WorldSBK champions look to 2023 development

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

While the dust has barely settled on the final race of 2022, WorldSBK development continues in earnest for the fast approaching 2023 action.

Aruba.it Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista may have clinched the title with a round to spare but the Spaniard, and his Italian squad are not resting on their laurels. Bautista should have a revamped V4R to race as the championship returns to Australia in three month time and while he admitted all he knows about it so far is from a photo, Ducati has confirmed it will be more evolution than revolution for 2023.

“What Ducati told me, the bike is quite similar,” Bautista said on his new year’s steed. “They changed some small details, but nothing crazy.”

He is therefore unsure if any of the new items will be better for racing. “Well, I don’t know because I think they are using more RPM, but we cannot use in the race so at the end, for me it will be the same. We have some ideas for the bike, but I don’t know if they make in the new bike or not. Sincerely, I know nothing about the new bike. I hope to at least not be worse than the bike we have now. I’d be happy if the bike worked at least as good as this one!”

And what of the man who held the title until the Spaniard clinched it in Indonesia? While there will be some new or at least uprated bikes in 2023, Toprak Razgatlioglu does not think he is getting one of them.

“Yamaha not building a new R1, but my team is working,” the 2021 Champion confirmed. “Also, we have many new parts. We will try in the first testing.

“I think next month we have a test. We will try directly the new parts. Okay, not coming new bike, but also I believe in my team because there are now very a lot of new parts. I hope they improve. Also, the engine side we improve a little bit. We are fighting here next year for the win!”

The GRT team will change completely next season and Razgatlioglu was asked about that potential new challenge from within. Firstly, Dominique Aegerter.

“He also is very good and very strong in the race, especially last part in the race he is very strong,” Razgatlioglu said of the double WorldSSP Champion. “A 600 is a different bike and the Superbike is a different bike, but his style is like Superbike style. We will see. Not possible to say before I see, but he is I think strong. Why? 600 Yamaha and R1 not so big difference bike. A little bit similar bike. Riding is more easy after 600 bike. After R6, you ride R1 more easy. Also you know why I saw this, because Locatelli also world champion supersport and after, he ride R1 first season, he is strong. He is riding very well. 600 bike and Yamaha R1 are very similar. Just you need the superbike style a little bit for keep the rear tyre in the race. Just need this, and also I get he is an experienced rider. We will see next year.”

The other rider is Remy Gardner, what about him?

“I don’t know, said Razgatlioglu, truthfully. “He is also riding MotoGP. After MotoGP, completely different bike. I hope he is riding very well, because Yamaha also in the corners is a very strong bike. We will see first testing.”