The two-time World Supersport Champion tells why Superbike was stronger than MotoGP in Jerez Test
by Andrew Pitt
I will explain the simple reason why Jonathan has tested so well at Jerez. And I can see in the last days this has made a big impact in social media because for the people that make the rules and the decisions this should never happen.
I think it is quite simple why Jonathan has made such fast times at Jerez on the 2017 spec ZX10. He is one of the best riders in the world and I mean in the top 4 or 5 and fortunately the rider can still make the difference in our sport.
Why should this actually surprise anyone who really understands the sport??? Jonathan performed miracles on the Honda SBK and unfortunately waited too long at Honda for an opportunity in Motogp. Every year they talked of a Motogp Honda but then politics dictated as usual in Motogp and the likes of Bautista and Bradl kept their places on the Honda’s. No one was interested in Jonathan for a top bike as he didn’t fit the sponsor or political position and they told him he was too old, think back to how well he performed on Casey’s Honda without riding at Misano on Friday as it was wet and they wanted to save the engine for Casey. He got two results in the dry better than many current Motogp riders. Ask Cal how highly he rates Jonathan. Of course the top guys in Motogp are also on another planet but then there is a gap and I believe had he been given the right opportunity Jonathan could be competing at the front of MotoGP races. The decision makers want Motogp riders to come from Moto2, not from that other Championship SBK.
So finally he made the switch to Kawasaki when he understood the Motogp dream wasn’t going to happen and now he has dominated for 2 years in World SBK. He is happy winning World Championships now and playing with his two little boys during the lunch break while testing and hopes to win another title or two then go an retire with his family. I have read all the excuses people are talking about on social media but the fact is, the Pirelli tyres are the tyres you can buy at your local motorcycle shop. Sure he may have used a qualifying tyre for the 38 but when was a Pirelli ever considered close to Motogp spec Michelin tyres?? The day before he did a low 39 on his race tyre from October so it doesn’t really matter.
Credit to Pirelli too but this lap time was made by a rider relaxed in life and who loves his team and can ride a motorcycle very very fast. Sure the guys there testing on the Motogp bikes won’t like this but honestly everything they have at their disposal at Jerez was better than what Jonathan had. Jonathan simply made the difference on a 2017 spec bike that is more standard than 2016 bike with the introduction of standard generators and the standard throttle body. Kawasaki have taken on the Showa suspension that nobody wanted in Motogp and made it work. Great job JR and KRT. Bring on 2017.
Also Jerez is not a new circuit. It is a circuit all riders know very well for many years. Sure it is a little faster in winter but it is the same for everybody on the same day.