Bautista fastest as Lecuona splits the Ducatis on Day 1 of the Catalunya test, Razgatlioglu has morning crash

Thursday, 30 March 2023 16:15 GMT

Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista topped the times with a lap time just shy of the lap record, while Iker Lecuona took second spot on a strong day for him and Honda

The first of two days of testing for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field got underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and it was reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) who led the way on Day 1. He was two tenths clear of 2022 polesitter Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) at the end of the day’s running although Bautista’s lap time was set in the morning while Lecuona’s best time came in the final stages of the day’s action.

BAUTISTA LEADS THE WAY: rear suspension items at Ducati

Bautista’s best time of the day came on his 20th lap in the morning when he posted a 1’40.500s to top the timesheets. The time came in the morning and was only a tenth slower than the outright lap record set in 2021 by Tom Sykes when at BMW. It was a strong day for the Bologna-based manufacturer with Bautista’s teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, in third place and around four tenths down on Bautista. Ducati had new parts on rear suspension to try with the aim of improving stability and grip, while there was also development on the front of the bike to achieve faster corner entry.

In terms on Independent teams for Ducati, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) were on track. Petrucci was the fastest of the two as he took 11th spot after posting a 1’42.355s with the Italian rider testing a new fuel tank to improve his position on the bike. Bassani took 12th spot as he worked on solving some issues with electronics that came up during the first two rounds of the season.

TWO HONDAS IN THE TOP FIVE: Lecuona, Vierge impress on home soil

Both Team HRC riders featured inside the top five at the end of day one with Iker Lecuona in second and Xavi Vierge in fifth place. The pair were separated by around six tenths at the end of the day’s running on the CBR1000RR-R with Lecuona posting a 1’40.721s for second spot. Honda were mostly comparing the new items tested recently at MotorLand Aragon to ensure they were working at more circuits, with this including chassis bracing and an exhaust. They also continued to test some electronic setting as well as smaller items, while also looking at setup and trying to understand the machine.

For PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team, Hafizh Syahrin was the lead rider out of him and Eric Granado with the pair towards the back of the field with Syahrin 16th and Granado 17th. The team had some testing material from Nissin to test, including brake discs and cylinders, while they wanted to get some more mileage with the swingarm. The team also hoped to work on some data related to riding style which came up during the first two rounds of 2023.

FIGHTING INSIDE THE TOP FIVE: Gerloff leads the way for BMW

Three BMW riders were on track at the Catalunya test with Independent rider Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) leading the way for the German manufacturer. The American posted a 1’41.150s late in the session to move into fourth eighth place, while the two factory riders, Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate Scott Redding, were tenth and 11th respectively at the end of Day 1.

RAZGATLIOGLU SIXTH DESPITE CRASH: electronics work at Yamaha

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) had a disrupted day of running following a crash at Turn 2 in the morning, but he was able to take fifth spot in the classification. The 2021 Champion posted a 1’41.433s to finish in sixth while teammate Andrea Locatelli took eighth spot. Razgatlioglu’s test began yesterday as he joined a track day for the afternoon to test some electronic settings, as well as looking to improve rear grip and position which would help increase traction and drive.

Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) led the charge for the Independent Yamaha teams with seventh place on Day 1, his first time at the circuit with WorldSBK machinery. Teammate Dominique Aegerter, testing some settings and electronic parts as well as potentially testing some rider position items, was just behind in ninth place. Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team), preparing for his maiden WorldSBK campaign, was in 14th spot as he got to learn the track on WorldSBK machinery.

NO KRT TESTING ON DAY 1: Rea, Lowes opt to miss the opening day

Both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes opted to not run on Day 1 of 2 at the test, leaving just one Kawasaki rider on track. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was the last runner in WorldSBK on Day 1 as he set a 1’44.182s, with the Czech rider hoping to reset after a difficult first two rounds.

BULEGA ON TOP: Italian leads the way in WorldSSP

Four WorldSSP riders took to the track on Day 1, with all four running the Ducati Panigale V2 machine. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) was the fastest rider on Day 1 as he searched for a good feeling on his bike, posting a 1’44.846s, to finish ahead of Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) as he returns from injury. Orelac Racing VerdNatura duo Raffaele De Rosa and Federico Fuligni rounded out the WorldSSP field.

Follow more incredible WorldSBK action throughout 2023 using the WorldSBK VideoPass!