LAP RECORD PACE SMASHED: Bulega vs Razgatlioglu in titanic closing testing minutes, Bautista crashes

The Supported Test for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field concluded on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a disrupted day due to overnight rain leaving the circuit damp. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) went a tenth under the existing lap record, as did Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in the final hour of the day to ensure he remained on top for yet another test day with the pair separated by almost nothing.

DUCATI ON TOP: lap record pace for Bulega, as Petrucci found something on softer tyres?

Bulega was once again under a lap record as he set a 1’40.172s to snatch top spot away from Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) initially, with the #9 running in P1 until Bulega usurped him with around 45 minutes left to go under the existing record of 1’40.264s set by his teammate last year in the Tissot Superpole session. Despite Petrucci’s strong pace, two technical problems earlier in the day as well as a crash when on course to improve his time disrupted the Barni Ducati rider’s plans. He was able to show impressive speed across a range of tyres, initially moving up to fourth on the standard SCX but with the new front tyre from Pirelli before he was usurped by Bulega. Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) put his Panigale V4 R in 16th place, more than a second back from ‘Bulegas’, while Michele Pirro, for the test team, was also inside the top ten. Bautista had a small crash at Turn 10 in the final stages of the day, with the left-hand corner catching a few riders out.

Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) was fourth and quick at yet another circuit; this time, one he hasn’t been to on a Superbike machine, although an issue at Turn 5 in the final half an hour impacted him. Despite this, he returned to the track afterwards and found time to claim P4, while Sam Lowes claimed seventh on another strong day for the rookie. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) was in tenth place, posting a 1’41.020s, with the #21 starting his test later than others as he waited for the track to dry up.

RAZGATLIOGLU P2 AS LEAD BMW: will the Turk be in the mix come the round?

Despite finishing just shy of top spot, Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the lead BMW rider, taking second place and, like Bulega, going under the lap record with a 1’40.199s and completing 75 laps. The #54 is still searching for more engine brake on his M 1000 RR machine, while he also compared two different swingarms today. Teammate Michael van der Mark was narrowly inside the top ten with the Dutchman attempting both a time attack and a race simulation on Day 2. Both Bonovo Action BMW riders finished outside the top ten, with Garrett Gerloff in 12th and Scott Redding in 17th.

REA IN THE TOP THREE: another strong day as Rea builds confidence again

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was quick on Day 1 and continued that on Day 2 with fifth place, setting a 1’40.772s and finishing only 0.6s off Bulega’s best time. With the test about allowing the #65 to re-find his confidence, it looks like he’ll be fighting at the sharp end at next week’s round. Teammate Andrea Locatelli, suffering pain in his knee from his Australia Race 2 highside, was inside the top six following a late improvement, despite a technical issue in the final couple of hours, but and less than a tenth off his teammate. It was a strong day for the GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team too, with Remy Gardner often inside the top five but dropping to P11 after his day concluded 30 minutes early and Dominique Aegerter in contention two places behind. Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) made progress from Day 1 as he climbed to 21st place, 2.1 seconds away from P1, with Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) the last of the Yamaha riders in 23rd.

TWO CRASHES FOR ALEX LOWES: on top at KRT despite a couple of tumbles

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was again Kawasaki’s top rider at the test, but his day was disrupted by two crashes. The first came at Turn 5 in the morning while the second was at Turn 10 in the afternoon; on this occasion, he was able to ride back to the pits. His best time was a 1’40.985s with 77 laps completed. On the other side of the box, Axel Bassani, still working with Marco Melandri during this test, was outside the top ten after setting a 1’41.551s and racking up 78 laps. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was just behind the #47 after the Spaniard spent Day 1 working on race simulations, with Rabat taking 18th place.

TRICKY FOR HONDA: outside the top ten, Lecuona ends day early

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was the lead Honda rider again on Day 2 of the test, with the Japanese manufacturer battling back from a difficult Day 1 where they had technical problems with both riders at the same time. Vierge finished in 19th place with a best time of 1’41.804s, while teammate Iker Lecuona was almost a second down on the #97. Next door at the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda outfit, Tarran Mackenzie worked with new crew chief Mick Shanley for the second day, after declaring Day 1 to be one of his most enjoyable and productive days. He was in 22nd place with a best time of 1’42.371s, while teammate Adam Norrodin was around 0.8s back from the Brit.

The top ten from Day 2 in Barcelona. Full Day 2 results HERE and combined results HERE:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) 1’40.172s

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.027s

3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.429s

4. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) +0.490s

5. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.600s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.676s

7. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) +0.772s

8. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.789s

9. Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.813s

10. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) +0.848s

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