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Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors for BMW GS | Gear Review

Wunderlich Wind Side Deflectors for BMW GS
Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors fit 2017-18 R 1200 GS and 2019-23 R 1250 GS models (but not GS Adventure models) and are available in clear or tinted (shown).

After more than 17 years of riding successive generations of BMW RTs, I recently switched to riding a 2020 R 1250 GS. Even though my new-to-me GS is equipped with an oversized Puig Touring windshield, the amount of turbulence and wind noise at speed is significantly higher than it was on my former RTs. My last was a 2015 R 1200 RT equipped with the superb Werks Quiet Ride windshield, which enveloped the rider in a still pocket of calm air regardless of how fast the bike was moving. In fact, I’ve hosted several conference calls for work while traveling down the highway at extra-legal speeds, and nobody even knew I was in motion.

Related: 2021 BMW R 1250 GS | Road Test Review

Wunderlich Wind Side Deflectors for BMW GS
Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors installed on my new-to-me 2020 BMW R 1250 GS.

In fairness, I never expected this level of protection from the GS, which is designed for adventure touring, not sport-touring like the RT. But for long highway trips and especially on cold days, I wanted more wind protection than what the stock bike offers. The hunt for solutions led me to Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors, which fit 2017-18 R 1200 GS and 2019-23 R 1250 GS models, but not GS Adventure models.

Wunderlich Wind Side Deflectors for BMW GS

Wunderlich’s deflectors are made of scratchproof, shatterproof 5mm acrylic plastic, and they’re available in clear or the dark tinted finish shown here. The kit includes two deflectors, a one-page installation sheet, and mounting hardware. Two brackets per side provide anchor points for the winglets, secured in place with standard M5 T25 Torx hardware running through a series of stabilizing collars and sleeves. There’s a bit of play for adjustability and fine tuning, if necessary.

Wunderlich Wind Side Deflectors for BMW GS
Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors are larger than the ones that come as standard on BMW GS Adventure models.

As expected, it’s easiest if you install everything loosely at first, and then tighten down only once final adjustment is completed. Final installation as shown took less than an hour, working methodically. The Wunderlich winglets themselves, each measuring roughly 13 x 4.25 inches at the edges, are quite a bit larger than the stock deflectors on GS Adventure models, which measure roughly 10.5 x 3.5 inches.

Out on the road, the Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors had a significant impact on the level of wind blast, overall turbulence, and noise experienced at highway speeds. The stock GS has moderate protection for the rider’s torso, but heavy airflow to the rider’s arms. I found that adjusting the windshield to a forward position (nearly vertical) in conjunction with the installed winglets notably diverted air around both my torso and my arms. This provided significant relief on long days gobbling up miles on the slab, which can get tiresome if the rider is being blown all over the place. For hot weather rides or if otherwise desired, the winglets can be quickly removed via 3x M5 T25 Torx bolts per side, allowing for maximum airflow.

Wunderlich Wind Side Deflectors for BMW GS

Overall, the Wunderlich winglets are a worthy addition for BMW GS riders who partake in long trips at sustained high speeds, cold weather journeys, or otherwise desire a more composed operating environment. They’re priced at $289.95. (They’re also available for 2015-19 BMW S 1000 XR models for $271.95.) – Moshe K. Levy

For more information: See your dealer or visit

The post Wunderlich Side Wind Deflectors for BMW GS | Gear Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.


2024 BMW R 18 Roctane | First Ride Review

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The new black midrise handlebar and blacked-out powertrain on the R 18 Roctane definitely make it stand out from its siblings.

In my early days with Rider, the BMW R 18 caught my eye. I had never ridden a BMW, and as a cruiser guy it was right up my alley. When one of my fellow editors, Allison Parker, got a chance to ride an R 18 at the BMW U.S. Rider Academy, I expressed interest to Rider EIC Greg Drevenstedt about doing the same.

A few weeks later, BMW announced a new R 18 – the Roctane – and invited Rider to get a first ride on the bike in Germany, so I made my pitch. The ride would coincide with the recently opened 100 Years of BMW Motorrad exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get a little additional perspective on how we got to this point.

I came away from the trip not only wiser but after two days of riding through the Bavarian and Austrian Alps, much happier.

