2015 Jerez World Superbike Test, Day 1 Times - Rea Fastest, Guintoli Crashes, Kawasaki MotoGP Bike Confuses
The weather gods have finally decided to smile on the World Superbike paddock. At Jerez, the teams were greeted by sunny and dry weather, and decent temperatures, allowing them to catch up on some of the work they had missed out on at Portimao and Aragon.
Fastest man on the day was Jonathan Rea, the Ulsterman quickly up to speed on his new Kawasaki, and topping the timesheets for most of the day. His Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes was less than a tenth behind, and had held on to 2nd spot for most of the day, only being deposed by Alex Lowes near the end of the session, when the Crescent Suzuki rider put in a very fast lap to take 2nd, demoting Sykes to 3rd. The two Ducatis followed, David Giugliano just ahead of teammate Chaz Davies, though the gap between the two is small. The Ducatis are close behind the Kawasakis and Lowes, just two tenths covering the top five friders.
Sylvain Barrier put the BMW into 6th slot, just ahead of Randy De Puniet on the second Suzuki and Michael van der Mark on the Pata Honda. Newcomer Jordi Torres was 9th quickest, and the last rider within a second of Rea, the Red Devils Roma Aprilia rider making the transition from Moto2 to World Superbikes, while Matteo Baiocco rounded out the top 10 on an Althea Ducati.
Pata Honda Press Release: World Superbike Team Launched, And Kyle Smith Announced As World Supersport Entry
The Pata Honda team issued the following press releases, officially presenting their 2015 World Superbike team of Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli, and announcing that Kyle Smith will be racing in the World Supersport championship for them:
Pata Honda's 2015 WSBK riders presented in Italy
The Pata Honda line-up for the 2015 World Superbike championship was officially unveiled at Verona in Italy today when Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark were presented to a large and enthusiastic crowd of Italian fans and media.
The two riders – both world champions in 2014 - have already tested their 2015-specification Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP race machines this year at Portimao, Portugal and, earlier this week, at Aragon in Spain.
In spite of less-than-favourable weather conditions, both riders declared themselves happy with the development of the CBR, on which their Netherlands-based team has worked hard to meet revised technical regulations for the 2015 WSBK season.
Reigning World Superbike champion, Guintoli, 32, and his 22-year-old Pata Honda team-mate, van der Mark, who won last season’s World Supersport crown, will return to Spain tomorrow for a two-day test at Jerez on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Yonny Hernandez is to miss the first Sepang test. The Colombian rider crashed while riding dirt track, falling heavily on his left shoulder, and dislocating the shoulder. As a result, Hernandez will not be able to ride at Sepang, and will be replaced by Ducati's test rider, Michele Pirro.
The good news for the Pramac Ducati rider is that the damage was mainly microfractures, and the ligaments and tendons were undamaged. The shoulder is a very complex joint, held together by a complicated network of tendons, cartilege and ligaments which allow it to move freely, but is vulnerable to damage. Damaging the connecting tissue in a shoulder can severely hamper riding ability and even end careers, as it did for Ben Spies. Hernandez' injury is nowhere near as severe, and should allow him to take part in the second test at Sepang.
The press release from Pramac Racing appears below:
Yonny Hernandez to miss Sepang 1 test due to shoulder injury
Pramac Racing announces that Yonny Hernandez can't participate for the Sepang test scheduled in February 4th to 7th.
The weather continues its stubborn refusal to cooperate with preparation for the 2015 World Superbike season. After rain and cold conditions plagued the earlier test at the Motorland Aragon circuit, the rain halted testing for the best part of two days at Portimao. Wednesday was a complete washout, while a wet track hampered progress on Thursday morning.
Despite the cold, the assembled teams were able to ride almost continuously after lunchtime, until the track closed at 6pm. Cramming two days of testing into an afternoon was difficult, the teams concentrating on working with the 2015 version of their machines, incorporating the major rule changes new for this year. The conditions were not conducive to fast lap times: the quickest time reported was set by Leon Haslam on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia, but that was still over a second slower than the race lap record set by Tom Sykes back in 2013. Suzuki's Alex Lowes was half a second behind Haslam, matched by Ducati's Chaz Davies. Davide Giuliano and Sylvain Barrier were a couple of tenths behind Lowes and Davies, while Randy De Puniet was nearly a second slower than Barrier, and only a fraction quicker than World Superbike newcomer Jordi Torres.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams who tried to test at Portimao:
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team concludes its first tests of the 2015 season at Portimao
Portimao (Portugal), Thursday 22 January 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team today concluded its first test session of the 2015 season. The unstable weather conditions undoubtedly affected progress at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal but overall the squad is satisfied with the work it has completed.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team, with official riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano, took to the track in its new configuration for the first time this week at the Portuguese circuit in Portimao. The team had a lot planned for the two-day session, with work centering around the shake-down of the brand new 2015 Ducati Panigale bikes, constructed during the weeks prior to this test session.
