Kawasaki Racing Team rider edges Redding to top the time-sheets.
A two-day test for Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) teams concluded at Catalunya on Thursday, with Kawasaki Racing Team’s defending champion Jonathan Rea topping the time-sheets overall.
Scorching heat, high track temperature and a slippery circuit meant that crashes and red flags were in abundance and that times for the top 10 were set in the morning session of the final day.
Rea set a blistering lap of 1m40.450s that was never headed, meaning he leaves the test with a good feeling aboard his ZX-10RR. Teammate Alex Lowes backed up the team’s efforts with fourth as the championship leader continued his adaptation from Yamaha to Kawasaki.
It was another British rider in second place as Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing Ducati) led Ducati’s charge. The rookie was top in the afternoon session and come the close of day one, was a mere 0.156s behind Rea on combined times. Teammate Chaz Davies worked on chassis direction was fourth this afternoon and finished ninth overall, although race-pace looks good.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team had a very strong showing on day two, with Tom Sykes leading their charge in third place. The 2013 world champion was one of just three riders in the 1m40s after the morning session and enjoyed his first time out at the circuit, doing plenty of race simulations. Eugene Laverty was also right in the mix and concluded the top six overall and was just over a second from top spot despite a crash in the morning on the Q tyre.
The first Yamaha on the charts was in fifth place and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) after getting back up to speed, although a morning crash at turn seven and afternoon technical issues suggested that it wasn’t all plain-sailing. Teammate Michael van der Mark also had a morning technical problem as he concluded the test on seventh.
The first of the Independent riders came home in eighth place overall and that was Ten Kate’s Loris Baz. The Frenchman was on the pace on his YZF-R1 and focussed on tyre life in hot conditions and his work gave him third in the afternoon on day two. Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) made it two Independent teams in the top 10 and, despite an afternoon tumble, was P10 overall.
It was a great afternoon showing for American newcomer Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and teammate Federico Caricasulo, as they were eighth and 11th in the afternoon, with Gerloff just missing out on an overall top 10.
After missing much of the entire morning session, Team HRC were out on track in the afternoon heat. Leon Haslam was up inside the top five after lunch, but finished in ninth, while Alvaro Bautista was a lowly 15th. Despite not testing any new parts, electronics refinement was key. Haslam would end up 12th overall and Bautista 15th, but without a full day on track, the potential is yet to be reached for the team and its new Honda CBR1000RR-R.