Two important tests take place at Jerez with three factory teams on track, including the debut of Honda’s updated CBR1000RR-R machine
A few weeks on from the first 2024 off-season test and several teams and riders are heading back to the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for two more tests, spread out over four days, as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field prepare for next season. The first test takes place on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st for Yamaha, while, on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd, Honda and Kawasaki will take to the Spanish venue.
HONDA’S NEW BIKE ON SHOW: the revised CBR1000RR-R on track
One of the key stories from the upcoming tests is the debut of Honda’s new CBR1000RR-R in Spain. Riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge will be on the machine on Wednesday and Thursday, along with test rider Tetsuta Nagashima, as the Japanese manufacturer look to gather as much data as possible about the new bike before racing begins in February. Speaking at EICMA, Vierge said of the new bike: “Basically, everything is new. It looks really similar, but they changed many things. Unfortunately, we haven’t tried it yet but really looking forward to jumping on the new Honda. We are focused on trying to use more power everywhere. We have a strong engine but, until now, we can’t use all the power at the end of the straights.”
A SECOND TEST FOR REA AT YAMAHA: a look at 2024?
The Yamaha test on Monday and Tuesday will feature Jonathan Rea (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) on the YZF-R1 machine for the second time as he continues his adaptation from the Kawasaki ZX-10RR to the Yamaha bike. His first test was spent fully adapting to the bike, with no new items that other Yamaha riders were trying, but could this be the test where the six-time Champion starts working with 2024 items? At the last test, he said: “The first day was all about getting familiar with the bike. It was a big shock to ride the bike! The bike’s very user friendly. Step by step, we tried some different things. We made some small setup changes. I’ve been using the current base setting of the R1. At the next test, we’ll really start to try some development parts and things the team have been working with.” His teammate, Andrea Locatelli, will also be at the test meaning the new Yamaha line-up will work together for the first time after the #55 missed the first test at Jerez. ‘Loka’ will have GRT Yamaha’s Damiano Evangelisti as his crew chief for the test, who usually works with Remy Gardner, with Tom O’Kane set to come into Locatelli’s side of the box shortly.
THREE-PRONGED ATTACK FOR KRT: Marino joins Lowes and Bassani
Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will continue adjusting to his new bike, the ZX-10RR, at Jerez as he jumps on the Kawasaki for the second time, having tested previously at the same venue a few weeks ago. He will be joined by teammate Alex Lowes as the pair look to push Kawasaki forward to fight for titles once again. As seen often in tests recently, Florian Marino will be on track with the two race riders. He stepped in to race for a unfit Lowes at Aragon this year but has been trusted to carry out development work for the Japanese manufacturer, with that continuing throughout the winter tests.
NORRODIN DEBUTS: Malaysian star gets first WorldSBK taste alongside Mackenzie
The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team will be at the second test of the week at Jerez with new riders Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin, both of whom have been promoted from the WorldSSP squad. Although Mackenzie has been on the CBR1000RR-R before, including at the last test at Jerez, it will be his teammate’s first time on the bike as he prepares for his WorldSBK debut in 2024. The pair have worked together thoroughly throughout the 2023 campaign in World Supersport, so their working relationship is known, with this test giving both riders a chance to understand the WorldSBK aspect of the team more heading into 2024.
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