WSBK – WSBK tests in Jerez: last laps before Australia! –


WSBK tests in Jerez: last laps before Australia !

WSBK - WSBK tests in Jerez: last laps before Australia! -

The 26th season of Mondial Superbike opens in a month at Phillip Island. Before embarking for Australia, the main teams of the 2013 championship gathered this week in Jerez. Melandri sets the fastest time, Sykes stays in stealth mode !

The winter break is already over for the World Superbike riders, and in four short weeks the 2013 WSBK season will open in Phillip Island: the very first race will start on Sunday February 24 at noon (2 a.m. in France). To quote Loris Baz’s latest tweet: "Woooppppp" !

Before that, two series of tests will take place on the same Australian circuit and will allow the pilots and their motorcycles to be perfectly sharpened for this test at the end of the highly symbolic world: since Site offers you to follow the WSBK (eight consecutive seasons !), the championship winners have always won at least one Australian round, with the exception of the fiery Max Biaggi in .

Make no mistake about it: the world title is played out well in each event, which has two Superbike races per Sunday … In this category, the smallest point can make the difference: remember that during the last six editions, the title has been played a few times three times !

In, James Toseland edged Noriyuki Haga by just two points while in, Ben Spies beat Haga – definitely! – six small points. Even stronger, Max Biaggi won his second WSBK coronation with a lead of half a point over Tom Sykes !

Australia in the sights

Fans, drivers, journalists, promoters and sponsors (!) All hope that the 2013 season will be as close as the last. Also rich as every race weekend in 2012, all manufacturers – including Suzuki, at the end of the season – have managed to place one of their motorcycles at the forefront. !

Reading the timesheet of the last winter tests carried out on European soil is reassuring: at the end of the two days of driving in Jerez (Tuesday and Wednesday) there was an S1000RR in order and in the same second, two RSV4, one GSX-R and one CBR !

But let Kawasaki fans be doubly reassured: Tom Sykes’ ZX-10R (again without a transponder, read MNC from) would have turned a little faster than his little comrades….

Officially, however, it is Marco Melandri who is at the head of these first tests in 2013. Operated on his shoulder this winter, the Italian was one of the few to be satisfied on the first day of a wet track which left him behind. allowed to resume at his own pace.

"It was not so bad to start in wet conditions as I was able to do a few laps and prepare my shoulder without rushing", recognizes n ° 33.

Wednesday in Jerez, Melandri and his BMW – managed by BMW Italia! – remained under the best mark registered by Eugene Laverty and his Aprilia last November (read), but whatever: they were the fastest of these two days of testing and ensure they are ready for the start of the season at Phillip Island…

"Of course there is still a lot to do", believes the stubborn Hedgehog of Ravenna,"but especially when it comes to the chassis and electronics we have made a big leap". But beware: it is with more consistency than pure speed that Melandri must progress to win the 2013 title. To be continued…

Davide Giugliano can be proud of his performance on the private Aprilia pampered by team Althea: first Tuesday underwater, he finished second behind his compatriot and former Grand Prix star. But the 2011 Superstock champion is above all ahead of Eugene Laverty and his factory RSV4 !

Forza Italia !

"It had been months since I last rode a motorcycle and couldn’t wait to hit the track on my RSV4"exclaims the young Italian prodigy, relieved to discover – but who doubted it? – that he had finally lost none of his speed on two wheels…

"Glad I was able to record a few quick laps", analyzes n ° 34,"but, more importantly, I quickly grasped the character of this bike". The leap from the 1198 to the RSV4 did not disturb what some consider to be !

"We leave Jerez very satisfied, the results exceeded our expectations", confirms its team manager Genesio Bevilacqua,"anxious about being in front of a motorcycle (Aprilia, NDLR) who impressed us so much last year in terms of performance", and against which the Italian openly railed a year ago (read our) !

A quarter of a second slower than Melandri and his Italian S1000RR, Eugene Laverty confirms his great form and secures his n ° 1 place in the official Aprilia Racing team against his new teammate Sylvain Guintoli (6th).

The Irishman is satisfied with the job done, especially on the second day, and "the progress compared to last november’s tests on this same track confirm my feelings". The stopwatch indicates the opposite, but the conditions were cooler this week … And it is also perhaps this freshness that trapped" Youdjin "Tuesday !

The n ° 58 is indeed gone to the fault: "nice little high side in 4th with landing on my left shoulder", the pilot chirped yesterday before caftering:"the three Aprilia all fell in the same half hour !"

Fortunately, no sore for Laverty, no more than for Guintoli, victim of a "loss of the front in the entry of turn 5 (…) he laughed even later !", tells Eugene, interviewed by Loris Baz – alias" Gossip Boy "- on Tweeter !

Fourth in command of his Suzuki, Leon Camier is not entirely delighted with his performance: "I feel that I could have improved my driving, I had the feeling of being a bit out of tempo, but maybe it’s due to the fact that I was discovering the track".

Given his inexperience – unlike the Grand Prix riders who know Jerez inside out! – and the fact that the Fixi Crescent team did not take part in the Jerez tests two months ago, the No.2 of the Jaunes is still satisfied.

"It will be good to go to Australia and push the bike a little more, on a faster track.", predicts the tall Leon (1.88 m!),"and we can see what she is capable of there". Will he be able to hang the good – the best! – wagon in a month at Phillip Island? ?

For that, "Kamir" will have to qualify correctly on the starting grid, which he almost never managed to do last year on this same Gex….

Suzuki and Honda slightly down

Beaten by half a second by Camier, almost a full second by Melandri, Jonathan Rea for his part did not hide his disappointment at the end of the two days of testing: "we are not really where we should be as we weren’t able to get as much as we wanted out of those two days".

