Rea Fastest At Catalunya Test
Kawasaki’s official WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes joined several of their championship rivals for a weekend test at the Kawasaki Racing Team’s local Barcelona – Catalunya circuit.
On-track action started on Saturday 20 August, with the second and final day on Sunday 21. Due to the limits placed on the number of approved testing days over a season, each rider chose when to take to the circuit and when to sit things out.
In generally hot conditions the 4.657km long circuit near the KRT squad’s own HQ gave both riders and their pit crews a chance to evaluate the kind of set-up options they cannot try out in race weekends, due to time constraints during practice and qualifying.
Sunday’s action was ended by a fall of rain in the final 30 minutes, by which time both KRT riders had reached their personal pre-test targets.
Rea started his own Barcelona test schedule on Saturday afternoon, setting the best lap of the first day in hot conditions. He was to set the best lap of the weekend in the slightly cooler conditions of Sunday morning, with a 1’40.913.
Lowes tested his Ninja ZX-10RR for a full day on Saturday, but only Saturday, evaluating set-up options designed for the hot track conditions. His place was taken on track on Sunday by Florian Marino.
Lowes set his best lap time of 1’42.358 on the busy opening day, having made just over 90 laps of the circuit.
The WorldSBK championship returns to race action at Magny Cours in France, between 9-11 September. The Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya will host round eight of the WorldSBK championship, just two weeks after Magny Cours.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been a really solid two days of testing. We started in the afternoon in the hot temperatures of day one, and straight away I got the rhythm for the track temperature, which got to the high forties and then 50°C. It was good to take the rhythm like that on day one. Step-by-step we worked through the test plan. We had some ideas during the season that we can only try at a test, without the stress of a race weekend. So it is good to check these things at a test. One of the things we had in mind was changing my position on the bike, to see what influence that would have. We drew some positive results from that. Also, the electronics side of the bike is an area where we never stop working. We understood how to take that forward. Aside from that, it was a great two days to test in hot conditions. I was able to be quite fast and consistent in these hotter conditions. We know it is an area we still need to improve on, but the first signs were positive. We focused on race starts on day two, in the afternoon, trying to understand the best set-up from an electronic and mechanical point of view. And also my style at the starts. I really enjoyed my bike these last two days and it has been nice to fill in the WorldSBK summer break again, after being at Suzuka on a different bike. So it is nice to come back here to understand the Pirelli tyres and the WorldSBK spec Ninja ZX-10RR.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We just did one day of testing at Montmelo, a hot day, which was perfect for us. Our target was to improve our rear performance in hotter, more slippery track conditions. I think on Saturday afternoon we did a good job with that. We tried a lot of different set-up combinations on the rear of the bike to get me into a bit of a better position exiting corners, to get more grip. We found some positive results and it was fun. This was a good test and I enjoyed being back in WorldSBK mode with all my guys. I feel quite optimistic for when we go back racing at Magny Cours. I really enjoyed this test.”
Pere Riba, Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea, stated: “We did half a day on Saturday, and one complete day on Sunday. We mainly prepared a starting point for the Montmelo race in September, and of course, finding some areas we can improve in. These were mainly on the electronics side. We finally reached all the things we wanted to try. Johnny finished with a good feeling and we collected all the info we wanted from our plan. We are now ready to go to Magny Cours for the next round.”
Marcel Duinker, Crew Chief for Alex Lowes, stated: “We know that this track has been not very friendly with our set-up in the past couple of years, so we were happy to have this test here at this time of year. We knew it was going to be hot so we took this opportunity to improve our bike in these hot and slippery track conditions. We had a clear target for this test. We wanted to improve some very important parts of our chassis package, mainly through the set-up. We were fast and consistent so we ended this test happy because we reached our target.”
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and new rider Oscar Gutierrez (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) were also testing at Montmelo, with Gutierrez signed up to ride at the next two WorldSBK events for TPR.
More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:
Team HRC concludes a very positive test in sunny Catalunya
Factory Team HRC have completed a successful two-day test in hot and sunny conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where they shared the circuit with many other WorldSBK teams.
With a maiden 2022 Suzuka8H win still a fresh memory for Iker Lecuona, and an HRC contract extension option exercised for Xavi Vierge, two happy and motivated riders used this mid-summer test session as preparation for the second half of the season, while adapting their bike set-up to suit the fast Spanish layout ahead of their home round that will run at the same circuit over the weekend of September 23-25.
On track from 10:00 to 18:00 on day one and losing only the final half hour on day two due to a thunderstorm, Iker and Xavi focused on various aspects of their bike set-up, including the electronics and mapping settings, and compared a multitude of components including some linkages, Pirelli tyres and, on Iker’s side, a new handbrake system.
Having responded positively to the intense work carried out over the two days with their respective crews, the riders will now take a final two weeks off, before returning to the track in Magny-Cours, France on Friday 9 September for round seven of the WorldSBK Championship.
