The six-time Champion set an impressive time on Thursday at Jerez, but was also able to get in a race simulation despite only half a day on track
Despite only using half-a-day of the two available to him at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was able to set the fastest lap time of the test as teams from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship arrived in southern Spain for more testing.
The six-time Champion opted to not take part in Wednesday’s running and then took to the track at 13:00 Local Time to complete half-a-day of running. Despite only testing for an hour until the mid-point of the test, Rea was fastest at that point and also ended the day on top as the only rider to lap inside the 1’38s bracket.
His lap time of a 1’38.851s was six tenths down on the pole record at the Andalusian venue set by himself in 2019, and only three tenths down on Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) pole time from 2021 on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine. Rea completed 61 laps throughout his time on track as he looks to test new components and refine his Kawasaki ZX-10RR for the upcoming season.
Reflecting on the test, Rea said: “The position doesn't really matter this time of the year but it’s really nice to get back on the bike. I felt okay on the bike and very fast in December but physically not so good after a lot of holidays and beers and pizzas at home; off-season time. Since before Christmas, I've been doing my training programme with my coach and here I felt much better on the bike. Already, we did a race simulation, not for any reason that everything is together, but more we have some new items on the bike that we need to test with the long runs. So, I was reluctant to do that. But when we completed it, I felt positive. We've tested some chassis items, Pirelli brought a new variation tyre to try as well and some electronic items. But we ticked boxes of items that we tested in December. Of course, we need to re-test again another track. Basically, one week off, then we’ll be in Portimao at the beginning of February. Excited to go there and see my the ‘22 version of our ZZ-10RR works there.”
Rea also looked ahead to the next test for KRT which will be held at the Portimao ‘rollercoaster’ venue in a couple of weeks, with the Ulsterman outlining what he would like to gain from the test. It will also be the first time that KRT will test with the Ducati and Yamaha squads, having tested in December and January at Jerez with Honda and BMW.
Looking ahead to the Portimao test on February 8th and 9th, Rea said: “Well we have some, again, chassis items to test. We don't have so many things inside the engine. I think electronics we still need to work quite hard in some strategies, then aside from that, I need to practice some starts because there's something different with our start setup that I need to improve on. My starts this year were okay but not incredible. They were much better in the past so we're trying to improve. Today my practice starts weren't too good so improve on that, then, I guess it's the first time we'll be with everybody. So, we'll see. We've been testing only with Honda, they've been riding really well, but we need to reference the others: the Ducati, the Yamaha, BMW, so I guess most of those guys will be there. It'll be an even better gauge. I like the track. I like the place, hopefully we can have a good feeling.”
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