WorldSBK: Bautista Best As Testing Concludes At Catalunya

WorldSBK: Bautista Best As Testing Concludes At Catalunya

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Bautista and Lecuona closing on lap record pace in Barcelona despite crashes

Riders concluded testing before moving onto the Pirelli Dutch Round in a couple of weeks

Alvaro Bautista remained the fastest rider on day two despite a crash. His best time was half a tenth from the all time lap record.


Iker Lecuona (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Iker Lecuona (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Iker Lecuona concluded the two-day test in second place despite a crash at Turn 14 in the morning which ended his test day early.

Jonathan Rea (65). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jonathan Rea (65). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Six-time Champion Jonathan Rea was third after setting a 1’40.659s in the afternoon. Lowes finished 0.194s off Rea to take fifth place.


Michael Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Michael Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi was fourth, finishing 0.359s adrift of his teammate.


Dominique Aegerter (77). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Dominique Aegerter (77). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Dominique Aegerter was the fastest Rookie on Day 2 as he completed the top six.

WorldSBK Day 2 Report

It was a dramatic day of testing action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with several crashes and exhilarating pace on display during the two-day test. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) topped the times by less than a tenth of a second ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) despite the pair crashing in the morning of Day 2. Both riders closed in on the all-time lap record but the pair were just shy of it while three different manufacturers were in the top three at the end of the as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took third spot.

The factory Ducati team opted to run for just half-a-day on Friday but were still able to conclude the second day on top with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) as the Spaniard edged closer to the all-time lap record. Bautista posted a 1’40.459s to top the time, faster than he went yesterday and only half-a-tenth down on the lap record set by Tom Sykes in 2021.

Lecuona was second after setting a 1’40.521s despite a crash at Turn 14 in the morning which ended his day’s running before lunchtime. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and did not return to track action on Day 2

The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea opted to only test on the second day of the two-day test in Barcelona and the pair finished third and fifth respectively on the second day.

Yamaha’s charge in the timing sheets was led by Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with the Swiss rookie taking sixth place on his first visit to the circuit on WorldSBK machinery. The factory Yamahas finished the day with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in seventh place with a 1’41.196s and teammate Andrea Locatelli in 13th place, three tenths behind the 2021 Champion.

Dutch rider Michael van der Mark (ROKIT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) enjoyed a good Day 2 of testing as he finished in eighth place, with BMW bringing plenty of upgrades to the test. Van der Mark’s best time was a 1’41.221s, finishing seven tenths down on Bautista’s time, as he tried some rider ergonomic items including two additions to the fuel tank.

Read the full report from Day 2 on


Nicolo Bulega (11). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Nicolo Bulega (11). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) was the fastest rider on Day 2 out of the four WorldSSP riders on track. Bulega’s best lap time was a 1’44.638s to top the timesheets ahead of Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) as he stepped up his recovery from the broken collarbone he sustained in Australia.




More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team:

WorldSBK – Syahrin and Granado complete important testing in Barcelona

The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team has today concluded an important two-day test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, alongside many other WorldSBK riders. For riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado, this was a useful opportunity to test certain components and setups, having had no time to do so during the first two championship rounds in Australia and Indonesia.

On track on both Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March, the team was able to complete the long list of tasks that it had set itself for this test. Work on the riders’ CBR1000RR-R machines involved testing in preparation for the Catalunya round, which will take place in May, and more general refinement of the setup and electronics ahead of the next championship round at Assen (21-23 April).

The team’s work was facilitated by almost ideal conditions on both days, Syahrin and Granado thus able to make the most of the track time and improve their feeling aboard their respective bikes. The team’s technicians will now continue to prepare for the Assen round, while riders Syahrin and Granado will focus on their physical and mental training so as to be in the best possible shape for next month’s races.

Hafizh Syahrin

“We’ve had two very useful days, completing almost 140 laps. On day two, we tried a few new things, some of which worked better than others. We continued to try and understand the bike but although I feel we’ve improved a little here, we’re not yet where we want to be. Overall, these tests have been very constructive anyway, and I hope we can give a little more already during the next round at Assen.”

Eric Granado

“We’ve had two good days and have been able to really make the most of the track time, completing many laps. This is basically the first time I’ve been able to ride so much and that’s really helped me to better understand the bike. We’ve made changes to the geometry and electronics and my feeling with the bike has improved. Of course we still have areas in which to work but we’ve taken a step with the braking and have a better base setup overall. So it’s been positive and now we’ll see what we can at Assen.”




More, from a press release issued by GYTR GRT Yamaha:


The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team returned to action with a two-day test on 30th-31st March at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, to prepare for the upcoming 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship rounds.

