WSBK – World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez testing – Bologna and Tokyo Reds

World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez trials

WSBK - World Superbike: Ninja Sykes dominates Jerez testing - Bologna and Tokyo Reds

On the handlebars of his 2016 ZX-10R, Sykes sets the best times of the two days of WSBK test in Jerez (Spain). He precedes the official Ducatis and the two Honda’s while in his R1, Guintoli finished 8th behind the 2015 champion Rea. Explanations.

The reds of Bologna and Tokyo

Behind Tom Sykes are the two official Ducatis: Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies finish respectively about one and two tenths of a second behind the leader and are the only two other riders to have turned faster than Sykes during the 2015 Superpole (1’40.292 for memory).

Credited with the second fastest time, Giugliano proves for the umpteenth time that he knows how to be very fast on one lap. Unfortunately, the Roman rider once again demonstrated that he struggled to perceive the limits of his Ducati and Pirelli, losing the front end in the tricky first corner of Jerez during his racing simulation….

"I am very happy", nevertheless declares Davide:"since yesterday, my team has managed to gradually adapt the bike according to my needs and allowed me to take a further step compared to Portimao", where the Italian had turned almost a second slower than his Welsh teammate (read).

"We worked a lot with used tires to solve some problems I had in the past", continues the n ° 34 Ducati."It was important to take this approach. Being able to come back to the level I’m used to after such a long break and only four days of testing gives me confidence".

Even frank satisfaction for "Chazie" who mainly focused on "fine-tuning of the chassis and electronics". Author of a thunderous end of the 2015 season – even better than that of Rea himself! -, the n ° 7 of Bologna seems well on course … to continue !

"My feeling on the 2016 bike is already very good and, compared to the tests we did here last November, we have taken a big step forward.", assures Davies, particularly proud to have remained in contact with the two experts of the Superpole…

"I was able to stay close to the top of the classification on qualifying tires, which was never my strong point because we are faster on race tires.", testifies the vice-world champion 2015."I come home tired, but very satisfied".

Two other red motorcycles – but coming from Tokyo this time – complete the Top 5 tests at Jerez. These are the good old Honda Fireblades ridden by 2006 MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and 2014 Supersport champion Michael van den Mark.

Timed in 1’40.534 this Wednesday, the "Kentucky Kid" is fourth, 6 tenths of a second behind Tom Sykes. Unsurprisingly, the 22nd MotoGP legend (distinction he received when he left the Grand Prix) and youngest AMA SBK champion (in 2002, at the age of 21) is acclimating very well to the World Superbike..

Asked about the differences between WSBK motorcycles and GP prototypes, the famous n ° 69 even admits that his CBR1000RR SP is more fun to ride than the RC213V-RS he had last year and which led him to a disappointing 20th place overall…

"MotoGP has more horsepower, but electronics (from his current Superbike, NDLR) is way better than what I got last season at the Honda Open, so I like that. There is still a lot to learn, but the bike is fun to ride !", testifies the American.

As often, Nicky completed more laps than his little comrades: 158 in two days, an impressive total … and limited by a beast fall in the second corner yesterday afternoon, which caused no damage to the driver but a little damaged his motorcycle.

Also constrained by the cool weather conditions in the morning, Nicky is still delighted to have been able to carry out a race simulation on the one hand, and to have completed a running lap on a qualifying tire ‘on the other hand. "In the end, the time was not too bad".

Certain that he can still improve, Hayden just regrets that the winter break has passed so quickly and that the weather has not been better. His first season in WSBK begins in less than a month and the official tests of Phillip Island will be for the "rookie" the last opportunity to refine the settings of his Honda…

On the other side of the box, the young VDM took a little time to find a tire on his rim, but once he did, he was able to effectively test a new swingarm and various geometries: "each change resulted in so many small steps forward", rejoices" Magic Michael ".

"In the end, the rear of the bike behaved very well and we found a little more grip, which is exactly what we were looking for.", explains the n ° 60 of the Honda team who has covered no less than 156 laps, or 690 km … at more than 155 km / h on average !

"I managed to gain half a second on race tires, but I think we could have done a little better with the qualifying one ‘because I made a few small mistakes, Van den Mark humbly admits. He will have the opportunity to catch up on February 27 for the !

Behind the two Honda of the Ten Kate team is hoisted a third Panigale, this one private, prepared by the Ducati Barni team and driven by Xavi Fores. The Spanish rider – titled two years ago in the German Superbike – is thus ahead of the 2015 world champion Jonathan Rea and our 2014 world champion Sylvain Guintoli, whose analysis can be found on the following page.

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