Despite opting to only complete half-a-day of action across the final day of testing at Jerez, Rea jumped straight to the top of the timesheets
Day two of the two-day test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto got underway on Thursday morning for teams from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and FIM Supersport World Championship, with Team HRC opting out of the second day while Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK only took part in the afternoon session.
THREE WorldSBK RIDERS HIT THE TRACK
With Team HRC not testing on Thursday with Iker Lecuona or Xavi Vierge, the running for WorldSBK machinery was left to two Kawasaki outfits: Kawasaki Puccetti Racing with Lucas Mahias and KRT with six-time Champion Jonathan Rea and teammate Alex Lowes. KRT opted not to run in the morning session, leaving the bulk of the WorldSBK running to French rider Mahias.
Rea and Lowes hit the track at around 13:00 Local Time on Thursday with Rea immediately hitting the top of the timesheets on his Kawasaki ZX-10R as he became the only rider to lap in the 1’40s bracket with 14 laps to his name. Teammate Lowes was second, 1.2s back from Rea, as he focused on the rear of his bike on Thursday having spent Wednesday working on the front.
The Frenchman, on his return from a scaphoid injury that required surgery and forced him to miss the end of the 2021 campaign, completed 30 laps in the morning with a best lap time of 1’41.105s; around two tenths slower than his best time set on day one. Mahias yesterday admitted he had some pain with the ligaments and muscle in his wrist after four months without being on a WorldSBK machine, but the scaphoid was pain-free. On show at Jerez was Mahias trying new suspension with the team switching to Öhlins suspension.
ÖNCÜ LEADS THE WAY IN WorldSSP
Turkish start Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was fastest of the WorldSSP runners on Thursday morning as he posted a 1’42.485s after completing 41 laps, the most of anyone taking to the track today. He led Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) despite the Finn leading throughout most of the morning, with Tuuli’s bike composed of the same chassis from 2021 but a new engine; Tuuli is hoping to receive the full new bike at an upcoming test. Tuuli completed 26 laps and lapped under a tenth away from Öncü’s time.
The Finnish rider was around 1.6s quicker than Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with the Italian having a crash at Turn 10 in the early part of the day after using a bit too much kerb, but he was okay following the incident. Montella was quicker than Öncü’s mentor, Kenan Sofuoglu, as the five-time Champion continued to test for MV Agusta in place of his nephew, Bahattin. Sofuoglu’s best time was a 1’44.299s with 22 laps on the board.
Rookie Ben Currie (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) continued his adaptation to the world stage with another 23 laps in the morning despite suffering from an injury yesterday to the wrist, leaving him unable to hold on to the handlebar and pull the clutch in. After doing some physio last night, the Australian rider was back on track on Thursday, going around one second quicker than teammate Jeffrey Buis who added 28 laps to his tally. Spanish rider and 2018 WorldSSP300 Champion Ana Carrasco rounded out the field as she continued testing a WorldSSP machine for the first time, with 26 laps under her belt.
WorldSBK unofficial lap times at 14:00:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’39.420s
2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’40.643s
3. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’41.105s
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