Razgatlioglu wraps up Portimao test leading the timesheets
BMW’s Toprak Razgatlioglu seized the top spot on the second day of testing, enhancing his performance from yesterday by nearly one second. Teammate Michael van der Mark secured fifth place, further affirming BMW’s competitive edge.
Once again, Nicolo Bulega emerged as the fastest Ducati rider, securing second place with a best time of 1’39.275s. His consistent improvement sets a positive tone for Ducati. However, teammate Alvaro Bautista found himself in the 15th position.
Next on the agenda for the WorldSBK grid is the Official Test set to unfold at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on February 19th and 20th, leading up to the Season Opener.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) stole the spotlight on the final day of the European pre-season test, demonstrating his prowess with BMW. Razgatlioglu set the fastest lap, smashing the lap record with a time of 1’39.189s. BMW continued to showcase their strength as Michael van der Mark, Razgatlioglu’s teammate, worked on bike setup and secured the fifth position overall.
Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) continued to impress, securing the second-fastest time with 1’39.275s, reaffirming his position as the leading Ducati rider. However, his teammate Alvaro Bautista faced a more demanding day, finishing in the 15th place, after ongoing work with ballast configurations.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed the third spot focusing on race pace and crucial chassis adjustments. Meanwhile, teammate Axel Bassani worked on adapting to the inline four engine configuration but faced challenges, finishing 11th.
Yamaha witnessed a day of two halves, with Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in fourth as the lead Yamaha rider. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon) impressing throughout, securing sixth place, while teammate Jonathan Rea faced technical issues in the morning but finished in seventh.
Other notable performances include Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW), and Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) displayed strong performances completing the top 10, contributing to the anticipation of a competitive 2024 season.
Honda showed signs of improvement, with Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) and Iker Lecuona adjusting electronics and addressing traction issues. Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin, representing the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, faced a mixed day, with Mackenzie experiencing a delay due to a starting issue, while both riders missed the action on day one.
The rest of the field, including Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa Racing), Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Brad Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), and Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha), continued to work on various aspects of their setups and strategies during the test.
Top WorldSSP rider was Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team), ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (Ecosantagata Althea Racing Team).
P1 | Toprak Razgatlioglu | ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
“It was a fantastic day. We did a really good job. I wasn’t only focusing on the lap time but on the race pace, because after this test, we’re back racing already. The feeling with the bike is good. Everyday we’re getting better, especially today I made 1.39.8s lap with the SC0 tyre, and with the SCX tyre, I also made a 1’39s, which is really surprising. Today I tried a 15-lap race simulation, and it looks like we are ready to race but we are still learning. We will see in Phillip Island because it’s a completely different track.”
More, from a press release issued by Team HRC Honda:
Final European SBK tests for Team HRC at Portimão
Team HRC has been back at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal this week for another WorldSBK test with factory riders Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona.
The team continued to work to identify a base set-up for the new CBR1000RR-R, just as it did during last week’s tests at Jerez in Spain. The Portimão track is dramatically different to Jerez, which allowed the team to carry out tests in different conditions, and again in dry weather.
Working methodically with their technicians to make a series of systematic adjustments to the setup of the new CBR1000RR-R throughout Monday and Tuesday, Vierge and Lecuona focused on understanding the behaviour of the bike and working to improve the level of traction around the undulating Portimão circuit. The data collated will be useful not only for the races that will be held at this track in the summer, but more importantly for the first races of the year, as the team looks for that all-important base set-up that can serve in different situations.
This was the last European test for Team HRC, with the squad now preparing to travel to Australia mid-February, ready for the final pre-season tests, set to take place at the Phillip Island circuit on 19-20 February immediately prior to the 2024 WorldSBK season-opener, to be staged at the same Australian track on 23-25 February.
Xavi Vierge 97
“After last week’s Jerez test the team put together a really good plan for us to follow here at Portimão. So yesterday we started by working on the base, looking for greater stability, and then we mainly focused on the electronics. I think we’ve taken a little step forward, working on our riding style to manage the traction issue a little better. Today we essentially continued in a similar vein, as without traction it’s hard to fully exploit the potential of the engine and tyres. Overall, and as I said after the Jerez test, the feeling on the bike is not bad. At the end of this test, I can say that we have more understanding and are moving in the right direction. We now have a huge amount of data to look at before Phillip Island, where I hope we can take a similar step to the one we’ve made from Jerez to Portimão.”
Iker Lecuona 7
“I’ve definitely completed a lot of laps over the two days here, and we’ve worked very hard. Unfortunately, despite the great efforts of everyone on the team, we cannot be satisfied with our result or performance. We were honestly expecting more, especially considering this is a track where I had a strong race last year. We still need to find a way to establish a good base setup to exploit the potential of the new bike. We have another two days to test at Phillip Island, although there it will be more about preparing for the first races. We will see. I’ll go to Australia with the best possible attitude though. It was nice to see some of the MotoGP guys here too. I chatted with the Marquez brothers, Luca Marini, and at one point I was on track at the same time as Rossi, which is always a pleasure”.
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team:
Valuable track time in Portugal for the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team
The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team has completed an intense testing session at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal with its Superbike riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin.
This was the team’s first test of 2024 as it gears up to compete in the Superbike World Championship, round one of which will take place in a little under a month’s time, at Phillip Island in Australia.
Having had little track time aboard the Superbike, category rookies Mackenzie and Norrodin – who both competed in the Supersport class last season with the same squad – did their best to maximise this opportunity in order to collate valuable data and provide their technicians with precious feedback regarding the behaviour and performance of the CBR1000RR-R at a track they both know well. With most of the SBK teams testing on track alongside the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, the riders also had a first chance to weigh up the competition ahead of round 1.
The team will continue to make preparations back at base before travelling to Australia mid-February for the final winter test sessions, taking place at the Phillip Island Circuit on 19-20 February, which will be followed almost immediately by the first round of the 2024 racing season, on 23-25 February, at the same track.
“This test was mainly about getting used to the new bike, which for now is a mix of 2023 and 2024 parts, for a variety of reasons. We should have the full 2024 spec ready in time for Phillip Island. I ran in the engine this morning before making some laps this afternoon and working with the 2024 parts, so we now have some data we can use. We worked out a few small issues during the session and I think some of the new electronic components can really help too; I could see an improvement there. Unfortunately, today was cut a little short after I crashed but, like I say, it’s a matter of working to understand what we have and how we can exploit it.”
“I’m happy with what has been my first real test, considering we didn’t complete many laps last time out at Jerez. We only really had a few hours in which to set up the bike, after running in the engine this morning and mounting some new parts yesterday, so we’re running a little behind everyone else. We improved every time we went out on track, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Everything is new for me, so there are many things I need to understand. We will receive some new parts in time for Phillip Island, which I hope can offer better feeling.”
More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:
The final winter tests for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team concluded at Portimao. See you in Australia!
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao (Portugal) hosted the final two days of private winter testing of the 2024 WorldSBK season.
Nicolò Bulega confirmed the good feeling he felt aboard his Ducati Panigale V4R during last week’s Jerez de la Frontera test. The Italian rider managed to be very fast both on race pace and time attack (1’39.275), finishing the Portuguese two-day event in second position, just 86 thousandths of a second behind Razgatlioglu (BMW).
Alvaro Bautista instead continued his intense set-up work (176 laps completed in two days) to adapt the bike to the new rules introduced this season. The Spaniard finished in 16th position with a time of 1’40.645, but he was never looking for a lap time and did not use the qualifying tyre.
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team now returns to Italy to prepare for the first round of the 2024 WorldSBK season that will get underway at the Phillip Island circuit (Australia) where two days of official testing will be held on 19 and 20 February to precede the race weekend (23-25 February).
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #11)
“I am very happy with what we have done in these tests. The feeling was very positive both on the race pace and in the time attack and this shows the good work done with the team. Now we are going to Australia, and I can’t wait to be on track at my favorite circuit. Goals? I want to have fun: this is my rookie year and I certainly won’t have the same pressure as the top riders.”
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
“I can’t say I’m particularly satisfied with this test. During the first day, the sensations were not negative as I felt I had taken a step forward compared to the two days at Jerez. Today, however, I couldn’t find a good feeling and even at a physical level things didn’t improve. I’ll try to work as best I can at home these 15 days to arrive in Australia in the best possible condition”.
Adrian Huertas concluded the Portimao tests on a positive note, working well to improve his feeling with the Ducati Panigale V2.
Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #99)
“I am very happy with the work we have done over these two days. I was able to keep a good pace at all times and the information obtained at both Jerez and Portimao will be very useful for the first race in Australia. I can’t wait to start the 2024 season with my team.”
