Sykes scores best Jerez test time

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On what was a less grippy track surface than the previous Jerez tests in November Tom Sykes (KRT) left the Andalusian circuit with the fastest time of all, the only rider to lap under the 1’40 barrier, with a 1’39.924. He used a qualifier to do it, with most riders behind also reverting to a Q. Predictably, the WorldSBK rider crammed in the top half of the 27 strong mix of WorldSBK riders, with some Superstock 1000 FIM Cup runners and WSS competitors in among the middle orders.

Sykes said of his latest Jerez outing, and his all-new bike, “There are still areas where I want to improve both the bike and me but to come away from both winter tests in Jerez fastest is good, because it is not my strongest circuit.”

Second overall, despite a crash on day two, was Davide Giugliano (Ducati) with a 1’40.040. His team-mate Chaz Davies was right behind.

Nicky Hayden used a Q late in the day to improve to fourth place as his impressive arrival in the WorldSBK paddock continued. He also had a fall, a slow on, at turn three after he lost the front, but finished the sessions half a second from Sykes.

Michael van der Mark, Hayden’s team-mate made his own successful recovery from recent surgery to finish fifth. He set a whopping 156 laps, which shown his fitness really is back to normal. He was a tenth of a second back from Hayden.

Xavi Fores (Barni racing Ducati) occupied sixth place.

Jonathan Rea was an unaccustomedly lowly seventh, but worked only on his race set-up, including some front fork and engine character options.

The Pata Yamaha pairing of Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes slotted in eighth and ninth respectively, with Lowes doing 79 laps as he continued to find his fitness after a shoulder injury.

BSB Champion Josh Brookes took his Milwaukee SMR BMW to a more than respectable 10th place, even with some teething problems on his bike. He also posted 128 laps. His new team-mate Karel Abraham improved on day in his first WorldSBK ride ever to go 13th.

Leon Camier and the MV Agusta F4RR went 12th, and James Ellison was the fastest of all three GB Moto BSB Kawasaki riders. Leon Haslam, on a 2016 BSB Kawasaki, but with no ride by wire throttle yet, did not have a transponder and was given no lap time on the official listings.

Top Superstock rider proved to be Tati Mercado, on one of two Ducatis, with Sylvain Barrier on a Pedercini Kawasaki just behind on the new Kawasaki Ninja.

Fastest WSS rider proved to be Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) with a 1’43.091, the same pace he had in the November tests at Jerez.

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Gordon Ritchie

By Gordon Ritchie