WSB: Sykes leads way after Jerez test

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Kawasaki once again reigned supreme as testing for the 2018 World Superbike Championship got underway at Jerez this week, but it was Tom Sykes at the top of the timesheets at the end of the two-day test.

Believed to have set his time using a qualifying tyre while team-mate Jonathan Rea stuck to race rubber, Sykes clocked a time of 1’38.889 to place almost 0.6 seconds ahead of Rea.

PATA Yamaha test rider Niccolo Canepa was a surprise third quickest, just 0.635 seconds off Sykes’ quickest time.

Leon Camier continued to show signs of promise on the Red Bull Honda to place fourth quickest, 0.719 seconds off Sykes. This time comes in spite of the Ten Kate Honda squad still running Cosworth electronics ahead of their anticipated change to Magnetti Marelli ahead of the start of the season.

Eugene Laverty was sixth quickest for Milwaukee Aprilia ahead of new MV Agusta signing Jordi Torres while PATA Yamaha’s full-time duo of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark languished in eighth and ninth after a difficult second day.

Leon Haslam set the tenth quickest time aboard his JG Speedfit Kawasaki BSB machine, just 1.6 seconds off Sykes’ qualifier time.

Chaz Davies was a disappointing 12th quickest, 1.8 seconds off Sykes’ time but is still riding injured after a heavy fall at the November Jerez test.

Most teams will now move on to Portimao where testing continues next week before the paddock heads out to Australia for one final test ahead of the 2018 season kicking off next month. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing