Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea immediately took charge as he joined Thursday’s WorldSBK testing action at Jerez.
Opting for an afternoon on track as the test drew to a close, and with HRC already calling time early on their plans, Rea ran at the top of the times from the outset before concluding the day with a 1’38.851 lap to lead overall after 61 laps, echoing his pace from December’s outing at the Andalucian venue. KRT teammate Alex Lowes followed in second, improving on Wednesday’s fastest effort as he continued his testing schedule.
The third and final Superbike runner saw Lucas Mahias end the day three-tenths back as his strength and recovery continued on the Puccetti-led Ninja. The Frenchman spent the day analysing new Öhlins suspension as the team switched from Showa.
Once again MV Agusta’s Niki Tuuli led the way for the Supersport contingent, although Puccetti’s Can Öncü kept him honest with just two-hundredths separating the pair at the close of play. The Turk’s mentor, Kenan Sofuoglu, and new teammate Yari Montella ran 1’43 pace, with Sofuoglu running both the MV and Puccetti Kawasaki throughout the day as he stood in for nephew Bahattin and assisted in evaluating a new brake system for the ZX-6R.
WorldSSP rookies Ben Currie and Jeffrey Buis completed the test with a further 44 and 49 laps under their belt respectively, the Australian improving his time by almost two seconds from Wednesday despite managing a wrist injury. Ana Carrasco concluded the times on a Kawasaki supersport machine, herself shaving two seconds from her previous best after 52 laps on track as she looks to progress from the class she became champion of in 2018.
Jerez test times - Thursday
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’38.851
2. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’40.266
3. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’40.542
4. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 1’42.341
5. Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’42.361
6. Kenan Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 1’43.774
7. Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’43.875
8. Ben Currie (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) 1’44.606
9. Jeffrey Buis (Motozoo Racing by Puccetti) 1’45.679
10. Ana Carrasco (Provec Racing) 1’47.553