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Gardner Finishes Marathon Test as Fastest Yamaha
Remy Gardner completed another two days of testing at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal, (29-30 January) finding good lap times despite being not able to put together his best splits in a single lap to maximise the effort.
The GYTR GRT Yamaha rider enjoyed dry runs on Portuguese soil, with the track open from 10:00 to 17:00 and the majority of the WorldSBK field attending the test. He recorded an impressive amount of laps – 168 in total – throughout the two days, with the #87 and the team working on maximizing their time during the test sessions.
On Day one, Gardner completed 89 laps, prioritizing testing different solutions to improve his feeling on the Yamaha R1 machine. Clocking a 1’40.268 (56/89), the Aussie rider finished fourth in the standings. The following day, the #87 and the team kept working, focusing also on performance, putting in a 1’39.566 (74/79) to be fourth fastest.
The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team will now move on to Australia on 18th-19th February for the Official Test in Phillip Island ahead of the beginning of the season which will take place at the same venue on 23rd-25th February.
Remy Gardner: P4 (1’39.566)
“We had another positive test here in Portimao, we definitely enjoyed our time here in Portugal and in general the days of testing we had. On the final day we also focused on race performance, trying a long run. We’re still looking for the maximum performance, but I’m happy with the job done so far. Finally, I tried a flying lap as well; unfortunately I had some traffic on my fastest laps, but I’m satisfied overall with the lap time.”
More, from a press release issued by Team GoEleven:
DAY 2; ANDREA IMPROVES THE RACE PACE IN PORTIMAO!
Second day of testing from Portimao, where Team Go Eleven had the goal of improving the feeling and reaction of the bike in Andrea’s hands. The start immediately felt good, the rider from Vasto immediately replicated the best reference set yesterday. Lots of laps on used tyres today too, despite number twenty-nine still having several problems in terms of electronics and set-up during the morning.
The afternoon begins with a big change to the geometries of the Panigale V4-R by Go Eleven, which seems to immediately give better feedback to the rider. With the 800, the tyre solution halfway between hard and soft, he manages to complete a series of laps in sequence, where the best comes out at the end. Moving on to the softer tyres, however, the time attack is lacking. The main area to work on is to fully exploit the potential of the SCX and SCQ, the tyres used in qualifying during the season. Speaking instead of pace, even at the end of these two days, we can say that the consistency has remained and indeed, the more the bike loses grip, the more Andrea feels at ease.
Portimao Test – Combined Results:
P 1 T. Razgatlioglu 1.39.189
P 2 N. Bulega + 0.086
P 3 A. Lowes + 0.332
P 17 A. Iannone + 1.465
Now it’s time to fly to Australia, the first race of the season; between Jerez and Portimao there were two interesting and intense tests, where Iannone began to understand the tyres and the bike’s reaction to the changes; a first path has been traced, now all that remains is to understand by direct comparison on the track what the level will be. Despite some difficulties along the way, number twenty-nine is excited and motivated and can’t wait to get on track with the Ducati at Phillip Island!
Andrea Iannone (Rider):
“Today there was certainly an evolution in terms of pace, we became more effective, a little more competitive. I set my best time with a used tyre of 15/16 laps, 1.40.6, I’m happy of this. Instead, I need to better understand how to make more use of a softer tyre to be more effective. This is the last test in Europe before Australia, we still have a lot of work to do, but I think there is an excellent starting point and this gives me hope. I’m excited, we’ll see at Phillip Island what we can do.”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“In these tests, Portimao made our life a little complicated. It is certainly a very hard track to ride at the first outings. Today Andrea immediately improved his feeling, I’m not too worried about the race distance as often the best chrono came on used tyres, but we still have to understand how to fully exploit the extragrip on new tyres. The two days here, however, proved to be fundamental, both to allow the rider to understand the bike’s reactions to the changes, and to provide more knowledge of the tyres. Now let’s re-analyse all the data and leave for Australia, I can’t wait!”
More, from another press release issued by Yamaha:
Portimão Concludes Winter Test Programme for Pata Prometeon Yamaha
Pata Prometeon Yamaha riders Andrea Locatelli and Jonathan Rea clocked up another productive two days of testing, this time at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve – Portimão, as Round 1 of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Australia draws closer.
