Day two of testing at MotorLand Aragon is interrupted by poor weather conditions for six WorldSBK riders but a productive first afternoon for all riders
More preseason tests concluded at MotorLand Aragon for four MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship although with the second day of running impacted by rain as four teams and six riders took to the Alcañiz venue to refine their machines ahead of the new season starting at the same venue in just one month. The track started was damp on Wednesday morning but got drier as the day went on, although a combination of rain and rubber in different places left behind from car events ensured less-than-optimal conditions.
Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was on track with the brand-new Kawasaki ZX-10RR alongside teammate Alex Lowes as the pair looked to put vital mileage on their bike and ensure it’s right up to speed ahead of its first race at MotorLand Aragon. Rea only tested in the afternoon on Wednesday but still ensured he got through his programme, including a time attack at the end of the day, while Lowes was feeling closer to 100% than the previous test following his recovery from a shoulder injury and completed 73 laps.
Six-time Champion Rea said: “The test has been really positive. Even if the track was a little bit ‘green,' because we had a lot of water on the surface and we had to wait until lunchtime to ride, we were able to confirm a lot of items we tested at Montmelo. The track is different, but it also has some similarities, so that means the outcome is positive. These items were mostly chassis related, so it means we could really start to put the package together. I could feel my rhythm was getting better lap-by-lap. We rode a lot on our race set-up, understanding all our potential and starting to really get ready for the race weekend in a few weeks. We saw that day two would be wet, so we decided to do one time attack at the end of the first day and we were able to be quite fast.”
Lowes said: “Unfortunately, on day two it was raining so we have English weather in Spain! At one stage it looked like both days would have rain but luckily yesterday I did 73 laps and my shoulder felt much better than during the most recent Montmelo tests. From the bike side of things, we worked on some corner exit electronics and chassis settings, trying to improve my feeling in this area. It is the same work that we did in Jerez and Montmelo, and we continued that same testing plan in Aragon; it was really positive. I think this is the best I have felt since my first ride on the Ninja ZX-10RR. We have three or four things just to tick off the list before the first race but I am really happy.”
Defending WorldSSP Champion Andrea Locatelli was the sole representative for the Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK team as the Italian continued his adjustment to life in WorldSBK. Locatelli completed 59 laps having only taken to the circuit in the afternoon session, posting a best time of 1’51.550s, with Locatelli’s work throughout the test enabling the team to finalise development testing of the YZF R1 machine. Yamaha and Kawasaki will both test again at Aragon in early May, with Toprak Razgatlioglu linking back up with Yamaha after missing this test to return to Turkey following his COVID-19 isolation period.
Locatelli said: “Yesterday I had a strange feeling with the bike which was maybe due to the condition of the track. It was very different compared to the last test, but in the end we continued to work on the bike and were able to confirm some new parts for 2021. This was the main thing to work on for now, even if for me the performance level yesterday was not perfect. I am sure that when we come back here, we will have some areas for improvement and will also try and improve the feeling on the bike. But I am happy for this test because we were able to work on the data to confirm some 2021 developments, and now we will return with a clear focus on the performance.”
There were three more Yamaha YZF R1 machines on track at Aragon as Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and teammate Kohta Nozane carried out their preseason testing programme, while Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was also at the test. Gerloff, like most riders, only took to the track on Wednesday and did much of his work focussing on race pace while Nozane took advantage of the wet conditions on day two to put in his first laps on the R1 with Pirelli’s wet tyres. Gerloff completed 31 laps across the two days with a best time of a 1’50.577s, while Nozane put in 47 laps including his first wet laps. Ponsson rode on Wednesday afternoon and completed 60 laps as he focussed on his riding style onboard his R1 machine following some data analysis after a previous test. The French rider also looked at his position on the bike as well as electronic map settings on engine braking and traction control.
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