It was Yamaha’s Alex Lowes at the top of the pile as World Superbikes dusted off the cobwebs and returned to the track in Jerez on Wednesday, 23 January.
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This week’s two-day Jerez test precedes a further two days at Portimao on Sunday and Monday before the grid heads to Australia in February. All of the major teams are present bar the HRC-backed Moriwaki Althea Hondas of Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari, having elected to test in Thailand instead.
It was an unusually slow day as a combination of lower-than-expected temperatures under cloudy skies and a partially resurfaced Jerez track resulted in very low grip.
Activity picked up in the afternoon as Lowes topped the timesheets on 1:40.442, although neither race simulations nor qualifying tyre runs were conducted due to the disrupted day which saw many top runners stay in the garage longer than usual.
Back in November, on a qualifying tyre, four-time World Champion Jonathan Rea managed a 1:39.713 lap time. Today he was just eight thousandths of a second off Lowes while the second Kawasaki of Leon Haslam completed the top three, still looking to reduce his mid-corner speed in order to enjoy a quicker exit.
Fourth was Puccetti’s Toprak Razgatlioglu ahead of Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark, while Chaz Davies reported no issues with his previously injured right shoulder as he ended the day ninth and ahead of Aruba Ducati team-mate Alvaro Bautista.
There was plenty of attention on Eugene Laverty as the Irishman made his debut on the GoEleven Ducati V4R, comparing the engine to the MotoGP bike he raced in 2016. Today was all about an initial understanding, preserving the bike and saving mileage for when conditions are better and more valuable data can be garnered.
Testing continues on Thursday, 23 January, again from 10am to 6pm local time (GMT +1).
RESULTS – DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY
- Alex Lowes – Pata Yamaha – 1:40.442 – 77 laps
- Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team + 0.008 – 40 laps
- Leon Haslam – Kawasaki Racing Team + 0.435 – 65 laps
- Toprak Razgatlioglu – Puccetti Racing Kawasaki + 0.559 – 63 laps
- Michael van der Mark – PATA Yamaha + 0.605 – 56 laps
- Marco Melandri – GRT Yamaha + 0.677 – 62 laps
- Sandro Cortese – GRT Yamaha 0.761 – 51 laps
- Chaz Davies – Aruba Ducati + 0.933 – 40 laps
- Alvaro Bautista – Aruba Ducati + 1.415 – 44 laps
- Jordi Torres – Pedercini Kawasaki + 1.531 – 82 laps
- Leandro Mercado – Orelac Kawasaki + 2.444 – 42 laps
- Eugene Laverty – GoEleven Ducati + 2.934 – 37 laps
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi – Barni Ducati + 3.531 – 41 laps
- Alessandro Delbiancho – Althea Honda + 4.995 – 62 laps
Note: The BMW bikes of Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger were not carrying transponders, meaning no lap times were revealed.
MCN will bring you further updates from the test online and on Twitter at @MCNSport.