Last WorldSBK Testing of 2018 Sees Jonathan Rea On Top—If Dorna and the FIM wanted to slow down the ultimate lap times of the three-time World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), thanks to the new 14,100rpm rev limit imposed on all the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR machines on the grid at the start of the 2018 season, it has not worked so far.
Last WorldSBK Testing of 2018 Sees Jonathan Rea On Top
Rea did an almost identical time to the corresponding tests in 2017, despite having 1,100rpm less to play with on the long straight this year.
Despite falling again early in the final day, at low speed at the MG hairpin, Rea was under the previous best lap time of these tests, set by Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) on Monday. Rea left PI with a best of test 1:30.598 lap time, 0.128 seconds up on Melandri.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) overcame some discomfort from his recently injured ankle to post third best time, and be even more satisfied with his overall race pace.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), 0.476 seconds from Rea, was fourth fastest, with the first independent rider Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) just two-thousandths of a second behind, in fifth place.
Just over half a second from the leading rider, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) was the fastest YZF-R1 runner in sixth. His teammate Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK) was seventh but over 0.2 seconds back from VDM.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) completed the top 10 riders at this two-day test.
In a tough period for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with his bike losing out compared to its 2017 version in a few areas of the track, the Welsh rider finished a lowly 11th.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the second best independent rider, in 12th place, and the lone MV Agusta runner, Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 13th after his big first day crash.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 14th, just one place up on new boy Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).
Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda) was top wildcard rider from Australia, in 16th place and just 1.699 seconds from the best today.
Another rookie rider in the class, PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) placed 20th.
The first round of the championship takes place at PI between 23rd and 25th February.
Yamaha Riders Run Riot In WorldSSP Testing
After a superbly combative and ever-changing 2017 WorldSSP season saw a new champion crowned in Frenchman Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team), after some last round heroics from five-time time champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), 2018 looks like it is going to be another belter in the middleweight class.
But is also looks like Yamaha territory for the most part, with the top four bikes in the two-day pre-season test at PI all being R6s.
Last year Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha) was in WorldSBK for a while, and his new team were running Hondas in WorldSSP.
But leading the 24 rider field after the final tests, and just before the first round of 2018, is already an achievement for man, machine and team.
Next up in the test rankings were Mahias and his fellow works Yamaha rider, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team).
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing Yamaha) was a strong novice in the class, fourth, and local hero in Australia Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) piled in with fifth – and best Kawasaki in a test where Sofuoglu struggled to go eighth on his official machine.