There was plenty of action on track – with riders from WorldSBK and MotoGP in the mix – but Yamaha’s official riders remained focused to complete their intensive test programmes in preparation for the 2024 season.
Locatelli led the team’s efforts in terms of overall mileage with 159 laps across the two days, 80 on Day 1 and 79 on Day 2, while for “JR” 65 was the number on both days – for a total of 130 laps.
Focusing on long run pace, Locatelli was able to complete two full race simulations and on Day 2 alone recorded a very impressive 34 laps in the 1’39 and 1’40s.
A technical problem today meant an enforced change of plan for Rea, but the new Yamaha recruit was able to find positives in excellent used-tyre pace as he and his crew continue to work on finding the best JR-R1 WorldSBK set-up possible.
Now begins the long journey for freight, crew and riders “Down Under” to Phillip Island, ahead of the WorldSBK Official Test on 19-20 February and opening round of the season from 23-25 February.
Andrea Locatelli – 1:39.658
“It was an interesting test, especially today because I think we made a big improvement particularly in the long run – we did a really good job. I always had a really good feeling on my R1 in all the days, so this is the main point – and at the same time, we have been working well to be ready for Phillip Island. Let’s see what can happen there, it’s always a bit of a strange track, but to do a good job here in Portimão and Jerez was really important. It was the first time working with Tom and we are working very well together in these days, everything looks positive – we changed some things in the way of working, for him it was the first tests with me and with this bike but I already know it very well! We have a lot of data and completed very good long runs, with fast lap times every lap – so we can be happy with our work and now I am looking forward to the first round of the Championship.”
Jonathan Rea – 1:39.685
“We lost a little bit of time today, but we just focused on what we could with our workload. I was not completely satisfied with the feeling out there, but I did a longer run to understand the tyre drop here and I got faster and faster during that – so there are some positives. I think we need to improve our “out and out” pace a bit, but I wasn’t completely comfortable as we are still looking to find that optimum set-up for my style. First time here at Portimão on my R1 threw a few curveballs from what I’m used to, so a little bit of work to do – but still happy, confident and relieved now that testing is finished and we can move on to focusing on Phillip Island. We still managed a lot of laps so I have to thank everyone on the team, from AP and my electronics engineer Davide to all the mechanics – they worked tirelessly all day to get through all the items! It has been super cool to be in full 2024 colours, kudos to Yamaha and Paul for getting the bike looking so nice – it feels real now riding on track that I have joined Yamaha and I’m enjoying it!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:
“All of the riders and teams have done a lot of mileage in four days across Jerez and Portimão – we’ve been really lucky with the weather and the conditions in general. The first “thanks” has to be to our Pata Prometeon Yamaha crew – tests are the hardest days for a race mechanic and these have been no different: lots of changes and some challenges, but the guys always give 100% and overall, we can be quite happy with the work completed. Loka’s test was smoother than Jonathan’s and this allowed him to complete two race distance simulations and a slightly wider test programme. He is riding really well, was very consistent and is looking to start the season strongly in Phillip Island. For JR, there were a few challenges to overcome for the first time at a different track with the R1 – and even if the ultimate lap time was disappointing by his extremely high standards – his consistency and ability to grind out very good lap times on old tyres is a positive sign not only for the demands of Phillip Island but the season as a whole. Now, there is a lot of work for the crew chiefs, electronics engineers and for Yamaha’s guys to ensure we go to Australia with the best start point possible. Testing is done, let’s go racing!”
More, from a press release issued by Elf Marc VDS Racing Team:
Lowes makes impressive progress in Portimao test
The countdown to the opening WorldSBK round in 2024 is well and truly underway, with Sam Lowes and the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team making excellent progress in the final European test ahead of next month’s season opener in Australia.
Lowes spent two very productive days on track at the spectacular Algarve International Circuit in Portugal where he was able to set competitive lap times while gaining more vital experience on Ducati’s Panigale V4 R machine.
Lowes completed 150 laps in total and was once again within striking distance of the best time in just his third outing on a WorldSBK machine.
The next appointment for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team is a two-day test at the jaw-dropping Phillip Island track just days before the first race action of 2024 commences in the final weekend of February.
/// 1’40.280, 150 laps
Working to further the improve the base setting found during a recent two-day test in Jerez, Lowes was immediately up to speed around the undulating and challenging Portimao track to set the sixth best time on the opening day.
