MIDDAY REPORT: Gardner leads Rinaldi by 0.197s; Bautista brings out red flag, Rea crashes on Yamaha debut

Tuesday, 31 October 2023 12:58 GMT

It was a dramatic first four hours of testing at Jerez as Remy Gardner stormed to the top of the timesheets, while Bautista and Rea both crashed

2024 testing in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship started at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto and it was a dramatic first four hours of the test. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) topped the timesheets as he set the only lap in the 1’39s as rain began to fall just before 12pm Local Time (GMT+1). Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) crashed on his Yamaha debut at Turn 13, as did double Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) at the same corner as he briefly brought out the red flags.

The track went green at 10am for an eight-hour day of testing, with Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) immediately heading out on track. However, it was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa Racing) who was setting the early pace and he remained in the top three throughout the morning. Australian star Gardner topped the times with a 1’39.837s, the only rider in the 1’39s as rain started to fall around midday, with lots of riders opting not to go out. Rinaldi took second place, only 0.197s slower than the #87 and also racked up an impressive 36 laps, the most of anyone, while Dominique Aegerter put both GRT Yamaha riders inside the top three as he lapped 0.269s slower than his teammate.

Despite a Turn 13 crash less than two hours into the session, Rea finished fourth. His crash was at the final corner when he hit a wet patch on track, but he was still able to post a 1’40.302s to claim P4, lapping just under half-a-second slower than stablemate Gardner. In fifth was Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) who also had a crash at Turn 13, with his tumble bringing out the red flags for a couple of minutes. His best time was a 1’40.546s. Gerloff took sixth after he, like Bautista and Rea, crashed at Turn 13 in the early stages. He was 1.356s down on Gardner’s best time at the mid-point of the test.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was seventh as KRT sported a new winter testing livery, with the Brit still carrying a knock following his Sunday crash during the Spanish Round. His best time was a 1’41.229s, 0.015s quicker than Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati). The 2023 WorldSSP Champion is enjoying his first day as a factory Ducati WorldSBK rider and was eighth in the morning, seven tenths down on teammate Bautista. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW), another rider making his first appearance for a new team, took ninth with a 1’41.333s. Completing the top ten was Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on his first time with the ZX-10RR. The #47 was around six tenths slower than teammate Lowes.

Andrea Iannone’s (Team GoEleven) return to track action started with him in 11th place on the Panigale V4 R, lapping two seconds off Gardner’s pace and around six tenths away from the closest Ducati to him. However, the #29 was one of the busiest riders on track as he completed 26 laps. Bradley Ray (GMT94 Yamaha) was four tenths slower than ‘The Maniac’ with Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) the last of the WorldSBK field. Also at the test is Adrian Huertas ( Racing WorldSSP Team), with the Spaniard making his Ducati WorldSSP debut. He set a 1’44.147s.

Follow minute-by-minute coverage of the test HERE and get all the reactions from Jerez using the WorldSBK VideoPass!