With the Kawasaki and Aprilia teams having wrapped up their final tests of this year, Nicky Hayden took over the top the top of the timesheets at a sunny but cold Jerez.
Hayden posted a best lap in 1.40.090 which was almost half a second better than his qualifying time from last April - he qualified 3rd in 1.40.563- but apparently his lap time was done using the same chassis that he used in the second part of the season and not the two new ones that Borgo Panigale bought to test - Hayden also suffered a harmless crash at turn 3 during the morning session.
Andrea Dovizioso neck problems are still causing him enough pain to stop him from testing again - and unless he’s fit enough to ride tomorrow - the next time he’ll be back on his Ducati will be at the Sepang tests in February without having given almost any feedback. Dovizioso in all liklihood will also be forced to miss the Sic Supermoto Day charity event this upcoming weekend at Latina.
Marco Melandri who is suffering from a shoulder inflammation that hinders him from completing more than two or three laps at a time was second fastest - but the fastest World Superbike rider. Even if he was unable to match Eugene Laverty’s Wednesday benchmark (obtained on qualifying tires) the Italian best lap with his BMW S1000RR was in 1.40.816.
Pramac’s Andrea Iannone was within one second from Hayden in 1.40.989 completing a massive 72 laps while Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, substituting for the injured Ben Spies posted a 1.41.265 working on electronics.
Carlos Checa had a definite improvement with his Alstare branded Panigale, while team mate Ayrton Badovini was a more than three seconds slower on the second day of getting to know the twin cylinder 1199.
Hiroshi Aoyama was faster than Avintia Blusens team mate Héctor Barberá. The Japanese set a best time o 1.41.507 while Barbera did a 1.42’507 and also did some laps with part-carbon Inmotec chassis.
Chaz Davies ended up behind the FTR-Kawasaki riders while SBK returnee Max Neukirchner continued with his Panigale still in Superstock trim aand he was faster than Barni Ducati Superstock riders Niccolò Canepa and Eddi La Marra, but both riders are hampered by their injuries. Canepa is still recovering from his leg fracture and La Marra has a fractured hand picked up a Magny-Cours and he’ll be undergoing surgery.
Testing will continue on Friday, but the weather forecast calls for rain.
Jerez test times - Thursday
Nicky Hayden – Ducati – 1’40”090
Marco Melandri – BMW – 1’40”816
Andrea Iannone – Ducati – 1’40”989
Michele Pirro - Ducati – 1’41”265
Carlos Checa – Ducati – 1’41”840
Hiroshi Aoyama – 1’41”975
Hector Barbera – 1’42”507
Chaz Davies – 1’42”716
Max Neukirchner – 1’44”521
Ayrton Badovini – 1’44”521
Niccolò Canepa - 1’45”256
Eddi La Marra – 1’45”526