News 5 Nov 2015

Positive Yamaha debut for Guintoli and Lowes

New-look WorldSBK team tests Jerez alongside Kawasaki.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Good weather conditions were available as this week’s private two-day WorldSBK test in Jerez met its conclusion on Wednesday, highlighted by the official return of Yamaha’s factory team.

Just four WorldSBK riders were present – Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes alongside Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes – as well as David Salom’s Superstock 1000 DS Junior Kawasaki Team.

For Yamaha, the name of the game was getting to grips with the new R1. Although lap times have not been released from this private test, it would appear as though both 2014 world champion Guintoli and 2013 British Superbike Champion Lowes are satisfied with their progress.

The Briton recorded 68 laps (a total of 121 over the two days) despite a late lowside at turn two, while Guintoli’s 41 of Wednesday took his final sum of the week up to 100.

Despite the good weather, it was not an ideal day for the Kawasaki riders. On only his second day with the new bike, Rea crashed at turn five and some two and a half hours of track time were lost as the Kawasaki Racing Team cleaned up the bike. In total, he managed 52 laps on Wednesday which adds up to 106 for the whole test, putting in a best lap time of 1m40.6s.

Sykes also suffered a crash as he lost the rear end between the rapid Criville and Ferrari corners. Miraculously, the bike remained on the race track and did not head into the gravel trap, meaning the title winner of 2013 was able to ride slowly back into the pit lane. His best lap time came in the form of 1m40.0, while his total laps for the test became 113 after putting in 69 on Wednesday.

KRT and Yamaha’s next appointment will be at MotorLand Aragon on 16-17 November. Also on that occasion, Nicky Hayden will make his WorldSBK test debut with Honda as the 2006 MotoGP World Champion switches series for 2016.