Kawasaki riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes made a positive start to their 2017 championship preparations on the new Ninja ZX-10RR during a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with Rea going fastest of all and Sykes placing third. Two-time champion Rea set a lap of 1’39.809 on the final afternoon, after also posting the fastest lap on the opening day. His eventual leading time was achieved with a standard race tyre fitted front and rear. 2013 world champion Sykes finished his two-day test with a 1’40.219 best lap for third best lap time of the entire test sessions. Both Rea and Sykes experienced crashes on day two but came back to complete their programme of work.
Jonathan Rea: »It is nice to set such a good lap time at this time of the year but it is testing and I have never been the best guy for one lap. We have been able to make many fast laps in these winter tests, however, and we have found a bike set-up that has been working well. The grip level at this test was a little bit lower than in November but we have been able to find consistency as well. With the different character on the track we have been able to evaluate different rear shocks. Showa have been working so hard and I am really impressed. I felt my own ‘bike fitness’ was not great as I have been off the race bike for so many weeks now. I am looking forward to the next test to try and do a lot of laps. I need some more mileage to feel like I did during the season last year.«
Tom Sykes: »I am happy enough even though I suffered with my neck all day today after a crash, while I was riding the bike at least. That took the edge off me a bit but we still did a lot of things with the bike and tried a lot of different set- ups. Jerez is not my strongest circuit anyway but thanks to Marcel, Danilo and all the boys we finished the day very happy. I feel all the information we have from today means we will be strong. We were able to make real progress. We are still struggling in some areas but we will keep working and I feel we are putting in enough laps and mileage during testing to build ourselves a stronger package for Phillip Island and round one.«
The Honda WorldSBK Team has completed today the first private test of 2017 at Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Official Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl were able to try for the first time the WorldSBK-spec version of the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 they will use throughout the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship. Blessed by good weather conditions – despite cold temperatures in the morning – the test proved very useful for Hayden and Bradl, who were able to put in a considerable amount of laps. Both riders worked hard with their crews over the two days while trying to get an early understanding of the new package, before making some first set-up changes. On the final day, the team successfully put to test the performance of the bike with qualifying tyres, with Hayden finishing as the sixth quickest rider of the test and Bradl being only three tenths of a second slower than his team mate.
Nicky Hayden: It has been two useful days of testing here at Jerez and luckily the weather was on our side in the afternoons. The team has done a great job to put the bike together and bring it here, despite the short time they had available to prepare them. We used yesterday almost exclusively as a shakedown day and in the afternoon we were able to make some decent runs, while today we tried to work more on the bike performance, just to get the bike in the right window, and a bit of a direction. We’ve made a couple of steps but it’s obvious we’re still behind our competitors at the moment. There’s still a lot of work to do and time to make up; when we used the qualifying tyre the time we set made us look closer than we actually are. Overall we found some positives today: we worked a lot on finding more grip and the bike ran smoothly without any glitch. The team has a little bit of time now to understand the data before Portimão.
Stefan Bradl: »This having been the very first test with the new bike, we expected it not to be the smoothest of rides. Overall, though, it wasn’t so bad! Today we made some important improvements compared to yesterday. We still have to do some work on corner exit in order to find some more grip – and speed – out of turns. Obviously, we didn’t have enough time to react massively on the bike, we are just making small steps to try and get a first understanding of the new Fireblade. Overall it has been a positive two days of testing, because the weather allowed us to lap consistently around the track. Despite some expectable teething issues, it wasn’t too bad. In just two days we’ll be in Portimão, where we will continue with our work.
Marco Melandri/Aruba.it – Ducati-Team #33: 1:40.313
»It’s been a positive test. I expected some more difficulties after the meniscus surgery, but actually I felt quite well. The team is doing a great job and everyday I feel more comfortable on the bike. We still struggle a bit on fresh tyres, also because with the cold climate it’s more difficult to warm them up, but we’re heading in the right direction. I would have liked to do a race simulation, but we’ll wait until Portimão because I had some blisters in my hands after such a long break. Physically I feel fine though, I recovered completely and I’m sure I’ll be 100 percent fit for Phillip Island.«
Chaz Davies/Ducati #7: 1:40.324
»This first test has been OK. It’s always a bit tiring from a physical standpoint because we step on the bike for the first time in two months, but we progressively got into the swing of things. Also, Ducati brought a lot of stuff and we ticked off the most important items on the list, but we still got work to do in Portimão. We got progressively quicker, even mixing things up a bit in terms of our setup. That’s what testing is about, working through a program slowly but surely to step up to new challenges. If I had to race tomorrow, we would probably stick to a more familiar setting, but we’ll focus on pushing the boundaries before heading to Australia.«
Fotos: Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati.