WSBK Tests In Jerez Ahead Of 2016 Season | Events
Sykes Scores Best Jerez Test Time
On what was a less grippy track surface than the previous Jerez tests in November, Tom Sykes (KRT) left the Andalusian circuit with the fastest time of all, the only rider to lap under the 1’40 barrier, with a 1’39.924
He used a qualifier to do it, with most riders behind also reverting to a Q. Predictably, the WorldSBK rider crammed in the top half of the 27 strong mix of WorldSBK riders, with some Superstock 1000 FIM Cup runners and WSS competitors in among the middle orders.
Sykes said of his latest Jerez outing, and his all-new bike, “There are still areas where I want to improve both the bike and me but to come away from both winter tests in Jerez fastest is good, because it is not my strongest circuit.”
Second overall, despite a crash on day two, was Davide Giugliano (Ducati) with a 1’40.040. His team-mate Chaz Davies was right behind.
Nicky Hayden used a Q late in the day to improve to fourth place as his impressive arrival in the WorldSBK paddock continued. He also had a fall, a slow on, at turn three after he lost the front, but finished the sessions half a second from Sykes.
Michael van der Mark, Hayden’s team-mate made his own successful recovery from recent surgery to finish fifth. He set a whopping 156 laps, which shown his fitness really is back to normal. He was a tenth of a second back from Hayden.
Xavi Fores (Barni racing Ducati) occupied sixth place.
Jonathan Rea was an unaccustomedly lowly seventh, but worked only on his race set-up, including some front fork and engine character options.
The Pata Yamaha pairing of Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes slotted in eighth and ninth respectively, with Lowes doing 79 laps as he continued to find his fitness after a shoulder injury.
BSB Champion Josh Brookes took his Milwaukee SMR BMW to a more than respectable 10th place, even with some teething problems on his bike. He also posted 128 laps. His new team-mate Karel Abraham improved on day in his first WorldSBK ride ever to go 13th.
Leon Camier and the MV Agusta F4RR went 12th, and James Ellison was the fastest of all three GB Moto BSB Kawasaki riders. Leon Haslam, on a 2016 BSB Kawasaki, but with no ride by wire throttle yet, did not have a transponder and was given no lap time on the official listings.
Top Superstock rider proved to be Tati Mercado, on one of two Aruba.it Ducatis, with Sylvain Barrier on a Pedercini Kawasaki just behind on the new Kawasaki Ninja.
Fastest WSS rider proved to be Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) with a 1’43.091, the same pace he had in the November tests at Jerez.
Camier First Out On Updated MV
The entry list for the Jerez test said that Marco Melandri would test the lone factory MV Agusta but the Reparto Corse F4 was ridden by its regular pilot Leon Camier.
“They said that it was a mistake from the entry list, and it was not planned to be Marco,” said Camier, “not as far as I know.”
On a bike with a whole new fuel tank set-up, to deliver more stiffness to the centre of the machine, Camier was first out, as he and his team had so much to test.
“We have a lot of little things to try, to refine what we have got and they are trying to make a few lighter parts. So there are lots of clutch stuff, exhaust stuff we have been trying but nothing that is going to make us a lot faster.
“The tank is now and not the one that was used before. They have done another version of it and now they have come up with another one. The tank also, obviously, changes the weight distribution quite a bit.
“It is more make it more even from the start to the end of the race. I would normally struggle at the start as there was such a full fuel load on the front of the bike. Towards the end it would come good. So this is to try and make it as consistent through the race as possible.”
Camier’s MV was not using the latest spec Öhlins front forks.
Previously, in Portimao
Just before the majority of the major teams went to Jerez for testing, the official Pata Yamaha and Aruba.it Racing – Ducati WSBK teams lapped at former WorldSBK championship venue Portimao on 22-23 January.
Yamaha has the greater amount of work to do as they are racing the full WorldSBK version of the crossplane R1 that has been so successful in other championships last year.
2014 Superbike World Championship winner Sylvain Guintoli knows there is a long way to go for him and his machine but in going around a half a second slower than the official Ducatis it is a case of so far, so good.
“We still have a lot of work to do but we have a lot of components to test,” he stated after two days in Portugal, the second of which delivered ideal weather and track conditions. “We are still very early in what we want to do. It is important to carry on the development and find a good base that we can use in Phillip Island for the first round. We were lucky with the weather, especially today so it was a great couple of days.
“Lap times were OK but it is wintertime, and once again we were in the mix but there is a lot more to come for us but for now we have to stay focused on development and not concentrate on lap times. We need to build our base and our package and I am happy enough with that.”
Guintoli used the all-new 2016 Öhlins cost-capped front forks and found an immediate happy zone of feel and feedback. “For me they feel good, a bit lighter. The overall feedback is good, initially, and now we have to investigate more and see what will happen after Jerez.”
Guintoli also tested swingarms and steering items.
Pata Yamaha will join the rest of their main rivals at Jerez for more testing.
Alex Lowes swapped recovery regimes for the racetrack as he climbed back on his R1 again after a nasty injury to his left shoulder in a crash at the final Jerez test of the 2015 calendar year. His performance matched his team-mate for lap times and he set well over 100 laps over two days.
His injury will take some time to recover fully but he will also be heading to Jerez to test.
Ducati had Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano out on track, with Davies also using new electronics, as well as new and noisier exhaust pipes, allowable now under the 2016 rules.
The Welsh rider, runner-up to Rea in 2015, said of his Portimao experiences, “Yes, it was good, successful. We had two good days and I was happy. Not too many people here but I felt we were going quite well. We had some new stuff and more importantly it seems to be going in the right direction. On day one we were kind of working through the motions and getting the (power) delivery to my liking.”
Davies explained the developments in electronics he was trying out in Portugal.
“Just different strategies and a different way of tuning what we had before. Trying to get it a bit better. On the tuning side of things the options are endless and one big focal point this winter was trying to get something that works just a little bit better at different times during the race. It seems that the first impressions are quite good anyway.”