Jonathan Rea fastest in Aragon two day WorldSBK tests as the 2022 season approaches
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted the best time of the two day WorldSBK tests at Motorland on 4 and 5 April, shortly before the new season gets underway this coming weekend.
Rea’s time of 1’48.714, was 0.354 seconds faster than the next best rider, 2021 champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team).
The 2021 season’s ‘big two’ now enter the first race of the 12-round campaign as part of a probable big three, as Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was third quickest, only 0.026 seconds from Razgatlioglu.
Testing is testing, racing another thing entirely, but seeing these three names at the top of the final combined testing timesheets was a surprise to no one with the results of the winter tests taken into account.
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha) was not far from the leading trio in fourth place overall, but was still half a second from Rea’s best.
A great return to WorldSBK delivered a happy BMW baptism for Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW). Not just top BMW rider but he finished fifth – and was also a chunk of time ahead of sixth placed Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team).
Unable to get his bike to turn in properly at this early stage of the season Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was seventh, but still one place ahead of the top Honda rider, Iker Lecuona (HRC Honda). Lecuona was followed in the rankings by his team-mate Xavi Vierge (HRC Honda). Another rookie, Philipp Öttl (Team GoEleven Ducati), kept his privateer team’s hopes up for a good start to their new season together by going 10th fastest.
Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished up 11th, experiencing rear grip issues entering corners. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was unable to set fast individual lap times, but felt he had a better race pace ready for the weekend.
Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was 13th quickest in testing, Michael van der Mark stand-in rider Ilya Mikhalchik (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was 14th fastest and the top 15 was rounded out by year-two WorldSBK rider, Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha).
Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 22nd in his first ride on his new bike, in a new class.
In the new look WorldSSP class three 600cc four-cylinder riders – Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) and Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) led the field after two days of cold but sunny weather conditions, with the first vee-twin of Nicolo Beluga (Aruba Racing Ducati) slotting into fourth place. 2021 World Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was fifth, new recruit Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) sixth and top MV Agusta 800 rider, Niki Tuuli, seventh. Reigning WorldSSP300 champion, Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki), was seventh.
Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph Street Triple RS) ended up top Triumph rider, in 13th place. Oli Bayliss was 22nd fastest on his BARNI Spark Racing Team Ducati.