Alvaro Bautista was the only rider in the 1’40s bracket, while three manufacturers were inside the top six positions.
The first day of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya came to an end and it was Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who topped the timesheets. Bautista was the only rider to lap in the 1’40s bracket and his time of a 1’40.824s was almost six tenths faster than the race lap record set in 2021.
Three manufacturers in the top six
Bautista completed 82 laps on his way to top spot as he continued testing a swingarm on his Ducati Panigale V4 R machine, with the plan for Bautista’s side of the garage aiming to improve the entire package based on the Spanish rider’s feedback. He lapped the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit four tenths faster than his nearest rivals using Pirelli’s SCX tyre although did suffer a crash at Turn 10, laying down a marker with the 2022 season just a couple of weeks away. Bautista’s Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi claimed fourth place on a strong day for the factory Ducati squad; the Italian completed 65 laps with a best time of 1’41.360s.
The second manufacturer in the top were Kawasaki with both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes. Six-time World Champion Rea was trying out the fins on the fuel tank that his teammate has used previously, while potentially starting to work on the finetuning of his ZX-10RR. He claimed second spot with a best lap of 1’41.062s, with 104 laps to his name. For Lowes, the morning was spent trying to get back up speed after not riding for seven weeks with a few items to try in the afternoon. Lowes was six tenths off his teammate racked up 100 laps; the KRT duo both hitting a century of laps for the day.
After topping the times in the morning, Garrett Gerloff’s (GRT GYTR Yamaha WorldSBK Team) day ended with the American in third place, four tenths back from Bautista, despite a crash at Turn 10 in the afternoon. Gerloff, and his GRT Yamaha squad, were hoping to work on refining the setup of his Yamaha YZF-R1 machine with a long run in the mix; the American completed 78 laps. His teammate, Kohta Nozane, was 14thplace after losing out some running due to an electrical problem earlier in the day. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) made it two Yamahas in the top five with fourth place with the Turkish rider looking to continue making a step with the electronics. Running the #1 for the first time, the reigning World Champion also had a new exhaust fitted to his bike as well as new material under his seat. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was ninth, although his day came to an early end around 30 minutes before the chequered flag when he had a highside crash at Turn 4.
Eight riders within one second of Bautista
The field was condensed on day one in Catalunya, with Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claiming seventh spot despite only joining the action in the afternoon and having a crash at Turn 5 when he tucked the front. Despite this, he posted a best lap time of 1’41.688s and completed 53 laps.
Looking to focus on long runs and electronics throughout day one, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was eighth after posting a best lap time of 1’41.719s and completing 90 laps, with Vierge the last rider within a second of Bautista’s time. Teammate Iker Lecuona just missed out on a place in the top ten with 12th, as he posted a best time of 1’42.125s.
Two BMW riders finished 10thand 11thin the standings at the end of day one with Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) claiming 10thplace as he looked to confirm some settings on the electronics on the traction control strategy. BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s Scott Redding was 11thfor his first test at the Catalunya circuit on BMW machinery, suffering from technical issues in the early part of the day. The British rider was able to put in 66 laps on day one of the test as he posted a best time of 1’42.013ss, finished around 1.5s clear of teammate Ilya Mikhalchik.
A mixed-up order down the grid
Redding was just 0.010s clear of rookie Phillip Oettl (Team GoEleven) in 13thplace with the German rider continuing to evaluate a new exhaust after the team switched suppliers over the winter to Spark. Oettl’s best time was a 1’42.176s and he finished ahead of Kohta Nozane (GRT GRYT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 14thplace after the Japanese rider suffered from an electrical issue earlier on in the day. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was in 15thplace on his M 1000 RR on a day of troubles: he first suffered from some technical issues in the morning before a crash at the left hander of Turn 7 ended his day’s running early. He posted a best time of 1’42.429s and completed 45 laps.
Rounding out the WorldSBK field
Rookie Luca Bernardi (Barni Spark Racing Team) was 16thon his first timing visiting the Catalan venue as a WorldSBK rider, posting a time of 1’43.251s and completing 51 laps on his Panigale V4 R. However, the Sammarinese rider’s day ended early after he had two crashes during the day.
Czech rider Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had his second test of the week, following his maiden WorldSBK outing at a wet Estoril, with the rookie hoping to continue adapting to WorldSBK machinery after jumping straight from WorldSSP300. Belgian rider Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) had a disrupted first day of 2022 testing following a highside crash at Turn 2 in the afternoon, ending his day early. Rookie Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) rounded out the WorldSBK field as he continues his adjustment to WorldSBK, while teammate Leandro Mercado did no laps on day one due to technical issues.
Bulega leads the way in WorldSSP
Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team’s Nicolo Bulega topped the three WorldSSP riders on track in Barcelona, with all three having their own issues throughout the day. Bulega’s afternoon was interrupted when he stopped on track, but he was able to re-join with more than an hour left. Oli Bayliss (Barni Spark Racing Team) was plagued by technical issues in the afternoon, and his morning running was interrupted after a collision with Rea at Turn 10. Raffaele De Rosa (Ducati Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was also on track during the day but suffered from two crashes that interrupted his testing programme.
Top 10 WorldSBK times from day one in Barcelona:
1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’40.824s, 82 laps
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.062s, 104 laps
3. Garrett Gerloff (GRT GYTR Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’41.229s, 85 laps
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’41.360s, 80 laps
5. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’41.523s, 82 laps
6. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.664s, 100 laps
7. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’41.688s, 53 laps
8. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) 1’41.719s, 90 laps
9. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’41.865s, 75 laps
10. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’41.942S, 78 laps
The rain fell and interrupted running on the second day at Catalunya as Razgatlioglu topped the times on Saturday.