BMW R 18: A Growing Family

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
At this stop by Lake Plansee in Austria, it was hard to know what to pay more attention to, the Roctane or the scenery.

The 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane is the fifth member of the R 18 family, which launched its first model in 2020 and was inspired by the iconic BMW R 5 from the 1930s. The Roctane, which BMW describes as a “cruiser, a bagger, and everything in between,” joins the standard R 18, the R 18 Classic, the R 18 B (Bagger), and the R 18 Transcontinental.

Related: 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental | Road Test Review

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The increased trail on the R 18 Roctane contributes to better straight-line stability, an attribute that BMW believes will be appealing to American cruiser riders.

As with the other R 18s, the Roctane has an air/oil-cooled “Big Boxer” Twin engine displacing 1,802cc (or 110ci in the parlance of American cruisers) and mated to a 6-speed transmission, a single-plate dry slipper clutch, and a nickel-plated driveshaft. We dyno’d the 2021 R 18, and it made 109 lb-feet of torque between 2,000-4,000 rpm at the rear wheel.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
It’s hard not to argue that if you saw this bike coming your way, you’d want to get a second look as it passed you by.

This thing is a monster, figuratively and literally. The afternoon I arrived in Munich, I went to the BMW Museum. There are some amazing sights to be sure (more details are available here), but one area of note is dedicated to the R 18. It includes a display stand with the 1,802cc Boxer mounted on it. I had seen this display in a photo, but it wasn’t until I was standing in front of the massive engine that I truly realized why it is called the “Big Boxer.” With the partial exhaust pipes coming out of the cylinder heads and hooking down in front like mandibles, it looked like a giant alien insect head dipped in chrome.

Of course, that could’ve been the jetlag and an overactive imagination, but it was still pretty striking.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane BMW Museum
The insect overlord is here to lead the R 18 troops into battle. OK, I definitely needed sleep at this point in the trip.

Beyond the engine, the R 18 Roctane also shares the same braking and suspension systems as its siblings, with 4-piston calipers biting dual 300mm discs up front and a single 300mm disc in the rear and a 49mm telescopic fork and central rear shock with travel-dependent damping, adjustable spring preload, and 4.7/3.5 inches of travel front/rear.

As to what makes the Roctane unique from other bikes in the R 18 family, one only had to step back and look at it next to other R 18 models at the launch, including the beautiful 100 Years Edition.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
Although the R 18 Roctane has the same Rock, Roll, and Rain ride modes as the other R 18s, on a day like this, I’d say there is really only a need for one: Rock.

The Roctane has a blacked-out engine and drivetrain, a Dark Chrome exhaust, a black midrise handlebar, and a larger 21-inch front wheel.

The Roctane’s chassis geometry and seating position falls between that of the standard R 18 cruiser and the R 18 B(agger). Its 7.3 inches of trail is 1.4 inches longer than the R 18 but similar to the R 18 B, while its 67.7-inch wheelbase is right in the middle of the two bikes. At 28.3 inches, its seat height is about an inch taller than the R 18 and again similar to that of the R 18 B.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
I didn’t mind the Big Boxer cylinder restricting the forward movements of my legs, but I would’ve preferred bigger footboards and better shift lever and brake pedal positioning.


Balancing the Past, the Present, and the Future

In the BMW Museum, there was a fascinating wall display of some of the different instrument panels used on the company’s motorcycles over the years, starting with the round analog speedo of the 1930s BMW R 61 and R 71 progressing to the much larger, rectangular display of the present-day BMW R 1250 RT and K 1600 GT.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane BMW Museum
This display at the BMW Museum shows how the times have been a-changin’, but the instrument cluster on the R 18 Roctane turns back the clock. (Don’t mind the BMW Museum typo next to the bottom TFT display.)

BMW took a different tack with the newest member of the R 18 family. Again inspired by the 1936 R 5, the Roctane’s instrument cluster is incorporated into the top of the metal headlight nacelle, with a classic analog speedometer and an inset multifunction digital display. Some may wish for a little more than the understated display, but for a cruiser, the simplicity works. On the Roctane, in addition to speed, ride mode, and gear selection, you can scroll through other info such as rpm, time, odometer, trip meters, and fuel economy.

