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Bautista in “a little bit of difficulty” after Barcelona WorldSBK test

Gold and Goose

A visit to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the WorldSBK field ahead of the second round of the 2024 championship was a mixed one for reigning champion Alvaro Bautista.

The Spaniard ended the first day of the Barcelona test third-fastest, behind his rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega and 2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, but the second day saw him languishing further down the order as the 17th-fastest rider.

Alvaro Bautista, 2024 Australian WorldSBK. Credit: Gold and Goose.

It meant a mixture of emotions for the two-time WorldSBK Champion, because, while his physical condition is almost fully recovered after his testing crash last year, his feeling with the Panigale V4 R still has margin for improvement.


"On the one hand,” Bautista said after the second day of the test, “I am really happy because I feel that my physical condition is returning to its highest level. At the same time, however, today things didn't go as I hoped because I couldn't make progress in terms of feeling.”

Bautista explained that generating grip on the notoriously low-grip surface at Barcelona was a particular issue. “I had a little bit of difficulty in finding the right grip to allow me to push to the maximum of my possibilities,” he said. “We will study the data over the next few days to understand what happened and I'm sure we will be back in Barcelona next Friday with the solution.”

Nicolo Bulega, 2024 Australian WorldSBK. Credit: Gold and Goose.

Bautista’s factory Ducati teammate, the aforementioned Nicolo Bulega, on the other hand, had two strong days in Catalunya. Fastest on Day 1, he lowered his time by over one-tenth-of-a-second on Day 2 to beat BMW’s Razgatlioglu and complete a sweep of the test.

"We are on the right path,” Bulega said. “Together with the team, we have done a very effective job as always. We've worked hard on tyre choice and setup and I think the indications we got will be beneficial ahead of next weekend.

“The feeling with the bike was very good and this is confirmed by both the race pace and the time attack times. It is clear that we still have work to do to fix details that could take us a step forward, but the result of these tests is undoubtedly positive.”

The 2024 World Superbike Championship will resume next week on 22-24 March at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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