The first of two days of testing for the majority of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field concluded with rain interrupting the final part of the day at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was under lap record pace in the morning as he used Pirelli’s SCQ tyre to edge closer to the 1’32s bracket, with Bautista finishing ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) whose day was disrupted by a Turn 3 crash in the morning session.
DUCATI ON TOP: Bautista on lap record pace
Reigning Champion Bautista led the way on Day 1 as he set a lap time faster than the existing all-time lap record after posting a 1’33.035s in the closing stages of the morning session while using Pirelli’s SCQ tyre, with his time around three tenths faster than his own lap record set in last year’s Tissot Superpole session. Bautista’s opening day, where he completed 87 laps including 64 in the morning, was spent working on the bike with new their rpm limit as well as looking ahead to the Emilia-Romagna Round. Teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi took third spot on Day 1, 0.673s behind his teammate, as he worked on a setup comparison using setups from Mandalika and Barcelona as he completed 90 laps.
In terms of Independent Ducatis, two appeared in the top ten as Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) claimed sixth spot, 1.350s down on Bautista, and Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) completed the top ten. Bassani’s main focus for the test is to look at tyre consumption after struggling in Barcelona, while Oettl was hoping to find some rear grip as well as improving the overall feeling of his Panigale V4 R as he mostly looked at the settings of his machine. From WorldSSP, Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) was the only rider on track and he posted a 1’37.010s to go under the all-time lap record in WorldSSP at Misano. However, he did crash at Turn 13 in the morning with Bulega completing no running after the crash.
SWINGARM EVOLUTIONS AT YAMAHA: Razgatlioglu second despite crash
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) took second spot after posting a 1’33.545s in the morning session on the SCX tyre, around half-a-second down on Bautista. Razgatlioglu had a small crash at Turn 3 in the morning on old tyres, but returned to the pits on his bike, while he had a focus on swingarms and linkage that had already been tested before but with modifications. He completed 92 laps on Day 1. Teammate Andrea Locatelli took 13th place on Day 1 after posting a 1’34.800s, with Locatelli finishing as the third-fastest Yamaha and completing 51 laps on Thursday.
Rookie Lorenzo Baldassarri (GMT94 Yamaha) finished the day as the second fastest Yamaha in 12th place, 0.009s faster than Locatelli as he set a 1’34.789s. The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team duo were on track with Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner with the pair in 15th and 16th respectively, separated by around half-a-tenth. The pair racked up 174 laps between them, with Aegerter on 84 and Gardner on 90.
CHANGES AT HONDA: new swingarms on show
The Misano test is an important one for Team HRC with riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge testing two variations of a new swingarm in order to test the direction. Vierge was the fastest rider on Day 1 out of the two after he completed 87 laps and took fourth place with a 1’34.043s, when he used the SCQ tyre, while Lecuona completed 65 laps. His best time was a 1’34.602s to put him in eighth place, ensuring both Hondas finished in the top ten.
The PETRONAS MIE Racing HONDA Team were also on track but with one rider. With Eric Granado and Hafizh Syahrin recovering from crashes at the Catalunya Round, the team opted to bring in Tarran Mackenzie, from their WorldSSP team, for the test. He finished last of the WorldSBK riders after posting a 1’37.606s as his best lap on his first time with the Honda CBR1000RR-R, completing 60 laps.
SYKES RETURNS: strong pace shown by BMW
The headline at BMW was the return of Tom Sykes (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to BMW to temporarily replace BMW. His programme did not involve new parts but running the bike he finished the 2021 campaign with to compare it to the 2023 machine. Sykes was seventh at the end of the day after setting a 1’34.416s and completing 61 laps. Teammate Scott Redding had two variations of a swingarm to use, as well as a chassis, and he finished in 11th place with a 1’34.637s with 82 laps record.
Bonovo Action BMW were also on track with Garrett Gerloff and Loris Baz with Gerloff finishing inside the top five while Baz’s day was disrupted by a crash. American star Gerloff completed 61 laps on his way to fifth place and he set a best time of 1’34.345, around 1.3 seconds down on Bautista, but did have a technical issue in the closing stages of the day. Baz was in 18th place after his crash, completing 45 laps and setting a 1’35.543s.
ONE KAWASAKI RIDER ON DAY 1: Mahias back in WorldSBK
The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK opted to run a slimmed-down approach to this test with test rider Florian Marino riding in place of riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes. However, the team opted not to run on Day 1. This meant Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), returning to the team following Sykes’ departure, was the only Kawasaki rider on track. He posted a 1’36.560s to take 19th place with 53 laps completed.
The top six following Day 1:
1 Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’33.035s, 87 laps
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.510s, 92 laps
3. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.673s, 90 laps
4. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) +1.008s, 87 laps
5. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +1.310s, 61 laps
6. Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) +1.350s, 64 laps
- From WorldSBK.com