The Briton completed 74 laps on day one while primarily working to improve his rhythm on Pirelli’s hard option tyres, with Lowes delighted with set-up modifications that gave him more front feeling and confidence.
Having set a best time of 1:40.463 on the opening day, Lowes diligently worked through a hectic testing schedule on day two and completed a further 76 laps.
With fast laps on Pirelli’s super soft rubber not the main priority in Portimao, Lowes did still improve his time to a 1:40.280 in a brief time attack to conclude a successful test.
“I’m happy with the progress made”
“This was a very interesting test for us coming to such a different track compared to Jerez. I’m happy with how things have gone and the progression we made but you always want more. There’s no doubt though that we can be happy and positive with the job we have done and I need to thank the team again because they have worked incredibly hard to make this learning process as smooth as possible. I have gained a lot of knowledge and data over the two days but I still have a lot to learn and to understand more the best way to ride a superbike. We managed to get through a very busy schedule and like in every test we found things which were positive and some things we can discount for now. It has been a busy period with four intense days of riding in Jerez and Portimao. I’m looking forward to a break now and then it will be full focus for the final preparations in Australia before we go racing for the first time in WorldSBK.”
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:
Further productive test days: BMW Motorrad Motorsport continues preparation for 2024 WorldSBK at Portimão.
The ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Test Team continue their work to optimise the BMW M 1000 RR in Portugal.
Close data exchange between teams and riders Toprak Razgatlioglu, Michael van der Mark, Garrett Gerloff, Scott Redding, Sylvain Guintoli and Bradley Smith.
Productive final test in Europe before the WorldSBK season opener in Australia.
Portimão. From Spain, the BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK teams headed straight to Portugal. At Portimão, the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Test Team continued their preparation for the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). On Monday and Tuesday, WorldSBK factory riders Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR), Michael van der Mark (NED), Garrett Gerloff (USA) and Scott Redding (GBR), as well as the factory riders from the Test Team, Sylvain Guintoli (FRA), and Bradley Smith (GBR), completed an intensive testing programme. In consistently good conditions, they gathered crucial information for further optimisation of the BMW M 1000 RR.
With three teams and six riders, BMW Motorrad Motorsport used the two test days for comprehensive evaluations. Through close data exchange among all teams, important insights were gained for the continuous development of the BMW M 1000 RR. Additionally, the teams and riders fine-tuned the individual setups of their bikes to be as well-prepared as possible for the upcoming season.
The productive days at Portimão marked the last winter test on European soil. The next stop is Phillip Island in Australia in three weeks’ time. Another two-day test will take place on 19th and 20th February, followed by the season opener at the same location from 23rd to 25th February.
Quotes after the Portimão test.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “For sure, to come away with P1 in the list and four riders within the top ten makes me confident to start the season. We had some difficulties in December, namely testing in bad conditions and not having comparables to measure us against. We came to these tests with a good feeling but no proof where we were after the long winter. At Jerez and here at Portimão we luckily found good and stable weather conditions, luckily with most of the paddock being here because we need to know where we stand. We’ve been consistently in the top three with the fastest rider which is pleasing. Now we are packing everything up for Australia, a very different track with a new surface, with harder tyres than what we have used during these tests. So it will be a new situation but we have a lot of positives we can build on. It was also important to see that the setup we brought from Jerez worked immediately here. There are still things to improve, we even see some more potential but I am happy to see how the structure has been build up, I am happy to see how the entire team is working together and I am happy with the results. It makes me look very positively on the season. It will be hard, no doubt; we have seen last year how competitive the field is but we want to be with the competitors at the very top. I am confident that we will be there.”
