In a season with a three-day, two race-day format, one common gripe from the WorldSBK teams is that there is never enough time, especially at the right time, over a race weekend to try anything except work on their Saturday race set-up.
With five race weekends taking place on alternate weekends recently, a break of two weekends before the next race at Misano was the perfect opportunity for some teams to get out with their regular WorldSBK riders to evaluate new parts but sometimes even just new settings. With limited in-season test days available in 2016 – eight for all Superbike riders – additional track outings count more than ever.
Aprilia’s lone entrants had their first non-Dorna tests of all since the formation of the IodaRacing team in the WorldSBK paddock this year.
Their riders Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori rode at Misano on June, 1, very shortly after the end of the Donington race weekend on 29 June, getting in almost a full day before rains arrived and messed with their final plans.
Aruba.it Racing Ducati WorldSBK riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano added to the small throng of WorldSBK talent at Misano too, with Davies setting the faster pace. Ducati riders were out for two days.
“After so many races, it seems like a long time since our last test,” said Davies. “It’s definitely been positive to have a couple of days to try things and ideas that can’t be tested on a race weekend. It’s a shame that the rain cut our track time short, but we’ve found a couple of good solutions for our base setup that should help us make another step forward, and this is the most important thing.
At this point of the season, everyone is capable of getting up to speed quite quickly, even though these tests were clearly useful also to get better prepared for next race. Last year Misano wasn’t an easy weekend for us, so our goal is to make up for it in a couple of weeks’ time.”
The Honda World Superbike team was also out at Misano, on June 1, with Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark.
Said Hayden, “This was our first test since the start of the season and a very useful one, too,” he stated. “Misano being the next race on the calendar meant we spent some time doing some preparations for that weekend. We were able to try some stuff we usually can’t do, because with a single bike in WorldSBK is really hard to make some changes. Unfortunately, it rained in the afternoon and, despite doing a couple of exits in the rain, the work basically stopped there. I’d hoped we could have learned a bit more today and take a bigger step forward. We did, however, find a few things and I hope these will make us readier for the second part of the season.”
Alex Lowes was the only Pata Yamaha World Superbike regular riding at Misano in the tests as Sylvain Guintoli was still missing, but he had Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Yamaha rider Niccolo Canepa for company. Lowes did over 60 laps in short stints because of his recently and operated injured left shoulder. He concentrated on traction control, front fork and other chassis settings in this test.
With most of their other rivals out at Misano, the top two Kawasaki Racing team riders, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes tested at Jerez, in their team’s native Spain.
Over two intensive days, in warm and dry conditions, the team worked mostly on 2017 developments but also found useful set-up info to take to Misano for the next round of the championship, between 17 and 19 June.
Despite Rea’s impressive and ever growing championship lead Sykes is the form man in the KRT squad right now. Speaking of his Jerez test session, the 2013 champion stated, “I am really happy and the pace I got here is really good, especially considering the track temp was 63°C at some times. We have continued the good form from recent events and the best thing is that we were able to try things that we are not able to test at race events. We evaluated many things on chassis and suspension set up, and with our electronics set-up. I did around 80 laps yesterday and about the same again today. Our lap times were fast but that was not our focus. All the same, I am pleasantly surprised at the lap times.”
By Gordon Ritchie