Jonathan Rea started off the 2018 World Superbike season where he left off as pre-season testing got underway at Jerez today.
The three-time world champion took to the top of the timesheets from his first laps of the 2.8-mile Andalusian circuit and remained there all day as he continued to improve as Kawasaki test their machine in full 2018-spec for the first time.
Rea’s quickest time of the day, 1’39.650, is quicker than he has ever lapped here on race tyres and just 0.7 off the time he set on qualifying rubber at Jerez 12 months ago to outpace a number of MotoGP machines.
After clocking 42 laps today, Rea won’t be on track on Tuesday as he heads back to London to collect his MBE from the Queen, before heading back to Jerez to complete the test.
KRT’s second rider Tom Sykes followed Rea on the timesheets, some 0.355 back after 57 laps on track while Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty was fourth quickest, 1.5 seconds back on Rea’s time.
BSB rider Leon Haslam was fourth as he made his return to action after that horrific crash at Brands Hatch earlier this year, he was just 1.626 back on Rea despite the deficit of his BSB-spec ZX-10RR.
Making his debut with the Althea BMW team as he returns to World Superbike from MotoGP, Loris Baz was fifth quickest, 1.7 seconds off Rea’s pace, while the second Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori was sixth.
Jordi Torres, still visibly in pain from his crash in Qatar, was seventh quickest ahead of the second JG Speedfit Kawasaki BSB bike of Luke Mossey.
Leandro Mercado, riding the Puccetti Racing ZX-10R in the absence of Toprak Razgatlioglu while Yonny Hernandez, who makes his debut with Pedercini Racing completed the top ten.
Ducati, Honda and Yamaha’s World Superbike teams will join the field throughout the rest of the week, as will most of the MotoGP grid and Honda’s British Superbike team.
Keep up with the test live on the MCN Sport twitter.
Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website or use the MCN's Bikes For Sale App.