The Australian was the fastest rider on a disrupted day, with weather conditions limiting running as riders opted to stay in their boxes
Day one of testing at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto turned into a bit of a damp squib after rain fell on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field in Spain. Running was severely limited with riders taking to the track only in the morning, with Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) setting the pace. Elsewhere, there were three crashes at Turn 13 with Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW), Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) all going down; two-time Champion Bautista bringing out the red flags.
YAMAHA ON TOP: three R1s in the first four positions as Rea makes debut
While all eyes were on the Pata Yamaha garage for Rea’s debut with the team, the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team were continuing their impressive form from the Spanish round with Gardner and teammate Dominique Aegerter in the top three. The #87 led the way with a 1’39.837s as he completed 25 laps, while Aegerter, fresh from his double podium celebrations on Sunday, was 0.269s back. The #77 had some new items to try for Yamaha and also the GRT Yamaha team, while there was also a different swingarm available to allow for different linkages. Next door at the factory Yamaha team, Rea was fourth after completing 12 laps. His time of 1’40.302s was 0.465s down on Gardner as the Northern Irishman focused on getting comfortable on his new bike after spending so long with the Kawasaki ZX-10RR. Brad Ray (GMT94 Yamaha) was also in action on the YZF-R1 machine, completing 27 laps and setting a 1’42.295s.
RINALDI LEADS DUCATI CHARGE: Independent star second, Bautista fifth after crash
Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s future with Motocorsa Racing was only announced on Monday afternoon, but the #21 wasted no time in getting on track with the team. One of the first to leave the pits when the session started at 10am Local Time (GMT+1), the five-time race winner was consistently at the sharp end of the timesheets. His best time was a 1’40.034s to take second spot after lapping 36 times, the most of anyone. Down the pitlane at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad, Bautista was fifth. He set a 1’40.564s but his day was disrupted by a Turn 13 crash which briefly brought out the red flags. Despite this, he racked up 24 laps. His new teammate, Nicolo Bulega, took eighth spot with a 1’41.244s, lapping around seven tenths slower than his two-time Champion teammate. His plan was to understand the V4 R more on Tuesday and adapt his riding style, while also aiming for a good base setup. Tuesday marked Andrea Iannone’s (Team GoEleven) return to a race bike in difficult conditions, with ‘The Maniac’ setting a 1’41.922s and racking up 26 laps. His plan was to complete a lot of laps and rediscover the feeling, but despite completing one of the highest totals, the weather disrupted this plan. Also, from WorldSSP, Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) was testing as the first time as a Ducati rider. He completed 30 laps with a 1’44.157s on the Panigale V2.
GERLOFF HEADS BMW DUO: Redding makes Bonovo Action BMW debut
American star Garrett Gerloff’s (Bonovo Action BMW) recent form has been nothing short of stellar, often finishing as the top BMW rider, or fighting for that honour, since the August break. He was the lead rider for the German manufacturer on day one as he finished in sixth place after posting a 1’41.193s. However, most eyes would’ve have been on the rider next to him. Scott Redding made his first appearance with the Independent BMW outfit after his switch from the factory team, with the Brit in a new environment but on the same M1000RR machine. The #45 was ninth after setting a 1’41.333s, with just two tenths separating the teammates.
LOWES LEADS BASSANI AT KRT: the #47 makes his factory team debut
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) heads into the new season as the de facto team leader at KRT, and he was the faster of the two on day. He took P7 as he completed 14 laps with his best time, a 1’41.229s, almost 1.4 seconds back from Gardner’s fastest time. Teammate Axel Bassani, making his first appearance with the team, was three places and six tenths down on his teammate. There’s been a reshuffle of staff within the KRT box. After working with Marcel Duinker for four seasons, Lowes has moved into Pere Riba’s side of the box with Bassani working with the Dutchman for his maiden campaign.
MACKENZIE THE LONE HONDA: back on a WorldSBK machine
After a year in WorldSSP with the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, Tarran Mackenzie tried out the team’s Honda CBR1000RR-R machine at Jerez. He’s tested the bike before, notably at Misano when he stood in for Eric Granado and Hafizh Syahrin, as well as with Honda in testing for the Suzuka 8 Hours. The #95 was the slowest rider in the WorldSBK field on Tuesday as he set a 1’44.266s and completed just seven laps.