But wait, where’s the fuel gauge? Seriously, no fuel gauge? I’d like something more than just a warning.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane has a minimalist instrument cluster built into the headlight nacelle. The time of day is displayed in this photo, but the rider can also choose from a number of other options.

Personally, I love that the ride modes of the R 18 family are called Rock, Roll, and Rain. While somewhat unorthodox, there’s no question of what you’re getting here, and I sampled all three modes on our ride – Rain not necessarily by choice, but it sure is pretty in Germany this time of year. 

Each mode moderates throttle response, traction control, and ABS but not the power, and while Roll and Rain were more sluggish, even in Rain, during a couple moments when I needed to overtake a car, the Roctane had what I needed. I just had to twist the throttle harder to get it. In Rock, there was no hesitation, and I was pleased to find that it wasn’t snatchy. Throttle response was immediate, powerful, and smooth, even polishing out some of the engine vibration present in Roll.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The Metzler Marathon Ultra tires were tested – and performed admirably – in a variety of weather conditions.

I would argue – and a BMW rep actually agreed with me – there isn’t really a need for Roll. Besides starting off the ride in Roll and using it coming down from the breathtaking cliffside Burghotel Falkenstein on some narrow, frost-heaved switchbacks that were wet from the previous night’s rain, I mostly kept it in Rock or Rain.  

When it came to rocking, the Roctane’s ample trail contributed to reassuring straight-line stability. Blasting down the autobahn at 140 kph (that’s about 87 mph to you and me, kids), it felt solid. There was a decent amount of windblast at those speeds, so if I had to do much of that, I’d be inclined to install one of BMW’s accessory windshields.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The Roctane’s blacked-out engine nicely complements the high gloss chassis bits and Dark Chrome exhaust.

Among the journalists on hand during our ride, the general consensus was that the Roctane would be a better bike for cruising wide-open roads in the U.S. than bending through all the twists and turns in the Alps. Besides the highway stints, most of our high-speed riding over the two days consisted of long sweepers rather than twisties. Those were a true joy on the Roctane, but even for the few spots that were a little tighter, I didn’t have any problem flopping the bike from side to side, even with its 825-lb curb weight.

I was also pleased with the Metlzer Ultra Marathon tires, which were grippy in all conditions, from dry to wet to really wet on some occasions. This is a bike I would gladly take over the well-known Hogback of Scenic Byway 12 in my home state of Utah.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
One of the many sweeping corners on our test route, this one wrapping around Lake Plansee in Austria, enhanced the joy of riding the Roctane.

And even though the Roctane is a long, heavy bike, the Big Boxer helps keep the weight low and provides better than expected balance and maneuverability at low speeds. The R 18 Roctane can also be equipped with optional Reverse Assist and Hill Start Control, both of which would be especially handy if the bike was loaded to capacity.

There are a few areas in which the R 18 Roctane could be improved, the first being the position of the foot controls. As we noted in our review of the R 18 Classic, the location of the shift lever relative to the footboard made it nearly impossible to get my boot underneath it. I was able to upshift with the side of my big toe sometimes, but more often than not, I just used the heel shifter. However, given the midmount controls and my 32-inch inseam, it felt awkward. The rear brake pedal seemed similarly difficult to access with my boot. I love the long footboards on my cruiser at home, but on the Roctane, I found myself envious of the guys riding the R 18s with footpegs.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
“Filler stripes” that cover the space between the 27-liter top-loading, locking hard cases and the bike can be selected as accessories.

The second area in need of improvement is braking. Like other R 18s, standard equipment on the Roctane includes BMW Motorrad Integral ABS, where the hand lever applies braking force to both wheels but the foot pedal applies braking force only to the rear wheel. This is the first bike I’ve ridden with integral ABS, and while I was able to shed speed when necessary, I was surprised that the brakes didn’t feel more responsive, especially considering those big dual discs up front. I had to apply more pressure at the lever – while also trying to get my boot on that elusive rear pedal – than I would’ve guessed.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The Roctane shares the same braking as other members of the R 18 family, with 4-piston calipers biting dual 300mm discs up front and a single 300mm disc in the rear.

