Jun 25, 2023
The Italian was quickest in both the morning and afternoon sessions as he secured top spot at MotorLand Aragon
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the fastest rider on day one of testing at MotorLand Aragon as he headed the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field by just over two tenths. The Italian was strong throughout Tuesday’s running as he worked on refining his Panigale V4 R, eventually claiming top spot after a rapid late lap in the afternoon moved him to first place.
The #21 completed 38 laps in the first four-hour session and finished on top in the morning after posting a 1’50.818s, pipping Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) by just over a tenth. In the afternoon, Rinaldi added another 30 laps to his total and found half-a-second on his morning time. He set a 1’50.388s to claim first place in both the afternoon and overall. Once again, he was directly ahead of a Honda rider but this time it was Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) with the Spaniard around two tenths back from the Ducati rider.
Rinaldi’s focus was partially on the upcoming Aragon Round as he worked on the setup of his V4 R machine, while there was also an element of trying to understand the bike, and refining it, following two 250-rpm reductions this season. The five-time podium finisher in 2023 also had electronics update to test, although there were no new parts on the bike. Ducati, however, did bring more sensors to collect more information about the physical movement on the bike.
Reviewing the test after securing top spot, Rinaldi said: “After the long break, we’re back on track and I’m so happy about that because I missed it. Today was a really important day because we tried many things, but the grip was low, so the feeling wasn’t that good. We were able to try a lot of things to improve. It was a busy day. I felt the rpm reduction. There’s no grip today so maybe that doesn’t help our situation. If, in the race, we have this kind of grip, I will feel the lower rpm. Maybe if we have more grip, we will feel this problem less.
“It’s corner exit and the end of the straight. The problem is that we need to put one more tooth on the sprocket to not touch the limiter at some parts of the track. That means, when you open the throttle exiting corners, you have lower rpm and the power there is less. With no grip, you feel it a lot. We need to try to find something. This is why we worked a lot today.”
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