Test Day: Rea Fastest In Portimao, Aprilia, Ducati Test MotoGP At Misano

It has been a busy day test on the Iberian peninsula. A day after the Portuguese round of WorldSBK, a large part of the Superbike grid stayed on for a day of testing. After an indomitable performance during the weekend, Jonathan Rea ended the day as fastest, the Kawasaki man finishing nearly four tenths ahead of the Ducati of Chaz Davies, while Marco Melandri was third quickest. 

With Tom Sykes absent due to injury, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Superstock 1000 rider and protégé of Kenan Sofuoglu, took over the reigns of the Yorkshireman's Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Razgatlioglu was as impressive on a Superbike as he has been on a Superstock machine, posting a string of fast laps and ending the day in fourth, just under a second slower than reigning world champion Jonathan Rea. 

While most of the riders were working on general setup issues, Eugene Laverty had a specific goal he and the Milwaukee Aprilia team were chasing. Laverty demonstrated that he was able to run with the leaders on the Aprilia RSV4 RF in the early laps of the Portimao races, but his pace slowed as the laps ticked off. Solving the issue of tire wear and the drop in tire performance is crucial for the Milwaukee team if Laverty and teammate Lorenzo Savadori are to be competitive over race distance.

Two familar faces also made a reappearance. Michel Fabrizio, who has been involved in coaching, returned to his role as test rider for the Althea BMW team. In the Red Bull Honda team, Davide Giugliano was back on the CBR1000RR, picking up the work of Stefan Bradl, who had been forced to miss the weekend with a wrist injury.

The full list of fastest times from Portimao is below, while the official WorldSBK website has also published a PDF with the complete results of the round.

On the other side of the peninsula, the factory Aprilia and Ducati teams were testing at Valencia. For Aprilia, Sam Lowes and Aleix Espargaro were testing updates to the Aprilia RS-GP. No details were released, though Espargaro did post a video of the bike being started on Instagram.

For Ducati, Casey Stoner made a return, his final appearance as a test rider for Ducati this year, though the Italian factory expects to be able to sign him to another year of testing in the very near future. On Tuesday, Michele Pirro takes over the reins, working on setup of the bike to help Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo be competitive to the end of the season, while Stoner returns on Wednesday. Stoner spent Monday on the Ducati without the new aerodynamic package, which he is expected to spend his time on testing on Wednesday.

Portimao WorldSBK test times:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Total laps
1 1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1:42.313     53
2 7 Chaz Davies Ducati Panigale R 1:42.711 0.398 0.398 64
3 33 Marco Melandri Ducati Panigale R 1:43.017 0.704 0.306 65
4 54 Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1:43.249 0.936 0.232 62
5 50 Eugene Laverty Aprilia RSV4 RF 1:43.257 0.944 0.008 71
6 60 Michael van der Mark Yamaha YZF R1 1:43.330 1.017 0.073 83
7 22 Alex Lowes Yamaha YZF R1 1:43.517 1.204 0.187 46
8 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia RSV4 RF 1:43.588 1.275 0.071 54
9 81 Jordi Torres BMW S 1000 RR 1:43.602 1.289 0.014 70
10 84 Riccardo Russo Kawasaki ZX-10RR 1:44.074 1.761 0.472 82
11 4 Michel Fabrizio BMW S 1000 RR 1:45.446 3.133 1.372 69
12 34 Davide Giugliano Honda CBR1000RR 1:45.577 3.264 0.131 61


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Great to see an obviously talented kid, but it was saddening to see the gulf between Kawasaki and the rest so well illustrated:  even a noob is quicker on a Factory Kwaka than all but Chaz and Johnny.

Something needs to change, and fast.  BSB type formula is the way to go, suddenly a whole swag of talented new riders have pushed to the front now that good bikes are affordable/available.