These just in :
WSBK Press Czar:
P1 | Michael Ruben Rinaldi | Aruba.it Racing Team | 1’32.468s
“Today has been a positive day despite the crash after a few laps in FP1. I immediately felt good on the bike. It’s a strange track here because every session and every lap, the surface changes. There are not many motorcycle races here so there’s no rubber on the asphalt and outside the racing line is dirty, so you can’t make a mistake. From FP1 to FP2, we improved a lot the times and the feeling with the bike changed. I’m happy to be first but the conditions changed quickly, and I think it doesn’t really matter if we are first today. Tomorrow, we will come back to the track and maybe it’s a different story. We need to be calm, humble and try to do our best job.
For sure, it has been a positive Friday, but you cannot think Toprak or Jonny will not be there. They will be there for sure. During the winter tests, I think our team did a great job and our base is solid. The track changed a lot from FP1 to FP2 and tomorrow will be different. Maybe with more grip, we don’t know whether our bike is working better or not.”
Alvaro Bautista finished 0.029s behind his teammate in Friday’s running.
Toprak Razgatlioglu took third place with a best time of 1’32.625s, 0.157s behind Rinaldi.
Jonathan Rea was fourth 0.735s off Rinaldi’s fastest time.
Michael van der Mark was the lead BMW rider in fifth.
The opening day of MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action in Indonesia has come to an end and the order has left us all intrigued going into Saturday. Despite Ducati never having won at the circuit before, their pace from Australia has been carried to the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, as Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ended the day on top and led a factory Ducati 1-2, with teammate Alvaro Bautista second. It was a dry first day of action and with humidity high, although rain is forecast for parts of the weekend.
It was a strong start for Ducati and particularly Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who, having topped FP1 despite a Turn 10 crash, repeated the achievement in FP2 although this time, without a tumble. Rinaldi continued his strong showing from Phillip Island and with a Friday clean-sweep and a Ducati 1-2 but in reverse order to Australia, the Bologna bullets may be the ones to beat. Reigning World Champion Bautista set strong lap times throughout the course of the session, despite suffering a Turn 1 crash. After a brief stint in the box, Bautista went back out on track and improved his time, although not enough to overthrow his teammate.
Doing a 16-lap run but returning to the box and stating that he was struggling to turn into the left-hand corners, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) went for a time attack in the closing stages of the session and placed third. Back in the mix after a Sunday to forget in Australia, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) kept his powder dry on day one, opting not to go out in FP1 until the final 17 minutes as the track cleaned up and rubbered in. Rea was in the mix throughout the session and was right behind the Ducatis for most of it, on his way to P4 overall.
It was a late burst up the order for Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), with the Dutchman just less than three quarters of a second away from Rinaldi’s top time. The #60 was only 0.010s behind Rea directly ahead of him in fourth, as he showcased the BMW M 1000 RR’s potential at Mandalika, a circuit where it’s been on the podium – back in 2021 in the wet with van der Mark.
WorldSBK action resumes on Saturday with FP3 from 08:30 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole at 10:40 and Race 1 at 13:30.
COMPLEX START TO ROUND TWO
The Mandalika International Street Circuit is the host venue for the second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship and after the first day of action KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes sit fourth and seventh fastest respectively.
The track surface at the 4.3km long Mandalika circuit proved to be very dirty and ‘green’, due to lack of use and the circuits location so close to the seaside on the Island of Lombok.
It took some time for the grip levels to increase on the narrow racing line during Free Practice One, meaning Rea left it until the later stages of the first 45-minute track session to venture out and start the important work of finding an optimum race set-up.
Jonathan eventually finished up fourth fastest from all 22 riders, but he and his technical crew now have to find the best possible chassis set-up to make sure that his race tyres, particularly the fronts, can offer up competitive grip across full race distance.
Lowes also found the circuit conditions difficult to work with, especially as the grip levels changed as the day went on. Alex experienced some chatter during the afternoon session, but at times took the chance to stay out on track on a used tyre to try and find set-up improvements when he faces real race conditions.
