The rider’s world title and the team championship are the goals for Ten Kate Racing in 2023. In addition, the Dutch team wants to make new steps forward with the FIM sustainability project “Motonext”. A lot of hard work has been done behind the scenes in recent months, but for the team as well for the two new riders the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship season really started this week. The Nieuwleusen-based team had a successful first test with Stefano Manzi and Jorge Navarro at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.
For both newcomers at the Ten Kate Racing squad, the two-day test at the Portuguese circuit was mainly about getting the necessary mileage out of the Yamaha YZF-R6 machines prepared by Ten Kate Racing and working with their new crew.
Manzi immediately showed himself as a fast learner and he was on pace during the first day. For Navarro it was a slightly more difficult start, partly because he has not been able to ride the bike for a long time due to a leg injury sustained during the 2022 edition of the Australian Grand Prix. Despite still being hindered by this injury while riding, the Spanish rider did make a lot of progress during the two-day test.
Manzi closed the test at the Autodromo do Algarve with a fastest lap time of 1’43.771 while Navarro recorded a fastest lap of 1’44.809 during the second and concluding day of testing on Wednesday.
Stefano Manzi: “Finally we were able to do our first two days of testing, two days working with my new team, working with a new bike and finally ‘back to work’ after a long winter. Looking back on these first two days of testing we have to say that it was a successful test. I love riding the bike and working with the team. We did a lot of laps and collected a lot of important data. I now have another 15 days at home to prepare as best I can for Australia and analyse the data I have collected. I can’t wait to get back on the track with this team and this bike.”
Jorge Navarro: “First of all it’s fantastic to be back on the bike after such a long time, and even more so to be able to ride on a track as fast as Portimão. I will have to continue to work very hard on my own recovery, but I think we can look back on a successful first test, even though we still have a lot to learn about the bike and the tyres, which are new to me. I have learnt a lot in these first two days, I am starting to understand things better and I hope that at the next test in Australia I will be closer to the fastest guys. I am convinced that if we continue to work in the same way as the last two days, this is absolutely possible. I will now have a few days to rest and prepare for Australia in the best possible way.”
Kervin Bos, Ten Kate Racing Team Manager: “It was a fantastic two days of testing here in Portimão and it was nice to get to know Stefano [Manzi] and Jorge [Navarro] as our new riders for 2023. It was immediately clear to me that these are two riders with huge potential. Manzi was very fast from the first laps, while Navarro still needs some time to get up to speed, partly because of the thigh injury he suffered last October. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we can look forward to a good season with these two fast gentlemen.”
Ten Kate Racing will now prepare for the trip to Australia where the first round of the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship is scheduled for the weekend of 24-26 February. Before that happens, the team will complete a two-day test in the days before at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, the same circuit that will also host the opening round of the season a few days later.