WSBK: Barcelona-Catalunya Testing Kicks Off for Day 1
Five factory teams will participate in the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya testing event. The event will span two days this March 30-31 2023. The Catalunya test marks the first time the five manufacturers have been on track together since the Indonesian race. The teams will be on the hunt for forward steps and more progress on developing the bike for the next race at TT Circuit Assen set to occur April 21-23rd 2023. The majority of the World Superbike (WSBK) grid will be participating in the testing event which could be a good indication on pace for the next round and round 4 which will take place at this same circuit.
Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK rider Jonathan Rea hasn’t had the most ideal start to the WSBK season only securing one podium in 6 races. In an interview with WSBK Rea stated,
“I expected it to be tough, but not that tough,” begins Rea, after the MotorLand Aragon test. “It’s very hard because we need to improve but I don’t think it’s our reality. We got it wrong by not maximising our setup in both weekends. Phillip Island was a real curve ball, but I feel like we threw away a race win in the first race, but I had a shifter problem, so I had to manually shift up and down the gearbox all race, which took away a chance to fight for a win. Not that it’d change much about Sunday’s races, as again I had two riders up the inside of me at Turn 4 – Aegerter in the Superpole Race and Bassani in the long race, and that dictated my race. This concerned us as I was looking after my tyre and it was a strange situation, not something we expected.”
“Then, in Indonesia, we just got things wrong setup-wise, I don’t think it’s our true reality, but I know we need to improve. Right now, in WorldSBK, Ducati have a real strong package and their Independent bikes are at the front now and they’re fighting in the mix with the top five or six riders. Andrea Locatelli’s improved and so has my teammate Alex, so those top seven or eight riders are fast and if you don’t get away with Alvaro and Toprak, then you’re in that melee and if you’re struggling to pass already, then you can’t make progress anyway. That’s how it was in the first two rounds.”
“You can’t magically think, ‘f**k, what if I don’t win again?’, we really are a team fighting for the podium right now”
Other Rider Thoughts
Danilo Petrucci, season racer but WSBK newcomer will be using this testing event as a means to get more comfortable on the bike. Previously Danilo interview with WSBK and commented on his testing program for the 2023 season, “We have some tests before Assen, at the end of March in Barcelona. Two days of testing. I think we will have already the new fuel tank which is a little bit lower. At the moment, I’m still not 100% comfortable on the bike. My team and Ducati immediately provided something to let me be faster. At the moment, this is the main thing. We have other small issues, small things to try. I think this is the most important thing to let me be comfortable on the bike. I can be faster with this tank.”
Petrucci has yet to find a groove after making his transition from the MotorAmerica Superbike Championship to the WSBK. Barni Spark Racing Team are hopeful that Petrucci will be able to find a bit of chemistry with the changes on the bike and get back to his podium producing ways of the past.
Results from Day 1
Defending champion and riders championship leader Francesco Bautista is the fastest so far at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya testing event. Bautista set a 1’40.500s lap time to record the fastest time of the morning. His pace was 0.1s away from the lap record at the circuit. Aruba.it Ducati has started the season off with a statement securing 5 podiums with Bautista and 2 podiums with teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. They will look to build off of this early success to determine if this pace can be carried into round 3 at TT Assen. 2022 polesitter Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) was second after he posted a 1’41.276s lap time and he was around one tenth ahead of Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was third fastest on day one of testing.