WSBK

WSBK: Rea dominates Superpole race at Imola

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The first and only race at at Imola on Sunday was the Tissot Superpole Race, which provided fireworks once more. On a damp but drying circuit, there was drama before the race even started, as BMW’s Tom Sykes  missed the warm up lap and was forced to start from pit lane.

At the front, Ducati’s Chaz Davies got the jump from pole, while Race One winner Jonathan Rea went side-by-side with the Welshman, but the Ducati held firm and maintained the lead.

With the race settling down, a mistake from Davies at the final chicane allowed Rea and Alvaro Bautista on the other factory Ducati to get ahead of him. Davies now had to put in the hard work all over again, as reigning champion Rea began to pull out an advantage.

Davies soon despatched his team-mate and the two dominant forces of WSBK in the past four seasons – Rea and Davies – went head-to-head in terms of lap times, both on lap record pace. The gap momentarily came down to below a second, but Davies was unable to get on terms with Jonathan Rea, while Bautista rode answerless in third position.

Rea’s victory never looked in doubt and he powered to his first Tissot Superpole Race win. Davies and Bautista came home behind him, while Michael van der Mark took his best Imola result with a strong fourth. Team-mate Alex Lowes finished fifth, with Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam placed in sixth.

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WSBK: Rampant Rea returns to winning ways in Race One at Imola

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It was a welcome return to the top step of the podium for Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, who put in a riding masterclass to take victory in Race One.

The Ulsterman enjoyed a bright start, but couldn’t get the better of Ducati’s Chaz Davies down into Tamburello. However, on the run to Acque Minerale, Davies suffered a problem and was forced to retire, handing Rea the lead while Davies’ team-mate Bautista moved up to second.

At the end of the opening lap, Rea and Bautista had the leading positions, with BMW’s Tom Sykes in third and ahead of Yamaha’s Michael van der Mark.

As the race settled down, Rea built a comfortable lead and was extending his advantage over Bautista by around 0.7s per lap. Bautista in turn was escaping the attention of Sykes but the main battle through the race was for fourth, with van der Mark leading Alex Lowes.

However, Lowes began to slip back, having been ill all weekend, and then Sykes suffered another mechanical issue, robbing the 2013 WorldSBK champ of a certain podium.

Sykes’ demise promoted a huge battle between van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu for the final podium position. The Turkish star made his move in the closing stages and got ahead of van der Mark. The pair then swapped paint and traded blows on the penultimate lap, colliding twice and fighting down to the wire.

Meanwhile, in a league of his own, Jonathan Rea blitzed the opposition in vintage fashion, taking his first win of the season to end the run of victories by Alvaro Bautista.

It is Jonathan Rea’s eighth win at Imola and his 72nd career victory in WSBK, ending his longest winless run since 2013. It is the 128th win for Kawasaki in WSBK.

WSBK: Hayden’s 2017 Honda SP2 up for sale

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Nicky Hayden’s 2017 Ten-Kate spec Honda CBR1000RR SP2 WSBK racebike is up for sale for a cool  €95.000.

Former Honda WSBK team Ten Kate is selling the machine, which has matching chassis and engine numbers, matching ECU and electronics numbers, matching chassis build-up and is set to the exact specification that Hayden used on track.

Ten Kate lists the bike as in ‘absolute showroom state’ though the machine is a runner and ready for track duties. The Dutch racing outfit is also issuing a certificate of authenticity with the sale and it will come with a full package and parts sold by Ten-Kate Racing.

For more info on the bike please contact Kervin Bos at Ten Kate Racing: k.bos@tenkateracing.com.

WSBK: Bautista continues to lead the way at pre-season test at Phillip Island

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Alvaro Bautista shaved almost half a second off his Monday lap time to finish the two-day WSBK test at Phillip Island on top of the timesheets.

The Spanish rider clocked his best lap in 1m 30.303s to lead the way from Tom Sykes, who was right in the mix for the BMW Motorrad team in second place, 0.236s adrift.

Bautista said: “Today was another very positive day. This morning we made a change to the bike’s geometry but we didn’t find what we were looking for so we went back to yesterday’s setting. In the afternoon the aim was to do a long-run, to see how the tyres behaved after a number of laps in race trim. I’m pleased because I kept a very good pace throughout the entire long-run. These have been two very positive days, and I’d like to thank the whole team, which did a perfect job. We’re ready to tackle the first race, and I can’t wait to start!”

Reigning champion Jonathan Rea was fourth quickest on his Kawasaki, four tenths down on Bautista and one place behind new team-mate Leon Haslam, with just 0.054s between them.

Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha) and Toprak Razgatliogu (Turkish Puccetti Racing Kawasaki) were next as half-a-second covered the top six on the combined times on the final day of the test.

Bautista’s team-mate, Chaz Davies, continued to struggle with the new Ducati as he languished in 14th position, 1.4 seconds off the top time, while Eugene Laverty was 16th on the Go Eleven Ducati.

