Petrucci rapid at Aragon test: has he found a breakthrough with the SCQ tyre?

Wednesday, 30 August 2023 15:13 GMT

The 32-year-old enjoyed his best test of the 2023 season as he and the Barni Spark Racing Team worked through their agenda to finish strongly ahead of racing action’s imminent return

Round nine of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season is edging ever closer and with the mid-season break’s annual test now done at MotorLand Aragon, there’s a lot to look forward to in the final four events of 2023. One of the shining lights of the test was Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), who was third on day one but the fastest of the riders not to use a Superpole tyre, whilst on day two, he was the fastest rider in the morning session and the first rider across the two days to set a sub 1’50 lap time, with a 1’49.168 to beat. The two-time MotoGP™ winner and three-time WorldSBK podium finisher had plenty to test, including some things from the factory team like electronics and engine braking, as he revelled on his WorldSBK-Aragon debut.

Day one was a solid day for Petrucci, who hailed it as “the best testing day” of his time in WorldSBK so far, in what was something of a breakthrough for the Italian. However, on day two, ‘Petrux’ was in a class of his own as he stormed up the order, at one point being nearly a second clear of Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) in P2.

Speaking after the opening day, Petrucci said: “Maybe it’s the first day of the test this year that went straight. We didn’t make many modifications, but we got some new parts; new brake discs. We needed to compare some parts, like the triple clamp and small setup adjustments. In the end, it wasn’t bad. The lap times were harder to repeat in the afternoon as the wind was a bit stronger; in the morning, I had a better feeling. In the end, without using a Q tyre, we were fast until the end and with the pace, I can repeat the time and I can be satisfied.”

Day two took place in much better conditions, with Petrucci hailing the test overall as a big breakthrough, particularly with the Q tyre: “Day two was okay. We found the track was a bit faster than day one, and it was less windy. The feeling was good. We followed our programme to test some different triple clamps and something different on the brakes and engine brake. We also put on an SCQ tyre at the end of the morning session, and I felt okay. One of the areas I’m struggling in the most is Superpole, and the first laps of races, so we focused on this at the test. Since lap one this morning, I was able to be fast and the feeling with the bike was okay.

“With the WorldSBK format, if you have a bad Superpole or Superpole Race, your Race 1 and Race 2 are over. If you’re not fast, you start so far back. Superpole is really important and especially being with a new tyre to create a gap and follow the first riders. This is one of the things we worked with at this test.”

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