The weekend action continues on Saturday 4 March with FP3, Tissot-Superpole qualifying and then the first full 22-lap race, which takes place at 13.30 local time in Lombok. Sunday 5 March will feature the always intense Superpole Race and then a second and final full distance Race Two.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The track has no rubber down and is so dirty, so the first session was a disaster. Because of the tyre allocation we just had to be conservative. I chose to only ride the last part of FP1 and even then with our normal preferred front race tyre, we destroyed it. In FP2 we focused with a different weight balance of the bike, trying to take weight out of the front to save the front tyre. I think front tyres are going to determine the race outcomes. In comparison to last year, so we are focusing to improve in this area a little bit, but where our bike makes the time is in trail braking and corner entry. And if we don’t have a stable front, then it is so difficult. So we focusing to improve in that area tomorrow. Of course, I expect the track to be better tomorrow. There will be more rubber down and the track will be cleaner, which will help with front tyre life.”
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The track surface changed so much here over the sessions it is a little bit hard to chase a set-up. The track changes about a second a lap between each session, which will be of more effect than any set-up change you can do on the bike. But, we tried something a little bit different due to the lack of grip, to try to not force the tyres as much. If you get a little bit off line here, it is like the track can’t take it. That was causing me quite a lot of chatter this afternoon, but apart from the chatter, I tried the hard tyre option to start with, did bit of a longer run, then I tried an SCX. That dropped off a bit too fast for me. Apart from that, I didn’t feel too bad, to be honest. Better than I did here in November. We just have a little bit of work to do to piece it together and see what the conditions are like on Saturday.”
Rd. 02 – Indonesian Round
WorldSBK 2023 Round 02
Vierge focuses on race pace at Mandalika, Lecuona bounces back after a crash in FP1
Team HRC is on track at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia for round two of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, which comes just a week after the season-opener in Australia.
The action got underway at 10am local time (CET+7) with the first free practice session. Xavi Vierge made excellent progress throughout the course of the 45-minute practice, working systematically on the setup of his CBR1000RR-R together with his team. His fastest time, a 1’34.838, came in the final minutes and was enough to see him place a very strong fifth. Lecuona meanwhile had a less than fortunate start, crashing at turn 16 in the opening stages, which meant that he subsequently lost the rest of FP1.
Despite the hotter conditions (air temp. 33°C, track temp. 52°C), lap times were quicker across the Superbike field in the afternoon’s second practice. Having already set a very fast time in FP1 and demonstrating a consistently fast pace, Vierge was nevertheless able to shave off another second, setting a 1’33.793 that saw him move up to eleventh in the day’s combined standings. Lecuona worked to build confidence at a track he has little to no experience of, having been forced to sit out last year’s event due to injury. A best of 1’34.452 for Iker, set in the final stages, meant a seventeenth-place finish in Friday’s aggregate results.
“I’m happy with how today has gone, not least because I’ve got back that good feeling with my bike. We worked really well today and focused mainly on race pace, trying to find the speed that we were lacking to some extent in Australia. I think we did that and have done a good job today. Our pace is quite strong and the changes we made to the bike throughout the day’s sessions gave me the confidence to be able to push and improve. I want to say a big thank you to the team as they have worked really hard, just as they did in Australia, to solve the issue we had, and this meant that our confidence levels were better right from the start of this morning’s first practice. It’s a real pleasure to be back here at Mandalika, and the track conditions are better than they were last year, which is good, so we will keep working to improve our lap times and get ready for tomorrow’s Superpole and first race.”
Iker Lecuona 7
“Soon into FP1, I had a highside through turn 16, similar to my crash of last year but fortunately I wasn’t seriously injured this time, just a few aches and pains. This knocked my confidence to be honest, as we had started quite calmly and I didn’t expect a crash during my first exit, and so I then used FP2 to try to get back into the right mental space to be able to ride. A big thanks to the team for all their hard work in repairing the bike in time for the second session, and to Leon (Camier) and Kuwata san and everyone in the team who supported me and didn’t put any pressure on me and tried to give me good energy. In FP2 we did our best to work methodically and take things step by step, focusing on improving our feeling and we did that a bit, but a lack of grip at the rear meant I actually went down again through turn 10. So not an easy start to the weekend and a tough moment for me mentally speaking, particularly considering what happened here last year. I’m also a little depleted physically after suffering with some gastrointestinal problems over the last couple of days. Anyway, now we need to check the data and understand what happened and what can we do to move forward tomorrow.”
