The 2023 World Superbike season is at a standstill for the usual break at the start of the championship, as per the pre-covid tradition. But, while waiting to get back on track at the end of April for the Assen round, the riders and teams are not sitting idle and have flown to Barcelona to carry out two days of collective testing. Once again, Alvaro Bautista is the protagonist, who after winning five of the six races held so far, dominated the timesheets on the first day of practice.
The Ducati rider set the best time in 1’40”500, approaching the circuit record and slipping a full two tenths off an excellent Iker Lecuona, who takes the Honda to second position. The Spaniard stays behind his compatriot and reigning world champion but demonstrates once again that the great work at Honda is slowly bearing fruit for him. Specifically, Lecuona worked today on an exhaust and a reinforced frame.
The Honda rider is sandwiched between the two official Ducatis: while Bautista is in first position, the third time is the prerogative of Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who pays almost half a second behind the day’s leader and teammate. However, the spark on the first day of testing on the Catalan track belongs to Garrett Gerloff, who manages to bring the BMW into the first four positions despite accusing almost seven tenths of a second from Bautista. The American is also the best of the independent riders on Day 1 and precedes the other Honda of Xavi Vierge, fifth.
Difficult day for Toprak Razgatlioglu, who doesn’t go beyond the sixth final time. The Turkish rider is the best of the Yamaha riders, but he is the protagonist of a crash in the morning session which conditions him and leads him to pay almost a second off the lead, occupied by his direct rival in the championship. He chases his teammate Andrea Locatelli, eighth with the other factory R1. Between the two is Remy Gardner, seventh with the Yamaha of the GRT team.
Closing the top 10 we find an excellent Dominique Aegerter, who with the ninth time manages to bring both R1s of the GRT team into the top ten positions, and Michael van der Mark, tenth with the factory BMW. Scott Redding follows, 11th with the other BMW. The Briton stays ahead of Danilo Petrucci, who with the Ducati of the Barni team does not go beyond the 12th time. Great difficulty also for Axel Bassani, who is only 13th with the Panigale V4R of the Motocorsa team. Kawasaki absent from today’s timesheets because he saved a day, having already ridden in Aragon last week. He will take to the track tomorrow with Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes.
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