Scott Redding v Jonathan Rea and Ducati v Kawasaki headline the opening day of the WorldSBK test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
As MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship nears a resumption, teams and riders returned to track action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the first of two days of testing. Kawasaki and Ducati machines made up three of the top four of the results with Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) leading Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) by just over a tenth of a second with all five manufacturers in the top six.
Track temperatures exceeded 47 degrees Celsius in the afternoon session and it would take until the last 15 minutes of the session before times started to improve at the top of the timesheets; Redding finding another two tenths to top the overall timesheets and the afternoon session. Reigning Champion Rea was second overall as the pair battled it out to be fastest on day one.
Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) finished the session in third place on his Yamaha machine, just over two tenths off Redding’s fastest time of the day as he was the fastest Yamaha rider of the day as he completed 100 laps during the day. He held off Championship leader Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who finished in fourth place for the day.
Team HRC’s Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top five with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finishing in sixth. Sykes was testing with new crew chief Ian Lord at the Montmelo circuit, with the 2013 Champion beating teammate Eugene Laverty by four tenths of a second.
Sandro Cortese (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) also improved in the afternoon session to finish the day in seventh placed, with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) following just behind with the two riders separated by a tenth. For Turkish sensation Razgatlioglu, today was about getting back up to speed following Phillip Island; since then, Razgatlioglu had only been riding on a small track in Turkey.
Razgatlioglu’s Yamaha teammate, Michael van der Mark was 11th as he lapped the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 1.2s slower than pace setter Redding. Like his teammate, van der Mark had not been on a WorldSBK machine since Phillip Island; his only outing coming on a standard bike at TT Circuit Assen.
Leon Haslam (Team HRC) was able to get back out on track following his crash in the morning session as he finished 12th fastest overall; completing 29 laps in the afternoon session and 53 laps overall. Haslam finished ahead of Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado (Motocorsa Racing Team) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team). Gerloff was classified 14th overall but improved significantly in the afternoon session as he ran as high as fifth before the times started tumbling.
Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team), Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing) and Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance Ducati) rounded out the field as the day’s running came to a close.
The top six after day one of running:
1.) Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) 1’41.727
2.) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.183
3.) Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.253
4.) Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.591
5.) Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +0.593
6.) Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.728
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Home Town Test Begins Well For KRT
The official Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK line-up of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes enjoyed a full opening day of testing at KRT’s home circuit of Montmelo in Catalunya, with Rea second quickest and Lowes fourth fastest against all of their main 2020 season opposition.
This was the second time on their Ninja ZX-10RR machines the Montmelo circuit for both riders, after taking part in just a short track session, during in changeable weather conditions, in January.
With track temperatures almost hitting 50°C today five times WorldSBK champion Rea finished up with a best lap of 1.41.911. First year Kawasaki signing Lowes, the championship leader after the opening round in Australia, set a best of 1’42.318. One more day of testing remains at the 4.627km long circuit located within a stone’s throw of the team’s headquarters in Granollers.
Just like the most recent test at Misano the global Covid-19 situation saw the team adopting several measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus, both inside and outside their designated working areas.
After Thursday’s final day of testing at Montmelo – a regular MotoGP host venue but an ‘all-new’ one in WorldSBK racing terms – the season re-starts for real at the well-known Jerez circuit in Andalusia, with racedays scheduled on 1st and 2nd August.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “In the January test I kind of understood where the Montmelo track went, and I really enjoyed it, but we were not really riding in anger. Today I really enjoyed the track and did a lot of laps. I felt like I just picked up automatically and I can feel the bike really well. The bike is turning great and that is the biggest issue we have had in the past – especially at Jerez. When the temperature comes up it is hard to turn around those long corners. I used the rear tyre so much because I was turning on the rear all the time. But it seems like we made a huge step in that direction because the bike is turning really well. I felt things were happening quite normally today.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We rode here in January but we did not get the best weather so it has been nice to get here in beautiful sunshine and get to ride all day. I felt I got my teeth into the track. I am enjoying my riding and working with the guys. In this kind of heat the grip naturally drops so you have to be a little bit smoother on the bike. The guys have been reminding me today to be smooth and not force the bike too much. It has been quite good because in the early rounds at Jerez, Portimao and Aragon I am expecting some hot weather. To test in these conditions in very important for us. We are also understanding the best bike configuration to suit me and the feeling I have on the front of the bike.”
As well as the official KRT riders at Montmelo today, Sandro Cortese (Outdo Kawasaki TPR) was well under a second from the fastest rider of all with his 1’42.573, and in seventh position overall. Maximilian Scheib (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 16th quickest, with a 1’43.568 lap.