|Camier is testing a new-spec GSXR1000 engine at Jerez
Photo: Crescent Fixi Suzuki
World Superbikes 2013 got under way in earnest this week with a two day test at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain. Sadly the weather put paid to any meaningful laps on the opening day, Althea Aprilia’s young hotshot Davide Guigliano lead the way in somewhat inclement conditions from Goldbet BMW’s seasoned campaigner Marco Melandri just 0.419 behind then a yawning chasm of almost 2 seconds to Guigliano’s team mate Sylvain Guintoli in third.
World Supersport saw the first outing for Sam Lowes aboard his Yakhnich Yamaha R6 while Irelands British Supersport runner-up Jack Kennedy had his maiden ride on a World Supersport machine with his Rivamoto Honda squad. As with the Superbikes the weather put paid to any kind of hot laps, but it was Lowes who was fastest on the opening day, showing his ability to adapt quickly to new machinery, with Kennedy a creditable second and Sofuoglu third.
Day two was a different story with a drying track providing the riders with the opportunity for feedback in looking for that elusive base setting and getting more comfortable with their rides. It was Marco Melandri that picked up the baton on the timesheets (however Kawasaki claim Sykes went faster, without a transponder) in a swap round of positions from day one with Davide Guigliano and Eugene Laverty showing well in third 0.2s adrift of the young Italian. A gaggle of Brits and an honorary Brit followed with Leon Camier leading the charge and looking at home aboard his FIXI Crescent Suzuki with PATA Honda’s Jonathan Rea adapting quickly to the much-changed for 2013 Honda Fireblade and Guintoli, BMW debutant Chaz Davies and last years championship runner up Tom Sykes just a second in arrears.
Mahi Kawasaki-mounted Kenan Sofuoglu topped the timesheets at the end of the session for World Supersports with Sam Lowes and his Yamaha R6 finishing less than 0.1s behind the Turkish double World Champion in what is surely a marker for the coming season, the two riders already renewing rivalries from 2012. PATA Honda rider Michael van der Mark grabbed a deserved third while Lowes’ team-mate Leonov and the experienced Fabian Foret rounded out the top five on the sister machine to Sofuoglu.
The Alstare Ducati squad of Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini tested at the circuit earlier in the week but any potential progress was spoiled by the rain and wind that affected day one of the main test but both riders reported favourably on the 2013 Ducati 1199R Panigale in the short window of time they had to familiarise themselves with the new machinery.
The season begins on the 24th February down at Phillip Island for the now traditional season opener with a full test prior to the weekend and, although last season will be almost impossible to match for drama, we predict yet another close championship in 2013.
Superbike Times from Day 2
1. Marco Melandri (I), BMW GoldBet, 1:40.758 min
2. Davide Giugliano (I), Althea Aprilia, 0.104
3. Eugene Laverty (IRL), Aprilia, +0.285
4. Leon Camier (GB), Fixi Crescent Suzuki, +0.425
5. Jonathan Rea (GB), Pata Honda, +0.883
6. Sylvain Guintoli (F), Aprilia, +0.925
7. Chaz Davies (GB), BMW GoldBet, +0.969
8. Tom Sykes (GB), Kawasaki, +1.004
9. Leon Haslam (GB), Pata Honda, +1.652
10. Loris Baz (F), Kawasaki, +1.732
11. Jules Cluzel (F), Fixi Crescent Suzuki, +1.878
12. Ivan Clementi (I), HTM BMW, +4.099
Superspor Times From Day 2
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (TR), Mahi Kawasaki, 1:43.890 min
2. Sam Lowes (GB), Yakhnich Yamaha, 1:43.977
3. Michael van der Mark (NL), Pata Honda, 1:44.476
4. Vladimir Leonov (RUS), Yakhnich Yamaha, 1:44.696
5. Fabien Foret (F), Mahi Kawasaki, 1:45.290
6. Lorenzo Zanetti (I), Pata Honda, 1:45.409
7. Massimo Roccoli (I), Pata by Martini Yamaha, 1:45.561
8. Gabor Talmacsi (H), Prorace Honda, 1:45.709
9. Jack Kennedy (IRL), Rivamoto Honda, 1:45.783
10. David Salom (E), Intermoto Kawasaki, 1:46.027
11. Balazs Nemeth (H), SMS Honda, 1:46.612
12. Berardino Lombardi (I), Pata by Martini Yamaha, 1:46.717
13. Luca Savadori (I), Pata by Martini Yamaha, 1:47.273
14. Alex Schacht (DK), Schacht Honda, 1:47.457
15. Federico D’Annunzio (I), Pata by Martini Yamaha, 1:47.861