Finally, the top-loading, locking hard cases are stylish and easy to use, but at just 27 liters of capacity in each side, they are on the small side. (The saddlebags on the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are the same size.)

What’s Next for the BMW R 18 Roctane? A Matter of Faith

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
BMW may not be aiming to be “the better Harley-Davidson,” but that new 21-inch front wheel on the Roctane feels like all-American cruiser.

Those who are considering the R 18 Roctane probably fall into one of three groups: 1) Those who appreciate cruisers and are curious about this one; 2) Those who love all-things-BMW Motorrad; or 3) Those who like Harley-Davidsons and have an open mind.

In any discussion of heavyweight cruisers, Harley-Davidson is always the elephant in the room, even if everyone tries to ignore it. At dinner on the first night, I had an illuminating conversation with Christian Pingitzer, BMW Motorrad’s head of product management, after he asked me about my personal bikes and I told him my main ride is a 2004 Heritage Softail Classic.

“We’re not trying to be the better Harley-Davidson,” he said at one point. “Harley is like a religion.”

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
One of the beautiful stops along the way during two days of riding the 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane.

It’s no secret that the R 18 models have not sold as well on this side of the pond as BMW might have hoped, and there’s no denying the Roctane bike looks more the part of an American cruiser than its predecessors. On the second day, Tim Diehl-Thiele, head of communications, said that the company was “fully on track” with sales of the R 18s in China and Europe, but “in the U.S., we need time.”

Then he went on to call H-D a “super cool brand” and also referred to it as a religion.

This is interesting to me. I’m a cruiser guy and I’m not religious, but I do agree that Harley-Davidson is like a religion. However, what I’ve come to believe since I’ve been with Rider is that BMW is something of its own religion, and they have their own passionate adherents who love the brand and ignore all the others.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane
The 1,802cc “Big Boxer” Twin engine is an imposing feature of the R 18 family, but it’s also a unique look that drew me to the cruisers.

Similar to how I choose to dabble when it comes to matters of faith, I also enjoy dabbling in a lot of motorcycle brands. When it comes to the Roctane, I enjoyed the thrill of the power coupled with the confidence it inspired and the comfortable cruising. And I look forward to seeing – and hopefully dabbling in – the future developments of the R 18 lineup.

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane

2024 BMW R 18 Roctane Specs

  • Base Price: $18,695
  • Price as Tested: $21,900 (Mineral Grey Metallic Matte, Select Package, Reverse Assist)
  • Website:
  • Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles
  • Engine Type: Air-/oil-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat-Twin, OHV w/ 4 valves per cyl.
  • Displacement: 1,802cc (110ci)
  • Bore x Stroke: 107.1 x 100.0mm
  • Horsepower: 80 hp @ 4,500 rpm (2021 R 18, rear-wheel dyno)
  • Torque: 109 lb-ft @ 2,900 rpm (2021 R 18, rear-wheel dyno)
  • Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch
  • Final Drive: Shaft
  • Wheelbase: 67.7 in.
  • Rake/Trail: 34.7 degrees/7.3 in.
  • Seat Height: 28.3 in.
  • Wet Weight: 825 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal.

See all of Rider‘s BMW coverage here.

The post 2024 BMW R 18 Roctane | First Ride Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.


WATCH FREE: Rea and Razgatlioglu duel it out for victory at Misano in 2019!

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the 2023 Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round at the start of June but, before then, we are taking a trip down memory lane to get you warmed up for the round. This time, you can watch Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu, then at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, duel it out for victory in one of their now-famous classic battles. Less than half a second separated the pair at the end of the 21-lap race and you can watch the full race for FREE by clicking the video at the top of this article.

Watch more classic WorldSBK action using the WorldSBK VideoPass!


Bulega on “very positive” Mugello test, hoping for “other opportunities” on Ducati Superbike

Whilst the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is in the final week of a spring break between round four and round five, there’s been plenty of testing for teams and riders across the paddock. After the Supported Test at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) was at Mugello, and he was joined by Nicolo Bulega, who was part of a Ducati test team for Ducati Corse aboard the Ducati Panigale V4 R, for a second test on Superbike machinery. 

