Jerez WSBK Test: Ducati Fastest But It's Not Who You Think ...
These just in from the Jerez WSBK Test
WSBK Media
WSBK Media:
There was no stopping rookie Nicolo Bulega at Jerez as he lapped in the 1’37s, finishing more than half-a-second clear of his rivals

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was once again the rider to beat at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto as he lapped considerably quicker than the lap record pace. The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship rookie was unstoppable on Thursday, as he was on Wednesday, as the only rider to lap in the 1’37s bracket across both days to claim top spot for the second consecutive day after he lapped around four tenths under the existing lap record and secure P1 by more than half-a-second.

LAP RECORD PACE: a 1’37.8s for Bulega, Bautista in 16th

Bulega recorded a 1’37.809s in the first few hours of the session, a time which would remain unbeaten throughout the day. For comparison, the pole lap record set in 2019 is a 1’38.247s, with Bulega more than four tenths quicker than this as the rookie’s potential was shown once again. Teammate Alvaro Bautista had been quick in the opening stages of the test but dropped down the order to finish in 16th, lapping in 1’39.583s, and completing 80 laps, losing places in the final hour of the test as other riders found late gains.

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), like fellow rookie Bulega, impressed again. He claimed fifth on his Independent V4 R, 0.935s down on Bulega, although his day was interrupted by a crash in the opening sector of the lap in the afternoon. Despite this, he completed 61 laps. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) ensured Ducati had four bikes in the top ten as he took P9 with a 1’38.907s. ‘Petrux’, who was again trying a new, lower, seat, completed 73 laps. There were two other Independent Ducatis on track. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) was seventh as he continued adapting from Moto2™ to WorldSBK with 91 laps to his name and a best time of 1’38.852s after finding gains towards the end of the day, while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) was 15th on his sole day of testing. He racked up 89 laps with a best time of 1’39.504s.

REA SECOND, GARDNER QUICK AGAIN: a good test for Yamaha

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was 0.536s down on Bulega’s best time at the end of Day 2. The #65’s 1’38.345s was only a tenth away from his own lap record from 2019 but wasn’t enough to claim P1 for Yamaha as he continued working on his new bike. Teammate Andrea Locatelli ensured both factory Yamahas were in the top ten as he added 73 laps to his total, with a best time of 1’38.943s. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) continued to show his speed as he took eighth, just a tenth behind Iannone, in P5 as he posted a best time of 1’38.871s, with Gardner re-confirming items tested on Day 1 with some back-to-back comparisons. Elsewhere, Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) was 12th after his first test days on the Yamaha YZF-R1, finding a second between his best time on Day 1. With another 58 laps recorded and a 1’39.039s as his best time, the German was one of the most-improved riders, looking at lap times, between days as his mileage on his new bike increased.

REDDING IN THE TOP THREE, RAZGATLIOGLU P4: showing BMW’s potential…

Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) put in a stunning late 1’38.572s to claim third place and demote Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to fourth. Redding completed 77 laps as he surged up the order in the final minutes of the day, while Razgatlioglu added another 78 to the collection for BMW. Razgatlioglu’s teammate, Michael van der Mark, was 13th with 76 laps to his name, posting a best time of 1’39.224s. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) secured P6 with a late lap to move up the order. The American’s best time was a 1’38.832s and he added 74 laps to his total. In terms of the BMW test team, Sylvain Guintoli and Bradley Smith added 56 and 48 laps respectively, with the latter having a technical issue in the early stages of the day.

LOWES THE LEAD KAWASAKI RIDER: P11 for the Brit as Bassani takes P14

After a disrupted day on Wednesday while unwell, completing only 31 laps, Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) took part in the full day on Thursday. He was one of the busiest riders on track as he completed 82 laps and posted a best of 1’38.989s. The #22 wanted to spend today focusing on race pace and used tyre performance, particularly towards the end of a race distance. Teammate Axel Bassani was three places and half-a-second behind Lowes, although his time of 1’39.413s was around six tenths quicker than he set on Day 1. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th on his factory ZX-10RR, completing 76 laps with a best time of 1’40.100s.

