Sykes and Rea separated by only 0.5s as the Ulsterman makes Kawasaki debut
The first private test of the off season started today at Alcaniz’s MotorLand Aragon, involving three teams who are going to play an important role in next year’s edition of the Superbike and Supersport World Championships. The first of two days of track action began a little later than expected, given the wet conditions encountered early morning and the low temperatures at the Spanish track.
The circuit is being used in its FIM configuration of 5,078m, with the long left hander connecting the back straight all the way to the start/finish one. The times recorded are therefore purely for reference and benchmarked against those set by the MotoGP World Championship.
By noon the circuit tarmac had dried fully with temperatures significantly higher, meaning the riders could finally hit the track for a continuing period of time. All eyes were on former long-time Honda rider Jonathan Rea, who made his debut aboard the Ninja ZX-10R of the Kawasaki Racing Team. The Ulsterman had his first taste of the bike and immediately felt at ease with the riding position, whilst trying to find a base set-up with his new crew. Rea set a quickest lap time of 1’52.7, only half a second slower than his teammate and 2014 WSBK runner-up Tom Sykes, who also had to get to grips with the new machine given the changes to the Technical Rules that will be effective next year.
Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies looked very confident aboard their respective 1199 Panigale R machines. The factory Ducati duo were the most active on track as they also went out in the morning despite the damp patches still on the track. Both riders clocked in 1’51.3 to end up joint fastest of the day.
New factory Kawasaki team in WSS San Carlo Puccetti Racing is only taking part in the test with three time WSS Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who will be the sole rider testing for the team before the winter break. The Turk lapped the MotorLand Aragon 45 times today aboard his ZX-6R, setting a personal best of 1’55.6.
MotorLand Aragon - Day 1 (unofficial) 1- Davide Giugliano 1’51.3 – Chaz Davies 1’51.3 3- Tom Sykes 1’52.2 4 – Jonathan Rea 1’52.7 5 – Kenan Sofuoglu (WSS) 1’55.6