The pre-season officially came to an end today with the second day of testing held at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, where free practice for the Australian Round – the first event of the 2023 WorldSBK season – will get underway on Friday morning.
It was a very fruitful two days of work for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team with Alvaro Bautista and Michael Rinaldi able to set incisive crono on both the fast lap and the race pace.
After Monday’s two sessions ended in second and third position, Rinaldi and Bautista managed to improve further on Day-2.
The reigning World Champion set the fastest time of the two days of testing in the morning’s FP1 (1’30.272), followed by a convincing race simulation in the afternoon.
Rinaldi also took advantage of the perfect track conditions in the early laps of FP1, setting a time of 1’30.501 (P3 in the combined standings) before switching to long-run mode in the afternoon, lapping with an incisive race pace.
P1 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
“I’m happy because the feeling with the bike was immediately good. We worked a lot on the set-up and on the tires that we will use this weekend. We are ready to start the new season. I think this has been the best pre-season in my career. The sensations are definitely positive and I can’t wait to get back on track on Friday for the first free practice”.
P3 – Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“I am satisfied with what we have done in these two months. Jerez and Portimao tests went well and the objective for these two days at Phillip Island was to confirm those positive feelings. Especially today we did a good job ahead of the weekend’s races and I feel ready to start the championship.”
Niccolò Bulega also finished the last winter tests with extremely positive feelings. The Italian rider of the Aruba.it Racing WSSP team ended with the fastest time (1’32.781), confirming the excellent feeling with his Ducati Panigale V2.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11)
“I am very satisfied with what we have done, not only in these two days at Phillip Island but also in the tests at Jerez and Portimao. The feeling with my bike was immediately very positive. The team has done an excellent job and this allows us to arrive at the first race with a lot of confidence. There are high expectations for this season and it will be important to start in the best possible way right from Friday’s free practice”.