand much better how the track is working. In September, for the race, it should still be quite hot, so the information from this test will be so useful. The riders enjoyed the track a lot and we could see how the other riders’ lap times were. We can see how everybody has tried to understand the position of the competition. I think in general everybody in WorldSBK has been happy to be here and from our side it has been incredible so now we wait to come back again for the race.”

In addition to the KRT riders on their Ninja ZX-10RRs at Montmeló, Sandro Cortese (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) continued his largely positive test experiences and ended up 13th overall. Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 16th quickest. Cortese set a 1’42.187 personal best lap and Scheib a 1’42.436.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:

Testing concludes at Barcelona for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team with Redding 2nd and Davies 9th respectively

The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team ended today the two-day testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the last one before the long-awaited second round of the 2020 WorldSBK season scheduled from 31 July to 2 August in Jerez de la Frontera.

Scott (P2 in the combined standings) was fast throughout the sessions, confirming the great feeling with his Ducati Panigale V4 R. After setting the Day-1 fastest chrono, the Englishman took an exciting head-to-head with Rea in the early morning laps today, then returned to the track in the afternoon for a 18-lap long run.

Tangible progress, especially in Day-2, for Chaz Davies (P9 in the combined standings). The Welshman worked hard on used tyres, before pushing hard on the final lap which allowed him to end up the afternoon session in fourth place.

 

Scott Redding (45) at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Ducati.
Scott Redding (45) at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Rider #45)

“I am satisfied with this test. We have worked very well these two days especially with used tyres. This morning’s challenge with Rea was a lot of fun. We pushed hard but after a few fast laps I wanted to remind myself what the real objective of the test was. That’s why we did a long run this afternoon. I couldn’t try the time attack because of a technical issue but it doesn’t matter”.

 

Chaz Davies (7) backs his Ducati into a corner during testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Ducati.
Chaz Davies (7) backs his Ducati into a corner during testing at Catalunya. Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Rider #7)

“It was very important to get back on track to work again on some of the solutions we already tried at Misano. They were two intense days in which we worked well and they were also important to get familiar with this circuit in conditions similar to those we will find during the race weekend. All in all I am satisfied and the aim now is to get to Jerez in the best possible condition”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:

Countdown to season restart: BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team tests the BMW S 1000 RR at the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’.

Barcelona. The countdown is on to the restart of the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). After several months without racing, the season is set to resume on the first weekend in August at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP). In preparation for the coming races, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team and its riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Eugene Laverty (IRL) took part in this week’s tests at the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ near Barcelona (ESP).

The test allowed the team to evaluate various updates for the BMW S 1000 RR, which have been worked upon during the enforced break since the season-opener in Australia. The fine-tuning primarily centred around finding the best possible basic set-up for round two of the season at Jerez de la Frontera.

The team also used the test to familiarise itself with the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ and to gain data on the track properties. That is particularly important, as the circuit to the north of Barcelona is new to the WorldSBK calendar in 2020. ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ will host the sixth event of the season from 18th to 20th September.

Shaun Muir, Team Principal:

“We had some items to test and, very importantly, track familiarisation to get ready for the upcoming race later in the season. The updates that we had to test were mainly electronic strategy related and a lot of the other work that was focused on were race simulations runs and tyre wear in the latter stages of the race. I’m generally happy with both Tom and Eugene. It was very difficult to judge lap times overall with it being very cool in the morning and most were pushing for the times early on. Once the temperatures rose, we concentrated on the race runs. Overall we are happy, we’ve had a good test in Lausitz and here in Barcelona so now we can look forward to the restart of the WorldSBK Championship at Jerez.”

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: 

“We can’t wait to go racing again after the long break we had since Australia. Testing at Barcelona was very beneficial in our preparation for the restart of the season. Conditions have been like we expect them to be at the next rounds we will have in Spain and Portugal. It was also great to get familiar with the ‘Circuit de Catalunya’ which we will race on for the first time in September. We now know a little bit more what to expect there. Now we are looking forward to Jerez and getting back to competition mode again.”

 

Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad.
Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy of BMW Motorrad.

 

Tom Sykes: 

“I’m feeling really good as we had a very productive test in Germany and have continued that same form here into Catalunya. It’s great to be here as I have never ridden the track so I’ve really enjoyed the layout of the whole circuit. We’ve had a good test schedule and worked through a lot of test items with the BMW S 1000 RR gathering some crucial information. It’s clear to see that the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team has been hard at work during this difficult period as we arrived here with a lot of ideas. It’s been working on different geometry settings, front and rear suspensions parameters, chassis options and we have certainly improved the electronic strategy. We are still exploring these set ups; we just need some time to put all this together.”

