It was an action-packed Day 1 of the Official Test for World Superbikes, with many red flag stoppages and crashes from our top three of 2022.
It was a busy day for Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.It Racing – Ducati] on Day 1 of the Official Test at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which he hailed as “a day of comparing different set-ups”.
Running the new model 2023 Panigale V4 R this season, reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista has described the engine as more “linear and smooth” and after back-to-backing the old and new bikes during the pre-season winter test, both Ducati riders of Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi [Aruba.It Racing – Ducati] are now only running the 2023.
He said the engine in 2022 “was too strong and aggressive”, but now it’s a “step forward”. Speaking after Day 1 of the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round Official Test, Bautista said “The engine character is not more smooth, but more powerful from the beginning.”
Alvaro Bautista: “The bikes improve year by year. Last year, it was hard to have more RPM in the corner with the gas, because when I open the gas, it made a big difference between power and no power, but now it is easier because I can stay more calm and when I open the throttle, it more linear so it’s easier.”
Bautista finished out the day third in the combined standings, with his fastest time of a 1:30.808, just 0.134s behind Day 1 leader Toprak Razgatliogly [Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK].
Alvaro Bautista: “Today we wanted to again compare the different set up in the swingarm, and see if I felt the same as Portimao where I felt a bit better and more initial grip. But here on this track [Phillip Island Circuit], I’m not sure with this tyre, I didn’t feel different, I just felt worse with this set up that I used in Portimao. We are just working on the pace because at the end, especially in tracks like this one the pace is really important, so we are really focusing on that and I felt good. It will depend on the temperature, for the weekend it will be hotter and it will be more difficult so we have to work very well on the pace especially.”
“At the moment, the problem is not the life of the tyre because the tyres are very consistent for me, the problem is we have to make it perform more, that is more difficult. In Jerez and Portimao tests, I don’t compare to others because you don’t know what they are testing or which tyre they have so it’s difficult to make this comparison in the test.”
Bautista ended the day with the most number of laps completed at 88, despite a small crash in FP2 in Miller Corner. However, this didn’t seem to effect his pace towards the later half of the session where he put in his fastest time of the day.
CLICK HERE FOR DAY 1 FREE PRACTICE COMBINED TIMES