WorldSBK JEREZ TEST PREVIEW: Gardner set for debut, Gerloff first action with BMW

Monday, 12 December 2022 08:51 GMT

Some of the biggest additions and changes to the 2023 WorldSBK grid will be on display during a three-day test at Jerez this week, whilst factory teams will also kickstart their 2023 title charges

As 2022 is looked back on fondly, the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is already loading, with the second test of the year coming from the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. Five WorldSBK teams will be in attendance as they look to start groundwork on their 2023 projects from the 13th – 15th December, with three rookies set to also make their full-time debuts. With the 2023 season starting in February, it’s vital that teams test when the opportunity arises throughout the short off-season.

ROOKIES HEADLINE: Gardner, Aegerter and Granado

As is always the case at the tests, the changes in line-up offer a first glimpse of the new stars and their new look and 2023 is no different. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) will make his debut in WorldSBK in 2023 but he’ll do a first test on WorldSBK machinery during the three-day test, with the Australian jumping aboard at a track he knows well from his MotoGP™ paddock days. He’ll be joined by Dominique Aegerter at the GRT Yamaha outfit for 2023 and the reigning double WorldSSP Champion will be making his WorldSBK debut too, in what is an all-rookie line-up for the Italian team. Aegerter has got previous ‘big bike’ experience, having tested Suzuki’s MotoGP™ bike at Misano earlier in the year as well as three Suzuka 8 Hours podiums. This will be the first test for the team in preparation for 2023, with the next one due next year.

Whilst he’s technically not making his debut, it will be a full-time debut for Eric Granado (MIE Racing Honda Team), as the Brazilian gets ready for a full campaign within Midori Moriwaki’s team having raced for the team in 2020 at Estoril. Granado has ten wins in the MotoE™ World Cup as well an FIM European Moto2™ Championship to his name and now gets ready for a first full year in WorldSBK, where he’ll hope to return the MIE Honda outfit to the top ten. He’ll be joined by Hafizh Syahrin for 2023 and the test, with the Malaysian entering his second season of action.

GERLOFF DEBUTS WITH BMW: a new chapter begins

The Bonovo Action BMW team will make their first test appearance of the season during the three days of track action and that means that Garrett Gerloff will get the first chance to swing his leg over the BMW M 1000 RR. Gerloff will embark on a new chapter of his WorldSBK career after three years with Yamaha, which brought at least one podium in each season, to the Bonovo Action BMW outfit, who enter their second season with the German manufacturer. The journey starts during the upcoming test, with Gerloff joined by the team’s 2022 rider Loris Baz Both will get used to the new BMW M 1000 RR, which has a noticeably new fairing and new winglets.

FACTORY BATTLE: Yamaha and Honda’s 2023 title tilts start here

Whilst there’s plenty of new looks and changes elsewhere on the grid, all the factory teams will remain unchanged in 2023 and Yamaha and Honda will begin their preparations for the new season throughout this week’s test. For Yamaha, their aim will be taking back the title in 2023, having relinquished it after just one year in 2022. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) will return to the #54 and start his quest to reclaim the title. His teammate in 2023 will be Andrea Locatelli once again and the Italian aims to fight for the podium more often and take a first win, with this being the first test for them.

At Team HRC, Leon Camier is at the helm for a third straight season and riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge will get their first test of the year underway at the same venue as they made their WorldSBK test debut at 12 months previously. After his Mandalika crash, Lecuona returns to action for the first time, thus the aim will be to get him back familiar with the bike, whilst for Vierge, with him being fully fit, he’ll be keen to put in good development work and start 2023 well.

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