News 24 Nov 2015

Melandri makes MV Agusta test debut at Jerez

WorldSBK testing resumes with champion Rea quickest.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

It was WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea who topped the time sheets as a critical 2016 pre-season test began in Jerez on Monday. Several teams are present this week.

In the premier class, Rea and Kawasaki Racing Team partner Tom Sykes continued their winter programme, while there was much attention on the new-look Althea BMW Racing Team as Genesio Bevilacqua’s squad ran riders Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger for the first time. At MV Agusta Reparto Corse, newly-appointed test rider Marco Melandri was on-hand.

Fresh from the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Sykes and Rea were back on-track at the circuit on which they clinched their individual WorldSBK titles in 2013 and 2015. The program included a combination of evaluating front forks, electronics and brakes, with Rea having already run with Nissin brakes (as opposed to his usual Brembo) at the last test in Aragon.

Both riders – who are testing the Ninja ZX-10R on all days this week bar Wednesday, when they will take a day of rest – intend to put in race simulations before the end of proceedings on Friday. Rea is also looking into repositioning, with the aim being to place the rider more over the bike’s rear wheel.

At Althea, day one was more about adaptation than anything else for Torres and Reiterberger. This was also a first opportunity for both riders to work alongside Jan Witteveen, the team’s new technical director.

The Dutchman is responsible for the development of the bike and coordinating the engineers, as well as communicating with BMW Motorrad Motorsport. The Althea team itself is overseeing development of the S 1000 RR machines, plus the sporting and logistical aspects of the operation.

For MV Agusta Reparto Corse, the week is an important from the point of view that this is the Italian manufacturer’s first test since beginning its collaboration with Giovanni Cuzari’s Forward Racing company.

The current workload includes developments on the gearbox and electronics fronts, although the most significant addition is a completely new fuel tank which greatly affects the weight distribution of the F4 RR.

This was the first MV test for 19-time WorldSBK race winner Melandri, although no lap times were released as the bike was not carrying a transponder. Camier will be working with the team in Jerez from Tuesday, then riding on Thursday and Friday.

Away from the top category, Kawasaki Puccetti Racing were hard at work as FIM Supersport World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu shared the garage with Swiss rookie Randy Krummenacher for the first time.

The DS Junior Team was also busy with sole representative Ilya Mikhalchik, while MV Agusta reunited with Jules Cluzel who returned to his WorldSSP machine for the first time since his September crash.

The world championship’s third category was on offer too, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Raffaele de Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) testing their respective FIM Superstock 1000 Cup equipment.

Testing continues in Jerez on Tuesday and bikes will remain on circuit until the end of the week.