What to expect at the Jerez WorldSBK test

With the 2024 WorldSBK season just over a month from getting underway, pre-season testing will provide a clearer picture of where every team and rider stands.
Jonathan Rea, Yamaha WorldSBK Jerez 2023
Jonathan Rea, Yamaha WorldSBK Jerez 2023

Up first is a two-day test at Jerez where almost the entire WorldSBK grid will be in attendance, before another two-day outing at Portimao before the end of the month.

All five factory teams will be present in both Jerez and Portimao, which means riders such as Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea will have plenty of time to adapt to their new machines.

Starting with BMW, Razgatlioglu will continue his build up to his first season with BMW after two very brief outings at the end of last season.

Poor weather impacted Razgatlioglu’s running on both days, but that should not be a concern for the upcoming tests in Jerez and Portimao.

BMW have not been challengers at the front of WorldSBK with any consistency, but with the addition of Razgatlioglu, it’s clear that they believe the time has come to change that.

The BMW is a more powerful bike than the Yamaha he rode before, so if Razgatlioglu can find a bike that gives him the stability he needs under braking and the turning prowess of the R1, he should be in the mix from the very start.

It’s not just Razgatlioglu who will be hoping for a good test in Jerez, as Michael Van Der Mark has bounced back from his injuries last season.

Yamaha and Jonathan Rea

Very satisfied with his initial feeling aboard the R1 at Jerez following the 2023 season-finale, Rea will have another chance to make significant strides forward next week.

The six-time world champion could be Alvaro Bautista’s main challenger in 2024, or at least until Razgatlioglu and BMW find their way should that take time, but making sure he is dialled in with the R1 will be crucial for that to happen.

The Yamaha is seen as the most rider-friendly bike on the grid, so Rea shouldn’t have any issues being fast from the outset, however, extracting the most out of his bike in terms of top speed and bike set-up will be important if he’s to worry Bautista and Ducati.

More of the same for Bautista and Ducati

Alvaro Bautista Race 1, Spanish WorldSBK, 28 October
Alvaro Bautista Race 1, Spanish WorldSBK, 28 October

Jerez will be the first opportunity for Bautista to be on-track in 2024, and following a dominant campaign in 2023, the Spaniard is the clear favourite heading into this season.

Bautista has proven to be fast at all types of circuits and Jerez is also a good one for the former MotoGP rider.

Major upgrades are not expected from Ducati but fine-tuning their Panigale V4 R will be the aim.

A new Honda on show

Perhaps the manufacturer making the biggest changes to their bike for 2024 is Honda, who have developed a brand new CBR1000RR-R.

Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge will get their first real opportunity to test the revamped Honda, who like BMW need to become a consistent threat at the front of the field.

Where will Kawasaki stand

With the departure of Rea and just three bikes set to compete in the 2024 season, Kawasaki could be set for a tough 2024 campaign.

Again, major changes are not expected to be on show from the Japanese brand, however, their new factory rider Axel Bassani will hopefully bring a different spark to the team.

Alex Lowes will be at the forefront of leading their development, and thus it will be important for the British rider to have a strong pre-season. 

Jerez will also see rookies Andrea Iannone and Sam Lowes aboard their Ducati machines for the first time in 2024.

Read More