The early morning of Friday the 24th to Saturday the 25th starts the World Superbikethe championship in which Álvaro Bautista defends his title after his spectacular 2022. A year in which, based on victories (16 of 36) and regularity (31 podiums), avoiding controversies about minimum weights as some claim, it was dyed red ducatispecifically number 19, which this season will be number 1.
As champion, and the fastest of the pre-season tests, the Spaniard starts on the list of favourites, which they complete, of course. Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rhea. And you don’t have to take your eyes off Michael Ruben RinnaldiBaptist’s companion in Borgo Panigalewhich apparently in preseason training, aims to be close to the three tenors.
|Early morning Friday to Saturday||Early morning Saturday to Sunday|
|00:50 superbike FP3||00:30 Superbike Warm UP|
|02:25 SuperSport- Classification||00:55 SuperSport Warm UP|
|03:10 Superbike- Classification||03:00 Superbike Superpole Race|
|04:30 SuperSport – Race 1||04:30 SuperSport – Race 2|
|06:00 Superbike- Race 1||06:00 Superbike- Race 2|
The Bautista-Ducati pairing works. And wonderfully. The Spaniard wowed in 2019 in his first year in series spinoffs, with 11 straight wins with the Panigale. Then came a bad second part of the season that took him away from the title. Further from the crown he was in 2020 and 2021 with SlingAlthough the man from Talavera always indicates that these two seasons helped him grow as a pilot, to acquire more experience in the sbkunderstanding electronics, tires… in short, everything that involves the category.
By his side in the Ducati garage will be rinaldi, who is facing his third season in the official team of Aruba. The four podiums from last season are few and his objective is none other than to improve those results. He was 4th overall, behind ‘The Three Tenors’, but far behind them, 209 points behind Rea, 3rd. “I don’t think about it too much, I think race by race, session by session. Of course, my objective is to try to aspire to the title”, comments the Italian from Australia.
razgatlioglu gave up his throne to Bautista in 2022. A year earlier the Turk snatched the title from rhea and confirmed himself as one of the greatest talents in the category. During the winter at Yamaha they have worked to give more grip to the rear end and greater acceleration to the R1 that for the third consecutive year will share Turkish and Andrea Locatelli, brilliant in the Phillip Island test. “Everyone knows that my goal is to win as many races as possible. It is not easy, because all the riders are strong, but I am happy with the work that Yamaha and the team have done this winter”, explains the Turk, while the Italian adds: “We finished the season in a good way in Indonesia and AustraliaOf course I want to close the gap to the front and fight for the podium, and try to win.”
Jonathan Rhea faces its second season without the number 1 on the fairing of its Kawasaki, perhaps too long for the most successful rider in SBK history with six consecutive crowns between 2015 and 2020. “I think I have prepared very well off the track, and during the winter tests we have improved, which is very motivating . It’s nice to meet new people (in the garage) and that already brings a different sensation. I’m impatient to start. We have progressed with the bike and we are working hard to try to improve our feeling and results from last season”, says the Northern Irishman. For the purpose, in Kawasaki They hope to have an improved engine that will also give them better acceleration and maintain the good feeling with their chassis. “Last year I had pretty good speed, and I got some good results. I could see that I had the pace to be in the top three but as the race progressed, when the grip dropped, it was a bit more difficult for me. We have focused on this aspect”, comments alex lowesRhea’s partner.
bmwfourth in the classification, debuts decoration for its M 1000 RR and he maintains his pair of pilots, Michael Van der Mark and Scott Redding, the main agitator of the controversy of the minimum weight in SBK, in a clear allusion to the supposed advantages of Bautista due to his smaller size. In the technical section, aerodynamic renewal of the German motorcycle and change in the braking system, replacing its supplier Nissij with Brembo. The new M 1000 RR is completed with a new transmission and a new engine thanks to a concession. “The tests so far have been quite difficult, but there are definitely tracks that will suit our performance and I am convinced that we can repeat the podiums and, with a bit of luck, get some wins as well,” he predicts. Marc Bongersteam manager.
To end, Sling closed in 2022 the manufacturer’s classification to a point of bmw and with a podium (3rd) by Lecuona in race 2 of Assen as the best result of the year. The golden wing factory will once again have a Spanish duo, with the Valencian and Xavi Vierge like their pilots. The performance of the CBR1000RR is an unknown quantity, even for his team manager, leon camier: “I think that after a few races we will understand our bike and its potential a bit more, and we will see where we are. We’re pretty sure we’ve made a step up with our package. If it’s enough to fight for a Championship, or to fight for victories, we’ll see. If we compare ourselves with BMW, in the tests we have done so far I would say that we have overtaken them and that we have been stronger”.
As for the independents, two names focus the interest: Danilo Petrucci and Remy Gardner, two pilots with experience in MotoGP who venture into the derivatives of the series. The first comes to Barni Spark Racing Team after his year in Americawhile the second lands on the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team from MotoGP. Both have based their preseason on finding sensations with their frames and tires. Its performance, a priori, will be unknown. Such as Dominique Aegerter, double champion with yamaha in Supersport and that ‘ascends’ as a partner of the Australian. Here he will continue his duel with Lorenzo Baldasarri, one of his rivals in the intermediate class. “Without a doubt, it could be a good fight, and be the best rookies it’s a good goal. To be better than him in adapting to WorldSBK. Let’s see what happens, I have a lot of confidence”, comments the latter. There are more certainties with Axel Bassanifirst of the independents in 2022 with the Ducati del Motocorsawith which he achieved three podiums and the seventh overall.