ANOTHER DIFFICULT DAY FOR HONDA? Vierge P16, Lecuona P19…

Day 1 was challenging for Honda with both Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and teammate Xavi Vierge both outside the top ten, and that continued on Day 2. Vierge was the lead Honda rider with a 1’39.915s and 73 laps completed while Lecuona posted a 1’40.237s in is 49 laps. Lecuona, who changed the bike a lot on Day 1 as it wasn’t working as expected, completed the fewest number of laps of the full-time WorldSBK riders at the test.

MANZI ON TOP: Italian leads the WorldSSP field, four manufacturers in the top four

2023 WorldSSP runner-up Stefano Manzi (Pata Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) took top spot in the World Supersport field with a 1’41.338s, completing 64 laps. He was three tenths clear of Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in second as he continues his comeback from arm surgery, while Adrian Huertas (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took P3. With Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in fourth, four different manufacturers were inside the top four at the end of Day 2.

The top ten from Day 2 at Jerez:

1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’37.809, 69 laps

2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.345s, 78 laps

3. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.572s, 77 laps

4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’38.638s, 78 laps

5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 1’38.744s, 61 laps

6. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.832s, 74 laps

7. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) 1’38,852s, 91 laps

8. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’38.871s, 76 laps

9. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 1’38.907s, 73 laps

10. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.943s, 73 laps
BMW:
Preparing for WorldSBK 2024: BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK teams complete intensive testing schedule at Jerez de la Frontera.


Jerez de la Frontera. Three teams, six BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory riders; the first test session of the year saw BMW Motorrad Motorsport kick off the critical phase of preparations for the 2024 season in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) with a big line-up. The official tests at Jerez de la Frontera (ESP) on Wednesday and Thursday not only featured the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team with Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) but also the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team with Garrett Gerloff (USA) and Scott Redding (GBR) on the circuit. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport Test Team was also in action with Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) and Bradley Smith (GBR).

The two days of testing in southern Spain also represented the first opportunity to go up against WorldSBK rivals, as all manufacturers were taking part. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK teams and the test team enjoyed good conditions at Jerez de la Frontera, with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. They were able to complete a comprehensive testing schedule. The focus was on set-up work in a range of areas such as chassis and electronics, as well as evaluating newly developed components.

A further two days of testing are scheduled for early next week at Portimão, Portugal. Phillip Island in Australia will be the location for final testing on 19th and 20th February. That will be followed by the season-opener there from 23rd to 25th February.

Quotes after the Jerez de la Frontera test.

Garrett Gerloff (#31 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “Overall, it was a good test. We were able to sort out a few problems that we had which is good. All in all it was just really nice to get on the bike again after two months of not riding and to finally do some laps. I am really excited to head to Portimão and keep trying to get faster. I feel like we have an idea of what we want to try and change at Portimão and then we should be good to go for the season. I am happy with this test, happy to reunite with my team and looking forward to riding again in a few days.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (#54 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “These two days of testing have been very positive for me, especially as I am still learning the bike on every lap and I am improving. Especially on these two days we have learnt a lot and we improved some things. We tried many new parts. Sometimes they worked well, sometimes not, but this is normal. We just try to find a good set-up and good parts. In general, it has been a very positive test. I did not expect to ride a 1:38 lap time. I’m very surprised because for me the bike is still new, I am still learning and usually my plan is to do a mid 1:39 maybe, but yesterday I started straight away with a 1:39 and I believe that I also could have made a 1:38 yesterday. Today I finally made it and I am very happy about it because I see the potential of the bike and this is very good for me. Now we keep working hard and we just need to find my set-up. And after that we will start fighting.”

