PREVIEW: the big answers that Barcelona’s two-day WorldSBK test could hold

A few weeks on from a memorable MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season-opener, the engines will roar again – this time, for a two-day Supported Test – as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya welcomes WorldSBK machinery. Taking place on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th of March, the entire WorldSBK field will be in Spain as they look to continue strong form or forget a disappointing trip Down Under while everyone will want to prepare for the Pirelli Catalunya Round. Some questions were left unanswered after Australia – will the test provide answers or give a clue as to what to expect in the round?

FIRST CHANCE TO BOUNCE BACK: a crucial test coming for the field

After Australia proved tricky, some riders will hope to use this test to kickstart 2024 properly. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) had a disaster in Australia, scoring no points on his Yamaha debut and being declared unfit after a Race 2 crash. He’ll be back on track at the test and hoping to solve the chatter issues that plagued him Down Under. It’ll be a vital test for Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) and teammate Xavi Vierge too, after Honda struggled at Phillip Island. HRC have drafted in test rider Tetsuta Nagashima to help with their development, while PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team duo Tarran Mackenzie and Adam Norrodin will be present too.

TIME TO FIX TECH ISSUES? Important days for BMW

Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had a strong Australian Round but a technical issue in Race 2 showed there could be some vulnerabilities there – it was also an engine issue that halted Toprak’s first ever run with the bike at Portimao back in December. The two-day test gives BMW a chance to work on the issue and prevent a reoccurrence for the #54 as well as teammate Michael van der Mark, plus Bonovo Action BMW duo Garrett Gerloff and Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW). They’ll also have test team riders Sylvain Guintoli and Bradley Smith on track as they look to develop the M 1000 RR for both the round and the future.

AIMING TO CONTINUE STRONG FORM: on the front foot leaving Australia

Championship leader Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and current #2 in the title race Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) were the two winners Down Under and the Catalan Test will give them a chance to prepare for the round in the best possible way, while respective teammates Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) will feel they have a bit of work to do, with Bautista taking P2 in Race 2 in Australia. Kawasaki will also have test rider Florian Marino on track and Michele Pirro will test for the Racing – Ducati squad. Elsewhere, Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven), Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) were on the rostrum in Australia and will hope the test gives them a chance to repeat this feat in Barcelona. Expect Iannone to be fast in Barcelona, with ‘The Maniac’ always good in low-grip conditions historically.

COMPLETING THE FIELD: hoping to look good in Barcelona

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) and Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) both enjoyed a decent first outing with their new teams in Australia, and Catalunya is a circuit both know well. Rounding out the field will be four Yamaha riders with Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) preparing for only his second test of 2024 alongside teammate Remy Gardner while Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) and Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) aim to make a step after a challenging Australian Round. Yamaha are the only manufacturer to not have a test rider in Barcelona, with the others utilising extra rider resources to gather as much data as possible.

Watch every moment throughout 2024 LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED using the WorldSBK VideoPass!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *