Alvaro Bautista had a great start to WorldSBK testing in Catalunya, taking the lead over Jonathan Rea by nearly two tenths.
The Catalunya WorldSBK test began in the same manner as the Misano WorldSBK test ten days previously, with GRT Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff establishing the fastest time.
The American, who has so far reverted to the form he showed as a rookie in 2020, set a time of 1:41.918s to take the lead at the halfway point.
On his route to the top, Bautista completed 82 laps while testing a swingarm on his Ducati Panigale V4 R, with the goal for Bautista’s side of the garage being to improve the overall package based on the Spanish rider’s feedback.
Using Pirelli’s SCX tyre, he lapped the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit four tenths faster than his nearest opponents, despite crashing at Turn 10, throwing down a marker with the 2022 season just a few weeks away.
On a solid day for the factory Ducati squad, Bautista’s teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished fourth as the Italian completed 65 laps with a top time of 1’41.360s.
Kawasaki was second in the standings, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes. Rea, a six-time World Champion, was testing the fins on the fuel tank that his teammate had previously used, as well as maybe beginning work on finetuning his ZX-10RR.
With 104 laps under his belt, he finished second with a fastest lap of 1’41.062s. With a few stuff to try in the afternoon, Lowes spent the morning trying to get back up to speed after not riding for seven weeks.
Lowes was six tenths of a second behind his partner, who had clocked 100 laps. The KRT duo had both clocked a century of laps for the day.
Although Gerloff led the morning session from start to finish, there was plenty of movement in between, with Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea, and Michael Rinaldi all spending time at the top.
Gerloff was quickly on the pace after his 2022 GRT Yamaha team launch on Thursday, indicating that the Texan might be a favorite for podium finishes in the first few rounds.
Kohta Nozane, his teammate, finished 14th after losing some time owing to an electrical problem earlier in the day. With fourth place, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) made it two Yamahas in the top five, with the Turkish rider looking to keep improving his electronics.
The reigning World Champion had a new exhaust installed on his bike, as well as new material under his seat, for the first time. Andrea Locatelli finished tenth, but his day was cut short 30 minutes before the checkered flag when he had a highside collision at Turn 4.
Despite barely resuming the action in the afternoon and having a collision at Turn 5 when he tucked the front, Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed eighth place on day one in Catalunya. Despite this, he managed to set a personal best lap time of 1’41.688s and complete 53 laps.
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was ninth after completing 90 circuits and clocking a best lap time of 1’41.719s, making him the final rider inside a second of Bautista’s mark. Iker Lecuona, a teammate, finished 12th with a fastest time of 1’42.125s, just missing out on a spot in the top ten.
BMW riders finished 10th and 11th in the standings, with Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) taking 10th after confirming certain settings on the electronics for the traction control plan. Scott Redding of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team finished 11th in his maiden test on BMW machinery at the Catalunya circuit, due to technical troubles early in the day.
WORLD SUPERBIKE TEST CATALUNYA-BARCELONA, SPAIN – FRIDAY RESULTS (FINAL)
|1||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Aruba.It Racing Ducati||1:40.824s|
|2||Jonathan Rea||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK||+0.238s|
|3||Garrett Gerloff||USA||GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team||+0.405s|
|4||Michael Rinaldi||ITA||Aruba.It Racing Ducati||+0.536s|
|5||Toprak Razgatlioglu||TUR||PATA Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK||+0.699s|
|6||Alex Lowes||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK||+0.840s|
|7||Lucas Mahias||FRA||Puccetti Kawasaki||+0.864s|
|8||Xavi Vierge||SPA||Team HRC WorldSBK||+0.895s|
|9||Andrea Locatelli||ITA||PATA Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK||+1.041s|
|10||Eugene Laverty||IRL||Bonovo Action BMW||+1.118s|
|11||Scott Redding||GBR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team||+1.189s|
|12||Iker Lecuona||SPA||Team HRC WorldSBK||+1.301s|
|13||Philipp Oettl||GER||GoEleven Ducati||+1.352s|
|14||Kohta Nozane||JPN||GRT Yamaha||+1.604s|
|15||Loris Baz||FRA||Bonovo Action BMW||+1.605s|
|16||Luca Bernardi||SM||Barni Spark Ducati Team||+2.247s|
|17||Ilya Mikhalchik||UKR||BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team||+2.801s|
|18||Oliver Konig||CZE||Orelac Racing Kawasaki||+3.402s|
|19||Loris Cresson||BEL||Pedercini Kawasaki||+4.439s|
|20||Hafizh Syahrin||MAL||MIE Honda Racing||+4.715s|