Speaking about the test, Bulega stated that he was more than happy with his track time and that he’s wishful for future opportunities too: “I was very happy to test the Panigale V4R at Mugello and I thank Ducati and my team for this opportunity. The sensations during the test were very positive, it was an intense two days. I’m very satisfied because I felt good with the bike right away and I was also able to lap quite fast. It was a solid experience and I hope to have other opportunities to test the Panigale V4R, which I really liked.”

In terms of the rider market, there have been plenty of riders linked to the factory Ducati seat alongside Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati). Michael Ruben Rinaldi is Bautista’s current teammate but with a deal that takes him to the end of this season, whilst Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) has made it clear that he wants to occupy that seat. Danilo Petrucci has also stated his intentions of moving up, whilst Bulega himself is in fine form. Get a full look at the grid and silly season here!

Photo credit: Alex Farinelli

A breath-taking season is well underway, watch it all unfold in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


Is Arbolino in line for a 2024 MotoGP™ move?

“Yeah, Pedro (Acosta) is one of the most promising riders since his Moto3™ years and we know he has a connection with KTM, which is understandable. Tony Arbolino is also doing a good job. Let’s see, it’s a little too early, we need a couple more races before considering next year,” said Ciabatti.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Petrucci "satisfied" with Mugello test "improvements", new swingarm and setup options help

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will soon be back underway for round five at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, but prior to the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round kicking off, one home-hero has been on testing duty. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) took part in a two-day test as he and the Barni Spark Ducati outfit were in track action at Mugello, after missing the Misano Supported Test. Petrucci and the team were scheduled to take part in Misano testing action but the Italian was called up to the factory Ducati MotoGP™ team to replace the still-injured Enea Bastianini for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, thus clashing with the test.

After two days of track action, Petrucci review the test via an Instagram post: “We tried some new components on the bike. A new swingarm and many setup options brought me improvements in term of feelings and thanks to these kilometres, I’m getting even more familiar with tyres. We are satisfied and ready for Misano.”


A breath-taking season is well underway, watch it all unfold in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!



2014 Moto2™ Champion Rabat returns to WorldSBK with Puccetti Kawasaki for 2023

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid will have a slightly new look to it at the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round albeit with a familiar face as Spanish rider Tito Rabat makes a return to the grid at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing. The 2014 Moto2™ World Champion will link up with the team again after racing with them in 2021 and 2022 as he replaces Tom Sykes, who left the team recently and re-joined the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team on a temporary basis.

The 33-year-old will once again ride for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing squad for the third time in his career, having done so previously in 2021 and 2022. The 2014 Moto2™ World Champion  qbrings a wealth of experience to the team from his time in the MotoGP™ paddock as well as in domestic Superbike championships, having claimed the title in his native Spain in 2022.

Rabat made his WorldSBK debut in 2021 with the Barni Spark Racing Team but he split from Barni Ducati after just a handful of rounds, claiming a best result of ninth in Race 1 at the Circuito Estoril. His split from Barni Ducati came after the French Round in September but he was back in WorldSBK very quickly as he returned with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing for the final few rounds of the season, replacing Lucas Mahias, taking a best result of 11th in Race 1 at the Circuito San Juan Villicum on the ZX-10RR.

In 2022, Rabat competed in the Spanish Superbike championship with Honda as well as making a one-off appearance in British Superbikes, again with Honda. He claimed the Spanish championship title with two wins and 12 podiums, and he also returned to WorldSBK with Puccetti Kawasaki as a replacement rider for Mahias, who was suffering from injury. He did not score points on his return to the Championship at Misano, which was only his first round of the 2022 campaign on the world stage, finishing in 16th place in Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race and 17th in Race 2.

Before he joined WorldSBK, Rabat took third place in the Moto2™ World Championship in 2013 and 2015 with his title coming in 2014. He has 13 wins in the MotoGP™ paddock, all coming between 2013 and 2015. He moved to MotoGP™ for 2016 and scored a best Championship position of 19th in 2017 and 2018. For 2023, Rabat returned to the MotoGP™ paddock to compete in the MotoE™ World Championship for the full season. He is also competing in the Spanish championship this season and has two wins to his name, both coming at MotorLand Aragon in April.

