Isaac Vinales and Motoxracing were a surprise addition to the 2022 WorldSBK grid, after the team had never competed in the premier class before.
And while a new team joining the top flight of world championship racing is nothing new, Motoxracing and Vinales have not been present at any of the five pre-season tests so far.
Again, that’s not a total shock as most tests that have already taken place were privately-run events by full factory teams, meaning those who are considered towards the bottom end of the financial spectrum have been missing.
However, a big worry for Vinales and Motoxracing is the fact he’s missing from today’s opening day of WorldSBK testing at Barcelona, one of two crucial pre-season tests before the 2022 season gets underway at MotorLand Aragon on April 8-10.
In fact, Hafizh Syahrin and Leandro Mercado (MIE Honda Racing), Loris Cresson (Pedercini Kawasaki) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Verdnatura) are all making their first pre-season appearances, again highlighting the importance of the two-day Barcelona test.
It instead turns out that Vinales is seeking options elsewhere.
What those ‘options’ look like is still unclear, however, if Vinales and Motoxracing do not take part in the 2022 season - considered very unlikely due to financial reasons - then the cousin of MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales will not be competing in WorldSBK, that much is known.
In terms of on-track action at the two-day Barcelona WorldSBK test, GRT Yamaha rider Garrett Gerloff has looked in tremendous form yet again.
The American topped the morning session by just over a tenth from current world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, while Aruba.it Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista was third quickest. A full report will follow at the end of today’s running.