Bautista reveals swingarm differences and benefits, Pirelli tyres and evaluates his fastest lap at Catalunya
The Spaniard topped the first day of action in Barcelona as he lapped faster than the race lap record set in 2021…
The first day of the two-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya belonged to Alvaro Bautista and his Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad after he topped the timesheets by two tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rivals. His best lap, a 1’40.824s was under the race lap record for MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship machines as he laid down a marker just two weeks out from the start of the season.
With the circuit joining the WorldSBK calendar in 2020, today was the first time Bautista had been at the Catalan venue on the Ducati Panigale V4 R and he showed no signs of lacking experience with the combination of track and bike as he lapped around six tenths quicker than the previous race lap record, set by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in last year’s Tissot Superpole Race. Bautista’s best time was set on Pirelli’s SCX tyre.
Reacting to the day, Bautista said: “I’m happy with today because we had some items to try, especially with the swingarm because today we just worked with the new one to try to change something in the swingarm to get more feedback and improve the performance. We did some testing and it was very positive. We tried the new front tyre from Pirelli but, today, with these conditions it was not a big difference. It’s a tyre that can maybe be here for the Catalan Round so it was important to test today. We also worked on the front fork, trying different inside items to make the front fork more or less rigid to see if we could find something positive and we found it, so I’m happy. My feeling with the bike was good and I think this is more important than the lap time. I enjoyed riding this track, it was my first time with Ducati, and it has been a positive day.”
Pirelli had tried out an SCQ tyre throughout testing so far but opted not to make this available at the Catalunya test, leaving riders to use the SC0 or SCX tyres throughout the test. The SCX tyre A0557 development tyre was used by Bautista in last year’s Race 2 at the same venue, although race winner and now teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was on the SC0 tyre.
Explaining the tyre performance, Bautista said: “I did it with the SCX basically because, here, we have the SC0 and SCX tyres. They are tyres for the race. In fact, last year, I raced with the SCX tyre but today the conditions were colder, so the tyre drop off was a bit more than when the track is warmer. Today, I felt some difference between the SCX and SC0 but, definitely, if today was the race, I wouldn’t know which tyre to use because the SC0 is more consistent.”
Ducati have shown off a new swingarm throughout their off-season testing in 2022, with their testing of swingarms continuing throughout the Catalunya test as they looked to maximise the performance of the Ducati Panigale V4 R ahead of racing starting in April. Bautista was on hand to explain why the Bologna manufacturer have been chasing performance through the swingarm.
He said: “Basically, before this test, we just compared our standard swingarm with the new one, with a different rigidity. When we decided that I definitely liked the new one more, we tried to make some changes with the geometry and the setup to improve the performance one step more. Basically, we did this work today.”
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