Walker heads BSB field

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Chris Walker got up to speed with a bang today at the major BSB three- day test in uadix, Spain, leading the field on the first day.

The Rizla Suzuki star, back 'home' in BSB after years on the world stage, set the best time today after a series of changes to rear suspension linkages at the predecing Almeria test found the team happy with the rear set-up late on at that track.

Walker's best of 1:13.8 was fractionally quicker than reigning champion Ryuichi iyonari's 1.13.92, the Japanese rider refreshed after suffering jetlag in Almeria. Kiyo was almost matched by Walker's team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who set a 1.13.95 best despite gashing his knee when he found a false neutral in a second-gear right. The bike snapped round on him when it jumped into gear midturn, flicking the superbike rookie off.

Pace-setter so far in testing, Jonathan Rea set a best this morning of 1.14.5 at the test, sitting out the afternoon following a crash which saw him bang his right knee – -rays have shown there is no lasting damage to the knee, already injured following a big crash at the end of last year. Rea was also complaining of a headache following the off, his lid sustaining damage too.

Former champion Shane Byrne  and Stobart Honda team-mate Tom Sykes set identical times of 1.14.8, fractionally ahead of Honda rivals Leon Camier, also oving to BSB from Supersport this year.

There are two more days of tests at Guadix, though the Stobart team will miss the last day having notched up a day's testing yesterday at Cartagena – largely unhelpful because of slippery track conditions.

Walker said: "We found some good settings at the end of the Almeria test, specially with rear linkages, so I am pleased. There is still a lot to do, but I'm really happy with the progress."

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin