With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship races getting underway in just a few weeks, the five manufacturers gathered at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the penultimate test before the start of the season. Each factory featured new elements throughout the test, from the rear of the bike to the front as they went in search of their ultimate performance.
YAMAHA: new exhausts and material under the saddle
A new exhaust featured on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machines at Pata Yamaha with the Brixx WorldSBK team as the Japanese manufacturer aims to retain the three titles they won in 2021. The angle of the exhaust is steeper while that the spring is now located under the bike to help improve top speed. Another new component on the Yamaha is the material under the seat. While it was previously a mix of carbon and aluminum, the 2022 version is full carbon. Yamaha has also considered making moves with its electronics package in 2022, with the Catalunya test including more testing to fine-tune it before the race, while three accelerometers have been fitted to the bike for additional data. Yamaha tried a short and long swingarm throughout the test as part of its development.
KAWASAKI: fins for Rea, forks for Lowes
Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes continued their off-season testing program with more new components during testing. Six-time champion Rea tried the fins on the fuel tank used by teammate Lowes, even though he was not a fan of them. Rea also tried a few small components, including the clutch, while teammate Lowes had a similar program. On his ZX-10RR, there was a slightly different front fork as he went in search of mechanical grip.
HONDA: new exhaust and double brake ducts
The HRC team spent some time looking to cool their brakes in the hottest conditions of the summer. Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge on day one had a dual brake duct design to help with cooling on a hard brake circuit; with the same venue hosting the Catalunya Round in September. The team also tried a slightly modified exhaust system on their CBR1000RR-R, looking for ultimate performance before the start of the season. The team saw a revolution over the winter with rookie training Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge switching to Nissin brakes from Brembo and Showa suspension from Öhlins.
BMW: new brake calipers and work on electronics
At German manufacturer BMW, the team was able to try new brake calipers from Nissin suppliers, looking for their best setup for the 2022 season. Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) also revealed that he had worked on some traction control strategies on the first day of the test, with BMW constantly evolving its internal electronics.
DUCATI: refinement of the new swingarm, elements inside the front fork
In previous tests, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team used a new swingarm on their Ducati Panigale V4 R. In Barcelona, a new variation of the swingarm was seen after Alvaro Bautista opted to work with the new design. Swingarms have different stiffness impacting the bike. Bautista was also trying out some new items inside the front fork as he looked to get back to winning ways for the first time since 2019. At Independent Ducati Team GoEleven, a new exhaust supplier arrived over the course of winter with Spark now their supplier. Throughout testing, the team tested Spark’s exhaust and chased it to Barcelona.
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