WSBK & WSSP Riders Head To Portimao For Testing

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In the countdown to the April season start, winter tests in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship are in full swing, with the Algarve track at Portugal’s Portimao to host this week’s two-day test (Feb 8 and 9). 

Oli Bayliss will finally jump into international racing today as he heads out for the WorldSSP test at Portimao...
Oli Bayliss will finally jump into international racing today as he heads out for the WorldSSP test at Portimao…

Organised by Ducati, the test will feature teams from both WorldSBK and WorldSSP including new bikes and returning manufacturers in the latter. Track time in Portugal will be between 10am and 5pm GMT/Local Time, with seven hours on-track each day.

Three of the five WorldSBK factory squads head to Portimao, including the first appearance of Pata Yamaha and their reigning world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu and teammate Andrea Locatelli.

"Pata Yamaha will be joined by Kawasaki Racing Team of deposed champ Jonathan Rea and team-mate Alex Lowes."
“Pata Yamaha will be joined by Kawasaki Racing Team of deposed champ Jonathan Rea and team-mate Alex Lowes.”

Pata Yamaha will be joined by Kawasaki Racing Team of deposed champ Jonathan Rea and team-mate Alex Lowes. It’s the first time Rea and Razgatlioglu have been on track together since their incredible title battle was settled in Indonesia. Rea and Lowes will be taking part in their third test of the off-season, with the aim of confirming items they have tested at Jerez in the previous two tests.

The third factory on track will be the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad with Alvaro Bautista and Michael Ruben Rinaldi. It will be Bautista’s second test with the Ducati Panigale V4 R since his return to Ducati, having tested at Jerez in November, while it will be Rinaldi’s first test of the year. He was forced to miss the November test through an injury sustained in the season-ending Indonesian Round.

Oli Byaliss has taken to Barni Spark Racing for 2022 while Luca Bernardi has taken the WorldSBK spot in the team...
Oli Byaliss has taken to Barni Spark Racing for 2022 while Luca Bernardi has taken the WorldSBK spot in the team…

Two riders who have had success in WorldSSP will make their debut on WorldSBK machinery at the Portimao test. Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) earned a shot in WorldSBK after two podium-laden seasons in WorldSSP and will jump on the Independent Ducati Panigale V4 R for the first time with Team GoEleven. Luca Bernardi (Barni Spark Racing Team) will also be on track on a Ducati machine for the first time since he was announced as a full-time WorldSBK rider for 2022. It will also be his first time on a bike since his Magny-Cours crash which ruled him out of the remainder of the 2021 campaign.

Two more Independent outfits will be on track at Portimao. One of the standout stars of 2021, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), will take to the track with other WorldSBK competitors for the first time in the off-season although he did complete some training at the same venue when he shared the track with eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez and 2019 Moto2(tm) World Champion Alex Marquez. The other outfit taking to the track will be Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha with French rider Christophe Ponsson, who will be on track for the first time since he was announced as returning to the Championship for 2022.

Oli was only recently seen taking his V2 Panigale for a spin around Philip Island at the offical ASBK test.
Oli was only recently seen taking his V2 Panigale for a spin around Philip Island at the offical ASBK test.

Five riders from four WorldSSP teams will test at Portimao, with three Ducati bikes on track in Portugal. Oli Bayliss will get his first taste of the Ducati Panigale V2 and the Barni Spark Racing Team as the Australian returns the famous Bayliss name to Ducati machinery, with Bayliss gearing up for his first season in WorldSSP.

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) will get his second test for the squad after he took part in the November Jerez test alongside Bautista on the Panigale V2 as he, like Bayliss, gears up for his maiden WorldSSP campaign.

Rea's teammate, Alex Lowes, will also be out on track as they look to take control of the championship for 2022.
Rea’s teammate, Alex Lowes, will also be out on track as they look to take control of the championship for 2022.

CM Racing have switched to Ducati machinery for 2022 and, with Bernardi’s move to WorldSBK, have recruited Austrian rider Maximilian Kofler for the upcoming season. Kofler has two full seasons of Moto3(tm) under his belt but will now focus on WorldSSP for 2022 and will get his first taste of WorldSSP machinery at the Portimao test.

Ducati is returning to WorldSSP for 2022 with the new rules set, as are British outfit Triumph with the PTR squad, under the Dynavolt Triumph banner. Having recruited Hannes Soomer and Stefano Manzi for 2022, the team will be on track for the first time with their new bike and riders. It also marks PTR’s return to the Championship, having not competed on the world stage in 2021.

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