Phillip Island, Australia
Jonathan Rea took command of the final WorldSBK test ahead of the season start this weekend at Phillip Island, finishing the test on top of the timesheets. But the margin the KRT Kawaski rider had was small: just (an ironic) 0.076 seconds ahead of Loris Baz on the Ten Kate Yamaha. Rea's time was good, but his race pace was ferocious, putting in a lot of high 1'30s and low 1'31s.
Andrea Locatelli ended the final day of WorldSSP testing with a commanding lead, the Bardahl Evan Bros Yamaha rider nearly two thirds of a second quicker than reigning World Supersport champion Randy Krummenacher on the MV Agusta. Krummenacher just inched ahead of Frenchman Jules Cluzel on the GMT94 Yamaha, who was in turn a few hundredths quicker than Raffaele De Rosa on the second MV Agusta. Cluzel's GMT94 Yamaha teammate Corentin Perolari rounds out the top 5.
Day 2 times:
With the WorldSBK season due to kick off next weekend, the teams and riders get one last chance to prepare for 2020, with testing taking place on Monday and Tuesday. The first day of the test did not run entirely smoothly, Phillip Island's notorious winds and brief showers chasing riders on and off track, with a smattering of red flags thrown into the mix.
The WorldSSP faces its final preparation for the 2020 season, with testing getting underway at Phillip Island ahead of this weekend's season opener. Despite brisk winds, the World Supersport class got the best of the weather on Monday, with rookie and Moto2 refugee Andrea Locatelli taking a clear lead at the top of the timesheets.
In part one of Akira Nishimura's interview with Joan Mir, the Ecstar Suzuki rider spoke about adapting to MotoGP, what he learned from his teammate Alex Rins, and where they need to improve for 2020. In the second half of the interview, Mir goes on to talk about his path into MotoGP, how much easier or harder it is to be a rookie on a Suzuki, compared to a Ducati or a Yamaha, and how long he will need to adapt.
Q: Looking back at your racing career, it is just your fourth year in the world championship. So, when you started your world championship career in 2016, did you imagine you would be a MotoGP rider in four years?
Joan Mir: In four years, no. This is impossible. I think that this is a record or something. We have to find this, because it’s so, so fast. One year in Moto3. Win first race in Moto3, podiums. Then second year in Moto3 world champion. Then first year in Moto2 podiums. Then first year in MotoGP. It’s unbelievable. It’s so fast, but in all my career, I was always competitive, always. Also in MotoGP. So, I’m happy to be here.
Obviously, I would like to do one year more in Moto2 and fight for the title, because it’s something that we were able to do, to have a title in Moto2. I didn’t have it, but because everything came like this, everything fell into place so I had the contract with Suzuki. Otherwise I needed to wait two more years if I wanted to go up to MotoGP. I said, the moment is now. I went up. At the end I’m happy to be here.
As one more championship in WorldSBK has now run its enormously unexpected final course, the off-season gives us time for both reflection and plotting a path forward.
OK, that’s the reflection over, what about 2020 and beyond?
The WorldSBK series does not quite restart its new season preparations just two days after the old season, as it does in MotoGP. In those terms it took a bit over two weeks to get WorldSBK bedded in again, but most teams are already getting into 2020 mode after two days of tests at Motorland Aragon.
The FIM has announced the 2020 WorldSBK Calendar today. The series will hold 13 rounds in 10 different countries, starting at the end of February in Phillip Island, and ending on 11th October in Argentina.
The calendar sees a certain amount of reshuffling. The Qatar round of WorldSBK has been moved from the final race of the year to be second, and takes place a week after the opening MotoGP round at the Losail circuit. Qatar takes the place of the disappearing Thai round at Buriram, which has dropped WorldSBK in favor of MotoGP.
Oschersleben returns to the calendar, bringing WorldSBK back to Germany, with that race being held at the end of July. And Barcelona is to host both MotoGP and WorldSBK, the Superbike round to be held from 18th-20th September next year.
What’s wrong with Jorge Lorenzo? Has he lost it or is he merely waiting till his back is fully fixed? And why HRC’s plans for its 2020 RC213V should give cause for optimism
The MotoGP paddock and fans around the world are agog with talk of Jorge Lorenzo. What’s up with the three-times MotoGP world champion? Has he lost it? Why doesn’t he retire? Why hasn’t he been sacked? Why don’t they put Johann Zarco on his bikes?
It must be said that the three-times MotoGP king is in a hole. A very deep hole. At Phillip Island two weeks ago he finished more than a minute (one minute!) behind winning team-mate Marc Márquez.