Remy Gardner and Dominique Aegerter were eager to work on their Yamaha R1 WorldSBK machines to improve their feeling. They enjoyed dry conditions both days throughout the test session, where almost the whole WorldSBK field was on track.

On Day 1, the GYTR GRT Yamaha duo ran from 10:00 to 18:00, without any break, aiming to build confidence. The #87 completed 85 laps, recording a 1’41.728, while his Swiss teammate finished with seven more, clocking a 1’42.000 as personal best from 92 laps in total.

On the second day, both Aegerter and Gardner kept putting in the laps in Barcelona, finding dry tarmac once again. After working on settings to improve their speed, in the latter stages the GYTR GRT Yamaha pair went for flying laps, both improving their lap times. Thereby, the Swiss rider set a 1’40.857 (88 laps) to be sixth fastest, with the Australian registering a 1’41.294 (65 laps) to finish just three places behind.

The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team will now move to TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands, for the third round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship season on 21st-23rd April.

Dominique Aegerter #77

1’40.857 (180 laps)

“For sure I’m happy to be back on the bike! This was once again a new track for me with the Superbike machine, so it was nice to have the chance to test in Barcelona. We tried many different things and we’re not too far away, even though we know we need to improve to be more competitive. The grip was not amazing and the Superbike uses the rear quite a lot, we have to manage it. Anyway, we took a lot of data and positive things, we know there’s work to do to be competitive, but we’re faithful we’ll be ready for Assen.”

Remy Gardner #87

1’41.294 (150 laps)

“Overall it was a good test; we worked quite well and we had good pace in the final part. We were quite fast with the softer tyre: we needed to find the speed and I think we did it. Also, we focused on finding a solution to the past problems we had and we think we’re heading in the right direction. We tested some parts as well and we’ll try to be as ready as possible for the next round in the Netherlands.”




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Prepare For European Leg at Catalunya Test

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli both worked through extensive “to-do lists” in a two-day test programme for Yamaha at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, following the final day of running today in Spain.

Along with new hardware upgrades, the key area of development came in the form of improved electronics strategies for Razgatlıoğlu, targeted to match his riding style. The Turkish rider had an extremely positive initial shakedown on Tuesday afternoon at the Catalonian circuit, using a half-day of his test allocation thanks to the assistance of Belgian track-day company Bikers’ Days.

Locatelli joined his teammate for the remaining two full days of testing, where the riders both completed a combined total of 196 laps working closely with their engineers on a raft of potential improvements across electronics, set-up specific to the challenging circuit layout and components aimed at increasing rear grip and acceleration. Data collected during the two days focused solely on race pace, without either rider attempting an outright qualifying time.

Three weeks remain until the first European round of the season at TT Circuit Assen, with Free Practice starting on 21 April. This “riders’ circuit” has played host to many last lap battles since its inclusion on the WorldSBK calendar in 1992 and Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK, alongside Yamaha’s engineers, are leaving no stone unturned in the quest to fight for the win once again.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – 1:41.196

“The second day for me was not easy because we tried many, many parts. But in general, I am not really happy – we did a fast lap of 1’41.1 but for me it is not a “real” time, because my bike was not full ready for time attack – I just ride new Pirelli tyre but the feeling is good grip. Now we use updated electronics which have been working good and we are improving this every session, but today my big problem was more on the bike set-up for this circuit, when we tried new parts I am not finding the good bike set-up. Testing is difficult – I enjoyed yesterday morning but it can be hard because we try many new parts and sometimes we are lost and sometimes the feeling is good. Now testing is finished and we are focused on Assen. Thanks to my team for a huge effort in the past two days.”

Andrea Locatelli – 1’41.476

“We tried a lot of things and tried to find a good way with the bike but it was really difficult, I don’t know why. This track for sure is a bit different in respect to the other tracks – we also did not try to use the qualifying tyre so we don’t know our full potential. The pace was not so bad with the race tyre but we still have some work to do for the race. On the long run, it was difficult in the final laps of the simulation – but it was important to be back on track and try to learn something here and understand what we need to do. I have a good confidence from Phillip Island and Mandalika, so we will try to be back in the fight when we are in Assen – we will try to push and see what’s possible. It was an important two days, we were riding a lot and we give the guys a lot of data to work through to find a good solution when we come back here for the race.”




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Successful Home Test For KRT

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes took to the track again for one day of private testing at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya on Friday 31 March, finding set-up improvements on their Ninja ZX-10RR machines around a circuit located just a few hundred yards from KRT’s European base.

