How are Bautista and Ducati adapting to the new weight regulations?

Thursday, 25 January 2024 14:11 GMT

With new rules coming in about weight limits, reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista and Ducati have been adapting to minimise the impact they have

The start of the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is edging closer and that means teams, riders and manufacturers will be refining their packages – particularly in terms of the new rules coming into effect for 2024. These include new weight regulations, where ballast might have to be added to a rider’s machine and Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati), as one of the lightest riders on the grid, has spoken about how this will impact him. At the Jerez test, Ducati Corse’s Technical Coordinator, Marco Zambenedetti, explained how both Bautista and Ducati are attempting to adapt to the new rules.

At the post-round Jerez test in 2023, Bautista spoke about how adding 7 kilograms to the bike made it different for him to ride as he first tried adjusting to the new rules. During the current test in southern Spain, Zambenedetti revealed that around 6kgs have been added to Bautista’s bike for the weight rules. Zambenedetti also explained that the double Champion had his training to try to gain more mass, while also talking about how Ducati were adapting to the rules.

Discussing how much weight has been added, and where on the bike, Zambenedetti said: “It’s quite easy, we’ve added 6kg more or less. Alvaro changed his training system, tried to get a bit more mass. The point is it’s 6kg. About where is a lot more complex. We are testing something that moves. First, we’d like to give him back the best feeling. The bike isn’t last year’s bike, we must forget about this, but try to give him a ballast configuration that isn’t so bad. We are working on this. We haven’t defined it at this moment. On the other side, we’re also working on engine configuration with fuel consumption and biofuel which is another big, important area to work.”

Speaking at the end of Day 1, Bautista said there were two directions the team were going in terms of the ballast added and he had a preference about which one to go in. This was put to Zambenedetti on Thursday at Jerez, who went on to explain that there isn’t yet a ‘clear idea’ about the direction to go and this might be decided when the WorldSBK paddock hits Australian in just under a month for the season opener. He also explained how, on Thursday, they were only working on one of the directions previously mentioned.

He added: “We have a lot of ideas and theories, but we are here just to test this. At this moment, we haven’t got a clear idea which is the best. Before Australia, or in Australia, we will close this experiment and we’ll start to work on a particular configuration. Today, we’re not testing both directions. We are improving a bit one direction, but we need to make a double check also in Portimao. It’s important that we have a reference at different tracks.”

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