Phillip Island Day Two Test Times:

1 A Bautista (Aruba.it Ducati) 1m 30.326s

2 T Sykes (BMW Motorrad) 1m 30.539s +0.213s

3 L Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1m 30.668s +0.342

4 J Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1m 30.772s +0.396s

5 M Melandri (GRT Yamaha) 1m 30.760s +0.457s

6 T Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Kawasaki) 1m 30.840s +0.514s

7 M van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) 1m 30.911s +0.608s

8 S Cortese (GRT Yamaha) 1m 31.077s +0.774

9 A Lowes (Pata Yamaha) 1m 31.146s +0.843s

10 J Torres (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) 1m 31.224s +0.898s

 

WSBK: Bautista top of the timesheets on Day One at Phillip Island test

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Day one of the WSBK test at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit saw factory Ducati’s Álvaro Bautista clocking the fastest time of the day, over four tenths of a second faster than Yamaha’s Alex Lowes and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea.

Bautista said: “Today was a very positive day and I felt good on the bike right away. We mainly focussed on chassis set-up work by testing various solutions that I hadn’t tried out until now. I’m pleased because we were able to improve the turning of the bike, which gave me a lot more confidence going into the corner. In addition, we tried the different tyre solutions that Pirelli brought along for the weekend. Now we have to have a good look at the data and try and make another step forward, but all in all I’m very happy.”

The Spaniard’s best lap of 1’30.743 was impressive, but team-mate Chaz Davies lingered at the bottom end of the timesheets for both sessions. Still searching for an ideal base set-up, the Welshman found some technical issues early on and was unable to match his teammate’s pace. The other two Panigale V4 Rs on the 2019 grid also continued developing with Team Go Eleven’s Eugene Laverty focusing on base setup as well as improving the feeling on the rear of the bike, while Barni Racing’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi concentrated on adapting to the new Showa suspension.

The Kawasaki factory pairing of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam were the two first men out on track in the morning and showed similar pace, finishing the day in third and fifth respectively. Puccetti’s Toprak Razgatlioglu also appeared to be making ground with the 2019 ZX-10RR as he set the tenth fastest lap on his first day with the new engine, rising above his fellow Kawasaki privateers.

Yamaha’s Alex Lowes again finished inside the top two at Phillip Island, 0.403s behind Bautista. Both the Englishman and team-mate Michael van der Mark – worked on race set-up. The other two Yamahas on the grid also excelled on day one, as the Japanese manufacturer managed to place all four bikes inside the top eight. GRT’s Marco Melandri placed sixth, while team-mate Sandro Cortese posted the eighth fastest time on what was his first laps on a superbike at Phillip Island.

The test also a fruitful day for the two BMW bikes, fitted with a new chassis and swingarm link for the first time. Tom Sykes finished the day in fourth position having the edge over team-mate Markus Reiterberger, ninth fastest.

After several months of swirling rumours and working outside the spotlight, the test also saw the debut of the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team. The first signs would seem promising, as Leon Camier edged close to the top ten with a bike still in an early development stage.

WSBK: 2019 factory Kawasaki WSBK bike breaks cover

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The factory Kawasaki WSBK team has pulled the wraps of its 2019 race bike.

Reigning WSBK champion Jonathan Rea and new team-mate Leon Haslam unveiled the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR  ahead of next weekend’s opening round of the championship at Phillip Island in Australia.

Rea said: “KRT always push the boat out when it comes to launching the new colours and it is the first time you see your final bike in the flesh.

“Everything is real and now we turn the page to 2019. Alpinestars have done a great job with my leathers as well. I changed my number 1 plate a little bit too, incorporating some new logos.”

WSBK: Ducati factory team unveils new V4 R racer and new livery for 2019

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The factory Ducati WSBK team squad has officially presented the new V4 R which it hopes will fight for the 2019 World Superbike championship.

Ducati recently launched its road version of the V4 R in order to homologate the bike in time for the 2019 campaign. There will be four Ducati V4 R Superbikes on the 2019 grid with Barni Racing fielding Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Team Go Eleven partnering with Eugene Laverty.

Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista have been busy putting the bike through its paces at pre-season testing at Jerez and Portimao ahead of the season opener at Phillip Island on February 22-24.

 

WSBK: Rea tops the timesheet at pre-season test at Jerez

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Glorious sunshine basked the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto once again for the second of a two-day test in Southern Spain, where four WSBK teams continued to work on their 2019 set-ups.

More than 600 laps of the 4.2km circuit were run by the eight riders, and steps were made ahead of what is set to be a sensational season with new bikes, new teams and new riders. Despite this, it was still four time world champion Jonathan Rea who led the way on the Kawasaki.

Rea continued with his sensational pace out on track for the second and final day of testing, as the 2018 world champion was continuing to work on getting the chassis in tune with the engine on his ZX-10RR. Explaining that his new bike offers even more potential than the 2018 Ninja, he was a force to be reckoned with, setting the fastest lap time of 1.38.713. On the other side of the garage, new team-mate Leon Haslam was left with one bike after a big crash on Monday. However, this didn’t stop the Brit putting the laps in, as he reached more than 100 on the second day. Ending the day in third with a time of 1.39.766, Haslam was able to continue with his base setting of the ZX-10RR and will take some strong pace into the winter.

