Lowes kicks off Jerez WorldSBK testing with fastest time

Kawasaki duo Rea and Haslam complete the top three in Spain.

Image: Supplied.

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes kicked off the official two-day FIM Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) test in Jerez, Spain, with the fastest lap-time.

Despite the chilly temperature, the WorldSBK riders were able to take full advantage of the good weather, putting in a considerable number of laps and working all day through their testing programs. With the track having been resurfaced over the winter break they all had to wait for the tarmac to warm up, before continuing with the work they had planned for the day.

Completing a positive day one of testing, Lowes closed the day at the top of the timesheets, impressing with a flying lap in 1m40.422s. The British rider was not really focusing in making the lap times, but as the work on the bike was proceeding well for the rider, the fast lap times were achieved consistently, next steps are now all focused towards Phillip Island.

Waiting for track condition to progress reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) sat out the opening hours of the day and came out of his garage around 2pm. Working on testing different components for his ZX-10RR, the KRT rider has been focusing on getting his overall package ready for Australia and he will continue with the same program tomorrow.

After a few laps done in the afternoon he was soon at the top of the timesheet before Lowes took the lead of the opening day, pushing the WorldSBK champion back into second position just 0.008s behind him. Sitting in third was Kawasaki Racing Team newcomer Leon Haslam, who continued the familiarisation process with his WorldSBK machine.

The British rider focused in putting in as many laps as possible, adapting to the new bike and learning the electronics. Thanks to a fastest lap in 1m40.885s he ended the day just 0.435s off his teammate. Impressing with his overall pace, Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) finished the day in fourth position, after returning in the saddle of his ZX-10RR for the first time for 2019.

Leading during the first part of the day, the Turkish rider put in another strong lap in the afternoon closing in 1m41.001s. Testing a combination of chassis part, settings and electronics Dutchman Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) set the fifth fastest lap in 1m41.047s, just 0.605s behind his teammate.

Working on their full factory configuration for the first time, the brand new GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team took their time to get acquainted with the new package. Both Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese were able to get used with their machine updates early on and finished the day respectively in sixth and seventh position.

Following just behind the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista had a lot of things to work on as they continued to improve their Ducati Panigale V4 R. Back at his full strength, as he was riding injured last time, Davies completed a positive first day, despite suffering a small crash through turn five late in the afternoon, meaning he couldn’t improve more.

The Ducati rider ended the day eighth with a best lap in 1m41.375s. Spanish star Alvaro Bautista took his time to get used to the WorldSBK machine as he had only two days on the V4 before returning to Jerez today. The Spaniard set a lap time of 1m41.857s after 44 laps ending the day in ninth position.

Davies and Bautista were not the only Ducati riders on track as also Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Barni Racing Team) were out taming their Ducati Panigale V4 R. The Irishman, who made the debut on the new Bologna factory bike today, finished in 12th position, while Rinaldi, who was working also on new suspensions, finished the day thirteenth.

Closing the top 10 Spaniard Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) ended the day in tenth position. The Spaniard put in 82 laps as he was testing new components for his Kawasaki ZX-10RR.

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team were also out on track testing today. Both Markus Reiterberger and Tom Sykes were working on getting familiar with their bikes as well as a trying different electronic strategy. With their focus on these aspects and not on the times, both the two riders had not been using a transponder today, meaning they didn’t have they unofficial lap times recorded. Bikes will return to riding tomorrow for day two of the test.

Source: CycleOnline.com.au

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