Editorial Note: The official All-Time WorldSBK Lap Record at Jerez is 1:38.247, which was set by Jonathan Rea in 2019.
Bulega impresses with blazing fastest lap while Bautista explores combined weight set-up
Nicolo Bulega continued to set the pace at Jerez, clocking an impressive 1’37.809s lap time that remained untouched throughout the day.
Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu, adjusting to their new teams, concluded the second day with the second- and fourth-fastest times, respectively. Scott Redding claimed the third spot on the timesheets.
Challenges arose for Alvaro Bautista, the reigning WorldSBK Champion, as he navigated the Jerez test, focusing on adapting to the new weight regulation.
On the second day of testing at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto, Andalucía, Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) continued his dominance, setting an exceptional lap record pace, leaving his competitors trailing by more than half a second. In contrast, teammate Alvaro Bautista encountered difficulties, finishing in 16th, lapping in 1’39.583s. Ducati showcased strength with Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) securing fifth place while Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) also delivered a solid performance, finishing seventh. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) claiming ninth while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) was 15th on his sole day of testing.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) showcased Yamaha’s prowess, securing second place with a 1’38.345s, while teammate Andrea Locatelli completed the top ten. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) secured eighth place, while Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) took 12th.
In a surprising turn, Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) surged late to claim third place with a 1’38.572s, pushing Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to fourth. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) also performed well, securing sixth place. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished 13th with a best time of 1’39.224s.
Leading the Kawasaki camp, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished in 11th place, focusing on race pace, with Axel Bassani improving to 14th. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th.
Honda had a challenging day, with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) leading the team in 16th, and teammate Iker Lecuona finishing 19th.
The WorldSBK Paddock is set to move to Portimao, continuing its testing program on January 29th and 30th.
Nicolo Bulega | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“It was a solid test. We tried things that I liked. The time attack was very good, and the pace was consistent all day with race tyres. I’m very proud and happy of my fast lap. It’s our first test of the year, and we already have this great feeling with the bike. It wasn’t easy, but when I saw the dashboard with 1’37.8s, I was smiling. I’m happy with all the work done during this first test of the year. I’m already looking forward to the next one. We’ll continue working this way and keep improving the feeling with the bike in Portimao.”
Jerez Test Day 2 Results:
1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’37.809, 69 laps
2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.345s, 78 laps
3. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.572s, 77 laps
4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’38.638s, 78 laps
5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 1’38.744s, 61 laps
6. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.832s, 74 laps
7. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) 1’38,852s, 91 laps
8. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’38.871s, 76 laps
9. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 1’38.907s, 73 laps
10. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.943s, 73 laps
2023 WorldSSP runner-up Stefano Manzi (Pata Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) took top spot in the World Supersport field with a 1’41.338s, completing 64 laps. He was three tenths clear of Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in second as he continues his comeback from arm surgery, while Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took P3. With Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in fourth, four different manufacturers were inside the top four at the end of Day 2.
More, from a press release issued by Team HRC Honda:
Team HRC preps for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship with a two-day test at Jerez
Team HRC has kicked off preparations for the upcoming 2024 Superbike World Championship with two days of testing at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain.
Benefiting from almost ideal weather conditions on both Wednesday and Thursday, with clear skies and mild temperatures for the time of year, factory riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge made the most of the track time, riding from 10.30am until 6.00pm.
The squad focused on identifying a solid base-setup for the new CBR1000RR-R. This involved testing a series of upgrades made to different areas of the machine, and building on the work completed in November when the bike made its debut outing at Jerez. In addition to this setup work, the team also tested the new E40 sustainable fuel, the use of which is part of the 2024 Superbike regulation, in order to gather data and insights.
Lecuona and Vierge made an impressive number of laps over the course of two intense days, further developing their understanding of the bike’s performance and potential as a result.
Team HRC now looks ahead to its next testing session at Portugal’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on 29-30 January, when the preparations for the upcoming racing season will continue.
Xavi Vierge 97
“I’m happy to be back working with my squad and all the members of my team. We’ve had two days of ideal weather conditions here in Jerez, which has allowed us to complete a lot of laps and get through a significant amount of work. It’s true that we’ve had a little more difficulty than expected, especially during the traction phase, so one of our main goals here was to improve traction and grip. The overall feeling on the bike is quite good, but as soon as we close the throttle, we cannot exploit the power and have too much spin. We’ve made a number of adjustments to the bike setup and electronics, and now it will be crucial for the engineers to analyze all the data and come up with a solid plan for Portimão, so that we can quickly make progress.”
Iker Lecuona 7
“Over the winter I had a small surgery on my left hand, as I’d been having some issues last season, an after-effect of having broken my hand back in 2021. Although I’ve had to scale back my gym work a little, I’m almost 100% and am now training properly again; I feel strong physically but also mentally and was looking forward to getting on the bike yesterday. I see 2024 as being an important year for me, and so I want to do my best to be ready for it. I feel we’ve taken a step with the aero package, and the bike overall seems to work in a different way, thanks to updated electronics and the like, which helps us to improve in certain areas. Having said that, the bike is new, and we’re still struggling with certain aspects. I wanted to find better front feeling this week, and we worked hard to achieve that but are not there yet. The next two days of testing at Portimão will be important, giving us the chance to understand how the bike feels at a completely different track and to establish the best possible base before we head to Phillip Island.”