 

Eugene Laverty (50) . Photo courtesy BMW Motorrad.
Eugene Laverty (50) . Photo courtesy BMW Motorrad.

 

 Eugene Laverty:

“This test has been my best run on the bike yet, it’s been fantastic and in particular my race run in that final session there. I did a race run yesterday which was a good pace, but I knew I had more to give today and I proved that. We lapped from the start in the 1’43.300’s and by lap 18 we were at 1’43.900, which was incredible compared to what a lot of the others lads were doing over the race distance. This morning I had some good pace on the ‘X’ tyre and then jumped to the ‘Q’ tyre but had a little crash. The crash was a similar crash to the one in Phillip Island which is something we need to look at. Overall I’m happy with the test and I’m looking forward to getting out in Jerez in a few weeks’ time.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Pata Yamaha’s Razgatlıoğlu and Van der Mark Enjoy Positive Return in Barcelona Testing

At a private test in Barcelona attended by the top WorldSBK competitors, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla completed a combined 332 total of laps over the two days, with riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Michael van der Mark making best use of this important track time ahead of the second round of the series in Jerez (31 July – 2 August).

The two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is set to host a WorldSBK round for the first time on 18-20 September, saw Phillip Island race-winner Razgatlıoğlu complete 154 laps with a best time of 1:41.217 on his Yamaha R1 with team-mate van der Mark posting1:41.679 from his 178 laps, as Yamaha’s engineers focused on new development parts and collecting valuable data.

In the mid-summer Barcelona heat, testing got underway on Wednesday, with Razgatlıoğlu quickly getting back up to speed with the sixth-fastest time in the morning just ahead of van der Mark in seventh.

During the afternoon, both riders continued to refamiliarise themselves with their R1’s after a four-month layoff and to test different parts as Razgatlıoğlu improved his time to finish the day in ninth as the grip levels dropped. Van der Mark’s best effort was enough for 11th in the afternoon, to conclude his first full day on the race-ready Yamaha R1 since the Australian opener.

In the cooler conditions of day two’s morning, the Pata Yamaha riders made a big step in pace and then both set their fastest times of the test in the final hour before the lunch break. Turkish racer Razgatlıoğlu was fifth with a time of 1’41.217, despite a crash without injury at the exit of Turn 7, as Dutch star van der Mark went seventh quickest with a time of 1’41.679.

In the afternoon, both Razgatlıoğlu and van der Mark continued to rack up their mammoth lap counts, with the former going second quickest on his final tour of testing, and both were confident in the development work done by the Pata Yamaha squad.

The team is now ready for the WorldSBK season restart, scheduled for Spain and the Circuito de Jerez in three weeks’ time, as both van der Mark and Razgatlıoğlu look to continue their championship challenge.

 

Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: 154 Laps – 1’41.217

“I’m happy because I was able to ride the Yamaha R1 again! We tried many new parts and sometimes they didn’t work, but we found some new things that did make improvements. It’s not been a bad test at all, it was very important as it’s a new track for me and we are now ready for the race in Jerez. I only knew this circuit from video games, so it was good to get some laps in before we come back here later this year. The first day was quite difficult after so much time away from the bike, and I had a huge crash on day 2 and I’m lucky to have no injury. But even with this, we were quite fast and we improved the R1, so we can be happy.”

 

Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

Michael van der Mark: 178 Laps – 1’41.679

“It was nice to be back on the bike; it’s been a while and also it’s been 10 years since I’ve last been here, so it was all quite new. We had so many new things to try and I think we can be quite happy with this test, even if it doesn’t maybe look as good from the results alone. We had so many new developments and we were just focused on improving the bike, because in the last four months the guys have been working really hard at home. A lot of positives on the R1, I’m happy to be back after four months not riding and I’m ready to be racing again. I can’t wait for the restart in Jerez.”