Discussing his return to WorldSBK and Puccetti Kawasaki, Rabat said: “I’m pleased to return to Team Puccetti and Kawasaki. This is a great opportunity for me to return to WorldSBK but also keep up the race pace, because this year I’m competing in MotoE™ where there are not so many races. I’ll try to make the most of this opportunity and help Manuel Puccetti’s team as they continue to develop their bike. I want to have fun of course, and give it my all, but also complete all the races in order to collect as much data as possible. See you all at Misano!”

Team Principal Manuel Puccetti added: “I’m pleased to announce the return of Tito Rabat to our team. In both 2021 and 2022, the Spaniard was tasked with standing in for an injured rider, which is never easy, and he raced without having chance to test, so without knowing our bike. Despite that, Tito always proved to be the consummate professional, with significant experience under his belt in both the Moto2™ and MotoGP™ Championships. It will be a pleasure for us to have him back in the team for their home round at Misano, where our goal will be to continue developing the bike and try to improve on the results scored thus far.”

Watch all the WorldSBK action throughout 2023 with the WorldSBK VideoPass!


The quarterly 2023 report: stats edition!

Before 2023, there had also only been two events in the MotoGP™ era where Independent Teams locked out the GP podium: Qatar 2004 and Portugal 2020. This season, it’s already happened twice. Argentina saw Bezzecchi win from Zarco and Alex Marquez, and the French GP was also won by Bezzecchi, this time ahead of Martin and Zarco.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

STORIES SO FAR: 2023’s key themes as round five approaches

The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is four rounds down but there remains plenty of stories to come in a fascinating season of action. So far, we’ve seen it all and the next round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” will be no exception to delivering the unexpected. We look back at the key themes so far in 2023, what to expect going forward and more.

BOWLING THEM OVER: Bautista’s dominant start to 2023

There was never a doubt that Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) would struggle as he goes to defend his #1 on the front of the Ducati, however few would’ve predicted the sheer dominance of the Spaniard. 11 wins out of 12 so far in 2023, the only race he didn’t win was when he crashed in the Superpole Race at Mandalika, giving Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) a first win of the year. Not just the fact he’s dominated, he’s looked comfortable and in stark contrast to his 2019 display, he now knows why he’s able to ride with such ease and he understands where the limit is a lot more. Add on to that the stunning spectacle he put on in Barcelona last time out, Bautista could be poised for more great things if he keeps up his current form.

RAZGATLIOGLU NEEDING WINS: can the #54 strike gold at Misano?

Toprak Razgatlioglu’s consistency in 2023 so far has been nothing short of outstanding; second in six races this season, including four of the last six, whilst every other race has seen him (besides Phillip Island Race 2 when he was taken out) finish on the podium. 167 points after four rounds, it’s 16 less than his Championship season and a whopping 26 more than last year at the same stage, but Bautista’s been doing all the winning. With only one win so far coming in Indonesia, Razgatlioglu needs to be back on the top step and capitalise at circuits where he’s won multiple races before. Misano, Donington Park and Most are all circuits he’s done just that, whilst Imola has a lottery-feel about it. Can he get the gap down before the summer break ensues? One thing to note about Toprak: he’ll hope to win as many races for Yamaha as possible before leaves the manufacturer at the end of 2023, in search of a new challenge with BMW for 2024.

CHASING DOWN THE TOP 3: Rea’s quest to catch ‘Loka’

Missing from the recent Supported Test at Misano, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes. Both riders opted not to make part in cool temperature testing, with Lowes stating that testing needs to take place when the track is hot. So, they went to Jerez instead and carried out a two-day test there. So far, Kawasaki are experiencing their worst start to a World Superbike season in over a decade, without victory in the opening four rounds and with Jonathan Rea 33 points adrift of a top three slot. For Lowes, he’s on 62 points, his worst tally after four rounds since joining Kawasaki. Whilst the package is still challenging for podiums, wins are not as guaranteed, and the domination of just a few years ago is in the past. Can they turn it around in the upcoming European leg?

