There were stories up and down the paddock as late SCQ runs changed the order, with rookies and debutants shining bright
After a disrupted day on Tuesday things were more of the same on Wednesday morning until around midday local time, when the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders took advantage of a drier track to complete, for the most part, around six hours of valuable running time at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was again the quickest rider as he used an SCQ tyre to full effect, while Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) put in their own impressive times on day two.
GARDNER LEADS THE WAY: #87 goes quickest again, Rea P5
Yamaha had enjoyed a strong showing at the Spanish Round last weekend and that’s continued into day two of testing. Once again, Gardner was the lead rider on the YZF-R1 machine, and the fastest of everyone. His time of a 1’38.448s was two tenths away from the all-time lap record and under Bautista’s pole time from Saturday as he led the field by 0.278s. Teammate Dominique Aegerter was in tenth place despite his strong pace on day one, with the #77 having a Turn 1 crash. It provided a small disruption to his day, but he was able to return to track action on his second bike. Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) had another fruitful day on his first appearance with Yamaha, finishing in third place and lapping in 1’39.179s with his last lap of the day as he continued adjusting to the R1. Brad Ray (GMT94 Yamaha) had a quietly strong day as he finished inside the top ten, setting a best time of 1’40.007s and lapping the Jerez venue 59 times. Valentin Debise (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was second in the WorldSSP field, joining Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) and finishing six tenths back.
ROOKIES LEADS DUCATI’S CHARGE: Bulega impresses, Iannone shines
Bulega was one of the stars on Wednesday as the #11, on only his second day as a factory Ducati rider, posted a 1’38.726s using Pirelli’s SCQ tyre. His time was only a tenth down on teammate Alvaro Bautista’s pole lap from just a few days ago. Both riders tested from 14:00 (Local Time, GMT+1) onwards to use half-a-day of their allocation. In total, Bulega completed 52 laps while Bautista, who had a focus on the 2024 ruleset, was in seventh place with a best time of 1’39.962s, which included a long run on the SCX tyres as he racked up 48 laps. Elsewhere, Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) was fifth on his Panigale V4 R. Lapping in 1’39.335s, the #29 had been as high as third on a couple of occasions before other riders usurped him as he completed 70 laps. ‘The Maniac’ was one of the first to take to the track in the morning but his meaningful running came in the afternoon. Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s (Motocorsa Racing) life back at an Independent Ducati continued with sixth on Wednesday as he lapped 1.359s down on Gardner’s best time, completing 69 laps. In WorldSSP, Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) was the fastest of two competitors. He completed 77 laps as he set a 1’42.470s.
LOWES ON TOP AT KRT: the Brit’s inside the top four
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued to be the lead KRT rider at the test as he finished in fourth with a 1’39.211s. The #22 had some different rpm limits to test as the team looked to 2024, while there were also what he described as “lots of ideas” to try between now and January ’24 before it all gets pieced together. Teammate Axel Bassani was around two seconds slower than his teammate as he adjusts from the V4 R to the ZX-10RR machine, with the #47 racking up 54 laps. Between them, Lowes and Bassani completed more than 120 laps to gain important information heading into their next test.
REDDING THE FASTEST BMW: #45 leads teammate Gerloff, the American crashes
Just two BMW riders took to the track during the two-day test, with Scott Redding making his Bonovo Action BMW debut alongside new teammate Garrett Gerloff. It was the #45 who finished as the lead rider for the German manufacturer as he took tenth place with a 1’40.291s, around half-a-tenth quicker than his teammate. The #31’s day was disrupted by a crash in the final 30 minutes at Turn 3 with the bike brought back to the pits on a truck. His best time was a 1’40.334s to take 11th place. The American had hoped to work on some setup items on day two of the test following yesterday’s limited running.
MACKENZIE BRINGS UP THE FIELD: re-adapting to the WorldSBK bike
Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) continued to be Honda’s sole representative at Jerez. He completed 39 laps on Wednesday as a crash at Turn 1 – which caught out a few riders during the day – hampered his running. The #95’s best time was a 1’42.110s to take 13th place as he continued his readaptation to the CBR1000RR-R machine, having raced in WorldSSP throughout 2023.
The order from day two at Jerez:
1. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’38.448, 61 laps
2. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’38.726s, 52 laps
3. Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 1’39.179s, 68 laps
4. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’39.211s, 68 laps
5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 1’39.335s, 69 laps
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa Racing) 1’39.807s, 69 laps
7. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’39.962s, 58 laps
8. Brad Ray (GMT94 Yamaha) 1’40.007s, 59 laps
9. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’40.103s, 67 laps
10. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’40.291s, 47 laps
11. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’40.334s, 66 laps
12. Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.346s, 54 laps
13. Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) 1’42.110s, 38 laps