WSBK Jerez Test Ends, Six-Week Ban in Effect

November 30, 2012
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
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Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Tom Sykes put in 89 laps during his final day of testing at Jerez.
Tom Sykes put in 89 laps during his final day of testing.

World Superbike testing at Jerez has finished, cut short on the fifth and final day by rain showers. Earlier in the week Kawasaki, Honda, and Aprilia factory teams were on hand to dial in their bikes, as were satellite riders Michel Fabrizio and Alex Hofmann of Aprilia Red Devils. By Wednesday BMW Motorrad Italia Gold Bet and Team Ducati Alstare had arrived to begin their respective testing sessions.

Tom Sykes of Kawasaki Racing ended his stint on a high note, taking full advantage of the dry session Wednesday to log numerous laps.

“Today was very productive and I did 89 laps, which is about four race distances, so needless to say I will sleep well tonight,” said Sykes after his final day at the Spanish circuit. “I am happy because we know what we need to do and we have taken a lot of information from this test. Monday was my first dry day here at Jerez because I had only been able to do ten wet laps before. I am still finding a few little secrets so I am happy because many other riders have been here many times, especially the ex-GP riders. Our times were pretty good. I did a 1’40.4 on an SC1 tire and although we went to try an SC0 tire at the end of the day, with the low sun and so on, I thought we would give it a miss. At the end of the day this is testing and it has been a good experience. We have done some good laps, fast and consistently and we have worked on various settings on the bike.”

Fabrizio utilized the race tires available on his final day rather than the qualifying tires to gain feel for the RSV4’s performance over a race distance. He was able to post top times as well, falling just slightly behind Sykes and Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty.

On Thursday BMW riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies took to the track to continue sorting out their S1000RRs. Melandri focused largely on suspension settings and front-end feel while Davies continued to seek confidence aboard his new bike. Melandri was able to register 50 laps while Davies notched 70.

Carlos Checa and new teammate Ayrton Badovini spent the day working on the 1199 Panigale, logging 58 and 64 laps respectively.

Marco Melandri got two days to test his S1000RR at Jerez before the rains came  which forced him to stay in the garage.
“Pirelli has done a good job,” said Melandri. “In my opinion, the switch to the new tire is a positive one. The tire is more consistent and really good fun to ride.”

By Friday heavy rain had started to fall and both teams were forced to stay in their garages for most of the day. By the afternoon the track had started to dry so Checa and Badovini ventured out to put in a few laps while Melandri and Davies chose to stay inside.

“We certainly hoped to have more dry track time during winter testing,” said Melandri. “Anyhow, we can be happy as we were able to complete our planned program on Wednesday and Thursday. I started working with the 17-inch tires on the 2012 bike. The feeling of the bike was completely different compared to last year – not only the chassis, but also the engine characteristics and the electronics. Once I was happy with the settings of the bike, we went on to test different 2013 parts. We clearly have an idea of which way to go, as we understand exactly what we need to do. I am looking forward to the winter break now, as I need some rest before I start working out in the gym again and preparing for 2013.”

Davies added, “These last two days were very important for me. In Aragon I got an initial feeling for the bike in the dry, but here I really had a lot of track time, which helped me to get used to the BMW S1000RR, the working system and the team. We made good progress, and I am confident that I will make further progress when I get some more time on the bike.”

Now that testing has concluded at Jerez, a six-week ban is in place that will end January 15, 2013. Ducati Alstare is on schedule to return to the Spanish circuit soon after the ban is lifted to continue testing ahead of the start of the season in February.

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