WorldSBK Staff |
Photo: GeeBee Images
Former WorldSBK king Jonathan Rea topped the timesheets as testing in Barcelona ended early due to rain.
With grip remaining high throughout the late morning and afternoon, the many best times were set in the morning and it was once again Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who finished in lead, the only driver in the 1’40 group with 1’40.913. However, despite the afternoon sun, storm clouds rolled in and skies opened up with just under half an hour remaining, meaning no improvement late did not come.
One of many riders looking to use the grip available, Rea got to work on day two with a 1’40.913 in the morning to place him as the first and only rider in this category.
Rea also tried the new front tire brought by Pirelli, as well as a variety of set-up improvements, with braking also on his to-do list. Deciding to do a full day of testing and working on practice starts, Rea’s time went unchallenged as afternoon temperatures rose despite cloud cover. Teammate Alex Lowes opted out of the race, with test days remaining on everyone’s mind, meaning Florian Marino was on the right track.
It was a great day for Honda as Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) moved his CBR1000RR-R SP into second place overall, significantly improving his time in the cooler morning session. Continuing to work with the new chassis bracing as well as trying out the new rear finger brake, Lecuona was in good form and will definitely be one to watch at the round in Barcelona.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) also fought hard and put in some valuable laps under his belt, while continuing to develop the bike. With back-to-back testing done on the new swingarm (which debuted at Misano) and the old one, Virgo was seventh, despite being a rider who wasn’t using the softest tire available.
After testing a swingarm evolution but “finding nothing” on day one – and actually stepping back in the afternoon heat – Alvaro Bautista was back on the old swingarm spec for the second day. He found a new link was a bit better for tire life on day one and spent day two working on the run setup, despite only doing a half- daytime.
It was the same on the other side of the garage too, with 2021 Barcelona Race 2 winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi working for the race weekend a month from now, while trying out the new swingarm in the aftermath. -midday. By the end of the day, Bautista was back as the top Ducati in third while Rinaldi was a solid fifth, both faster than day one.
In a dedicated start-up test, it was a second day to forget for Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), who suffered a big highside coming out of Turn 5 half an hour before lunch, where it was supposed to end up anyway.
His bike also took a big hit, and after a medical diagnosed a deep injury to his elbow, he was taken to hospital for further examination, completing the test in sixth grade. He found the track again and despite a bitter two-day ending, he was in good spirits. After finding a late breakthrough on Saturday night in terms of the direction to go for rear grip solutions, teammate Andrea Locatelli was in good shape on Sunday, as he finished fourth and the fastest Yamaha after a strange first day and only half of a second day.
For BMW the work continued and like all teams it was a matter of working to find rear grip solutions in the low grip track conditions. On Redding’s agenda in the morning was the reconfirmation of a rear shock he had tried on Saturday, while he also had different combinations to try when it came to the rear of the bike.
Working unexpectedly and intensely on the electronics in the afternoon, Redding felt steps forward had been made. For van der Mark, he confirmed he was using the new swingarm but as Redding confirmed on Saturday, it was difficult to deduce valid readings with the track conditions as they were. Continuing to make gains with electronics in general, Redding finished ninth, slightly behind top BMW Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW), while van der Mark finished 11th.
The Independents worked hard as ever and it was Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) who led the way in eighth and as top BMW, working with new internals and a totally different geometry setup. Baz had also adapted his riding style to the needs of the M1000RR.
This was more of a test for the round than general development for Baz, who suffered from back pain on day one. Behind him, his teammate Eugene Laverty was tenth, ahead of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) in 12th, who was plagued by mechanical gremlins that kept him out of the track for nearly four hours.
Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was 14th and will be with the team for the next two rounds, while Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 15th. In WorldSSP, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) was more than half a second ahead of Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP).
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’40.913
2. Iker Lecuona (HRC team) +0.194
3. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.374s
4. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.601s
5. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.708s
6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.818s