Bautista, Lecuona top the times despite early morning crashes, three manufacturers in the top three

Friday, 31 March 2023 16:16 GMT

The field were closely packed after the Barcelona test concluded with Ducati, Honda and Kawasaki all in the top three and separated by just two tenths

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.

DUCATI REMAIN ON TOP: Bautista almost on lap-record pace, Rinaldi fourth

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. Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, like Bautista, only ran for half-a-day on Day 2 and took fourth spot after lapping in 1’40.818s. Bautista tried Pirelli’s new front tyres that were available at this test, as he looks to continue his strong start to the campaign although he did crash at Turn 11 in the morning, while Rinaldi also tested Pirelli’s new tyres but at the rear as well as comparing two bikes with different settings.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was the fastest of the two Independent Ducati riders on track as he finished in 14th place despite two Turn 5 crashes on Day 2. Petrucci was testing a new seat on Day 2 as he goes in search of a more comfortable position on his Panigale V4 R. He posted a best time of 1’42.224s to finish ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) who was directly behind Bassani in the standings.

HONDAS QUICK AGAIN: Lecuona second despite crash

After showing strong pace on Day 1, the two factory Honda riders were quick again on Day 2. 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. Vierge was 11th with a 1’41.505s on his CBR1000RR-R. Lecuona had planned to continue trying the upgrades the Japanese manufacturer had at MotorLand Aragon, as well as some tyre testing, while Vierge was focused on overall improvements rather than looking to the Catalunya Round. He also aimed to try new Pirelli tyres.

For the two Independent Honda riders, it was Eric Granado (PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team) who came out on top ahead of teammate Hafizh Syahrin. Malaysian rider Syahrin was testing some new small components on Day 1 to help find some speed, while Granado worked with Pirelli’s harder tyres on Day 1 to understand the bike/electronics. Granado finished in 17th place with his teammate directly behind.

SINGLE DAY TEST FOR KAWASAKI: both KRTs in the top five

The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes 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. Lowes posted a best time of 1’40.853s on his way to fifth place as he worked on some new items from Showa on the fork, making it softer to improve front tyre life. Rea did not have any new items to test but did have some new electronic strategies to try as well as some geometry settings, with Rea ensuring he took third place after setting a 1’40.659s

Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was the sole Independent Kawasaki rider on track and he took 19th spot with the Czech rider aiming to make use of some softer tyres as well as hoping to use a new engine on Day 2. Konig was using his old bike with lots of mileage on already and was hoping a new engine would help him on Day 2.

AEGERTER LEADS YAMAHA CHARGE: top six for the Swiss rookie

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. Locatelli’s focus was on improving his pace at the end of long runs, as well as continuing to work on the electronic settings on his Yamaha YZF R1 machine, while Razgatlioglu continued to work on new components and electronics, something he praised on Day 1.

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. Aegerter worked on some rider ergonomic items, such as handlebars, footrests and the seats as well some electronics. Teammate Remy Gardner, carrying a slight injury on his right hand, was working on both the round here next month as well as looking at the 2023 campaign as a whole and finished in ninth place Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) made it five Yamahas on track and he took 16th spot after an early crash disrupted his running on Day 2.

VAN DER MARK PUTS BMW EIGHTH: plenty of upgrades on the M 1000 RR

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. Teammate Scott Redding was 12th as he finished just outside the top ten, missing out by small margins. BMW also brought two new swingarms to the test, as well as some chassis changes. American star Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) took tenth spot to ensure two out of the three BMWs on track finished inside the top ten.

BULEGA ON TOP: Italian leads the way in WorldSSP

As was the case on Day 1, 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. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was third as he led teammate Federico Fuligni at the end of Day 2; the pair were often on track together through the afternoon. De Rosa brought out the red flags with a late crash at Turn 14.

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