All-new Ducati Panigale V4 R impresses with Bautista and Davies completing the top three.
Sun shone down on the opening day Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) testing in Jerez, Spain, where riders were out to make strong steps for 2019.
With four teams out on track, the test was treated to an abundance of new bikes, new riders and new teams and plenty of laps were put in around the 4.4-kilometre track.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has been working through his testing programme, meaning he had a busy day around the circuit. Working with suspension, tyre work, finding a balance with their chassis and weight distribution and their new engine, it was a productive day for the reigning world champion who came out on track at 1pm and shot right to the top of the timing screens. Rea ended day one with a time of 1m39.657s, putting in 57 laps.
Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is continuing to get used to his new bike and team, and is focusing on putting in as many laps as possible throughout the two days in Andalusia. Despite suffering a crash through turn five in the early afternoon, the British rider ended day one in fifth putting in 71 laps, with a time of 1m40.390s.
Aruba.it Racing – Ducati had a big day in Jerez as their new recruit in Alvaro Bautista began to get to grips not only with his new team, but also adapting to the WorldSBK machine. Focusing on his pace with the all new Ducati Panigale V4 R, he was able to impress on his first day of the ‘new era’, setting a 1m39.919s after an impressive 65 laps, he ended the day in second position.
While for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who is embarking on his third day with his new bike – his second in the dry – he was still working on base setting for 49 laps. His time of 1m40.202s put him in third overall.
Brand new WorldSBK team GRT Yamaha had their first day with the step up into the premier class, with experienced Marco Melandri and WorldSBK rookie Sandro Cortese. Spending their first day getting adapted to the YZF-R1, the team are taking things step by step and were able to put in 125 laps collectively. Melandri ended day one in sixth, whilst Cortese finished the day in eighth.
Continuing to work on improving the gap to the front runners, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) continued to work through the parts and updates they had last week around MotorLand Aragon.
With elements of their chassis, swing arm and electronics to work on, the 2018 race winners had another productive day in Spain. Lowes was never outside the top four and ended in fourth with a time of 1m40.296s. Whilst van der Mark was taking a more steady approach and ended with a time of 1m41.572s in seventh position. Testing resumes on track tomorrow for the final day of pre-season testing in November.