TECH REVIEW: what were manufacturers testing throughout the off-season?

Friday, 2 February 2024 08:17 GMT

Four days of 2024 testing are in the bag, only two more remain heading into the season, with everyone busy trying new components…

Testing is a chance for riders to get prepared for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but it’s also a time for teams and manufacturers to try new components and find gains. Tenths of a second, or even hundredths or thousandths, could be the difference between a good day and a bad day, with the recent tests at Jerez and Portimao the last chance to confirm items before everything is sent to Australia for Round 1. Here, we detail some of the latest updates spotted in the pitlane.

DUCATI’S CHANGES: adapting to new regulations

The focus for winter testing at Ducati has been adapting Alvaro Bautista’s ( Racing – Ducati) machine with the extra weight he’ll race with in 2024, with the Bologna-based manufacturer aiming to minimise the impact. Across the box, Nicolo Bulega tried a radiator cooling system at Jerez although this was discarded on Day 2. In terms of Independent outfits, Sam Lows (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) had new fork internals and new stuff from Ohlins, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was running with a new lower seat at Portimao while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Motocorsa Racing) tried a new exhaust and a swingarm that ‘Petrux’ had tried, although the #21 wasn’t a fan at Portimao.

REFINING THE R1: what were Yamaha trying?

Yamaha were working on lots of aspects for Pata Prometeon Yamaha duo Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli, plus their riders at other teams. New forks were fitted to the Yamaha R1 machines which provided extra stability under braking in a straight line as well as improved grip while turning. There were different swingarm variations on display too, track surface sensors and some chassis items. At GMT94 Yamaha, Philipp Oettl tried a thumb brake on his machine at the Portimao test as he adapted to his new bike.


With Alex Lowes becoming de facto team leader at the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, as Axel Bassani adjusts to life on the ZX-10RR, he carried out the bulk of test items. A new swingarm, works on the chassis, new items from Showa, a slightly different front fork and electronic work to help extract the power better were all part of his programme. In the box next door, Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was on a factory bike, leased to the team from KRT, while the Spaniard also tried a new triple clamp and swingarm.

BUSY TIMES AT BMW: test team alongside two race teams

With new recruit Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) already making waves, there’s a lot of optimism at BMW. There was a new swingarm on display at both tests – van der Mark revealed he didn’t like at Jerez but did at Portimao – while BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers explained there was some revised aero on the M 1000 RR. Electronic works continued, while there’s also a new engine specification for all six riders (two at ROKiT BMW, two at Bonovo Action BMW and two from the test team) who were at the tests.

HONDA’S TESTING PROGRAMME: the new machine with lots of changes

Japanese manufacturer Honda unveiled a new package last year and the thoughts immediately were positive, although the last couple of tests have proven to be more challenging. Team HRC’s Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge’s new machine includes revised aerodynamics, chassis, gearbox, a lighter crank and split throttle bodies. At the Petronas MIE Racing Honda Team, Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin only tested on Day 2 at Portimao with a hybrid bike featuring items from both 2023 and 2024. They hope to have the full 2024 package in Australia.

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