Marco Melandri led the way as the Kawasaki Racing Team took a rest on the penultimate day of this week’s joint Superbike and MotoGP test at Jerez.
With KRT at the Andalusian circuit for all five days, Thursday was always pencilled in as Tom Sykes’ rest day, but with Jonathan Rea – who sat out Tuesday to collect his MBE – crashing heavily on Wednesday, the World Champion also opted to sit out on Thursday rather than push further when he’d already completed most of Kawasaki’s test programme.
Also absent on Thursday was the leading Aruba Ducati of Chaz Davies, who injured his knee in an enormous crash on Wednesday. An issue saw him jump off his Panigale R at Jerez’ fast turn one towards the end of the play on the third day of testing. An MRI scan would later revealed he’d sustained ligament damage in the incident, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the test.
Melandri’s time of 1’39.663 was almost a second slower than the quickest time Sykes had set on Wednesday.
Alex Lowes was second quickest of the superbike’s on Thursday as he looks to build upon the impressive results he achieved towards the end of 2017.
However, one of the biggest WorldSBK stories of the day was the pace of Leon Camier, who continues to evaluate the struggling Red Bull Honda Fireblade. The former British Champion went 2.5 seconds quicker than the quickest lap set on the Fireblade during September’s qualifying session, and almost two tenths quicker than he lapped on the MV Agusta to qualify ninth.
Xavi Fores was the fourth quickest Superbike machine, ahead of the second Yamaha of Michael van der Mark. Yamaha test rider Niccolo Canepa was fifth with Superstock 1000 champion Michael Rinaldi rounding out the field in his first test with the Aruba Ducait team.
Honda’s British Superbike duo both significantly improved their times to close in on the laps recorded by rivals Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey earlier in the week. Testing concludes on Friday.
Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website or use the MCN's Bikes For Sale App.