Jerez WSBK And MotoGP Test, Day 5: Sykes And Rea Obliterate The Superpole Record

Testing has finished at last at Jerez, with the onset of the winter test ban for both MotoGP and World Superbike teams. The final day of testing for the World Superbike squads ended as it had been all week, with the Kawasaki pair on top of the timesheets, and both men breathtakingly fast once the teams broke out the qualifying tires. It was Tom Sykes who walked away as fastest, the Yorkshireman obliterating the official Superpole record by just shy of a whole second. Sykes' fast lap left Jonathan Rea in second, though he was also no slouch. Rea ended eight tenths faster than the Superpole record. There is a chance he could have gone faster, but a crash in the afternoon put an end to his day's testing.

Xavi Fores made an impressive debut as a full time WSBK rider, ending the test as third fastest on the Barni Ducati, eight tenths behind Sykes but still well under the existing Superpole record, as was Nicky Hayden. The Ten Kate Honda rider made a strong impression on his second test on the Honda CBR1000RR, adapting well to the Pirellis and riding a production bike again. Hayden ended well ahead of Chaz Davies, the first of the factory Ducati riders, while Davide Giugliano made good progress on his return from a long layoff from injury. Leon Camier was the last of the WSBK riders, working on major electronics updates for the MV Agusta F4.

PJ Jacobsen was the sole World Supersport rider at the test, working on improving the set up on the CBR600RR but with very little to measure himself against. Later in the afternoon, Jacobsen got a run out on Michael van der Mark's CBR1000RR, the Dutchman having left the test for a medical check up on his arm. Van der Mark warned Jacobsen via Twitter to be careful, as "she can bite." The American found that out very quickly, falling just a few minutes later, but not before setting his fastest time of the day on the Fireblade. Meanwhile, Van der Mark has been diagnosed with an overstressed muscle as the cause of his arm pain.

The MotoGP riders were also out, but no official times were available. Updates when we receive unofficial times later today.

Officially recorded times for the World Superbike riders:

Pos No Rider Bike Series Time Diff Prev
1 66 Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK 1:39.313    
2 65 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki ZX-10R SBK 1:39.524 0.211 0.211
3 12 Xavi Fores Ducati 1199 R SBK 1:40.148 0.835 0.624
4 69 Nicky Hayden Honda CBR1000RR SBK 1:40.193 0.880 0.045
5 7 Chaz Davies Ducati 1199 R SBK 1:40.774 1.461 0.581
6 34 Davide Giugliano Ducati 1199 R SBK 1:41.152 1.839 0.378
7 2 Leon Camier MV Agusta 1000 F4 SBK 1:41.219 1.906 0.067
8 99 PJ Jacobsen Honda CBR600RR SSP 1:42.292 2.979 1.073


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I'm properly convinced now that Pirelli has vastly superior tires than the Bridgestone (I'd love to hear Hayden's opinion on this matter).

30-40hp down on power, more weight, worse chassis, worse brakes and electronics and they Sykes still did a time just half a second slower than Crutchlow on a factory Honda and half a second faster than the fastest open Honda in qualifying this year. The only variable component in the equation are tires.

Conditions were much better at Jerez now than they were in May. The hotter it gets at Jerez, the worse the grip. Moto2 is the same, they break lap records there in February testing, and never get anywhere near those times during the race. The conditions are the real variable in the equation, with track temperatures as much as 20 degrees C lower.

Everything riders who have ridden both Pirellis and Bridgestones have told me has led me to conclude that the Bridgestones are vastly superior to the Pirellis, in grip, behavior, and especially in quality control. These test times are very deceptive, especially as the MotoGP riders were never really going for a fast time, but concentrating on working with used tires. The WSBK guys threw in qualifying tires to get their fast times, a very different kettle of fish indeed.