A World Champion inks a new deal and asks for a MotoGP™ test for his success

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is well up and running as round four from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya comes into view with the Prosecco DOC Catalunya Round. Get instant thoughts as the reigning World Champion makes a major decision on his future, a sort-after seat is hotly contested and upgrades arrive for bring an ex-World Champion further into contention.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “I’m so happy to keep racing… I asked Ducati for a MotoGP™ test, for sure we’ll do it”
“I’m so happy to keep racing with Aruba.it Racing – Ducati for 2024. It wasn’t an easy decision, as I feel I am in one of my best moments of my career. However, in my personal life with my two daughters becoming older, the family is more and more important. However, at the end, we took the decision to keep racing for at least one more season and try to keep this feeling and fun with the bike. In 2022, I signed one more year for 2023 and then one more for 2024, so I just go year by year. I don’t have any intention to know how many years I can be here, it’s just in the moment. I don’t have a preference for my teammate, it’s not an easy decision for Ducati as many riders want to ride this bike, but it’s not my problem! I asked to Ducati to have a MotoGP™ test but like a prize for winning the WorldSBK title. For sure, we will do it but it will be very soon, before the summer break.”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “We have some new parts… kudos to all the crew and Kawasaki”
“When the temperatures rise, this is a circuit that consumes the front quite a lot and it’s an area we can’t hide behind and it’s a weak spot of the bike. We had a great test a few weeks ago where we learnt a lot and we found that at Assen, the bike was working quite well too. We have some new parts that have arrived; chassis items that we hope to be able to help in this area. It’s a new item that we haven’t had the option to test; it’s a chassis component which gives us more parameters to move the bike in. Kudos to all the crew and for Kawasaki reacting. We just need to understand on Friday morning that if this compromise allows us to be fast. Everyone’s been working so hard to try and improve the bike. Let’s see what the weekend brings, I’m not pessimistic to start.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK): “Kenan’s looking and working for next year; everybody asks why I don’t go to MotoGP™…”
“It wasn’t an easy round for us where we tried to fight for the wins, but it wasn’t possible. Alvaro was very strong. We come to the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit; I’ll just try and do my best again this weekend. This is not my job; I am just looking at my job and trying to ride my bike very well. Kenan’s looking and working for next year. Now, I am focused on my job this weekend and this year. We will see, we have options, but everybody asks why I don’t go to MotoGP™. It’s not easy. We need to understand. It’s not possible to say now yes or no. This year is important for me because it’s possible we’re fighting for the Championship and the gap is not far.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “I’m not worried about Axel, Danilo or Nicolo… if I do my job, I won’t lose my seat”
“Barcelona is one of my favourite tracks; we tested here before and it was successful as we were able to try many different items that can bring us to the front this weekend. Assen was difficult so first of all, I want to get back to my feeling with Panigale V4 R and then we’ll see. For me, it’s too early to talk about 2024, as we’ve only done three rounds. In the factory team, you need results, but everyone is like me and in the same situation. I’m not worried; I know we can be at the front all the time. Assen has been one round that we need to understand what happened, but it’s one race apart. This year, I’m stronger than last year, so I’m not worried, will try to do my best, with more podiums and try to win a race. I think all the grid want my bike so I’m not worried about Axel, Danilo or Nicolo! Nicolo is doing a great in WorldSSP and I wish him all the best to win the Championship as he’s a good guy and he deserves it. If I do my job, I won’t lose my seat; it’s all on my shoulders and not the results of others.”
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing): “I hope the factory team starts to watch me and after, calls me! I want a factory Ducati; it’s my first goal.”
“I’m really happy to be back in Barcelona. I like the track, the last three years we had really good races, so I feel good. We arrive from Assen and we did a really good two races, twice in the top five. We are really close to the podium and I hope to continue on this path and defend my fourth place in the Championship. I hope I can get the podium, but there are really strong riders. From my side, I try to push 100% to get a factory bike. To try and battle for a Championship, you need a factory bike. I hope the factory team starts to watch me and after, calls me! I want a factory Ducati. It’s my first goal. If it’s not possible to go to the factory Ducati, I’m happy to go to another factory.”
Iker Lecuona (Team HRC): “I think we can fight for a podium”
“It was unbelievable to go back to the MotoGP™ paddock again, meeting with old friends and old rivals and jump again on a MotoGP™ bike. The feeling was really good and I’m really happy. I don’t want to talk a lot because last time, I said Assen would be good because last year I was on the podium and this year we struggled a lot but it’s true, in the test, we went very fast and were very competitive. I think it’s one of the best tracks for us. It’s a good track for us, for Honda, so I hope we can do well. I think we can fight for a podium if everything goes in the way we hope.”
Xavi Vierge (Team HRC): “We have quite high expectations with the feet on the ground”
“I think Iker did a really good job, of course it’s an amazing opportunity but, at the same time, it’s not an easy one. This is a track that our bike fits well and we are strong here. We had a two-day test here and that went really well. We have quite high expectations with the feet on the ground, but we know we have some potential and we will give our best from the beginning to fight in the top positions. I’m completely focused on now; I’m so happy with Honda. We have a job to do to fight for wins, but I think we are on the right path. We’ve seen some potential this year, we achieved the podium and the goal is to be on the box again as soon as possible.”
Marc Bongers (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director): “Without Mickey being here, it’s a further deficit… fighting for the podium will be too optimistic”
“Michael is starting to recover, and he feels well with the rest. It’s still too early to give an indication of when he will be back, but we wish Michael all the best. With such a big injury, we have to wait and see when he can return. From our side, there are no expectations on Ivo. He should be given the chance; we’ve been in contact with him previously during Michael’s injury. Low grip tracks for us are, in general, more difficult. Without Mickey being here, it’s a further deficit. The test was quite positive for us, but we’ll have to see where we’re at. I think fighting for the podium will be too optimistic.”
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