Christian Gonschor, Technical Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport: “It was interesting and busy test days. The good thing was that we actually had six riders on the track simultaneously, operating up to a total of twelve BMW M 1000 RRs. This benefits us immensely for further development. With this setup, we were able to gather so much data and information that we can now make very rapid progress. I think it’s evident that we are making progress. We were consistently in the top three or top four, with Toprak mostly in first or second place from the first to the last minute in both Jerez de la Frontera and Portimão. It was nice to see our BMW racers always up there. It was also phenomenal to see during both tests that ideas generated in the race teams but not immediately tested were passed on to the test team. This approach is optimal, allowing us to support the race teams effectively. Among other things, we tested applications and provided feedback before the WorldSBK riders tried them. With the test team, we evaluated various chassis elements. Bradley focused intensively on basic topics and couldn’t chase lap times much, but that’s not the core task of a test team anyway. Sylvain pre-tested many things for the racing teams. All bikes were run with the new E40 fuel, which is mandatory in the WorldSBK starting this year. This also proved successful, and there were no technical problems. Overall, we can now travel to Phillip Island with confidence because the collaborative efforts of all involved of the past months are bearing fruit.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “First of all, I am delighted to have both of my riders in the top end of the time sheet. Mickey has done a fantastic job; he has come back from a lot of injuries in the last couple of years. He is in a really good shape going into Australia. We could not expect any more. Toprak, brand new to the bike in these conditions, really adapted well. We almost completed our test programme; we have still some outstanding items that we carry over to Australia for the two test days but he is really happy, we are happy. It’s still all work in progress and as it sits today, we can board our flights to Australia with a good feeling.”
Michael Galinski, Team Manager Bonovo action BMW Racing Team: “The team has now gelled very well with our new addition, Scott. We are actually quite satisfied overall. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but we also had a lot to sort out. We did our best for two days. Nevertheless, we have found a good rhythm and can now pack up our bikes and equipment because everything is heading straight to Australia from here. The two test days were quite decent, and now we are looking ahead to Phillip Island, where we have another test and then the first race right away.”
Garrett Gerloff (#31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “The test here in Portugal has been a bit up and down. Yesterday I struggled more than I like to admit but we finally found a setting on the last run yesterday that set up today as a really good day. Especially in the beginning of the day I felt really strong and I felt like I had a decent pace. I’m just frustrated with the end of the day. I had a crash and after that we struggled getting both the bikes to work like they should. That’s frustrating a little bit but I know that I have a team that’s on top of it and looking to solve all the problems that we have before the bikes go on the crates to Australia. That’s not the way I wanted to end the test but we still have positive stuff from these days, so that’s good.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (#54 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I have to say that I was also surprised when I saw the 1:39.2 with the SCX tyre. Before, I did a 1:39.8 with the SC0 tyre and then I said to the team, if I am feeling a little more grip with the SCX tyre, we will make a very good lap time. So we did. Then I wanted to try the Q tyre and we got one from the Bonovo team, thanks to them. We tried to do another good lap time with that but the bike setup is completely different and I had the feeling that the bike was just jumping because there was too much grip. But in general I am very happy. After this test, it looks like we are 99 percent ready with the bike. But again, we are still learning, getting better every day. I don’t know how it will be in Phillip Island. We were very strong here on these two days. Also our pace on race tyres is really strong. But Phillip Island is completely different. We will see there, it is impossible to say anything before the race or the test. But in general, this atmosphere is very good, I am very happy and we did a very good job on these two days.”
Scott Redding (#45 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “Portimão was a lot more difficult than Jerez. We knew that there was a possibility that this could be the case but it is also good sometimes to have this in testing because you have the time to work. We tried a lot of different things and nothing was really hitting the spot. It was a bit of confusion with the tyres and the track grip so that made it a bit time consuming for us. We managed to try some test items which was also important to do. We have a bit more a clear direction with the parts for round one at Phillip Island. After two days we finally made a little bit of progress and it was good to finish knowing you’re making steps. Going to Phillip Island it will be interesting what characteristics the bike will give us. In Jerez everything was running pretty easy, here it seemed quite difficult, so it will be interesting to see what is the outcome of the bike. Regarding the situation of what the track grip gives us we’ve done a lot of work in both areas. I’m looking forward to going to Phillip Island now. I’ve really enjoyed my time here testing with the team, having a lot of fun, laughing a lot and working hard. Now I can’t wait to go racing.”
Michael van der Mark (#60 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I was really happy with the end of the day. Today we changed the setup of the bike, we had some ideas and we changed honestly the whole bike and immediately from the first lap that felt good. At the end of the day we were trying some new tyres, doing some good laps with the SCX and I felt happy. I felt good with the bike so I think I even could have gone a little bit quicker. But I am really happy. I am feeling more and more ready to race. Also doing so many laps in these perfect conditions I gained a lot of confidence again. I feel faster and more ready than last year. I feel that the old Mickey is coming back.”
