Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea was in charge at Motorland Aragon, in Spain, on Monday as the six-time champ topped the opening day of WorldSBK testing.
Rea set the 1’49.394 lap in the closing stages of the afternoon session, beating his own race lap record at the 5km layout by two-tenths, with reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu three-tenths behind. The Yamaha star’s earlier pace, however, was harder to ignore, with just 0.016s splitting the duelling pair in the combined times at the close of play.
The superbike class faced three 45-minute sessions on track at the Alcañiz venue as official championship testing got underway ahead of the coming weekend’s season-opener. The opening action proved slight as cold temperatures kept the majority in the garage, with just brief forays to assess conditions but as the day wore on, the pace soon increased.
Having commanded FP2, Razgatlioglu’s best was also under Rea’s record - set during last season’s Superpole race - although the 2021 Champion’s day ended a few minutes early thanks to a crash at turn 15. The Pata Yamaha rider assessed new electronics throughout the test as well as working on the race setup of his Yamaha YZF R1 for the weekend ahead.
Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista also suffered a crash in the final session, this time at turn six. Despite that, the Spaniard secured third in the times on his return to the Panigale V4 R, six-tenths down on the leading Brit.
GYTR GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff finished the day in fourth, seven-tenths adrift, although the American scored fastest in the third sector overall. Gerloff’s R1 machine was fitted with the 2022 engine and a new exhaust seen on Razgatlioglu’s bike during preseason testing. Teammate Kohta Nozane ensured both GRT Yamaha riders were inside the top ten by claiming eighth, just four-tenths off Gerloff’s day one pace.
Alex Lowes continued to fine-tune his Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR from fifth in the overall times, with refinements made to both suspension and chassis, although colder than expected conditions prevented him from adjusting too much ahead of the Aragon Round.
Last year’s top rookie, Andrea Locatelli placed the second Pata Yamaha in sixth. Matching his teammate with mid-afternoon rather than late session pace, with a 1’50.433 best while Loris Baz took BMW honours on the Bonovo Action machine from seventh.
Honda’s new recruit Iker Lecuona sat ninth, despite a turn seven crash, ahead of the second Bonovo of Eugene Laverty, with Michael Rinaldi and Philipp Oettl heading Scott Redding just outside of the top ten.