The team had originally planned to do two days of testing at the 4.657km ‘Montmelo’ track but opted to ride on the second day only to try and best simulate the hot track conditions that would allow them to make the greatest progress in real world race conditions. This also gives the team the option of one more day of testing later in the season.

Even though the track temperature was little changed on the second and final day of testing at Montmelo the intense day of work provided both KRT riders with confirmation of recent set-up developments to take forward to the next few rounds of the 2023 Superbike World Championship.

Even over one day of track action at Montmelo both Lowes and Rea got to try out the latest front and rear development tyres provided by WorldSBK single make supplier Pirelli, with each rider praising their performance.

Rea ended up third fastest overall, with a 1’40.659 pace. Lowes was fifth fastest, with a 1’40.853 best single lap time.

After the two recent private tests in Iberia the WorldSBK championship restarts at Assen in the Netherlands, between 21-23 April. The two opening rounds have already been completed, in Australia and Indonesia.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “We are trying some new things and the team is working really hard. We decided to sacrifice yesterday in favour of the final day as we expected the track conditions would be a bit warmer. That was what we were looking for. In reality we got similar track conditions to the first day and some more wind. There was a big headwind going into T1 along the front straight. But we were able to consistently set-up the bike and do the work that we needed to do. Our plan was to continue working with our new set-up change that we used in Motorland at the previous test. We have taken some weight out of the front end, in the heavy braking areas, to save the front tyre for the end of the races. I think we have had some positive results. Barcelona is a very critical track for tyre consumption. We never did a full race simulation but I felt my pace was OK to fight, to be there. We found some positives here because what we found in Aragon is also working at Barcelona. It is quite a different set-up to what we normally run. The bike feels easier to ride as well. Electronically, we squeezed in another item at the end that our test rider Florian Marino had been working on today. All-in-all, a decent day of riding. I tried the latest Pirelli front and rear tyre solutions and both had positive results. I think they are tyre options we will see in the coming races, especially in the summer. For me, they were better than the base tyre, which is always good. It shows Pirelli are working hard and listening to the feedback of all the riders.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “We had a good test. We were hoping for some really hot and slippery track conditions to test different items on the bike. I have a different riding position that I have already spoken about after the Aragon test. We kept that development here at Montmelo and it feels positive for me. I felt great on the bike. We did some good long runs on used tyres, trying to improve front tyre life after 10-12 laps. I think we found a good direction. In the afternoon we tried some softer tyres from Pirelli and I was able to make a series of good laps. It was really positive. We would have liked hotter track conditions but we did plenty of laps, enjoyed it, and improved my feeling on the bike a little bit. We know our limitations with a little bit of speed but if we can extract everything from the bike at Assen, I think we can fight for the podium, which is our target. Thanks to all the guys, it has been a good test and now we need to recharge and get ready for the start of the European season.”

Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “We had one day on track and we decided to save one for later in the year. This test at Montmelo was good. Everybody else did two days and we only did the final day, but Johnny was fast right away from the first session in the morning. He feels OK with the bike and we confirmed a couple of things from the chassis side that we had tested in Motorland Aragon recently. Now it is clear what we will use as a base in Assen for the next round. From the engine side, and especially in electronics, we have kept working with our new crew member Sander Donkers on different areas that we still think we can improve. In the end we also tried some development tyres from Pirelli, front and rear, and they were quite good. Overall, it seems to have been a positive test and now we will go to Assen for the next round.”

Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “In the end we managed the test similar to the recent one in Aragon. We needed time on a different track to understand our bike a bit better. Over the winter we made quite a few changes to our bike set-up and in the first two rounds we couldn’t extract the maximum performance, because we didn’t really understand the behaviour of the bike. In the Aragon test we made some good steps forward and in this Montmelo test we confirmed those settings again on a different track. We also used a bike similar to last year and we confirmed that our latest package is working better than last year’s race bike. Overall, we did 77 laps in one day, I think, and they were good. We also got to try two new tyres. What they brought was again a big step better. We are happy with the progress of Pirelli.”




More, from a press release issued by Racing Ducati:

The Aruba Racing – Ducati Team concludes testing in Barcelona with Bautista on top and Rinaldi in fourth. Positive test also for Bulega in WorldSSP

The last testing session leading up to the long European segment of the 2023 WorldSBK season has come to an end at Barcelona.

Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi worked intensively on their Ducati Panigale V4R machines, also testing the new tyres brought by Pirelli, and concluded their activities at the Montmeló circuit at the end of today’s morning session.

The Spanish rider ended in P1 with a fastest time of 1’40.459 (set this morning, despite a crash without any particular consequences), completing a total of 142 laps.