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
KRT Completes Final European Winter Test
The start of the 2024 WorldSBK Championship is drawing closer for KRT competitors Alex Lowes and Axel Bassani, with the new season rider line-up having just completed a positive two-day test at Portimao in Portugal. This will be the last European test session before the whole KRT squad heads off to compete in the first of 12 championship rounds, at Phillip Island in Australia.
Like the recent two-day test at Jerez in Spain, Portimao was blessed with consistent weather and track conditions, allowing new signing Axel and the more experienced Ninja ZX-10RR rider Lowes to complete a lot of work over two full days of track action, all of it alongside their 2024 rivals.
Having spend day one working on used tyres, to get an optimum race long bike set-up to take into the start of the points-scoring season, Lowes was then free to try for a strong single lap time on a qualifying tyre. He finished third fastest on the second day at Portimao, with a personal best of 1’39.521.
Bassani was once again learning the intricacies of the Ninja ZX-10RR in his first Kawasaki season – and his first inside an official WorldSBK team. The Italian rider made progress once again on his full distance race set-up as he continued to gain more experience. On softer tyres he improved his best lap to a 1’40.362, just over a second from the fastest lap of all and good enough for 12th position overall.
With lots of hard and positive work completed, and final decisions being made on how to approach the first round of the championship, KRT feels ready to make their final preparations before the season starts for real in just a few weeks’ time.
The FIM Superbike World Championship will officially commence between 23-25 January. Before that there will be the KRT team launch on February 8 and a two day official organisers’ test at Phillip Island, to be held between 19-20 February.
Alex Lowes, stated: “We have been working hard this winter with my crew chief Pere on used tyre settings. The final day here at Portimao was the first day where he was pushing me to focus on finding some speed as well. The electronics work we did, the set up work we did; we have definitely improved our pace on used tyres. We didn’t know how that would affect our one lap pace but when we pushed on with a run on the SCQ tyre, I did a couple of laps in the 1’39s and my best ever lap here. So we have to be happy because the bike was working well. We finished our winter testing in Europe with our best day yet.”
Axel Bassani, stated: “This test was good and the family of Kawasaki is really nice. You feel like you are home. I am really happy to be here. The bike is not easy right now and we have to improve a lot but we are testing the bike here to do this. All the team are pushing a lot to try to be first in WorldSBK, and we have a lot to do. The first test at Jerez was not easy because the bike was completely different from the one I rode before, but step-by-step I am starting to learn a lot about this machine. I have had to completely change my style of riding. I have to think about everything I have to do. Especially in these two last European test days in Portimao, we have worked a lot on that. We improved a lot. We are ready for the next test in Australia.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “Our lap time at the end of this test was good, but we focused on the weakest points of our package at the start, and adapting the bike to the new rules. We focused in Jerez and here in Portimao with the same items. We improved the electronics and the balance, in terms of chassis, swing arm and some other measures. We worked with Showa, as always. I would say that I am very happy. In Jerez Alex already showed a very good performance. We now need to go to the races and ride under hotter conditions. But, it seems Alex is very consistent, very linear with the lap times. He is doing the same lap times on the second lap that he can do on the 18th lap, and this is something very impressive. A very important point is that I am always working with the rider feeling. I think he is talking very deeply with the bike, understanding when there is a new tyre, when the tyre is dropping, when the bike behaviour is changing – he understands it. He made a big effort and a lot of laps. Well done to Alex as he made a very good job, as did everybody in the team. Now we are ready to go to Australia and keep working. We still have a job to do, as always, because it never stops.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Axel Bassani, stated: “I am impressed the way Axel is managing all these tests because it not easy to jump into a factory team. He has shown his professionalism even in his youth and is really committed to the job. This is not the easiest track especially when you are fresh to a bike and still have to learn to manage the bike properly. Our bike has a unique character and it takes some time to get used to it. But especially on the final day of this test the bike and rider became closer and we made some small adjustments on the chassis set-up. We reconfirmed some items we had at Jerez. Especially today, we had the first race at Phillip Island in our minds and we are really preparing ourselves for the opening round. We did a long run and Axel started to change his riding style to be more suitable for the Ninja ZX-10RR. He learned a lot over these 15 laps. In the end we used some softer tyres and Axel was able to improve his lap time with each set of tyres. We can say we did a good job in this test and really prepared ourselves for Phillip Island.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was also present at the Portimao test on his KRT supplied Ninja ZX-10RR, as he prepares to start the first round of the championship alongside his 2024 rivals.