BARCELONA BRILLIANCE: first podiums, breaking records, and surprises from Catalunya’s short WorldSBK history

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya might be a relatively new addition to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship calendar, but it’s consistently provided moments of brilliance and unforgettable action across WorldSBK, WorldSSP and WorldSSP300. There’s been a host of surprises in the four previous Catalunya Rounds, and lots of action to go with it, as the Spanish venue became an instant classic on the calendar.

GERLOFF’S FIRST PODIUM: a breakthrough weekend for the #31

In his rookie season, Garrett Gerloff, then with GRT Yamaha, had been improving and making steps with every round but the rostrum remained elusive. That was until WorldSBK’s first visit to Barcelona in 2020, when the Texan stunned to take third in Race 2, fighting with Michael van der Mark for the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team with the Dutchman coming out on top by a tenth. It kickstarted a run of three podiums at the end of the season, while his last podium to date came in Race 1 at this venue in 2022.


Like Gerloff, Axel Bassani, then racing for Motocorsa Racing, took his maiden podium in Barcelona. He was second in Race 1 in 2021, fighting for the win against Toprak Razgatlioglu when he was with the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team. The #54 – showing strong wet-weather prowess for one of the first times – had a technical issue which dropped him out of contention, allowing Bassani to lead and fight for victory. He was denied a maiden win but came home in second place for his first of six rostrums so far.

LECUONA STORMS TO POLE: unexpected top spot in Superpole

In his debut season, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) showed strong pace in Tissot Superpole sessions and races, but it didn’t always come together. A podium at Assen was the highlight in racing, but home soil was the scene of his best Superpole result. He beat Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) by just 0.023s to claim his first pole position in WorldSBK, and Honda’s first since van der Mark at Buriram in 2016.

HISTORY MADE: Verdoia masters wet-weather conditions for victory

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has a history of throwing up surprises, and Race 1 in WorldSSP in 2020 was no exception. It had looked like another Andrea Locatelli victory was coming, but a mid-race downpour changed everything. Plenty of riders dived into the pits to change to wet weather tyres, but a few riders didn’t. One of these was Andy Verdoia, who remained on track until the red flags were shown to claim his first, and only, win in WorldSSP and becoming the youngest ever winner in the Championship.

NOTHING IN IT: 0.003s separate the top two…

The run to the line in Barcelona allows plenty of close finishes and this was proved in WorldSSP300 in Race 2 in 2021. At the time, it was the closest finish in the Championship’s history although it’s since been beaten; somewhat ironically, it’s the same rider who finished second in both. Bahattin Sofuoglu and Alvaro Diaz created history in 2021 when they crossed the line only 0.003s apart after an incredible race.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: stunning moves and unexpected results

Back in 2020, van der Mark claimed his final Yamaha win with victory in the Tissot Superpole Race ahead of Jonathan Rea when he was at KRT while, in Race 2, it was Chaz Davies’ penultimate win in WorldSBK when he beat the #60 by around 2.5 seconds. In WorldSSP, Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) claimed his first win here last year and he’s the only Barcelona winner on the 2024 grid. For WorldSSP300, it wouldn’t be possible to ignore Yuta Okaya’s two stunning final corner passes – in 2020 and 2022 – to claim his only wins in the Championship.

What surprises will Barcelona bring in 2024? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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