After the last rounds at Assen and Imola, where only two of the three Superbike races on the schedule were held because of the appalling weather conditions, World SBK is back in action this weekend at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia, where it is expected to be a ‘scorcher’ of an event in more ways than one.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team riders, Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies, prepared for the sixth round with two days of group testing last week at the Misano World Circuit, and so they will arrive at the Spanish Round anxious to fight for the win after two victories by Rea (Kawasaki) at Imola.
After eleven wins in thirteen races, Bautista continues to have a vice-like grip on the championship standings with 263 points. Even though the 34-year-old from Talavera de la Reina has never raced an SBK machine at Jerez, he has been there every year in MotoGP since 2010 so the circuit, which is back on the calendar after a gap of one year, will not be an unknown factor for him.
For his team-mate, the 32-year-old from Wales Chaz Davies, Race 1 at Jerez, where he triumphed three times in 2015 and 2016, will be his 190th participation in World SBK. Chaz is still searching for his first win this season on the Panigale V4 R and the medium-fast Jerez circuit could be a good opportunity for him to break the fast of wins that has lasted since April of last year.
Of the 12 races held so far at Jerez, Ducati riders have been victorious five times, and on two occasions have scored a double win, once with Davies in 2016 and once with the legendary Frenchman Raymond Roche in 1990.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will be out on track on Friday at 10:30 CET for the first free practice session, while the weekend schedule sees Race 1 take place at 14:00 on Saturday, the Superpole Race at 11:00 on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14:00.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st (263 points)
“After the last round at Imola, the next race on the calendar is at Jerez, a track I know very well, and so I hope for me that everything will be back to normal! Last week we tested for two days at Misano with a good feeling even though the conditions weren’t great. It was an important and positive test for a series of reasons, also for the future, and we did back-to-back tests with various components on the bike rather than aiming for a fast time. For me Jerez is another home race, so we hope to enjoy ourselves here and put on a good show for the increasingly numerous Spanish crowd.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 6th (85 points)
“I’m really looking forward to Jerez, which is going to be a bit of a change to the scenery and the temperature from the last couple of rounds because it’s hot down there now. I’ve had a mixed bag of results at Jerez before but despite this I’ve managed to take a few wins over the years so it’s a track where I know I can go well. Hopefully we can start from where we left off at Imola, where we were very strong, and just keep improving the Panigale V4 R in these different kinds of tracks.”
The Jerez de la Frontera circuit
Built in 1986, the Jerez circuit hosted its first World Superbike Championship round in 1990, when French rider Raymond Roche scored a double win on a Ducati. The circuit is surrounded by the hills of a valley in Andalusia in the south of Spain, offering spectacular views and nearly always characterized by excellent weather. Its numerous grandstands provide perfect viewing facilities for over 100,000 spectators and the track was resurfaced in 2017, the last time SBK came to Jerez.
Circuit Record: Melandri (Ducati), 1’38.960 (160.90 km/h) - 2017
Fastest Lap: Rea (Kawasaki), 1’40.640 (158.22 km/h) - 2017
Track Length: 4.423 km
Race Distance: 2 x 20 laps (88.460 km), 1 x 10 laps (44.230 km)
Corners: 13 (5 left, 8 right)
2017 Results (not held in 2018)
Race 1: 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 2. Davies (Ducati); 3. Sykes (Kawasaki)
Race 2: 1. Rea (Kawasaki); 2. Melandri (Ducati); 3. Davies (Ducati)
Bike: Ducati Panigale V4 R
Race Number: 19
Age: 34 (born on 21 November 1984 in Talavera de la Reina, Spain)
SBK Races: 13
First SBK Race: 2019 Phillip Island
First Win: 2019 Phillip Island
Pole Positions: 3
First Pole: 2019 Buriram
World Titles: 1 (2006 125cc)
Bike: Ducati Panigale V4 R
Race Number: 7
Age: 32 (born on 10the February 1987 in Knighton, UK)
SBK Races: 189
First SBK Race: 2012 Imola
First Win: 2012 Nürburgring
Pole Positions: 6
First Pole: 2015 Laguna Seca
World Titles: 1 (2011 Supersport)