PORTIMAO TEST: Ray to make WorldSBK debut in Portugal, first 2023 look at Bassani and MIE Honda

Monday, 30 January 2023 09:43 GMT

Just a few days after the Jerez test concluded, the WorldSBK paddock is heading west to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for two more days of testing

Testing at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto only concluded on Thursday last week, but an intense winter testing programme will continue this week for teams and riders in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Heading west from southern Spain, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve will host two more days of testing on Tuesday, 31st January and Wednesday, 1st February; the last test in Europe before the Championship heads to Australia. The track action takes place from 10am Local Time (GMT+0) until 5pm on both days.

NOVELTIES: on display at Portimao

Four riders will be making their first appearance of the 2023 calendar year at Portimao. It will be a WorldSBK debut for reigning British champion Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) as he tries the Yamaha YZF R1 for the first time. One of the stars of WorldSBK in 2022, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) will get his first taste of the new Panigale V4 R when he takes to the track in Portugal, while MIE Racing Honda Team duo Eric Granado and Hafizh Syahrin will make their first appearance of the year at Portimao.

AS YOU WERE AT JEREZ: all five factory teams on track

As was the case in Spain, all five factory teams will take to the track in Portugal. Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) will once again display the #1 plate as he prepares to defend his title, alongside teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK) will be on track on his R1 machine alongside Andrea Locatelli as the pair head into their third season together while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes will be looking to lift Kawasaki up the order in 2023; their preparations continue with two days of action in Portugal.

Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and teammate for a second year, Michael van der Mark, will hit Portimao as they aim to refine their 2023 M 1000 RR machine and become regular podium challengers. At Team HRC, Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge will have the CBR1000RR-R at their disposal for their second WorldSBK campaign and, after one pole position and one podium last season, will be aiming to build on that starting with the tests.

INDEPENDENT TEAMS TESTING: a very busy test expected

Both the Jerez test last week and the Portimao test this week will feature plenty of riders looking to make an impact in 2023. Rookie Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) will have his second test in WorldSBK after impressing at Jerez, as will Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven), who was flirting with the top ten, and GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team pairing Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner who both showed strong pace at Jerez.

After making their WorldSBK debut at Jerez, the GMT94 Yamaha team will be back out on track in Portugal with rider Lorenzo Baldassarri, who was not chasing a lap time in Jerez as both he and the team got accustomed to the R1 machine. The Independent BMW outfit, Bonovo Action BMW, will also return to the track at Portimao, with Garrett Gerloff and Loris Baz keen to continue working on the M 1000 RR and be regular podium contenders in 2023.

ALSO ON TRACK: WorldSSP riders join the action

As well as the 21 WorldSBK riders, several WorldSSP riders will be testing at Portimao. Ten Kate Racing Yamaha’s all-new line-up will be seen in action for the first time, as Jorge Navarro and Stefano Manzi link up for the reigning Champions. After switching teams for 2023, Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) will get his first outing with his new squad for this season alongside Maximilian Kofler, who is also new to the team this season.

Ducati duo Nicolo Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team) and Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) will look to continue refining their Panigale V2 machines as they look to take wins after being regular podium challengers in 2022, as will Raffaele De Rose (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) as he embarks on his second campaign with Ducati machinery; he’s joined in 2023 by Federico Fuligni, who is competing in the WorldSSP Challenge. Kawasaki Puccetti Racing were very busy in Jerez with four bikes to test, and their testing programme with rider Can Oncu continues in Portugal.

Get set for 2023 by re-watching some of the incredible battles in WorldSBK and WorldSSP in years gone by using the WorldSBK VideoPass!