Positive indications also for Michael Rinaldi, who worked with his team on the set-up, trying new solutions – especially on the front end – and finishing with a best time of 1’40.820 (152 laps completed).

P1 – Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati #1)

“It was a very positive test where we also had the chance to try the new tyres brought by Pirelli. We gathered valuable information that will be useful during the season. I am very happy with the feeling with the bike and I can’t wait to be at Assen”.

P4 – Michael Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati #21)

“I’m very satisfied: we worked in several directions, completing many laps. We tried different solutions on the front end that will be useful in the future;  moreover, we focused on electronics and tires. My very positive sensations are confirmed by the fact that for the first time at Barcelona, I managed to lap under 1’41”.


Nicolò Bulega and the Ducati Panigale V2 of the Racing WSSP team close the Barcelona test with high confidence. Despite a technical problem that forced the Italian rider to stop halfway through the first day of testing, Bulega (1’44.638) lapped the entire Day-2 and the indications that emerged were extremely positive.

P1 – Nicolò Bulega ( Racing WSSP #11)

“We took a good step forward in terms of feeling compared to last year when things didn’t go well at this circuit. It’s been an intense two days: the work on the bike setup has been incisive and I think it can also bring benefits for the next round”.




More, from a press release issued by Team HRC Honda:

Strong and fruitful test in Catalunya for Team HRC; just bruises for Lecuona after a crash

Team HRC has been at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain this week, completing another two-day testing session on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March, which follows on from the tests completed just last week at Motorland Aragón.

As the squad continues to prepare for the first European round of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, set to take place at Assen in The Netherlands on 21-23 April, riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge made the most of these Spanish sessions, which fortunately played out in warm and sunny conditions.

During this test, the team essentially picked up from where it had left off at Aragón last week. Lecuona and Vierge continued to assess the potential of several items including a new exhaust, while also testing some different Pirelli tyres and making adjustments to their electronics packages together with their technicians. This, in order to confirm the Aragón findings and really understand bike behaviour at a different circuit, particularly considering that Team HRC will be back at the Barcelona-Catalunya track for a WorldSBK round already in May.

Vierge left the track at the end of two very busy days, satisfied to have confirmed the same good feeling on his bike in terms of pure race pace. On day 2 Lecuona was improving further on his pace when a high-side at turn 14, which occurred at around 11.30am, put a premature end to his work on track. A precautionary check-up at the Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya ruled out any serious injury and the young rider was able to re-join his team at the track in time for a final technical debrief before heading home for a few weeks of rest before the April round at Assen.

Iker Lecuona  7

“I’m very happy for several reasons, starting with the very thing that put an early end to a very positive test, funnily enough. I was so lucky to come away from a high-side with only a black eye and some bruises but nothing broken. I lost the front at corner 14, over a bump, I think. I wasn’t doing anything “crazy” but it’s true I was on a qualifying tyre and so was riding fast. The bike hit my right foot in the gravel, and a stone hit my eye after I lost my visor. Anyway, the tests at the hospital were all OK and I feel fine, and basically no pain. As for the test, I’m very pleased because after trying some new items and settings at Aragón last week, we’ve been able to complete back-to-back tests here at Catalunya, a very different track to Motorland and also more challenging in terms of tyre drop-off. We’ve worked well and have had confirmation that we’ve really taken a step forward. I lapped alone basically the whole time and our race pace was good, better than last year, my fastest lap quicker than my pole position time. This is only testing of course, and conditions have been different too, ideal conditions basically, but the feeling has been very good and I’ve felt comfortable on the bike. And this is the most important thing. We basically repeated most of the tests we did last week, including work with the bike geometries and exhaust, and focused a bit more on electronics where we know we have margin for improvement. We also completed some long runs, and lap times were again fast and consistent. Big thanks to the team and everyone at Honda because they are doing a very good job.”

Xavi Vierge  97

“It has again been a very productive test, apart from one thing we must keep working on, which is making the most of the new, soft tyre over the flying lap. We tried a lot of things and collected a large amount of data that we can now analyse to achieve this. That aside, we’re very happy because we’ve shown strong race pace which is ultimately the most important thing. We arrived here after another positive two-day session in Aragón and so were able to complete some useful back-to-back tests. We’re generally trying to improve the base setup of the bike, not specifically for the Montmelo track but in general. The feeling’s good and this is very important especially here at Barcelona where tyre management is crucial. We improved on our best race time set here, and on used tyres, so I’m quite happy with that. Thanks as always to the team for their hard work and now let’s focus on Assen after taking a few days off.”

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