Alex Lowes, now on Kawasaki, ahead of former team-mate VDM. Johnny Rea still the man they are all trying to beat. World SBK Testing from Jerez. Day one of the Motul FIM WorldSBK test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto came to a close in December, with riders and teams testing new parts and new bikes ahead of the new season. Returning riders and WorldSBK rookies were on track looking for the perfect set-up for their 2020 season, whilst WorldSSP also joined the on-track action. Although four red flags interrupted proceedings, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) pipped Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) to finish on top of the pile ahead of day two. Improving the package in specific areas and continuing to experiment with new ideas regarding balance and set-ups for various scenarios, the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK continued their pre-season testing with a strong afternoon in the south of Spain. Jonathan Rea was the first rider under the 1m40s mark, whilst Alex Lowes elevated himself up to second with just two hours of track time to go. Over at Ducati, it was a tough afternoon for Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who ran on at turn five and beached his Ducati. The British rider re-joined the track but slipped down to seventh with less than two hours to go, although he recovered in the end and finished day one in sixth. Davies was just two places behind and was working on ergonomics, whilst working on rear shock feelings together with Ohlins. Michele Pirro (BARNI Racing Team) was just outside the top ten in 11th. Yamaha were also working on a vast array of things across their bikes, as Razgatlioglu was the first out on track. Toprak was experimenting with engine braking and was keen to refine his riding position – the Turk finished second overall, splitting KRT duo Rea and Lowes. Setting 98 laps, Michael van der Mark was also working hard on improving his feeling with new parts on the 2019 bike and finished inside the top four. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) was as high as third but slipped down to overall, as he continued to work on a solution for his top speed deficit. Niccolo Canepa was out on track too and was the only rider with the 2020 Yamaha R1, finishing ninth. For the first time for the 2020 season, BMW were on track, meaning Eugene Laverty made his debut with the German manufacturer. Laverty suffered a technical problem which brought out the second red flag, leaving oil on the track at turn two. Tom Sykes spent his day testing different chassis characteristics, whilst Scott Redding looking fast. also experimenting with a different electronics strategy and swingarm parts too. Tom Sykes finished the day in seventh whilst Laverty was tenth overall. At GRT Yamaha, both Federico Caricasulo and Garrett Gerloff continued their adaptation to World Superbike life. The Italian was not inside the top ten for most of the day, and, like at Aragon, was working on his riding position on the bike. Garrett Gerloff set more than 70 laps on his first time at Jerez and spent most of the day inside the top ten before finishing 12th. Toprak loving life on his new Pata Yamaha R1. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was still getting used to be being back on a WorldSBK-spec motorcycle and was one place further back in 13th, whilst Caricasulo and Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Racing) were 14th and 15th respectively. Ending the day on top out of the WorldSSP riders was reigning champion Randy Krummenacher (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse), making his debut for MV Agusta, whilst Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) were in behind. Newcomer to the WSS class for 2020 and SA star, Steven Odendaal had his first outing on the Ten Kate backed yamaha R6 machine and impressed ending the day in 5th place only 0.7 off Krummenacher. DAY TWO Despite a handful of red flags, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who topped the timesheets, whilst closely behind were Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Having just been pipped for top slot at lunchtime, the KRT squad were back on top come the end of the test, as Jonathan Rea was the first rider into the 1m38s. The time, which is under Alvaro Bautista’s race lap record from last year, slotted him nicely at the top whilst teammate Alex Lowes completed day two of the test in fourth place. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) enjoyed a successful comeback to WorldSBK and finished just outside the top ten in 11th, as he continued to become more accustomed to the bike. Aboard the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki, Lorenzo Savadori finished 15th and began to get used to Showa suspension. Yamaha were once again leading the charge to Kawasaki, although this time it was Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) who was second. The Frenchman bolted up to the top just after lunch but was pegged back by the reigning five-time WorldSBK Champion. Eager to improve the feeling on fresh rubber whilst the bike works a treat on old tyres, Baz is back at the forefront of WorldSBK. Michael van der Mark suffered a mechanical problem which resulted in an oil leak and subsequent crash at turn one, bring out the red flags. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) also crashed on oil. Van der Mark finished in third overall, just 0.007s from Baz. Having been inside the top four for most of the day, Toprak Razgatlioglu finished seventh, refining his feeling with Ohlins suspension, as he’d not used it before. On the 2020 R1, Niccolo Canepa was eighth. GRT Yamaha’s top rider was Federico Caricasulo in 13th, whilst Garrett Gerloff was 14th. WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding was the leading Ducati Panigale V4 R rider in fifth, as the British rider continued his understanding of the team and bike in WorldSBK-spec. Redding has pleased the entire team at Aruba.it Racing – Ducati with his quick adaptation, adding to the positive mood inside the box. The focus for the team on a whole was the balance of the bike and to try some new parts on the rear end. For Chaz Davies, the Welshman finished in ninth and was over 1.5s behind Jonathan Rea. BARNI Ducati’s Michele Pirro was in 12th place. The best of the BMWs was once again Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as the British rider continued his progress and used all of his famed development skills in order to get the bike to his liking. The 2013 WorldSBK Champion leapt up to sixth in the final ten minutes of action, making it three British riders inside the top five. New teammate and former WorldSBK title rival Eugene Laverty was quietly going about his business, as he finished in tenth place on his return to the Shaun Muir Racing fold. It was former Moto2 rider Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) who set the pace ending on top of the WorldSSP timesheets ahead of Philipp Oettl and Randy Krummenacher. Steven Odendaal improved to 4th overall and ended the test just 0.3 off the fatest time. Steven Odendaal on his Yamaha R6.
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