Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

Jonathan Rea put the cat among the pi­geons at Jerez last week as he topped the timesheets at a rare joint World Su­per­bikes and Mo­togp test.

Rea and his Kawasaki team, along with nu­mer­ous WSB ri­vals, were joined at Jerez by a hand­ful of Mo­togp out­fits, in­clud­ing Pra­mac Du­cati, Aprilia and KTM, but the North­ern Ir­ish­man out­paced all of his GP peers with an im­pe­ri­ous lap time that would have put him on pole po­si­tion for this year’s Span­ish Grand Prix.

It wasn’t just his one-lap pace that was strong, ei­ther – the Ul­ster­man put in two solid race runs on Thurs­day and was able to lap al­most as quickly on race rub­ber.

“My rhythm here is quite fast,” he told MCN. “The sin­gle big­gest thing I will take away from the test is how fast we were able to be with race tyres.

“On Thurs­day I did two long runs. We have con­firmed a lot of things with the trans­mis­sion and the new rear shock that Showa has. It is clear that that is a step for­ward.”

Rea wasn’t the only WSB rider to out­pace the GP boys, with Du­cati’s Chaz Davies third on the com­bined timesheet and Tom Sykes fifth quick­est over­all. This comes in spite of the fact new reg­u­la­tions for the WSB cham­pi­onship for 2017 on­wards mean the ma­chines are much closer to the pro­duc­tion mod­els they are based on.

While the times were a cause for cel­e­bra­tion, Rea re­mained fo­cused on the job at hand. The reign­ing cham­pion has iden­ti­fied two key ar­eas to work on im­prove­ments with his KRT crew over the win­ter.

“We’ve been putting the pack­age to­gether a bit,” he said. “We’ve been try­ing to look for tyre life and en­gine power is our pri­or­ity for the win­ter, and we seem to have found the tyre life quite quickly. Our power is a lit­tle bit bet­ter, but we are still look­ing for more.

“There are so many other ar­eas to im­prove. We’ve been mak­ing small steps for­ward in elec­tron­ics, but I feel like we need to achieve a base set­ting with the bike be­cause last year we were chang­ing so much in be­tween prac­tice ses­sions and races, and that com­pli­cated things a lit­tle.”

The Jerez test also marked Eu­gene Laverty’s re­turn to the WSB se­ries as the Mil­wau­kee Aprilia team rolled out the RSV4 for the first time after their switch from BMW. Laverty and young Ital­ian team-mate Lorenzo Savadori placed fifth and eighth out of the WSB boys on Wed­nes­day be­fore the SMR team packed up after their three days on track. The Ir­ish­man was happy with his first test back on the ma­chine with which he took all but three of his 13 WSB vic­to­ries.

Bri­tain’s Alex Lowes en­joyed a strong test for the PATA Yamaha team as he turned his fo­cus to longer race runs as he tested var­i­ous new com­po­nents on the YZF-R1, while new team-mate Michael van der Mark spent the test fa­mil­iaris­ing him­self with the bike.

‘ The big­gest thing I’ll take away from here is how fast we were able to be on race rub­ber’ JONATHAN REA

Rea wasn’t just the quick­est WSB man at the test, but quick­est over­all

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