It was a telling two days for the Pata Yamaha official WSBK team, as they began to understand the work they will need to do to bridge the gap to the green and red machines out on track. Working through their small updates for 2019, Alex Lowes had a strong test sitting in second position for most of the day, bridging the gap to fastest man Rea. It was a tough test for team-mate Michael van der Mark who was riding with a fractured wrist sustained from his crash in Qatar. Working to get more grip and acceleration on exit amongst other factors, Lowes finished in second position overall, 0.664s off Rea’s pace while van der Mark was sixth and 1.379s behind.

Lessons continued to be learnt for the Aruba.it Racing Ducati squad with Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista getting to grips with the all-new Panigale V4 R. Davies is continuing to struggle with his shoulder injury sustained over the summer break, meaning he isn’t riding at 100%, and used the test to focus on electronics and throttle connection on his new machine, posting the fifth overall fastest time. Bautista had a more challenging second day with his V4 R, suffering two crashes during the day around Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto. Able to walk away from both crashes, Bautista was still happy with the bike as he works on his base set-up. Putting in an impressive pace on his debut, Bautista was able to finish in fourth, with a lap time of 1.39.845.

For new WSBK team GRT Yamaha, Sandro Cortese and Marco Melandri spent time getting to get to grips with the YZF-R1. Happy with the progress they have made, 2018 WSSP champion Cortese was still working on adapting and adjusting to an WSBK machine, while Melandri was working on his base setting and with the Pirelli tyres.

Unofficial Combined Times Jerez Day Two:

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.38.713
  2. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.39.377 (+0.664)
  3. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1.39.766 (+1.053)
  4. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.845 (+1.132)
  5. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1.39.852 (+1.139)
  6. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) 1.40.092 (+1.379)
  7. Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.235 (+1.522)
  8. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha Team) 1.40.592 (+1.879)

WSBK: imperious Rea continues winning streak with Race One victory in Qatar

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2018 WSBK champion Jonathan Rea continued his impressive form, taking a commanding win in the opening race under the floodlights at Losail and equalling the existing record of 17 wins in a single season with his 11th consecutive victory.

Despite not starting on pole, Rea took the holeshot into turn one and from then on ran at his own pace to add yet another win to his impressive haul, his 56th for Kawasaki; a record for a single rider with a single manufacturer in WorldSBK. Eleven race wins in succession also moved Rea’s recent record of ten consecutive races on by one.

Sykes was on strong form from the start at Losail this weekend and extended his career Superpole record with a 1’56.124 lap in SP2 that just edged our Rea by 0.131 seconds.

Speaking after the race, Rea said: “There is a lot of hard work done to arrive in this position. It is really difficult; to build the package, the team atmosphere and a feeling with the bike. This weekend I have not quite felt myself on the bike and I said to my guys yesterday evening that this game is so much about confidence. We have been lucky this year in that I have had such a great feeling with the bike and that we have had that little bit extra. That gives you confidence and you are able to ride in a certain way. That is how it is done; that confidence the bike gives me, working with the team. Every time we are struggling, or my confidence is down, my crew chief Pere Riba finds a way to re-invent that, and turn things around. I am really grateful for that. People can find a good team and a good bike, and a good team can find a good rider, but trying to put all the elements together is really difficult.”

Race two will take place on Saturday the 29th of October 2018, again under the floodlights at 19.00 local time.

WSBK: Record-breaking Rea dominates Race Two in Argentina

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On the same weekend that Kawasaki won the WSBK Manufacturers’ Championship, Jonathan Rea wrote his name in the history books by racing to his tenth consecutive victory.

Heavy overnight rain the second race day at the all new San Juan Villicum circuit threw up even more unknown challenges for the field, but it made no difference to Rea, who dominated the race once again.

Rea, launching from ninth on the grid after his Race One win on Saturday, had to use all his skill to pass his rivals on a new track surface that had one clear racing line. Into second place by Lap Four, Rea chased down the fast-starting leader Xavi Fores on the Barni Ducati on Lap Nine and set about recording his unique fifth double winning weekend in succession.

The win was even more impressive given that the four-time champion was taken ill on Saturday evening and was awake most of the night.

In recording his 55th victory on a Kawasaki, as part of his career record of 70 race wins in all, Rea has now equalled the greatest number of wins scored with a single manufacturer in WSBK racing.

Rea’s 16th win of the season has also taken him to within one victory of equalling the record of race wins in a single year, with two races remaining at the final round.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is really special to come to a new track, where everyone starts from zero, and be able to take the same kind of results. To be fast in the hot conditions and keep our tyre that was the key to the race. It was probably the hardest race win from the third row of the grid. If I went off line to pass, I could not be creative with my line choices. Everybody was pretty much on the same line so the passes had to be set up a few corners in advance. Once I settled into my rhythm I was able to clock off the lap times and pick off riders one by one. When I got clear track to Fores I tracked him down quite fast, but then there was the matter of passing him. Today has been difficult because I caught some kind of virus last night. I was ill all night from one o’clock until five this morning. It was good to have the race at 4pm because most of the day I have been sleeping in the cabin, regaining energy!”