The weather gods have finally decided to smile on the World Superbike paddock. At Jerez, the teams were greeted by sunny and dry weather, and decent temperatures, allowing them to catch up on some of the work they had missed out on at Portimao and Aragon.
Fastest man on the day was Jonathan Rea, the Ulsterman quickly up to speed on his new Kawasaki, and topping the timesheets for most of the day. His Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes was less than a tenth behind, and had held on to 2nd spot for most of the day, only being deposed by Alex Lowes near the end of the session, when the Crescent Suzuki rider put in a very fast lap to take 2nd, demoting Sykes to 3rd. The two Ducatis followed, David Giugliano just ahead of teammate Chaz Davies, though the gap between the two is small. The Ducatis are close behind the Kawasakis and Lowes, just two tenths covering the top five friders.
Sylvain Barrier put the BMW into 6th slot, just ahead of Randy De Puniet on the second Suzuki and Michael van der Mark on the Pata Honda. Newcomer Jordi Torres was 9th quickest, and the last rider within a second of Rea, the Red Devils Roma Aprilia rider making the transition from Moto2 to World Superbikes, while Matteo Baiocco rounded out the top 10 on an Althea Ducati.
Reigning World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli only managed four laps in the morning, before an electronics issue meant he was flung from his Honda CBR1000RR in a massive highside. The Frenchman landed on his head and left shoulder, and was taken to hospital for further examination. The current expectation is that Guintoli will ride tomorrow, but that will depend on the outcome of medical checks.
There was activity on track for some MotoGP bikes as well. Aprilia were at Jerez with test riders Max Biaggi and Michael Laverty testing electronics strategies for the MotoGP machines, ahead of the first Sepang test next week. The bikes Laverty and Biaggi were riding were, according to GPone.com, basically WSBK-spec Aprilias with last year's engine, and using the Magneti Marelli spec MotoGP ECU.
There was also a Kawasaki present at Jerez, though it was running as an 'Akira', after the tuner who developed both MotoGP and World Superbike machines for Kawasaki. The bikes were something of a curiosity, using a new engine, but in different frames and using old ZX-RR bodywork. The bikes were running Michelins from the Spanish championship, which Speedweek reports are some four seconds slower than the Michelin tires currently under development for MotoGP in 2016. The bike was ridden by reigning Spanish CEV Superbike champion Kenny Noyes - also a test rider for Michelin - and Moto2 rider Domi Aegerter. Aegerter rode all day without a transponder, while only a few of Noyes' laps showed up on the timing screens. What the presence of the Akira-tuned Kawasaki means is something of a mystery. Kawasaki has no plans to return to MotoGP, and without using MotoGP-spec tires, testing the bike at Jerez provides little useful data for the class.
Testing continues tomorrow.
Times from day 1:
|1||65||Jonathan Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10R||WSBK||1:41.327|
|2||22||Alex Lowes||Suzuki GSX-R1000||WSBK||1:41.339||0.012||0.012|
|3||66||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki ZX-10R||WSBK||1:41.400||0.073||0.061|
|4||34||Davide Guigliano||Ducati Panigale 1199R||WSBK||1:41.516||0.189||0.116|
|5||7||Chaz Davies||Ducati Panigale 1199R||WSBK||1:41.542||0.215||0.026|
|6||52||Sylvain Barrier||BMW S1000RR||WSBK||1:42.087||0.760||0.545|
|7||14||Randy De Puniet||Suzuki GSX-R1000||WSBK||1:42.190||0.863||0.103|
|8||60||Michael van der Mark||Honda CBR1000RR||WSBK||1:42.251||0.924||0.061|
|9||81||Jordi Torres||Aprilia RSV4||WSBK||1:42.262||0.935||0.011|
|10||15||Matteo Baiocco||Ducati Panigale 1199R||WSBK||1:42.580||1.253||0.318|
|11||18||Nico Terol||Ducati Panigale 1199R||WSBK||1:42.699||1.372||0.119|
|12||36||Tati Mercado||Ducati Panigale 1199R||WSBK||1:42.767||1.440||0.068|
|13||44||David Salom||Kawasaki ZX-10R||WSBK||1:42.898||1.571||0.131|
|14||91||Leon Haslam||Aprilia RSV4||WSBK||1:43.176||1.849||0.278|
|15||54||Kenan Sofuoglu||Kawasaki ZX-6R||WSS||1:43.961||2.634||0.785|
|16||59||Niccolo Canepa||EBR 1190RX||WSBK||1:44.008||2.681||0.047|
|17||5||Marco Faccani||Kawasaki ZX-6R||WSS||1:44.116||2.789||0.108|
|18||72||Larry Pegram||EBR 1190RX||WSBK||1:46.120||4.793||2.004|
|19||9||Kenny Noyes||Akira Kawasaki||MotoGP||1:46.374||5.047||0.254|
|20||1||Sylvain Guintoli||Honda CBR1000RR||WSBK||1:49.383||8.056||3.009|
|21||24||Alessandro Valia||Ducati Panigale 1199R||Test||1:50.127||8.800||0.744|