The regulation has changed, reducing engine revs by almost 1000, but the same man still leads the way. Guess who? Johnny Rea of course. On day one of testing at Jerez, the three-time champion has immediately shown that the music has not changed, riding his Kawasaki back into first place. Yet another demonstration of his superiority, with the Northern Irish rider setting a best of 1’39”650, seven tenths higher than October's Superpole time set by Marco Melandri.
The world champion was the only rider to duck under 1’40” and we're sure he'll be out to beat, as he did last year, the MotoGP bikes that will be at the track for a second test after Valencia.
Kawasaki did the double today, with Tom Sykes closing second, a little over three tenths from his team-mate (+0.355). The more things change, the more they remain the same we might say...
Green bikes aside, there is one new face. Loris Baz made his BMW debut with team Althea, completing 74 laps and closing day one with the fifth fastest time, a little over a second and a half from the front (+1.702). The man completing the most laps though was Jordi Torres, riding the MV Agusta that he inherits from Leon Camier for the first time. A slow start for the Spaniard, who made 90 laps to finish almost two seconds from Rea (+1.978). This is only the start though, and there is still time to improve of course.
Eugene Laverty and Aprilia set the two ZX-10R bikes in their sights to finish in third place. The second and a half gap from the front is clear to see though (+1.533.), and the same applies to Lorenzo Savadori (+1.724), two tenths slower than his team-mate.
Riding another Kawasaki, rookie Leandro Mercado (+2.391) finished day one in ninth place, followed by Yonny Hernandez (+2.826). The Colombian was riding the ZX-10R of team Pedercini, called upon at the last minute to evaluate a possible ride in the 2018 championship.
A final mention goes to Leon Haslam. As we know, the Brit has decided to continue his adventure in BSB next season. Considering his fourth place finish today, we're sorry he's missing from the WorldSBK grid.