Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea took his 2019 Kawasaki ZX-10RR to the top of the WorldSBK timesheets in the first day of pre-season private tests at Motorland Aragon, with a best lap of 1’49.665.
Despite feeling ill from a winter bug Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) put in the second best time, albeit 1.489 seconds from Rea, as well as trying out a new rear swingarm and some other chassis changes in the afternoon session.
The greatest excitement of the first day was how the all-new Ducati Panigale V4R would go. Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati) was immediately happy with his new bike, saying it felt nothing like his previous V-twin and thus making direct comparisons difficult.
His pace, even from the start, was good, considering this was his first ride on the new WorldSBK Ducati. He would finish third fastest of all, just a few hundredths of a second from Lowes, in what were dry and moderate weather conditions.
The return of Leon Haslam (KRT) to the WorldSBK fold was a positive one, despite running off track as his bike suffered a technical issue that cost him and his team some track time. In going fourth quickest, Haslam was within touching distance of Davies and Lowes as he adapted his riding style to a full electronics package again.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati), standing in for the current MotoGP rider Alvaro Bautista, was on a Barni Racing Ducati V4R at this test. The 2018 rookie was fifth fastest and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) sixth of the Superbike riders at Motorland, carrying some issues over from the wrist he injured in Qatar.
KTM’s MotoGP development team shared some track time with the Superbike riders, with their rider Randy De Puniet (KTM MotoGP) setting lap times in the middle order of those present today.
One more day of testing remains at Motorland, although the weather conditions are predicted to be potentially more changeable than the dry first day.