The start of the new Superbike season is very close now, the countdown has begun, but before the traffic lights go out that usher in 2023, it’s time to warm up the engines one last time for two days of testing . As per tradition, we return to Phillip Island for the inaugural round, preceded by practice which will take place on Monday and Tuesday.
Last call for teams and riders, who are finalizing the details to be ready for the start of the season. The man to beat will undoubtedly be Alvaro Bautista, who will defend the title and already at the beginning of 2023 showed himself to be in decidedly good shape astride the Ducati. The Panigale V4R looks like a perfect machine in the hands of the Spaniard and Michael Ruben Rinaldi also started the year looking in excellent condition in the winter tests.
On the other hand, Axel Bassani is in a bit of trouble, and he still doesn’t seem to have found the right balance. Danilo Petrucci was also delayed during the winter, ready to make his debut in the production-derived world championship and returning to Phillip Island for the first time since 2019 (here the exclusive interview with Petrux). All eyes are on the two Italian Ducati standard bearers, who are eagerly awaited and will have a lot of work to do to be able to get closer to their brand mates.
Alvaro Bautista, Aruba.it Racing Ducati
Photo by: Circuit of Jerez
Toprak Razgatlioglu, on the other hand, will only have to fine-tune a few details in order to be a great rival of Bautista: the Turkish rider is ready to do battle and has already shown in the winter tests that he is in great shape, with a Yamaha that has taken a few steps forward . The Iwata-based company wants to bring back the title conquered in 2021 and will do everything to defeat its rival who currently seems unbeatable. But Razgatlioglu doesn’t hold back and already in the first match at Jerez and Portimao he showed himself to be combative.
The same goes for Jonathan Rea, who hasn’t eaten since 2020. The Northern Irishman wants to redeem himself from last season which was stingy with satisfaction and victories and in the January tests he showed that he wants to change course in 2023. Astride his Kawasaki, the six times world champion he will try to reach the seventh crown and break other records, but to do so he will need to have a vehicle that allows him to beat both Bautista and Razgatlioglu. And it is precisely on this that the team is working: Phillip Island will provide the latest and definitive answers.
Attention also to Honda, which has shown great growth with the confirmed couple formed by Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge. The two HRC standard bearers were satisfied at the end of the Jerez and Portimao tests and arrive at Phillip Island ready to confirm the good sensations ahead of the first round of the season. The two BMW riders arrive in Australia with more questions: Scott Redding and Michael van der Mark appeared less fit and more “dissatisfied” with the new M1000RR-R.
Also ready for action are the teams and riders of the Supersport world championship, which will start at Phillip Island just like the Superbike. Everyone is already in Australia and we’ll be back on track tomorrow. Below are the times for Monday and Tuesday (Italian time)
Monday 20 February
23:10-1:00 – WorldSSP Free Practice 1
1:10-3:10 – WorldSBK Free Practice 1
3:40-5:30 – WorldSSP Free Practice 2
5:40-7:49 – WorldSBK Free Practice 2
Tuesday February 21st
23:10-1:10 – WorldSBK Free Practice 1
1:20-3:10 – WorldSSP Free Practice 1
3:40-5:40 – WorldSBK Free Practice 2
5:50-7:40 – WorldSSP Free Practice 2
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