Paul Denning: Team Principal, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team

“It’s a pleasure to be back at the racetrack with the team, riders and Yamaha engineers, ahead of the restart to the season. The Barcelona Grand Prix circuit is a new one for our team and both of our riders, so after four months off the bikes yesterday was a little challenging to get fully back up to speed. Nonetheless, we still got through a reasonable amount of work, maybe leaving more questions than answers, but with a good night’s sleep the riders were ready to go this morning. The crew chiefs and engineers had also made a clear plan for today and we were a lot more competitive. Testing here in these conditions is almost like running at two different circuits as the temperature increases, and the grip level drops significantly. We were quick in cooler conditions and we’ve improved the bike to be a lot closer in hotter temperatures than we were yesterday. Some problems, some challenges, and an extremely busy couple of days, but in the end a great job by Michael, Toprak and all the team, and now we are looking forward to Jerez.”

Barcelona WorldSBK Test Combined Times

1. Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing Team, 1’40.450

2. Scott Redding, Ducati Aruba, 1’40.606

3.. Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, 1’40.956

4. Alex Lowes, Kawasaki Racing Team, 1’41.137

5. Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, Pata Yamaha, 1’41.218

6. Eugene Laverty, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, 1’41.494

7. Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha, 1’41.679

8. Loris Baz, Ten Kate Racing Yamaha, 1’41.881

9. Chaz Davies, Ducati Aruba, 1’41.903

10. Leandro Mercado, Motocorsa Racing Team, 1’42.024

11. Garrett Gerloff, GRT Yamaha, 1’42.121

12. Leon Haslam, Honda Racing Corporation, 1’42.126

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Honda Pro Racing:

Team HRC concludes its first post-lockdown tests in Spain

Team HRC has concluded its first testing session in months at the Catalunya-Barcelona circuit in Spain. Following the enforced break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, official riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam were enthusiastic to return to the track and get back to work.

Having not visited a racetrack since the conclusion of the opening Superbike World Championship round at Phillip Island, Australia, in late February, they essentially started from where they last left off. Testing alongside most of the Superbike field, the dry, sunny conditions allowed the team to work on many areas of the bike, continuing its set-up work. At the same time the riders have had the opportunity to regain feeling aboard their bikes and set some fast lap times, day one closing with Alvaro having set the fifth fastest time, Leon placing twelfth.

On day two however, Leon and Alvaro missed the chance to further improve on their lap times as they were forced to spend a few hours in the garage in the early stages of the morning. This meant that at the end of the day they had to settle for twelfth and fourteenth place respectively in the combined classification. The set-up work nevertheless resumed in the early afternoon and carried on until the very end of the session at 6pm local time.

Both riders now look forward to their next track outing, where the team will be joined by Japanese staff who were unable to attend the current session due to some travel restrictions only recently lifted, and the development of their CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP bikes can continue. Team HRC will therefore continue its preparations ahead of round 2 of the WorldSBK championship, scheduled to take place over the weekend of 1-2 August at the Jerez de la Frontera track in Spain.

Leon Haslam 91

Today has been quite productive despite a long stop in the garage this morning. Yesterday was less ideal as I had a crash in the morning: a wheelie turned into a big high side, so that definitely woke me up after the long break! I hit my head and ankle but luckily did no serious damage. Having said that, we had a productive afternoon on the second bike anyway, and as I said, another good session this afternoon. The main aim here was to analyse our Phillip Island performance and try to iron out a few of the issues we had there. I feel that the bike has great potential but that, considering the brand-new package, we simply need time. Many small things create a good package, and we are trying to find all that in what is a very short space of time. One positive is that Alvaro and I agree on many things, so this makes development a little smoother. All in all, I’m pleased. I hadn’t been at this track for 18 years, so it’s been good to get a feel for it again seeing as we’ll be racing here later in the summer. I feel we’ve been able to get up to speed here and then, as of the next test, we will have a long list of parts and elements to test.

Alvaro Bautista 19 

This is only our first test back and so understandably it took me a little time to reset mentally and find the right feeling with my bike again, but now I already feel like I’m back in the groove let’s say. We haven’t really tested anything new here – that’s something we’ll focus on next time – and so we’ve concentrated mainly on confidence, and also on the electronics, working to find more traction through the corners and improve our braking on corner entry. I hadn’t ridden at this track for a while, and never with the Superbike of course, but it seems like it offers quite good grip; the levels are not at all bad, particularly considering the heat. Today we had to spend some time in the garage as the engineers had to analyse a lot of data to fix some issues we had, so we missed the chance to go for some fast lap times during the best part of the day. We’ve been productive anyway, and it looks like we’ve found some things to work on again next time out, when we will also have the HRC engineers present with some new parts for us to test.

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