With the sun shining down on the Circuito de Jerez, teams began to prepare for the WorldSBK Championship this week and Jonathan Rea topped the first day. With all eyes on Jordi Torres’ first ride with MV Agusta and Loris Baz on the Althea BMW Racing Team, anticipation was in the air.
Milwaukee Aprilia were the first team out on the track, it didn’t take long for Kawasaki Racing Team to set the pace. With four days left of testing action, it’ll be an interesting week.
2017 WorldSBK World Champion Rea had a sensational opening day around the Spanish circuit, as he was never challenged at the top of the timing screens on Monday. Heading out in the mid-morning, the Northern Irish rider continues with his smooth and natural riding style as his team work on the 2018 parts.
Setting a time of 1.39.650, he was 0.355 ahead of the rest of the field, present from Wednesday onwards, the Champion will receive his MBE tomorrow back in England meaning he is to miss Tuesday on track. Whilst his team-mate Tom Sykes will be present for all five days and was able to put in an impressive day of lap times around the 4.4km circuit on Monday.
Hoping to iron out some issues already encountered with the ZX-10RR, Sykes has been working relentlessly – putting in 67 laps - with his team to build on the pace and understand the limits of his Ninja.
First out on track in Southern Spain, Eugene Laverty has been using the track time available to himself and his Aprilia team to the full potential, putting in 74 laps. Struggling around Jerez when the championship visited the track in October, the Irish rider has been able to achieve some strong times as he begins to understand the development needed for 2018.
He was able to end the day with a lap time of 1.41.183, putting him 1.5s behind Rea. On the other side of the garage, Lorenzo Savadori ended the day in the top five, 1.7s off the top of the timing screens.
Making his return to the WorldSBK paddock, Loris Baz’s fastest time of a 1.41.352 put him in the top four on his first day with the BMW team. Making big improvements in the afternoon, Baz was able to put in a strong amount of laps – 75 - as he starts to understand his S1000RR with one more day out on track tomorrow.
Struggling with levels of fitness following an operation last week, Jordi Torres had a measured introduction to the Italian machine but the Spaniard highlighted the importance of building a relationship with his team. However, with the fitness levels deteriorating Italian Alex de Angelis was able to head out on the 1000 F4 to secure some data for the team.
Leandro Mercado, who missed the final round of the season at Qatar, came out on the ZX-10RR in the afternoon to evaluate his first impressions with the Orelac Racing VerdNatura Team.
Putting in a strong stint under the sunny skies, his lap times began to improve as the day drew to a close. Yonny Hernandez is only present for the opening day of testing with Pedercini Racing, as the team begin to evaluate their options for next season.
The Columbian rider spent the day getting to grips with a WorldSBK machine, as it was his first time on the ZX-10RR beast. Using the day to the full advantage, he was able to get an impressive amount of laps in and a strong afternoon.
Full Day One Official Times:
1. Jonathan Rea Laps: 42 1:39.650
2. Tom Sykes Laps: 67 1:40.005 +0.355
3. Eugene Laverty Laps: 74 1:41.183 +1.533
4. Loris Baz Laps: 75 1:41.352 +1.702
6. Lorenzo Savadori Laps: 75 1:41.374 +1.724
7. Jordi Torres Laps: 90 1:41.628 +1.978
8. Leandro Mercado Laps: 47 1:42.041 +2.391
9. Yonny Hernandez Laps: 62 1:42.476 +2.826
Melandri "much more aware" of his potent
Melandri wins stunning race 1 at Philip
Sykes strikes for first pole of the seas
Savadori tops the timesheets in FP2 at P
Melandri fastest in FP1 at Philip Island
WorldSBK to introduce independent teams
Rea ends on top as one second covers the
Troy Bayliss back in racing action for 2
Circuit de Magny-Cours to host WorldSBK
Gamarino will debut in the premier class
Jake Gagne returns to Honda factory team
Changes to the WorldSBK Regulations for
Gabriele Ruiu to ride with Team Grillini
Rolfo to ride Team Grillini Suzuki machi
Rea ends test Jerez with incredible lap
Lowes happy with opening days in Spain
Melandri fastest man on track as day fou
Davies forced to recuperate after Wednes
Sykes ends day three at Jerez under lap
Baz will be out on the BMW for the first
What to expect in the first WorldSBK pre
Razgatlioglu to ride for Kawasaki Racing
Orelac Racing team to make the step up n
Rea signs off fantastic season with Losa
We made the best of what we had - Davies
Laverty felt like "real race"
Rea wins penultimate race of season in Q
Rea flies to take final pole of the year
Rea ends day one at the Qatar Round at t
Rea on top in FP1 at final round, with S
WorldSBK set for 13 rounds in 2018
Rea wants to finish the season strong
Guarnoni to make the step up to WorldSBK
Melandri: "Every rider fights with their
Double Jerez win sealed by champion Rea
Davies: "I felt we were learning as the
Rea delighted to take first victory arou
Rea secures first ever Jerez win
Melandri on pole for Saturday showdown a
Van der Mark: "I am happy because I didn
Rea: "Our pace here is fast"
Rea Friday’s fastest despite FP2 crash
Sharp Rea sets pace in early Jerez run
Rea feels fired up for the challenge at
Davies aims to have another solid weeken
Lowes feeling great with the R1
2018 WorldSBK calendar begins to take sh
Rea: "I wanted to win the race so badly,
Superb Rea seals third successive title
Cool Rea secures French pole in wet SP2
Bradl to sit out on the remainder of the
Rea: "Whatever happens tomorrow we have
Pace setter Rea wraps up Friday ahead of
Sharp Rea leads opening Magny-Cours sess
Could a championship be decided in Franc
Rea to put championship fight out of his
Loris Baz set to move to WorldSBK in 201
Double victory puts Rea in position of s
Laverty: "We’ve had the same problems si
Rea tops official Portimao test
Rea makes it a double at Portimao
Rea "lost for words" after Portimao win
Davies happy to take 20 points in race o
Runaway victory for unstoppable Rea
Rea storms to pole in Portimao sunshine
Rea: "I managed to be very consistent"
Rapid Rea leads the way on day one
Rea on top in opening Portimao session
Takahashi to step in for Red Bull Honda
Rea: thinks that another two year contra
Davies completes double victory in Germa
Sykes on top as action resumes at Lausit
Bradl: "It’s important for me to do well
Giugliano back in the WorldSBK with a st
Rea takes Sunday win at US WorldSBK roun
Marvelous Melandri takes 100th Italian v