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continued testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with rain interrupting the second day of action in Spain. Reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) topped the timesheets with the fastest lap of the day coming before the rain fell which limited running as the time ticked over into the afternoon.
Five manufacturers in the top seven
In a show of what WorldSBK could be like in 2022, five manufacturers finished inside the top seven positions on day two. Razgatlioglu’s fastest time was a 1’40.571s as he completed 51 laps with Yamaha trialling a new exhaust throughout the test as well as continuing to work on their electronics package. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was 11th for the second day as he, like his teammate, worked on Yamaha’s electronics package. Both Razgatlioglu and Locatelli ventured out into the wet on Saturday. The Pata Yamaha team were not the only Yamaha representation in the top five, with Garrett Gerloff (GRT GYTR Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in fifth place. Gerloff was testing in the wet conditions to trial Yamaha’s electronics package. Teammate Kohta Nozane also ventured out into the wet, posting a best time of 1’42.509s.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) put his Panigale V4 R machine into second place as the team looked to focus on a modified swingarm compared to the one seen at Portimao as well as new items inside the front forks. Bautista completed 67 laps and posted a best time of 1’40.952s to claim second spot. Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi made it two Ducatis in the top six as he finished sixth with a best time of 1’41.610s. He completed 34 laps on day two, opting not to test in the wet conditions.
Team HRC showed strong pace on Saturday with two riders in the top eight. Iker Lecuona claimed third spot with a best time of 1’41.033s and 62 laps completed, while Xavi Vierge was eighth after completing 55 laps. Vierge’s day came to an early end on Saturday after he had a highside crash at Turn 12, bringing out the Red Flags for a short period. Vierge was initially taken to the medical centre for a check-up before being transported to hospital with rib injuries, although he was conscious. Honda tested some new double ducts on their brakes on day one of the test to assist with cooling in hotter conditions, while the CBR1000RR-R also has a new exhaust for 2022.
At the team’s home circuit, Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK claimed fourth with Jonathan Rea on day two of the two-day test after posting a 1’41.168s and completing 32 laps. Throughout the test, Rea tried the fuel tanks fins used by teammate Alex Lowes as well as trying small components including on the clutch. Lowes finished the day in 12th place, with a best time of 1’41.99s and 36 laps to his name. Both riders opted against testing in the afternoon after the rain fell.
Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) overcame technical issues in the morning to finish in seventh place for the day, racking up 50 laps and posting a best lap time of 1’41.636s. Redding spent day one working on BMW’s electronics package and was hoping for dry running to keep the momentum heading in the right direction. Despite not staying dry, Redding did test in the wet conditions while stand-in teammate Ilya Mikhalchik finished his day when the rain came. The Ukrainian rider’s best time was a 1’42.763s and he completed 16 laps.
Independent squads round out the top ten
There were two Independent riders who rounded out the top ten on day two in Barcelona. German rookie Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) claimed ninth place as he looked to continue evaluating a new exhaust after the team switched to Spark over the winter. Oettl took advantage of the wet conditions in the afternoon to get some wet-weather practice in, having never ridden a WorldSBK machine in wet conditions before. His best time was a 1’41.735s with 55 laps to his name.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took a different approach to the afternoon’s running after the rain, with the Frenchman ending his day early. Over the winter, Kawasaki Puccetti switched suspension suppliers to Öhlins, with Mahias continuing to evaluate this change in Catalunya. Mahias posted a best time just 0.009s shy of Oettl while adding 23 laps to his tally.
Rounding out the WorldSBK on day two
Bonovo Action BMW duo Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz were 15th and 16th respectively on the second day. Laverty had been working on a change of rider position throughout the test while working on some traction control strategies on day one. The Irishman completed 30 laps on day two, with a best time of 1’43.305s, while Baz was half-a-second down on his teammate as the Frenchman completed 29 laps; neither ventured out onto the track in the wet conditions.
Sammarinese rookie Luca Bernardi (Barni Spark Racing Team) was 17th on day two as he continued to adjust to WorldSBK action. He posted a best time of 1’43.823s, completing 23 laps but not taking to the wet track. His time was a second clear of fellow rookie Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) who added 34 laps to his tally; like Bernardi, König did not go out in the rain.
Now entering his second season in WorldSBK, Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) was 19th on his ZX-10RR. the Belgian rider had a highside crash at Turn 2 on day one in the change of direction but was okay to ride on Saturday, finishing as the penultimate rider in the field. Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin (MIE Racing Honda Team) was last in the WorldSBK classification, completing 49 laps with a best time of 1’45.539s.
Race lap record pace for Bulega
Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) continued his form of lapping under existing race lap records throughout testing as he sent the benchmark in WorldSSP on day two. His best time was a 1’45.110s, faster than both Cresson and Syahrin, as he added 38 laps to his tally. He was the only WorldSSP rider to hit the track in the wet conditions, with Raffaele De Rosa (Ducati Orelac Racing VerdNatura) and Oli Bayliss (Barni Spark Racing Team) opting to not test in the afternoon. De Rosa’s best time was a 1’46.971s, almost two seconds back from Bulega, while Bayliss posted a 1’47.253s as his best time.
1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 1’40.571s, 51 laps
2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’40.952s, 67 laps
3. Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) 1’41.033s, 62 laps
4. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’41.168s, 32 laps
5. Garrett Gerloff (GRT GYTR Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’41.320s, 62 laps
6. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’41.610s, 34 laps
7. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’41.636s, 50 laps
8. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) 1’41.724s, 55 laps
9. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) 1’41.735s, 55 laps
10. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’41.744s, 23 laps