After midday, the track began to slowly dry out with times finally dropping below the two-minute mark around 2 pm, which prompted the first appearance of both Kawasaki Racing Team riders on the Spanish tarmac. Having proven that the package is as good as it’s ever been, Rea and Crew Chief Pere Riba’s focus in these early stages is on small details destined to make the bike turn a bit easier while not losing any stability.
While their work revolves around fine-tuning the package, for Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) these early laps are all about getting an understanding of the bike as a whole. The Englishman lands on a new machine and inside a new team, with new relationships inside Provec Racing just as important to develop as his feeling with the ZX-10RR. On day one at Aragon, the final three hours of the day were enough to complete 37 laps, with the best time only a second behind his Championship-winning teammate.
The manufacturer with the strongest representation at MotorLand Aragon is Yamaha, who put out all four riders – two Pata Yamaha, two GRT Yamaha Junior Team – on the 2019 version of the YZF R1, with the new 2020 model ready to hit the tarmac in Jerez, in two weeks’ time.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was the second rider out on track in the morning and showed that he could be instantly competitive on his new bike, finishing the day only a fraction of a second from teammate Michael van der Mark. For the Dutchman the true test will come in that Jerez test at the end of November, when he meets the evolution of his previous race-winning machine; here, on Wednesday, a few extra components including a different throttle were tested, as van der Mark and new Crew Chief Andrew Pitt began working together for the first time.
Meanwhile, GRT Yamaha’s two representatives began to prove why the Italian team has put its trust in two rookies for 2020. Garrett Gerloff, not only racing on the WorldSBK YZF R1 for the first time but also on Pirelli tyres (and on European tarmac), was immediately competitive, coming within less than a second of van der Mark’s best time. His Italian teammate Federico Caricasulo, on a Superbike for the first time after several years on Supersport machines, recorded more laps than anyone as he finds his feet in a new class.
Track action restarts tomorrow at 10:00 Local Time (GMT+1) before the riders set off for a two-week break before traveling to Jerez.