The reigning World Champion spent the second day of the Jerez test looking at the 2024 regulations as he and the team got to grips with the new rules
With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship remaining at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for two days of testing, it gave some riders the chance to evaluate the new 2024 regulations. One of these was Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with the double Champion looking at next year’s rules, including adding weight to his Panigale V4 R. After Wednesday’s action had concluded, the #1 explained how his team were working with the additional weight and how it impacted him on track.
A NEW CHALLENGE: “the bike feels different especially in the fast corners”
The newly-announced rules for 2024 include a new weight system, where riders under the reference weight of 80kg have to add 50% of the difference. The reigning double Champion said previously that he would like to try the new rules, especially when it comes to weight, and he was able to start that on the second day of Jerez test. The Spaniard finished the day in seventh place after setting a best lap of 1’39.362s, 1.5s slower than Remy Gardner’s (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) fastest time, as he completed 58 laps.
Expanding on how he and Ducati worked towards the new regulations, Bautista said: “Today, we were focused on the 2024 regulations especially with the weight. We tried many solutions with the weight. Putting some weight on some areas of the bike, also trying inside the engine, and did many tests to understand how the bike’s working. It’s not easy because when the bike’s working well, if you add 7kg, the bike feels different especially in the fast corners. We made some distribution to have more data and we got that data for this winter to try to work and try to see what could be the base for starting 2024.”
WHERE THE DIFFERENCE COMES: fast corners, but anywhere else?
With the Ducati star now able to talk about the difference the additional weight makes, he spoke about the differences he felt on the Panigale V4 R compared to when he was riding without it. In his first answer, he alluded to feeling different in fast corners and he was later asked where else on track he might feel a difference, such as under acceleration, or if it makes bringing updates and changing the setup more difficult.
Discussing this, he said: “I didn’t feel a difference on acceleration, I think it’s more the inertia I feel on the fast corners. Especially here at Jerez, the fast sector, I felt it was more difficult. But on acceleration, there’s not a big difference. Also under braking, there’s maybe more inertia to stop the bike but, for me, I struggled more in the fast corners. At the moment, there are no updates from Ducati. We are focusing on this. They now have a lot of data from today and they have to analyse and play with the setup of the bike. We didn’t touch anything on the bike, just put the weight and changed the area where we put the weight. Now we have to start to think about the setup to have a better feeling with the bike.”