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WorldSBK points leader Lowes “excited” for Catalunya

Gold and Goose

Following on from a dramatic opening round of the 2024 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, the series will head to Barcelona for round two - but not before a pre-event test.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya could hardly be more different than the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The latter had been recently resurfaced when WorldSBK headed there last month, meaning there was a lot of grip to be found - so much, in fact, that Pirelli decided its tyres couldn’t make it, and enforced a mandatory maximum of 11 laps for one rear tyre. Barcelona, on the other hand, is extremely low-grip, meaning that the riders have to ride to the limit of the track, rather than of themselves or their motorcycle.

Alex Lowes, Alvaro Bautista, 2024 Australian WorldSBK Race 2. Credit: Gold and Goose.

In recent years, it’s a circuit which has been ruled by Alvaro Bautista and Ducati. The #19 won all three races in 2022, and repeated that last year - all six races won in immaculate domination.


For Kawasaki, on the other hand, Barcelona has proven more of a struggle. It has taken only two podium finishes in the last two years at Barcelona, both third places - one for Alex Lowes in the 2022 Superpole Race, and one for Jonathan Rea in last year’s Race 1.

The problem Kawasaki has encountered at Catalunya is the combination of the low-grip track surface with typically high track temperatures, both of which have exposed the ZX-10RR’s propensity to over-work the rear tyre in recent years.

Alex Lowes, 2024 Australian WorldSBK. Credit: Gold and Goose.

Ahead of the test, which will take place on 14-15 March, Alex Lowes - who leads the WorldSBK riders’ standings after round one - said: “Our target for the test is to keep working on both the performance and race pace of the bike, while keeping our grip for longer than we could last year with both front and rear tyres.

“Montmeló itself has a layout that I really enjoy and being close to the team’s workshop, it’s like a second home race. I’m excited to get back together with the crew after a couple of weeks at home, have some fun and see if we can improve our package ready for the Barcelona - Catalunya races the week after.”

Axel Bassani, Scott Reddinfg, 2024 Australian WorldSBK. Credit: Gold and Goose.

The second factory Kawasaki rider, new-for-2024 signing Axel Bassani, added: “After the first race weekend of the season for sure the confidence with the bike will be better at this test. We have a lot of work to do and we will try to find a better set-up for race weekend.

“We also hope to have consistent track conditions all the way through. We have some new ideas to try and we will see how they work. I am happy to have two more days to test on track with KRT shortly before their home race weekend. It will be important to do a good job and have good results. We will try to enjoy it and push as much as possible to reach our goals.”

Jonathan Rea, 2024 Australian WorldSBK Race 2. Credit: Gold and Goose.

Perhaps the rider for whom the Barcelona test will be most important is Jonathan Rea, after struggling throughout the Phillip Island test and the Australian Round itself with rear chatter. Typically, chatter is created through grip (hence it was an issue for many riders at last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix), and so any progress made by Rea at this week’s Barcelona test will have to be confirmed at other circuits.

The WorldSBK Catalan Round will take place at the end of this month, on 22-24 March.

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