Rapid times, new tyres and hope for improvement

Following Jonathan Rea’s double victory at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Round 8, the majority of the WorldSBK field was back in action on Monday for eight hours of Official Testing. Recently re-signed Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) rider Tom Sykes topped the timesheets as he ducked underneath Rea’s race lap record from last year, posting a lap time of 1’34.674 in the last breaths of the session.
An overnight thunderstorm left wet patches scattered around the circuit in the morning, meaning most of the meaningful running came later as the sun shone again and ambient temperatures soared into the high 20s. Not only did the teams have their own programs to progress through, they also worked with sole WorldSBK tyre supplier Pirelli as the Italian company brought four new front tyres and three for the rear.

At KRT, there was an announcement that Sykes had re-signed with the team, thus remaining alongside Rea for at least another two seasons. At the test, both riders focused on 2017, specifically electronic settings and suspension ideas with supplier Showa. Closest championship rivals Racing – Ducati were next up with Davide Giugliano, working with the new Pirelli tyres, as was team-mate Chaz Davies who went sixth quickest but suffered a small crash at Turn 4 during the last five minutes.

Fifth and sixth fastest were Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse, focusing on chassis configuration and electronics) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team, with a modification to the front fork). Torres was joined by FIM Superstock 1000 Cup rider Raffaele de Rosa, as Markus Reiterberger remains on the sidelines following his heavy crash in Race 2 at Misano on Sunday.

Michael van der Mark was the leading Honda WorldSBK Team rider in seventh position, and both he and team-mate Nicky Hayden – who was tenth on the timesheets – ran with a new software code to dial out the issues suffered in recent rounds, when they did not correctly receive their split times.

Hayden also used the afternoon to try out new a changed geometry and steering angle as well as swingarm adjustments at the rear of the CBR1000RR SP.

Alex Lowes was eighth as the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team looked into engine upgrade development parts and chassis updates. However, the primary focus was to work on electronics strategies while Japanese MotoGP engineers remained alongside the team at this test.

For Lorenzo Savadori, mileage was the name of the game; the Italian admitted that he preferred dry conditions, even though he would have gone out should rain have fallen in order to hone his skills after having struggled in the rain-affected Rounds at Assen and Sepang earlier this season.

Like Torres, Savadori did suffer a harmless fall during the course of the day.

There was a new face at Team Toth as Superstock 1000 rider Luca Marconi rode alongside Pawel Szkopek, while Dominic Schmitter was highly enthusiastic as he and the Grillini Racing Team mechanics received a 2016 Kawasaki ZX-10R for the first time.

At Team GOELEVEN, Roman Ramos experimented with a new shock absorber, whereas Xavi Fores did not feature as his Barni Racing Team left the venue in order to focus its attentions on the next Italian national championship round. Nevertheless, Marco Barnabo’s squad had already tested at Misano prior to weekend’s races.
The WorldSBK race action will continue in the Geico US Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of 8-10 July.

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