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Focus on Competitive Race Pace in Indonesia
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli were two of the very few WorldSBK riders to complete consistent race simulations in Friday Free Practice at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia today.
The pair had a clear focus on preparation for the gruelling conditions for both man and machine that they will face on the island of Lombok – including track temperatures pushing towards 60 degrees Celsius – during the second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend.
Razgatlıoğlu made three very quick lap times in the closing minutes of Free Practice 2 to finish third in the combined standings, after his crew diagnosed a small problem with vibration found during the last long run. Teammate Locatelli focused solely on race pace and finished the day eighth overall, happy with the work completed and his potential for tomorrow.
The Indonesian Round’s special race schedule continues tomorrow, with a very early Free Practice 3 taking place at 8:30 local time (UTC+8), Superpole at 10:40 to determine grid position and Race 1 from 13:30.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P3 – 1’32.625
“For me it was a good start, especially after Phillip Island – now I am feeling much better on my R1. Today I try a race simulation, also I am feeling just a small problem with vibration but the good thing is we understand what it is. After this I did a very good lap time – even though I went wide on two corners! With new tyres the feeling is incredible, with good grip and turning. I had one mistake, almost crash in Turn 2 because the rear was sliding a lot and I went wide – but all ok. Now I am happy, everything is nearly ready and I am just waiting for the race, to fight for the win! We will see tomorrow, the race is always difficult because everybody is strong – I will try my best.”
Andrea Locatelli: P8 – 1’33.545
“In the end it was another positive Friday for us because we did a lot of work and I think we understand very well what we can do for tomorrow. The feeling on the track was not so bad, I think we’re working well during FP2 on the long run and race simulation – we didn’t try to do just one fast lap, this was not our focus. So basically, we have a really good feeling on the bike and for sure tomorrow we can learn and improve a little bit more on the outright lap time. In general I am happy, I think we can try to be fast and fight – especially in Race 1 and then we will see.”
Super Friday in Indonesia with Rinaldi first in both FP1 and FP2. Bautista second in the overall. Bulega also on top in WorldSSP
Free practices for the Indonesian Round, the second leg of the 2023 WorldSBK season, ended in the best possible way for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team thanks to Michael Rinaldi and Alvaro Bautista who finished P1 and P2 respectively in the combined standings.
Michael Rinaldi was immediately at ease at the Mandalika circuit and despite a crash without consequences, he closed FP1 in first place. In the afternoon the track conditions improved considerably and the Italian rider lowered his time by more than two seconds, confirming himself as the fastest rider on track.
After finishing third in the morning session, Alvaro Bautista found more confidence in the afternoon. The Spanish rider also made a small mistake which forced him to return to the pits, but in the final stages of FP2 he pushed hard, finishing 29 thousandths behind his team-mate.
P1 – Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21) 1’32.448
“It was definitely a positive day. Right from this morning the feeling was very good even if I crashed after just two laps. Thanks to the team’s work, though, I was able to get right back on track without losing feeling with the bike. This is a particular track: despite the very good asphalt, the lack of rubber is evident and off the line, it’s easy to end up on the dirt making a mistake. Therefore, it’s important to be very careful, especially in the first few laps. Very satisfying sessions, I repeat, but concentration must stay high”.
P2 – Alvaro Bautista ( aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1) 1’32.497, +0.029
“It wasn’t an easy Friday, also because the track wasn’t in ideal condition in FP1. In the afternoon we worked on the set-up mainly to try and solve the problems we experienced last November. I must say that the work done with the team paid off and I am satisfied with that. I regret having made a mistake that caused the crash. We still have to figure out which tyre to use tomorrow in Race 1. We will decide after tomorrow’s FP3”.
Extremely good Friday for Nicolò Bulega, who finished first in both FP1 and FP2.
P1 – Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11) 1’36.705
“We finished on top in both sessions but the feeling was very different from what we had in Australia. It’s clear that the asphalt conditions were difficult for everyone, especially in FP1 when we were the first to get on track. Anyway, I am satisfied because the feeling with the bike wasn’t bad at all. Tomorrow we’ll definitely find a better circuit and try to improve further.