RINALDI VS BASSANI: next level in their rivalry

It’s a well-documented rivalry which had been relatively quiet, but with Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) holding the factory seat for 2023, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) has never been clearer in his quest to take his place, even if Rinaldi has made a step in performance. In Barcelona, after a hard move by Rinaldi at Turn 3 in Race 1 in Barcelona, Bassani wasn’t having any of it and got back under Rinaldi at Turn 11, only for a collision to come out of it and Rinaldi’s race ending in the gravel trap. Rinaldi slammed his fellow countryman and branded that it was a “deliberate” act to take him out. Bassani was given a Long Lap Penalty but maintained it was a “normal” move. With Misano up next, both will be keen to shine at home, but could they be up against each other once more?

BMW’S STRUGGLES: not the 2023 Redding would have wanted, van der Mark injured

It’s been an uphill struggle for the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team in 2023 and whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu’s signing will boost morale and bring excitement to the team, the #54 isn’t arriving until next year. Michael van der Mark has the brand’s best result of sixth at Mandalika in Race 1, whilst Scott Redding had five top ten results on the bounce before a zero-point round in Barcelona. A new aero package has helped with feeling in the corners, but as van der Mark is out injured and Redding’s struggles continue, Donington Park at the start of July could offer the next podium potential.

FINDING STEPS: Honda’s potential and Vierge’s improvements

Honda have been a consistent force in and around the top six in 2023, but there’s been a marked improvement by Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), who was able to take a first podium of his WorldSBK career earlier in the year at Mandalika. Since then, Vierge four top ten results and a best of sixth place, whilst Lecuona has struggled to match his teammates consistency, even if his outright pace remains a little bit better. Lecuona took a fourth place in the Superpole Race in Barcelona after a late rain shower changed things up and it came after a sixth place in Race 1. However, prior to that, Lecuona failed to score any points at all at Assen and since Barcelona, he lamented the Misano Test where a new swingarm left the Valencian “expecting more”, even if teammate Vierge was overjoyed.

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Dall’Igna on Bautista: “Bautista makes me happy… I cannot ask for anything better”

With the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock heading to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the fifth round of the 2023 campaign, the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round, Ducati Corse’s General Manager, Gigi Dall’Igna, discussed the upcoming home round for Ducati, Alvaro Bautista’s ( Racing – Ducati) form in 2022 and 2023 as well as his potential teammate for the 2024 season.

BAUTISTA’S FORM: “He makes me happy…”

Bautista returned to Ducati for the 2022 campaign after two years with Team HRC and was crowned World Champion at the end of the season after a thrilling, season-long fight with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Bautista won 16 races and claimed 31 podiums last year in 36 races as he was crowned WorldSBK Champion for the first time, and he’s started 2023 in imperious form with 11 wins from the first 12 races of the season. His form has seen him take a 69-point lead in the Championship standings over Razgatlioglu and Dall’Igna has lavished praise on the 2022 World Champion.

Discussing Bautista’s form, Dall’Igna said: “Every time that I see a race with Alvaro, he makes me happy. I cannot ask for anything better, honestly. I’m really happy with his feeling with the bike, with his style of work because he works very well with all of us. Honestly, it’s really easy to work with him. I cannot ask for anything more.”

WHO WILL JOIN BAUTISTA AT DUCATI? “At the moment, nothing on the table…”

Bautista was one of the earliest riders to sign up for the 2024 grid when he signed a one-year contract to extend his stay with Ducati until the end of 2024 at the very least. However, his teammate for next season is currently unknown. Michael Ruben Rinaldi occupies the seat this season and has done since 2021, but several riders have expressed their interest in joining the factory Ducati team including Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team).

Talking about who will partner Bautista in 2024, Dall’Igna said: “We don’t know. I think that we are in the position that we can wait a little bit. We don’t have to find a solution because we don’t have a good solution at the moment. We are happy and, for sure, we can wait a little bit to understand what happens in reality. Maybe in the middle of the season, we can try to understand if we have to change something or not. At the moment, nothing on the table.”

HOME ROUND: looking for success on home soil

The next round for the WorldSBK field is the Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” where Ducati will be looking to continue their success, with Bautista and Rinaldi both winning races there in the last couple of seasons. Discussing the upcoming round, Dall’Igna said: “Misano is another of our home races so, for sure, we would like to do well there with all the people that come only for Ducati and only for Alvaro. We have to prepare quite well for that round and now we are working on that because we tested at Misano with all the other teams in order to prepare for the round very well.”

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