OFFICIAL TEST – Bautista fastest in FP3 with a Ducati-Yamaha-Ducati top three
Day 2 of the Official Test got underway this morning, with World Superbikes first out on track at 9.10am (AEDST) to commence today’s proceedings with a two-hour FP3 session.
Firing off a quick lap early on was Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) who took no time settling. Rinaldi was the first rider to dip into the 1:30s time bracket in the first eight-minutes of the two-hour session, with a 1:30.792, just shy of his fastest time set yesterday. Rinaldi further improved his best time to a 1:30.501 to finish FP3 in third position in a Ducati-Yamaha-Ducati top three.
Rinaldi still coming to terms with the 2023 Ducati Panigale V4 R, he mentioned he is seeing a difference: “In the morning, I was surprised with the feeling but I understand it was the tyre that doesn’t work very good. As soon as I put the right tyre in, the good feeling came back. I am feeling stronger than last year.”
The next rider to dip into the 1:30s bracket was reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.It Racing – Ducati], who managed to find an extra five-tenths from his best time in FP2 yesterday, with a 1:30.272. This time jumped him up to the top of timesheets, relegating his teammate Rinaldi down the order.
In a nice change from yesterday with the session far less disrupted with red flags, a late crash from Xavi Vierge [Team HRC] caused a red flag which halted the session for approximately ten-minutes.
Andrea Locatelli [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK] also found additional pace in FP3, rounding out the session in second with a marginal 0.072s gap to Bautista.
Jonathan Rea [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK] improved ever so slightly, but speaking in yesterday’s media debrief, says he is just chasing more time: “Time, all we need is time. The guys in the box electronic wise are doing a good job to make the bike quite rideable but it’s just time you know, everything is new and it takes time to set up especially the power character which is a little bit different, we will just work through that.”
The top six from FP1, full results here:
- Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’30.272s
- Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) + 0.072s
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.229s
- Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.444s
- Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.485s
- Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) +0.566s
Tuesday, 21st February
09:10-11:10 – WorldSBK Free Practice 1
11:20-13:10 – WorldSSP Free Practice 1
13:40-15:40 – WorldSBK Free Practice 2
15:50-17:40 – WorldSSP Free Practice 2