TESTING TIMES That’s the Rea to do it
Champion tops test despite attack from Aprilia’s young gun
World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea started the 2017 season where he left off in 2016 by setting the best time in the first test of the year at Jerez.
Rea topped both days, with his quickest time of 1m 39.809s coming towards the end of day two to topple Italian youngster Lorenzo Savadori from the top spot after a rapid lap on qualifying tyres saw the Italian shoot to the top of the timesheets on his Milwaukee Aprilia.
Rea was pleased to keep the young gun at bay and said: “I feel good on the bike. It’s clear everyone is riding fast, Fabien [Foret – Rea’s riding coach] has been out on track watching and he’s told me that nobody is achieving these times by riding around calmly.
Rea was just 0.111sec ahead of Savadori’s quickest time, but the Ulsterman set his quickest lap on race tyres, while Savadori’s surprise jump was aided by sticky rubber.
Savadori (see below) was in fine form on and off the track: “Finishing so close to the top in my first test is good. I’ve only ridden the bike twice but the initial sensation is great.”
Rea’s team-mate, Tom Sykes was third in the test after a last gasp lap saw him move ahead of Ducati’s Marco Melandri who led the timesheets for most of day two.