More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:
Bulega in great form at Jerez (P1). Intense set up work for Bautista. Huertas does well in WorldSSP (P3)
The first two days of testing for the 2024 WorldSBK season concluded at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).
At the Angel Nieto Circuit, Nicolò Bulega proved to be already at ease on the Ducati Panigale V4R of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team, finishing first on both Day 1 and Day 2 and setting an impressive chrono of 1’37.809, the fastest time ever set at the Angel Nieto Circuit by a World Superbike rider.
Extremely intense work by Bautista: for the first time, he was able to test the bike in the 2024 configuration, with the extra kilos of ballast required by the new regulations. The Spanish rider (still not at the top of his condition after the scary crash he was involved in during the previous winter test at Jerez) carried out extensive set-up work with his team, completing 149 laps in two days. The time of 1’39.583 (P17) is not indicative, as Bautista was one of the very few riders not taking to the track on a qualifying tire.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #11)
“I am happy because we took another step forward, even compared to yesterday, and the feeling has grown steadily. We worked well on the time attack and that means I was also able to improve on the qualifying tires. I think it was an important test and now we go to Portimao to continue on this path. Today’s lap time? It doesn’t change anything: I remain a rookie and my objectives are different to the top riders”.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
“I am satisfied because on Day 1, due to some pain, I didn’t get the best feeling; today things went better and this is undoubtedly a good sign. I can say that my condition has even improved. We worked a lot on the set-up, especially in light of the new regulations, and we got some important indications. We haven’t tried a time attack but that wasn’t the priority of this testing. I am looking forward to being at Portimao to continue on this path and to get further feedback on my condition”.
Good start for Adrian Huertas and the Ducati Panigale V2 of the Aruba.it Racing WSSP team. The Spanish rider completed 124 laps, lowering today (1’41.942) by more than 6 tenths of a second the time recorded on Day 1 and finishing in third place among the 13 WorldSSP riders on track.
Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #99)
“I am very satisfied with the work we did. We tried many solutions and we were able to understand which of them could be useful and which ones did not work well. We didn’t focus on the lap time but we will have a chance to do that in the upcoming tests.”
More, from a press release issued by Elf Marc VDS Racing:
Lowes steps up WorldSBK preparations in Jerez
With their debut season in the WorldSBK Championship fast approaching, the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team and Sam Lowes were back on track for the first time in 2024 to complete a positive two-day test session at the Circuito de Angel Nieto in Jerez.
Riding in the stunning new Elf Marc VDS WorldSBK livery for the first time, favourable weather conditions enabled Lowes to continue his adaptation to Ducati’s Panigale V4 R machine in impressive fashion.
With the majority of this year’s star-studded WorldSBK line-up on track in Jerez, Lowes finished the test in a hugely encouraging eighth position, with plenty of data and experience gained ahead of next month’s season opener in Australia.
The Elf Marc VDS Racing Team now leaves Spain to cross the border into Portugal for another two-day test session at the spectacular Algarve International Circuit next week.
/// 8th, 1:38.852, 173 laps
After the winter break, Lowes was busy on track on day one to complete 82 laps, with his prime focus on finding a base set-up while also gaining crucial experience of Pirelli’s hard compound tyres.
Lowes ended the first day only 0.3s behind reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista, with continual improvements made throughout, which was reflected in his fast and constant pace in race trim.
More valuable set-up work was accomplished in a marathon stint of 91 laps on the second day, which saw Lowes use Pirelli’s super grippy soft rear tyre for his first time attack on the Ducati Panigale VR 4.
His performance on softer rubber was particularly eye-catching, with Lowes able to lap 1.3s faster compared to his best time on day one and he ended eighth overall with a fastest lap of 1:38.852 to finish third fastest Ducati on track.
“This test was full of positives”
“I’m really happy with how the test finished. I improved a lot compared to the first day and I felt a lot better on the bike. That’s a normal evolution as I get more used to the Ducati and know what I need to be fast. The team has done an amazing job in helping me understand more how to ride a superbike and I’m starting to feel like this is my bike. I did a lot of good laps on my own and today was the first time I tried the super soft Pirelli tyre. My time was fast, but I only used one tyre, so I’m sure I could go even faster again. We must be happy with the job we’ve done, and I know there is a plenty more to come as we do more laps and get more comfortable with the Ducati. We did a lot of laps in Jerez, and I feel pretty tired now, but I can’t thank the team enough for all their hard work. We tried a lot of different set-ups to help us get very important information and now I’m looking forward to going to Portimao next week to understand the bike on a completely different track. This test was full of positives and gives me a big boost heading to Portugal.”