Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari top Almeria test
The Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team finished their first test onboard the brand new 2008 specification Honda CBR1000RR at the top of the time sheets in Almeria last week.
WSB rookies Carlos Checa and Ryuichi Kiyonari set identical lap times on the final day and left the Spanish circuit convinced of the potential of the new machine.
Due to the late arrival of the new bikes, which the team only received on the 12th December the three days in Almeria will be the team’s one and only test before heading out for Free Practice for the Qatar race on 21st February.
Czech, Jacob Smrtz showed the potential of the 1200cc Ducati 1098 in his second ride for the new to WSB Italian Guandalini Racing Ducati squad. Riding the 1098 for the second time the 24 year old looked fast and consistent setting a best lap of 1m 36.5s.
Former BSB Champion and WSB returnee Gregorio Lavilla made a methodical start to his first real dry test onboard the 2007 spec Paul Bird Motorsport Honda CBR1000RR with ever improving lap times given him the joint third quickest lap alongside Smrtz with a 1m 36.5s best.
The third Ten Kate Honda rider and reigning WSS champion, Kenan Sofuoglu took some time to get up to speed with the new Superbike, but made good progress with a break through in his lap time coming on the final day with a 1m 36.8s lap.
World Endurance front runners GMT94 Yamaha competed in World Supersport last year with Spain’s David Checa and Frenchman Sebastian Gimbert. For 2008 the team will continue in World Endurance with Briton Steve Plater but also move to WSB with Checa and Gimbert.
Their all new Superbike proved to be over one second faster than their World Endurance machine, with Checa impressing to go fifth with a 1m 36.8s lap and Gimbert seventh 0.3s back.
New Alto Evolution Honda signings Shuei Aoyama and Luca Morelli struggled to make an impact first time out on last years bikes ending the test three seconds adrift after two days of riding.
1. Carlos Checa Honda Ten Kate 1’36”3
2. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda Ten Kate 1’36”3
3. Jakub Smrz Ducati Guandalini 1’36”5
4. Gregorio Lavilla Honda Paul Bird 1’36”5
5. David Checa Yamaha GMT94 1’36”8
6. Kenan Sofuoglu Honda Ten Kate 1’36”8
7. Sèbastien Gimert Yamaha GMT94 1’37”1
8. Shuei Aoyama Honda Alto Evolution 1’39”1
9. Luca Morelli Honda Alto Evolution 1’39”5
Circuit best: Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) 1’35”6 (2007)