Reigning world champion tops testing as Haslam continues to learn new team
Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK took to Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto for their second pre-season test, and final until the new year. For Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), it was an important two days with his ZX-10RR whilst newbie Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was working on feeling with the SBK® machine.
Setting the fastest lap time of 1.38.713, Rea was able to work through all elements of his new bike, with engine character being a clear area he was keen to work on with his Provec squad. Happy with the end to the two days in Spain, he was able to get in a race simulation as well as runs on used tyres with the 31 year old covering a lot of bases.
Finishing over half a second faster than his rivals, Rea explained: “It was a positive final day. We are putting the pieces together and we have to be satisfied with the work. Like yesterday, we tried some different things with the bike and at the end of the day we tried something quite interesting with the balance. I felt really good with an old tyre so that is something to keep working with in 2019. I also did a longer run in the middle of the day. We did pretty much what we set out to do at this test and I was on the pace on day one, so we could go testing straight away.”
On the other side of the garage, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has a big job on his hands as he makes the transition back to the WorldSBK paddock. As his base set-up is now a priority for the Brit, he was also working on understanding the electronics which have made a step since he was last in the paddock in 2015.
Ending in third overall on Tuesday, Haslam as 1.053s behind his team-mate and put in over 100 laps on his final day: “I am really happy with these two days. We really worked on my feeling with the bike. Not making too big a change and not trying any of the soft, experimental tyres. Every time we put a new tyre in we did not really gain much time but we just worked on the race set-up and race distance. And also changing my style to adapt to the bike. Every time out, every session, every day, we are getting a few tenths closer and in the end I was really happy with my pace on tyres with a lot of laps on them. I managed to get out on track with Jonathan for a few laps and see how he has changed in his style to make the bike go forward. That helped a lot.”
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