News 21 Feb 2023

WorldSBK champion Bautista concludes pre-season quickest

GRT's Gardner completes two days testing at Phillip Island ninth overall.

Image: Supplied.

Reigning Superbike world champion Alvaro Bautista concluded pre-season testing quickest today at Phillip Island, lowering the benchmark to a 1m30.272s as GYTR GRT’s Remy Gardner was fifth fastest this afternoon and P9 at the conclusion of the two days.

Bautista ( Racing Ducati) showed a menacing pace over long runs in addition to his one-lap effort, with his fastest time coming in this morning’s session to lead Pata Yamaha Prometeon’s Andrea Locatelli.

Third fastest was Michael Rinaldi ( Racing Ducati), 0.229s from the defending champion as yesterday’s pace-setter Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon) finished P4 thanks to his best effort of 1m30.674s yesterday, with Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea completing the top five courtesy of a 1m30.716s set in the first session today.

An impressive late lap this afternoon by WorldSBK rookie Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha) saw the double Supersport world champion compete the two days sixth overall, ahead of Philipp Oettel (Team GoEleven, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), Gardner – who was second throughout much of this afternoon’s session –  and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing).

Image: Supplied.

In WorldSSP, Nicolo Bulega ( Racing Ducati) continued to set the standard, the Italian improving to a 1m32.781 in the final session in what was a warning shot fired at his competitors.

Bulega was the only rider in the 1m32s bracket, with Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Yamaha) again his nearest challenger, notching a 1m33.277s to equal his time from this morning. Kawasaki Puccetti Racing’s Can Oncu completed the test third quickest, making it three manufacturers inside the top three with a 1m33.406s.

Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) was P4, leading freshly-minted Barni Spark Racing Team rider Yari Montella, Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing Verdnatura) and Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) who narrowly missed the 1m33s bracket with a 1m34.005s.

Rounding out the top 10 were Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph), Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) and Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki).

With the pre-season now complete, round one of the 2023 Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) takes place this weekend between 24-26 February at the Phillip Island Circuit.