Testing is a chance for teams and manufacturers to try out new components, but it’s also a chance for suppliers to test new items too. On day two of the Aragon test, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) sported a new Ohlins-manufactured front fork on his Panigale V4 R, with a view of the new design being used in 2024. The reigning Champion was the only rider who tested this new item out at Aragon.
The forks are inspired by MotoGP™ and are softer when moving side-to-side but keep the same strength when moving up and down. Manufactured for this test, the #1 was the first to try the new design on WorldSBK machinery at the Aragon test and he spoke about why he and the team were working on the front of his Panigale V4 R.
Bautista finished the morning session in third place with a 1’49.603s and he was one of the busiest riders on track in the first four-hour session, completing 56 laps. Only compatriot Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) did more with 58. He was one of only four riders to lap in the 1’49s bracket in the morning and he was around half-a-second slower than pacesetter Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), who used the SCQ tyre to set his fastest lap.
In the afternoon, the Championship leader added another 41 laps to bring his total to 97 and he set a best time of 1’49.168s. It was the exact same time Petrucci set in the morning session as the pair finished joint second in the combined classification. They were both under a tenth away from day two’s fastest rider, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as the trio went under the existing race lap record.
Reviewing his test, Bautista said: “Today, the feeling with the bike was much better with a bit less wind. I was able to have a normal feeling, so we did normal work. We tried some setups on the front fork, to improve the feeling in the braking area. We found something that will be interesting because I had a good feeling. Other things were not as good as expected but, in the end, I think we worked really well. I’m happy after these two days, especially after the first day where the feeling with the bike was a bit difficult. Today, it became normal, so I enjoyed it a lot.”
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