The two-day test for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship came to a conclusion on Thursday with six-time Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) topping the timesheets as the only rider to lap in the 1’38s bracket across both days. Only three WorldSBK riders took to the track as Team HRC opted to miss day two of action after a “fantastic” test day on Wednesday.
Rea tops the timesheets
After sitting out Wednesday’s running, Rea also only took to the track around 13:00 Local Time on Thursday to complete half-a-day of action, but it did not stop him going straight to the top of the timesheets with a 1’38.851ss. Rea was able to complete 61 laps in his half-day of testing, lapping faster than teammate Alex Lowes by around 1.4 seconds.
Lowes had spent Wednesday’s action focusing on the front of his Kawasaki ZX-10RR machine before switching his attention to the rear on Thursday as he looked to focus on corner exit improvements. Lowes completed 59 laps and posted a best lap time of 1’40.266s. Both Rea and Lowes were able to test Pirelli’s new-for-2022 SCQ tyre during their Thursday action.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the third Kawasaki rider on track and the final WorldSBK rider on Thursday, as the Frenchman continued his comeback from a scaphoid injury that forced him out of the end of the 2021 campaign. Mahias had some new components on his bike, with more to come including updates such as the gearbox and aerodynamics. Mahias also tested a new suspension at Jerez as Kawasaki Puccetti evaluates Öhlins suspension. He completed 64 laps with a best lap time of 1’40.542s.
Tuuli on top in WorldSSP
Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ended the day on top in the WorldSSP category after completing 45 laps. Running the old bike with a new engine in a hybrid, the Finn posted a best lap time of 1’42.341s as the sole full-time MV Agusta tester on track. He had been joined on Wednesday and part of Thursday by five-time Champion Kenan Sofuoglu after his nephew, Bahattin Sofuoglu, tested positive for COVID-19 before the test.
Tuuli was followed by Turkish duo Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Kenan Sofuoglu, with the latter switching his attentions to Kawasaki Puccetti in the afternoon. With a new ruleset coming into force in WorldSSP for 2022, the team drafted in Sofuoglu to test out the new brake systems for the upcoming campaign including a new brake pump and disc. Sofuoglu took to the track on Öncü’s #61 Kawasaki ZX-6R machine, with the #61 bike completing 85 laps, the most of anyone, with a best time of 1’42.361s. Sofuoglu’s best recorded time, when he was with the MV Agusta machine, was a 1’43.774s after putting 30 laps to his name.
Yari Montella, who is making his full-time debut in WorldSSP in 2022 for Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, added 49 laps to his tally across the two-day test despite a few crashes for the Italian. He had a tumble at the final corner on Wednesday but was able to re-mount and continue riding, while he also had two more crashes today including one at Turn 10. Despite this, he posted a best time of 1’43.875ss on an eventful two days for the Italian.
WorldSSP rookie Ben Currie (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) and teammate Jeffrey Buis added 44 and 49 laps to their experience respectively on Thursday, with Australian rider Currie riding on track despite a wrist injury he noticed on Wednesday; he had some physio on Wednesday evening to ensure he was able to ride again on Thursday. His best time was a 1’44.606s while Buis, who took part in the final two rounds of WorldSSP in 2021, was around one second slower. Ana Carrasco was also on track at Jerez, testing a WorldSSP machine for the first time, completing 52 laps with a best lap time of 1’47.553s.
Unofficial WorldSBK times from day two at Jerez:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing team WorldSBK) 1’38.851s
2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’40.266s
3. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’40.542s