The poor n ° 65 was indeed forced to wait Tuesday in the back of the box while his team adjusted his suspensions, deburred his camshafts, drained his engine, defogged his visor was waiting – she too! – "that the software be rewritten and downloaded", reveals the technical coordinator of the Ten Kate team…

"Some concerns just cannot be resolved on the spot, and that was the case with our electronics problem.Johnny remarks.The system was absorbing too much power", explains the official Honda rider:"we need more taxiing to sort this out".

Rea did admit, however, that his Fireblade is now catching up more safely, a sign he believes "encouraging". Remains that to catch up with Melandri it will be necessary to open the throttle, and not to close it !

Sylvain Guintoli, for whom it was the second outing at the controls of the official Aprilia (ex-Biaggi, therefore reigning world champion!), Was not unhappy to ride in the wet on Tuesday. The n ° 50 took the opportunity to "collect important data and get an idea of ​​the sensations in these conditions".

The next day, "Guinters" was able to set off again to assault the clock: he was less than a second from the leader, a completely honorable result given the conditions and his limited experience on the handlebars of his new bike. "Maybe it caused me to attack a little too much and I fell", admits Sylvain who comes out with a few scratches.

Ninth and – very good! – last behind Chaz "were you attacking?" Davies and Leon "my engine problems were due to the brakes" Haslam, Jules Cluzel only completed 52 laps around the circuit, against 77 for his teammate Camier, or 124 and 153 for the two BMW drivers Davies and Melandri !

"Jules looked great in the rain yesterday, but he was upset today by a little fall that cost him time and he experienced a technical issue that forced him to stay in the garage for a bit", says Paul Denning, head of the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team..

"When he has completed more laps, I am sure that he will be more easily in the rhythm and that he will find himself in the company of the best", continues the big boss Suz."Jules is really not afraid to wring the handle and we are excited to have him with us. !"

However, releasing the horses from the Yoshimura stable does not seem like an easy task: "my biggest problem today was the rear wheel", observed our Coq Supersportif, WSSP 2012 vice-champion:"it’s hard to control the bike with all that power !"

"At the end of the day, I was able to attack a little more and better understand how the bike behaves", assures the n ° 16. What will we remember above all from his statement?"I really enjoyed myself and I know I can go faster".

Ninjas faster than their shadows ?

Third French driver on the track, Loris Baz did not have a transponder – the Ninjas are playing it "stealthily" at the moment … – but his team affirms that his best time would have allowed him to enter the Top 6. And like Sylvain and Jules, Loris dabbled in gravel on the second day…

"I wasted two or three hours after the fall", regrets" Bazooka ", but on the whole these tests were productive:"I had a good feeling with the race tire, as well as with the qualifying tire".

"It is the first time that I was able to improve myself clearly with qualifying tires.", remark the green giant (1.92 m!),"I am therefore happy because in 2013 the grid will only have three drivers per row, which will make the Superpole all the more important".

Embarrassed three laps in a row by other drivers as he tried out those famous soft tires, Loris is sure he could have bridged the gap between him and his leader, Tom Sykes. The latter is also fully satisfied with his two days spent in Jerez..

Whether in the wet or in the dry, the vice-world champion claims to have – again ?! – progressed. "The two days were profitable and I would like to thank my team and Kawasaki because our schedule was very good and we kept moving forward".

According to the Greens, their English jockey would have turned in 1’40.5 during his second lap on soft tires. A time that would place him at the top of the hierarchy but which, for lack of proof, cannot be validated … Excellent in qualifying – he won 9 Superpoles out of 14 last year -, Sykes knows however that it is on his endurance that he must direct his efforts.

"We have found benefit from our changes in the dry, in terms of pace and tire life", points out its chief mechanic Marcel Duinker."We did a simulation on the race tire and I was able to set a time of 1’41.7 after 14 laps", even specifies Tom … !

Ducatis are falling behind

Finally, present on the Jerez circuit for the three previous days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), the Ducati Alstare team was not really spoiled by the weather. All in all, Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini could only drive a little more than three hours in the dry !

The track was swept all past weekend by strong winds and incessant rain. It wasn’t until Monday that the weather – momentarily – improved, allowing the trainers of the all-new 1199 Panigale R to fully express themselves on the track..

"Of course, it was not possible to respect the planned schedule.", regrets their team manager Francis Batta,"but the short time spent on the track has allowed our riders to gain confidence on the bike and provide good feedback which will form an important starting point for the next tests in Australia".

Until then, "the 1199 Panigale Rs will return to the Alstare workshops where work will continue in the coming weeks"… The job promises to be tough for the Reds of Bologna – and Alleur, in Belgium! -, as the Kawasaki, BMW and Aprilia seem particularly sharp. Business to follow on the Site: stay tuned !

Chronos of the WSBK tests in Jerez – January 22 and 23, 2013

  1. Marco Melandri (BMW): 1’40.758
  2. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia): 1’40.861
  3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia): 1’41.044
  4. Leon Camier (Suzuki): 1’41.184
  5. Jonathan Rea (Honda): 1’41.641
  6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia): 1’41.683
  7. Chaz Davies (BMW): 1’41.726
  8. Leon Haslam (Honda): 1’42.411
  9. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki): 1’42.635

Without transponders:

  • Tom Sykes (Kawasaki): 1 ‘40.5
  • Loris Baz (Kawasaki): NC
  • Carlos Checa (Ducati): NC
  • Ayrton Badovini (Ducati): NC

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