What is the difference between winning in Moto3 and finishing at the back? The glib answer is "about 50 seconds", but there must be an explanation for that gap. It is a question which many have pondered, and to which there are few easy answers. Clearly, there is a difference in equipment, level of ability, and the ability of the team to get the set up right. But is there anything we can identify directly?
The one factor which we might be able to see in the lap times is the effect of hard work. Motorcycle racing is (paradoxically) a physically demanding sport, and physical fitness is one factor which a rider has in their own hands. Training, and dedication to training, could be a factor which makes a difference. It may not be the difference between first and last, but it could well be the difference between finishing in the points and finishing at the very tail end of the field.
If fitness is a significant factor, then it should be visible in the lap times. As the race goes on, the less fit riders should get slower, while the fitter riders manage to maintain the same pace. That should be most clearly visible between the riders who finish at the front, and the riders who finish at the back. (For a fuller explanation of this hypothesis, see below.)
This is not an idea I came up with on my own. Motorcycle racers are obsessed with fitness and hard work, though some work harder than others. In various conversations with riders and team staff, especially in Moto2 and Moto3, the issue of fitness was one which cropped up surprisingly often. Managers and engineers would frequently criticize riders who they felt were not doing enough to work on their fitness. Clearly, they believe it is a factor.
The Pramac Racing team today issued a press release containing a brief interview with Daniele Romagnoli, the new crew chief for Danilo Petrucci. Romagnoli, formerly crew chief to Cal Crutchlow and team manager for Jorge Lorenzo, has left the factory team to work with Petrucci at the satellite Ducati squad. The press release interview is short, but interesting nonetheless:
Daniele Romagnoli: "Feeling immediately created between Petrucci and the 14.1"
Danilo Petrucci and his crew chief Daniele Romagnoli are the two main novelties of Pramac Racing for the Motogp season 2015. The Desmosedici 14.1 however won't be a novelty for Romagnoli, who spent the Motogp season 2014 in Ducati with Cal Crutchlow before landing in Pramac Racing at the Valencia test with Danilo Petrucci.
MotoGP Test Valencia 2014
"Three days that have gone beyond our expectations - said Romagnoli. We started very quietly to let Danilo get used to the bike. On the second day the great surprise: he settled the fastest time in the wet. I knew he was fast in wet conditions and so is the Ducati, but what struck me was the immediate rapport the rider was able to create with the bike. On the third day we worked on the set up to let Danilo understand how to adapt himself to rear grip and how to handle the power. The Ducati is famous for its powerful engine so it is not immediately easy to ride. During the third day of tests we found a good set up working on geometry, suspension and electronics. The seventh fastest time made our day and we all went home happy".
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Racism in the paddock
Will there ever be a Lewis Hamilton of MotoGP, a black king of motorcycle racing? Of course there will be.
Who does best at what often has much to do with culture, race, class and geography, but while international motorcycle racing is an overwhelmingly white sport, a black racer has already climbed the highest heights. American James Stewart has won world and US championships in motocross and Supercross. Thus it is only a matter of time before a black, Asian or Chinese racer gets to the top of MotoGP.
But despite the success of Hamilton and Stewart, the odds are stacked against black people in car and ‘bike racing. I’ve spent three decades working in motor sport and my own experience tells me that the paddock is more racist than most areas of modern life.
The weather has not been kind to the World Superbikes who headed to Aragon for testing. The first day was lost to a wet track, and while the track dried on the second day, cold temperatures limited the usefulness of the test. 2013 world champion Tom Sykes did not bother going out at all, not wishing to risk injury on a cold track just for the sake of turning some laps.
Sykes' Kawasaki teammate Jonathan Rea did spend some time on track, though for him, too, conditions meant that lessons were limited. Rea spent time working on gearshift set ups, and clutch strategies for race starts. It was important for Rea to spend some more time on the Kawasaki ZX-10R, after having spent so many years on the Honda CBR1000RR with the Pata Honda team. It wasn't just bikes that Rea is switching, the Ulsterman showing off his Monster Energy colors for the first time, leaving Red Bull behind. That is a major change for Rea, who has been backed by Red Bull almost from when he first started racing motocross, before switching to circuit racing.
With preseason testing for the World Superbike teams kicking off in Spain and Portugual, the Crescent Suzuki team issued the following press release:
Crescent Suzuki heads to Southern Europe for pre-season tests
Crescent Suzuki World Superbike team begins its Championship preparations in earnest this week with two back-to-back tests scheduled in the Iberian Peninsula before the opening round of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship in little over a month’s time.
