The very day after Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) had won the world championship for Kawasaki he and 16 of his peers were back in action at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The one-day test was a rarity in any WSB season now, this one coming after one earlier outing in Portugal in June.
Even more of a rarity was seeing Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Ducati) put himself up top of the time sheets, thanks to a lap he said was done on a soft race tyre and others had down as a qualifying rear.
“All weekend we were fast, on Saturday I was fourth, made a mistake in Superpole but had two good races,” said Baiocco. “We have new software in the electronics, like the factory ones, all the weekend. But during the weekend it is difficult to set different things. You just have to go fast and change few things. Today we changed a little and the temperature and asphalt was perfect this morning. I tried two race tyres, two soft tyres, and they were good. Also one crazy lap but even my second lap was in line to stay inside the top three for today. I am happy.”
His 1’40.870, set at the end of the morning session, was almost half a second faster than new champ Rea, who was also trying out new parts for 2016. He had set 61 laps, one less than his team-mate Tom Sykes, who lost time more than once. He fell and then had a technical issue that robbed him of laps, but he still went out and did 62 anyway.
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Red Devils) did 82 in all, as he closed in behind the two Kawasaki riders, all three covered by a sliver of time in a cluster behind Baiocco.
Haslam had impressed by setting the fastest time of the afternoon, and also with his best left until the 50°C track temperatures had robbed the track of some grip.
Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) put both Althea bikes ahead of the factory ones in this test, with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing Ducati WSB) sixth another to use the afternoon to get moving, after a busy morning evaluating material.
Chaz Davies said of his day, “We had a lot to do this morning and as a result we didn’t make the best of the cooler conditions. This afternoon went well, considering the heat. We made some changes because in recent races we’ve been losing grip on the new tyre and so that was my priority for this test. I feel we’ve taken a step forward there, and I was able to make my fastest time in the very hot conditions of the afternoon, which shows we’ve found some speed with the new tyre. Aside from that, we've done some electronic work and a few other small things. It’s been a useful day.”
Jordi Torres was seventh in his factory Aprilia, trying out new solutions for set-up in only his second test during his rookie season.
Michael van der Mark did 66 laps but had few new things to try, just some disparate set-ups to allow him to confirm and experiment.
Raffaele De Rosa swapped his normal Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Ducati for a near full Superbike in the first session, alongside regular WSB Althea regulars Baiocco and Canepa. He went ninth fastest, ahead of the Pedercini Kawasaki of David Salom.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda) tried out some things he did not have the chance to in the regular year, to make sure he could finish the season well.
Roman Ramos re-signed for his Go Eleven Kawasaki team for 2016 at the weekend and was 12th in this test.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta) was just over two seconds from the best, but working hard in his lone rider team.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) placed 14th but Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) only did 17 laps in the morning before calling it quits.
Christophe Ponsson (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) set 62 laps and was second slowest, with only official Aruba.it Racing – Ducati WSB test rider Luca Scassa 17th, like Ponsson, just over three seconds from the quickest lap of the day.
Combined Test Times
- M. BAIOCCO (Althea Racing Ducati) 1’40.870
- J. REA (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1’41.340
- T. SYKES (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1’41.353
- L. HASLAM (Aprilia Racing - Red Devils) 1’41.404
- N. CANEPA (Althea Racing Ducati) 1’41.815
- C. DAVIES (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) 1’41.853
- J. TORRES (Aprilia Racing - Red Devils) 1’41.983
- M. VD MARK (PATA Honda World Superbike) 1’42.190
- R. DE ROSA (Althea Racing Ducati) 1’42.206
- D. SALOM (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) 1’42.555
- S. GUINTOLI (PATA Honda World Superbike) 1’42.615
- R. RAMOS (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) 1’42.736
- L. CAMIER (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 1’42.927
- L. MERCADO (BARNI Racing Team Ducati) 1’42.936
- A. BADOVINI (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) 1’43.579
- C. PONSSON (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) 1’43.874
- L. SCASSA (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) 1’43.905