Rea heads Lecuona on Day 1 at Aragon test
The six-time World Champion was sitting on top of the order come the close of the opening day
Testing at the MotorLand Aragon circuit in Spain is underway for some of the contenders of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, with five on track as well as two World Supersport riders. With perfect weather for testing – albeit a bit cold in the morning and thus not much track action in the first 45 minutes – times tumbled throughout the day with plenty of items and areas to tick off.
BACK ON TOP: Rea leads the way on Day 1
Starting with Kawasaki, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) topped the day’s running with a 1’49.903 set in his final run, the only rider in the 1’49s. There were some software items and hard items to get through, but Rea was coy on what they were, but the main focus of the test was to prevent overloading the front of the bike, although Rea stated that this happening in Europe’s cooler temperatures isn’t the same as it happening in the high heat of Indonesia. With the new personnel in the team working well together and with electronics engineer Sander Donkers settling in and integrating within the team, progress has been made. Rea was clear however, stating that regarding acceleration, there needs to be a step. He had brake ducts on both of his bikes, whilst teammate Alex Lowes didn’t have any, with different rider preferences for both. Lowes was on the pace too but over four tenths away from Rea in third and was hoping for hot temperatures – an area where the ZX-10RR struggles in. Track temperatures hit the low 40s, and Lowes hoped for a solution to help the front tyre life and give it an easier time.
HONDA CLOSE BEHIND: Lecuona in P2, half a tenth away
At Honda, there were a plethora of items, from a stiffer chassis bracing to a new exhaust and back-to-back testing of swingarms – current specification vs previous specification. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC was second overall and set about getting his fast laps in the afternoon, with a good push for a strong lap time. Lecuona tested the items but couldn’t conclude whether or not they were a step froward, as one bike didn’t seem to be performing as well as the other. He’ll need to wait until the end of day two for a conclusive result. Teammate Xavi Vierge was fourth in the standings and unsurprisingly the fastest rider in a straight line, less than four tenths of a second from Rea on top. The fifth rider on track was Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), but a mechanical problem on his outlap ended his day of testing before it started.
In WorldSSP, Tom Booth-Amos (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) set a 1’56.902 to go fastest, whilst his teammate Luke Power had a solid day of running for his first time at the MotorLand Aragon venue, finishing the day just 0.8s behind Booth-Amos. However, Power did suffer a crash at Turn 14 which brought out a brief red flag, although he rode back to the pits and after lunch, returned to action.
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1'49.903s
2. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 1'50.250s
3. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1'50.332s
4. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) 1’50.588s
Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team): NO TIME SET
REFERENCES: lap records and top speed at Aragon
WorldSBK outright Aragon lap record: 1’48.267 – Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha, Superpole, 2022
WorldSBK fastest Aragon race lap: 1’49.375 – Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha, Superpole Race, 2022
WorldSBK Aragon Top Speed record: 333.9km/h – Chaz Davies, Aprilia, 2012
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