News Kawasaki’s Rea Tops MotoGP Field at Jerez Winter Superbike Tests

Kawasaki’s Rea Tops MotoGP Field at Jerez Winter Superbike Tests

2016 Jerez Winter Superbike Tests

Kawasaki’s Rea Tops MotoGP Field at Jerez Winter Superbike Tests
Jonathan Rea on Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR

Five days of World Superbike testing wrapped up Friday at the Jerez Circuit in Spain. Monday and Friday were a washout due to rain, but much progress was completed on Tuesday through Thursday for the final tests of 2016 before the winter-testing ban begins.

Testing at Jerez all were were Kawasaki Racing Team, Grillini Racing Team, Althea BMW Racing Team, Honda WorldSBK Team, Milwaukee Aprilia World Superbike Team, Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and Racing – Ducati.

The 2016 World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea posted the best time aboard the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR. The Northern Irishman’s time Wednesday of 1:38.721 on qualifying tires was the best of the week—not only for the SBK grid, but also a few MotoGP teams testing as well.

Out with the World SBK grid were the following MotoGP teams: Avintia Racing Ducati, Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati, Marc VDS, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.

The closest MotoGP pilot to Rea was Alvaro Bautista on the Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati; the Spaniard, who just joined the satellite Ducati team, posted a best lap of 1:38.946, which was 0.225 of a second slower than Rea’s time on the ZX-10RR Superbike. This performance is unbelievable for a World SBK-spec machine, especially when considering the Jerez MotoGP circuit record is a 1:38.735 posted by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha YZR-M1, 2015, race conditions).

Kawasaki’s Rea on new ZX-10RR
Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR

The Kawasaki Racing Team was joined by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) personnel as Rea and 2013 SBK Champion Tom Sykes evaluated new World SBK-specification chassis and engine materials that have been launched on the new ZX-10RR. Compared the the previous ZX-10R, which Rea earned the 2016 SBK title on, the updated “RR” version has more horsepower, better suspension, lighter wheels and a more sophisticated ECU.

“It has been a very successful test with three days of very consistent weather. We also got a morning of wet conditions in which we confirmed a few things, especially a new Showa rear shock,” says two-time World SBK Champion Jonathan Rea.

“I have to thank all at KRT for giving us this long test and KHI for bringing some extra engineering staff. Thanks to Showa for continuing to develop new parts for us and bringing them to the track. We did two race simulations on Thursday that we were very happy with. We can go into the winter in great shape and with a lot of confidence for next season.

“Having the new Ninja ZX-10RR has let us fix some of our weaker points, as our engine is a little bit stronger than before, with some extra RPM. That is always an added bonus. We can be optimistic for 2017. Looking back on 2016 it has been an incredible year to finish off here with a successful test I want to say thanks to all my team and all my crew, everyone inside KRT and KHI for these last few days.”

Rea was followed in testing by Aruba.It Racing-Ducati’s Chaz Davies (1:39.116) and Sykes (1:39.461). It should be noted that combined with MotoGP times, Davies was also third quickest overall behind Bautista and Rea.

Following the official testing ban, World Superbike winter testing resumes on January 24 at Jerez.

2016 Jerez World Superbike Testing Results, Combined:

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team): 1.38.721
  2. Chaz Davies (Aruba It.Racing- Ducati): 1.39.116
  3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team): 1.39.461
  4. Marco Melandri (Aruba It.Racing- Ducati): 1.39.694
  5. Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse): 1.40.693
  6. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official Team): 1.40.985
  7. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia Team): 1.41.048
  8. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Team): 1.41.328
  9. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia Team): 1.41.692
  10. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Team): 1.41.830

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling.

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