Yamaha provided Jonathan Rea with not one or two R1s at the Jerez test on Monday, but three. The world record Superbike champion completed an extensive test program and many laps.
As Toprak Razgatlioglu’s successor, Jonathan Rea is Yamaha’s new savior in the 2024 World Superbike Championship. The six-time world champion should seamlessly follow up on the Turk’s success, instead doing his best to prevent Álvaro Bautista (Ducati) from winning the title. another in the next season.
Yamaha is doing a lot to achieve this. After the first exam October 31/1. New parts were made in November so the Northern Irishman could get a better feel for the R1. In addition, during the second test – Monday was the first of two test days – the 36-year-old was very much entrusted with the test program on three motorcycles. His colleague Andrea Locatelli was also involved.
“We split the work between the riders and had a really tough day. Jonny did 88 laps on three bikes and 82 laps with ‘Loka’ on two different bikes. That’s about 750km on both bikes, so there’s a lot of data for the guys. In terms of the number of laps, consistency and lack of problems or crashes, it was a very productive day,” team boss Paul Denning reported. “You can’t go through all the components and hardware on the test list if you’re constantly changing the bike’s setup to improve performance. So, both riders ran two or three short stints to get to the right setup, then the test program was started. With that in mind, stability and the level of performance was very encouraging.
The Englishman explains the technical objective of the test: “We are looking for more acceleration, because if you accelerate more, you also get more top speed. We tested different parts of the engine and chassis to achieve this. The changes are very surprising and carefully thought out. When I say ‘swingarm’ or ‘fork clamp’, these are features where as a team manager you no longer say ‘wow, that’s brand new’. The R1 is not a new bike, so the changes we make are based on everything the engineers and the team already know.
Rea basically continues Yamaha where he left off Kawasaki: getting more from the existing package. “We are trying to squeeze every last bit of performance. The level of the machine is already very competitive and excellent. But to win the World Cup, there is still a big gap between Álvaro Bautista and the others in the field. We still have a lot of work to do, so we drove kilometers 750 on the first day of testing. Many kilometers are good, especially for Jonathan. Because there is nothing better than the experience of owning a motorcycle after many laps.”