Iker Lecuona 7
“Generally speaking, I’m very happy with these two test days. On the morning of day one we struggled with the brake setup and it also took me some time to readapt to the tyres and find my position on the bike, the setup of which is quite different for the Suzuka 8h’s one. It took a few hours to sort all these things but we were able to fix everything in the early afternoon and start to work effectively. I began feeling good and comfortable on my bike again and I also tried a handbrake that I liked. I couldn’t fully exploit it on day one but the more I used it, the more I got used to it and I think we will keep working in this area to further improve it. We tried a number of different setups, finding good pace on used tyres, and we also went for a fast lap with a qualifying tyre and were quick. So overall we leave here very happy.”
Xavi Vierge 97
“After having been forced to miss a lot of testing, I’m really happy with how these two days have gone. We had some extra jobs to do after missing the Donington and Misano tests, so we made many changes to the bike to understand the direction and we were able to make good progress, particularly today. We have found the way and I’ve finally got back my good feeling on the bike and was able to find a strong race pace. It was just a pity we couldn’t try a soft tyre, which was something we had planned for the final minutes of the session but then a storm forced us to pit. As I said, it was a very productive test that I hope will prove helpful during the second part of the season. I’m also pleased with a view to next year of course – you can be sure that the team and I will continue to aim for the top where we want to be.”
More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team concluded private testing at Barcelona (Spain). Bautista ended third while Rinaldi finished fifth
Two days of private tests with all five manufacturers of Superbike World Championship ended this afternoon on the “Circuito de Barcelona-Catalunya” (Spain)
For the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team it was a fruitful test during which Michael Rinaldi and Alvaro Bautista – the Spaniard lapped during the morning session only today) had the opportunity to try new components and to work in view of the Catalunya Round scheduled for September 23-25.
Here are the results of the two days of testing concluded by Bautista and respectively in third and fifth position in the combined standings
P2 M. Rinaldi – 1’41.816 (+0.285) – 76 laps completed
P3 A. Bautista – 1’42.211 (+0.680) – 84 laps completed
P3 A. Bautista – 1’41.281 (+0.368) – 66 laps completed
P5 M. Rinaldi – 1’41.621 (+6.01) – 83 laps completed
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19)
“I am satisfied with the work we did in these two days. It was important to get back on the bike after a three-week stop. We tried many solutions some of which could be useful in the rest of the season. Today we lapped only during the morning session also because, after yesterday’s hard work, it was important not to stress my hand too much. And if I have to be honest the best news is that I didn’t feel any pain today. See you in Magny Cours.”
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“We conclude these two days of testing with the knowledge that we have carried out very intensive and productive work. We have tried new solutions with positive results although only the data will tell us if we can use them already this season. I am very satisfied with how things went yesterday: the feeling was immediately excellent. But I am also happy with today’s session. We didn’t focus on the time attack while in terms of race pace we were incisive. We go to France with great confidence.”
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Completes Summer Test in Barcelona
Defending FIM Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and teammate Andrea Locatelli completed 1.5 days of running with the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK squad for a mid-season summer test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.
The main objective for both riders was to work on the set-ups of their Yamaha R1 WorldSBKs in the hot conditions for the Catalunya Round on 23-25 September, with a particular focus on generating rear grip in 30-plus degree temperatures. The team also had the chance to trial a new front tyre option from Pirelli.
On the first day, Razgatlıoğlu completed 79 laps and ran for 43 laps on Day 2 before a high-side on the exit of Turn 5 ended his half day at 43 laps. He was taken to the medical centre for checks and then local hospital to close a minor wound on his elbow.
“Loka” finished his 1.5-day test after 74 laps on the first day and 56 laps through to 2pm, making positive improvements on his lap time and #55 set-up to prepare for the second half of the 2022 WorldSBK season.
Next on the summer schedule is a special guest appearance at Cadwell Park with the McAMS Yamaha British Superbike Team, as both Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli will tackle “The Mountain” for demo laps in front of a packed UK Bank Holiday crowd.
“It was a good test for me and also for Loka, because we ride the bike after a long summer break. We are always ready to race but also we try some new set-up for the Catalunya Round, a very positive day for me. I am happy for Loka, for his very good lap time, he is also very strong at this track and I hope in the race weekend we are on the podium together. On the second day today, I had a big crash but I am okay. We tried the new tyre, just some laps, and maybe we can use it in the race weekend – we will see. Thanks to the Pata Yamaha with Brixx team for this test. Now, in one week we go to Cadwell Park with McAMS, I am excited for this!”
“It was important to ride the bike and to understand where we need to improve, the mechanical set-up and some electronics here. We improved a lot in respect to yesterday – and probably yesterday was some strange conditions compared to normal with the heat and track surface. But this morning, the feeling came immediately. I’m happy because I think now we can arrive here in one month with a lot more focus and information. It was also important to ride so that we didn’t stop for a lot of time between the races. We tried the new front tyre and the feeling was a little bit different to the standard tyre we use on a race weekend but it will be interesting to also try maybe in Magny-Cours. It’s a positive test for sure, in general the feeling is good and when we arrive in France we can restart quickly and work to try to close the gap to the front guys. I want to try to get the podium, to be honest, we work for this and to continue to believe in myself and try to get some good results.”