WorldSBK: A Preview Of The Season-Opener At Phillip Island

WorldSBK: A Preview Of The Season-Opener At Phillip Island

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Countdown to Round 1: WorldSBK heads to Phillip Island

 What to look out for in Phillip Island
  • The WorldSBK grid will have a final opportunity to fine-tune their setups before the season opener with a single day of testing scheduled at Phillip Island on Tuesday.
  • Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega and BMW’s Toprak Razgatlioglu, currently the fastest in pre-season tests, will tackle the Australian circuit with their new bikes.
  • Alvaro Bautista, discreet during pre-season as he adapts to new weight regulations, will focus on readiness for the opening round of the season.
Grid transformations and new horizons
 

The 2024 WorldSBK grid sees major changes, with only four teams unchanged from last year.

Toprak Razgatlioglu departed from Yamaha to join the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, where he teams up with Michael van der MarkJonathan Rea ended his longstanding partnership with Kawasaki to join Pata Prometeon Yamaha alongside Andrea Locatelli, bringing a fresh dynamic to the grid.

 

Nicolo Bulega‘s promotion to the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, partnering with Alvaro Bautista, came after an impressive 2023 WorldSSP campaign which saw him clinch the title. Axel Bassani stepped up to the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK after Rea‘s departure, transitioning from Ducati. Out of the five factory teams in 2023, only Team HRC have kept the same line-up as last year, aligning Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge.

 

Additionally, Sam Lowes and Andrea Iannone made their much-anticipated debut in WorldSBK with Elf Marc VDS Racing Team and Team GoEleven respectively. With these seismic shifts in the WorldSBK grid, the stage is set for a fiercely competitive season.

 
Navigating 2024 new regulations
 
In 2024, significant rule changes are in effect. Riders below a reference weight must add ballast to their bikes. A fuel capacity limit of 21 litres is now enforced, and fuel flow regulations are under scrutiny, with some bikes collecting data this season. There’s also been a change with RPM limits. Manufacturers will start 2024 how they ended 2023 – except Ducati, who have their original 2023 limit back
 
 
Pre-season insights
 

The Official Test at Phillip Island serves as a crucial platform for teams and riders to assess their readiness for the season ahead, as pre-season testing has already provided insights, setting the stage for Round 1. 

Toprak Razgatlioglu‘s move to BMW proves promising, with a strong pace and significant improvements noted. Jonathan Rea impresses despite lacking outright speed, showcasing consistent performance during testing. Meanwhile, Alvaro Bautista‘s adaptation struggles and injury setbacks contrast with Nicolo Bulega‘s standout performances for Ducati

 
More on worldsbk.com
 
 

WorldSBK | KEY STAT

18 Phillip Island is the home for thrilling finishes: no less than 18 races here were decided by less than 0.1 seconds.
 

 
 

Action from a previous World Supersport race at Phillip Island. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Action from a previous World Supersport race at Phillip Island. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
 
WorldSSP grid gears up for Season Opener with final pre-season test
 
What to look out for in Phillip Island
  • As the final pre-season test approaches before the kickoff of the 2024 season, contenders in the WorldSSP category are gearing up for the Official Test which will take place on Monday.
  • Stefano Manzi and Marcel Schroetter are determined to secure the Championship they missed last season, while Can Oncu is determined to reclaim his position at the top of the grid.
  • Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team, the reigning champions of WorldSSP, have enlisted Adrian Huertas to replace Nicolo Bulega, aiming to defend their title. 
Grid updates
 
Changes are abound on the WorldSSP grid for the upcoming season. Adrian Huertas steps into the spotlight, taking Nicolo Bulega’s place at the Aruba.it WorldSSP Racing Team, while Valentin Debise is set to represent the Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team.
 

Stefano Manzi, the 2023 runner-up, continues his journey with the Pata Yamaha Ten Kate outfit, now joined by Glenn van StraalenMarcel Schroetter, who secured third place in last season’s standings, remains with the MV Agusta Reparto Corse outfit, alongside Bahattin Sofuoglu. Despite facing challenges in the 2023 season, Can Oncu returns for his fifth campaign with the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing outfit. Meanwhile, Yari Montella, a podium finisher in 2023, remains committed to the Barni Spark Racing Team.

Making a return to WorldSSP are Lorenzo Baldassarri (ORELAC Racing VERDNATURA) and Lucas Mahias (GMT94 Yamaha), eager to build on their past successes.

Exciting debuts await at Phillip Island, with new riders and teams entering the WorldSSP arena. Niccolo Antonelli joins the Ecosantagata Althea Racing Team, while Triumph expands its presence with a second team in the series, WRP-RT Motorsport by SKM-Triumph, featuring Jorge Navarro and John McPhee.

 
New regulations
 
In 2024, WorldSSP undergoes significant scheduling changes. Notably, the grids for Race 2 will now be determined by the fastest laps recorded in Race 1 for the top nine contenders, emphasizing outstanding performances. The Tissot Superpole sessions take place on Friday, after a Free Practice session in the morning. Alongside these changes, the SBK Commission introduces sustainable fuel for both the WorldSBK and WorldSSP categories, commencing from the 2024 season, with a mandatory minimum of 40% sustainable fuel content.
 
Pre-season insights
 
During the pre-season tests at Jerez and Portimao, WorldSSP riders exhibited their skills and readiness for the upcoming season. Marcel Schroetter led the pack at Jerez, with Stefano Manzi close behind. Can Oncu showed promising performance. At Portimao, Adrian Huertas maintained his dominance, topping the charts ahead of Niccolo Antonelli.
 
More on worldsbk.com

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