Randy de Puniet and Alex Lowes’ first port-of-call for the two-day tests aboard their Yoshimura-powered GSX-Rs is Portugal’s 4,592m Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. Located 20km to the north-west of Portimao, the circuit is a favourite of Lowes - after his impressive rookie performances in last season’s January tests and July races. De Puniet, having yet to experience ‘the rollercoaster’ layout despite his 15-year top-flight career, is eager to acquaint himself with the Portuguese track while gaining more all-important time on his new Suzuki Superbike.
Want to buy a Moto2 machine? AGT Rea Racing, the team run by and for Gino Rea, have a number of Moto2 machines on sale. The bikes include Tito Rabat's Marc VDS Kalex, the Caterham Suters of Johann Zarco and Josh Herrin/Ratthapark Wilairot, and Gino Rea's own Suter from 2014. Prices start at €58,000 and rise to €80,000 for Rabat's Kalex, while a vast amount of Suter spares are also on offer. For more details, see the press release issued by the team below.
Marc VDS Kalex, Caterham Suter & AGT REA Racing Moto2 bikes for sale to public
AGT REA Racing have acquired the Marc VDS Kalex & Caterham Suter Moto2 race bikes (including Johan Zarcos full bike that finished on the podium at the final Moto2 race of 2014) and are now offering these to the public and race teams. Read below for details:
Marc VDS Kalex 2014 Moto2 (Tito RABAT) Complete Bike
Marc VDS Kalex 2014 Chassis and Swingarm, wiring loom, Moto2 Engine, Ohlins front & rear suspension, Brembo Brakes, Akrapovic Exhaust, OZ Wheels, 1 Kit Chassis Setting Materials- Pivot 0.1.2.3.4, Suspension Link A, Head Insert A,B,C.
Total Price Euros 80,000
Johan Zarco Caterham Suter Moto2 2104/2015
Preparations for the 2015 season are starting to get underway. While the MotoGP teams will have to wait until February, the World Superbike squads are assembling on the Iberian peninsula to resume their testing programs for 2015. Pata Honda were the first to kick off testing, spending two days at Portimao last week, where reigning World Superbike and World Supersport champions Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark got to grips with the Honda CBR1000RR. A dry first day meant that both men managed a good number of laps, while most of the second day was lost to rain. Van der Mark told Dutch site Racesport he had not spent too much time testing different settings, his main objective being to get used to riding a Superbike. Both he and Guintoli had tested the new engine, with standard conrods and pistons, while Guintoli had spent a lot of time working on different set ups, trying to get comfortable.
As had been widely expected, Ducati will not have the GP15 ready for the first test at Sepang, in early February. In an interview with the MotoGP.com website, due to be shown on 19th January, Ducati Corse boss confirmed that work was still underway on the all-new bike, and that instead, Ducati will be bringing an uprated version of last year's bike, dubbed the GP14.3, to test aspects of the new design not requiring the new engine.
The delays have been trailed by both Dall'Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, speaking to the media at the Valencia test and at the Superprestigio dirt track event in December. The GP15 is a completely new bike, designed from the ground up, with a completely redesigned engine. Though expected to retain Ducati's 90° V4 layout and desmodromic valve operation, the engine is likely to be much shorter, with a revised gearbox layout making it much more compact. Ducati are also believed to be looking at a heavier crankshaft, to help smooth throttle response. Dall'Igna will reveal more details on the design of the bike to the MotoGP website in the interview to be shown as part of the site's Off Season Show, set to be aired on 19th January.
Casey Stoner is to remain as a Honda test rider for another year. Today, HRC officially announced that the former world champion will undertake two tests for the factory during 2015. The first test will be at Sepang from 29th to 31st of January, four days before the official MotoGP test at the circuit. No date has been set for the second test, HRC stating only that it will be towards the end of the year, when Stoner will presumably be providing feedback on the 2016 machine.
No doubt this agreement will once again revive speculation that Stoner could return to MotoGP, but there is zero chance of that actually happening. The Australian has stated both in public and to HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto that he does not want to race again, and has turned down an offer from HRC before. His speed and the quality of the feedback he provides means he remains an extremely valuable asset to Honda's test program.
The contents of the press release issued by Honda is shown below:
HRC renews relationship with Casey Stoner
Honda Racing Corporation have retained the services of two-time World Champion Casey Stoner through 2015.
The 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion will test for two days in Sepang between the 29th and 31st January, prior to the first Official IRTA pre-season test.
You may have noticed a distinct lack of articles over the past few days. That is in part because there is nothing much happening - motorcycle racers are hard at work training, while factory race departments are frantically working on the last details of their 2015 machines - and so there is not much to report. It is also in part because we are having a well-earned break, and are spending some time away from our computers.
We will start to provide coverage of World Superbike testing, which starts later this week, while normal service will be resumed from Monday, 19th January, when we are back at our desks. From then, we will also resume our review of 2014, before looking forward to 2015. We apologize for not providing you with anything to help fill the empty weeks of January, but hope to make up for it once we return, together with some new initiatives.
Thanks for your patience!