Scott Redding (#45 BMW M 1000 RR, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team): “So, the first two days of testing this year are completed. On day one I was feeling pretty sick. It has been difficult but we have been able to do some laps and find some feeling with the bike. It was just about settling with the new team and blowing the cobwebs away. Coming into day two I felt a lot better and then we worked a lot with the bike to get my confidence and my feeling. We played a little bit with the set-up and tested a few new parts from BMW and I was reasonably happy with the steps that we made for my confidence on the bike. I am looking forward to Portimão next and see if the set-up also works on another circuit.”

Michael van der Mark (#60 BMW M 1000 RR, ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “It has been a busy test; two perfect days with amazing weather, so it was great for testing and I really enjoyed riding again. We’ve been trying to test a lot of different set-ups and different parts on the bike. They have been quite busy days but I really enjoyed it. We are still trying to improve the bike, and are getting better and better. Also myself, my riding has improved so I am quite happy with it. We learnt a lot and I’m looking forward to Portimão. It’s one of my favourite tracks so I can’t wait to go out there and keep working.”

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Ducati
Bulega in great form at Jerez (P1). Intense set up work for Bautista. Huertas does well in WorldSSP (P3)

The first two days of testing for the 2024 WorldSBK season concluded at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).
At the Angel Nieto Circuit, Nicolò Bulega proved to be already at ease on the Ducati Panigale V4R of the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team, finishing first on both Day 1 and Day 2 and setting an impressive chrono of 1'37.809, the fastest time ever set at the Angel Nieto Circuit by a World Superbike rider.

Extremely intense work by Bautista: for the first time, he was able to test the bike in the 2024 configuration, with the extra kilos of ballast required by the new regulations. The Spanish rider (still not at the top of his condition after the scary crash he was involved in during the previous winter test at Jerez) carried out extensive set-up work with his team, completing 149 laps in two days. The time of 1'39.583 (P17) is not indicative, as Bautista was one of the very few riders not taking to the track on a qualifying tire.

Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #11)
"I am happy because we took another step forward, even compared to yesterday, and the feeling has grown steadily. We worked well on the time attack and that means I was also able to improve on the qualifying tires. I think it was an important test and now we go to Portimao to continue on this path. Today's lap time? It doesn't change anything: I remain a rookie and my objectives are different to the top riders".

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
"I am satisfied because on Day 1, due to some pain, I didn’t get the best feeling; today things went better and this is undoubtedly a good sign. I can say that my condition has even improved. We worked a lot on the set-up, especially in light of the new regulations, and we got some important indications. We haven't tried a time attack but that wasn't the priority of this testing. I am looking forward to being at Portimao to continue on this path and to get further feedback on my condition".
Kawasaki
The opening test sessions of the new year took place between 24-25 January at the same venue that hosted the last 2023 tests, the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto. After two days of dry and often unseasonably warm conditions the refreshed KRT squad completed several important development and race set-up tasks as the start of the 2024 racing season itself approaches in just a month’s time.



On each day at Jerez the track was cool in the morning but soon warmed up in the bright sunshine, offering up largely consistent conditions to carry out the planned schedule of work.



Lowes had a tough opening day on track after suffering with a stomach bug but he recovered well enough to post 82 laps on the final day, with a best lap time of 1’38.989.



Newcomer to KRT this year, Axel Bassani, is still learning the finer points of his Ninja ZX-10RR as he grows into his role as a factory rider for the first time in his WorldSBK career.



Axel and his pit drew found improvements in ergonomics and overall set-up at this test, and gained valuable data in dry track conditions. He was 15th overall, with a best single lap time of 1’39.419.



Florian Marino, the team’s test rider, also set a few laps each day to help with the combined workload at this important point in the pre-season preparations.



Next up for the KRT squad will be another two day test, this time at the Autodromo internacional do Algarve in Portugal, between 29-30 January.



Soon after that test the official machines and race parts will be packed up and flown to Australia in readiness for the final official test sessions and then first round of the new season.



Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We had a good day of work today. We are trying to make the bike easier on used tyres, and that was our main focus. We lost a bit of performance on fresh tyres, but I think that’s what we need to do with our bike because we have always been really fast at qualifying and Superpole races, but we lack a bit when it comes to race distance. So we are trying to make the bike a bit easier. Honestly, it felt quite good today and because the conditions were consistent, everyone was fast. You always want to go better but after being sick yesterday, 82 laps was a decent day’s work. I am happy enough.”



Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “We tried a lot of things, a lot of set-up things and different tyres. We did a lot of jobs, and we started to understand what I needed to change and what I need to change in my riding style. The last part of today was good, and we began to improve. I think we did a good job, had a good test, and now we have a lot of data to help us go better at Portimao.”



Pere Riba (Crew Chief for Alex Lowes): “The test was very positive. I am happy with the result and happy with Alex. We have already done 1500km or so this winter and no one crashed, so we got very good information. We tested a lot of things and worked in many different areas, including the chassis and electronics. I am happy with the step we made in electronics. Most importantly we focused 100% with lap time stability to make the same lap time in the first lap and the last one. This is the target as this was our weakest point, and we made a good step. Alex is working very well and I am pleased. Now we go to Portimao and we will keep working.”



Marcel Duinker (Crew Chief for Axel Bassani): “It was good at this test, and I think everybody was ready to get back into action after an eight week break, which felt way too long this time. We had really nice weather in this test and after two tests in November, we had gathered a lot of information. The targets were very clear for his first January test. We ticked off all the items and we made some improvements on Axel’s riding position on the bike, and some changes on the geometry of the bike. We improved literally in every area. Alex Lowes is, of course, the reference on this bike. Our target is, at every single test, to come closer and closer and we reached that target at this test. We have a little bit of data to analyse at home and I am looking forward to Portimao.”
Honda
Team HRC preps for the 2024 WorldSBK Championship with a two-day test at Jerez

Team HRC has kicked off preparations for the upcoming 2024 Superbike World Championship with two days of testing at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain.

Benefiting from almost ideal weather conditions on both Wednesday and Thursday, with clear skies and mild temperatures for the time of year, factory riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge made the most of the track time, riding from 10.30am until 6.00pm.

The squad focused on identifying a solid base-setup for the new CBR1000RR-R. This involved testing a series of upgrades made to different areas of the machine, and building on the work completed in November when the bike made its debut outing at Jerez. In addition to this setup work, the team also tested the new E40 sustainable fuel, the use of which is part of the 2024 Superbike regulation, in order to gather data and insights.

Lecuona and Vierge made an impressive number of laps over the course of two intense days, further developing their understanding of the bike’s performance and potential as a result.

Team HRC now looks ahead to its next testing session at Portugal’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on 29-30 January, when the preparations for the upcoming racing season will continue.


Xavi Vierge 97

"I'm happy to be back working with my squad and all the members of my team. We’ve had two days of ideal weather conditions here in Jerez, which has allowed us to complete a lot of laps and get through a significant amount of work. It's true that we've had a little more difficulty than expected, especially during the traction phase, so one of our main goals here was to improve traction and grip. The overall feeling on the bike is quite good, but as soon as we close the throttle,we cannot exploit the power and have too much spin. We’ve made a number of adjustments to the bike setup and electronics, and now it will be crucial for the engineers to analyze all the data and come up with a solid plan for Portimão, so that we can quickly make progress.”

Iker Lecuona 7

“Over the winter I had a small surgery on my left hand, as I’d been having some issues last season, an after-effect of having broken my hand back in 2021. Although I’ve had to scale back my gym work a little, I’m almost 100% and am now training properly again; I feel strong physically but also mentally and was looking forward to getting on the bike yesterday. I see 2024 as being an important year for me, and so I want to do my best to be ready for it. I feel we've taken a step with the aero package, and the bike overall seems to work in a different way, thanks to updated electronics and the like, which helps us to improve in certain areas. Having said that, the bike is new, and we're still struggling with certain aspects. I wanted to find better front feeling this week, and we worked hard to achieve that but are not there yet. The next two days of testing at Portimão will be important,giving us the chance to understand how the bike feels at a completely different track and to establish the best possible base before we head to Phillip Island.”
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