World Superbike: Gerloff Quickest In FP2 At Donington Park (Updated)

World Superbike: Gerloff Quickest In FP2 At Donington Park (Updated)

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.





More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:

Gerloff blitzes Day 1 of Donington Park debut as WorldSBK returns to the UK


Garrett Gerloff (31) at Donington Park. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Garrett Gerloff (31) at Donington Park. Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.

Friday, 2 July 2021 15:25 GMT

The American ace topped the timesheets as he looks to be in fine form on his first ever outing at the track

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s opening day of action saw Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) hit the headlines by stunning on his debut at Donington Park for the Prosecco DOC UK Round. He was fastest on a blissfully sunny Friday afternoon, enough to put him on top overall with a 1’27.524, ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK).


It was an Independent on top on Friday in the UK as Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) improved significantly throughout the opening day of action to go top on an SCX tyre in the closing stages. An irrepressible Gerloff topped every single sector around the Donington Park circuit, as he made his debut at the British venue. Impressively going about his business at a brand new circuit and less than a week after a solid substitute performance at the Dutch GP in MotoGP™, Gerloff hopes to continue his form into Saturday and Sunday. On the other side of the garage, it was a nightmare for Kohta Nozane, who was ruled unfit following his Navarra testing crash which left him with a fractured middle finger on his right hand.

The Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK duo of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes enjoyed a positive session, as both riders hit the ground running right from the start of the session. Both riders were running 1-2 in the session in the opening 20 minutes as they continued their work at their home round. Rea was super consistent throughout the opening day and ended the day in second place, whilst Lowes was also in fine form in the afternoon to finish fourth, leaving him on the combined.


Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.


NEW DEAL, SAME CONTENTION: Razgatlioglu on fire, Ducati in behind

The factory Yamaha charge was led by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK), as he celebrated a new Yamaha Motor Europe contract that was announced prior to the first track action of the day. Despite a massive moment in the opening moments of the session, he was able to continue on his way and cement his position in the leading positions in third, putting in a long run in his second stint. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was impressive and was as high as fourth in the afternoon session before finishing eleventh overall.


Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.


It was the Racing – Ducati outfit who were also in contention, with home-hero Scott Redding debuting in front of his home fans in WorldSBK, finishing the day in fifth overall as he adapted to WorldSBK machinery at the circuit of which he won his first ever World Championship race at in 2008 in 125cc Grand Prix. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) finished sixth in the afternoon session but was seventh overall as he also aimed to make a solid start after his double win at Misano last time out.


Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.


BMW AND HONDA: in hot pursuit

Finishing in sixth overall was Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as he endured a busy day at Donington Park. A crash in FP1 at the Melbourne Loop (Turn 11) left Sykes unscathed but he suffered a faster crash in the opening five minutes of FP2, leaving him out at McLean’s (Turn 7). He rejoined the session later on but relied on his morning time to put him sixth, whilst teammate Michael van der Mark had a rather unassuming day at Donington Park – the site of his first WorldSBK win – as he completed the day in tenth overall.


Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.


Over with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) and teammate Alvaro Bautista, it was the ‘Pocket Rocket’ who was on-song as he put the Honda CBR1000RR-R inside the top ten at his local circuit. Across the box and it was Alvaro Bautista who seemingly struggled to get up to speed on Friday, having a very quiet day outside of the top ten. Come the close of business on Friday, it was Haslam who finished eighth with Bautista in 15th.


With Gerloff on top, the rest of the Independent riders were further down but after following Jonathan Rea for a few laps, it was once again Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who was the next best in ninth, whilst Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) could only manage 12th, ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team), with the three Independent Ducatis together. Isaac Viñales (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) was 16th ahead of a solid Luke Mossey (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and Germany’s Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing). Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) completed 21 few laps in the day as he was blighted by tech issues in 19th ahead of Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) and Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing).

Top six after day one, combined results here!

Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’27.524s

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.317s

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +0.524s

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.607s

Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) +0.626s

Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.678s


Watch all of the action unfold and get involved on social media using #GBRWorldSBK and the WorldSBK VideoPass!




More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Strong Early Showings For KRT Duo

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes finished the first day of practice for the FIM Superbike World Championship round at Donington Park in second and fourth place respectively.

The first WorldSBK presence at Donington since the 2019 season took place in dry conditions with Rea fastest in Free Practice One in the morning. He also led the afternoon’s FP2 session until very close to the end of the second 45-minute track outing.

In FP2 Rea could not quite improve on his best morning lap time of 1’27.841 as he could not get a clear track using a soft tyre near the end.

Lowes moved up from an early eighth to fourth fastest man on Friday’s combined times. The 4.023km Donington circuit provided a relatively consistent surface for the riders to practice on even if outright grip levels were slightly less than expected.

Today was the first time Alex had ridden the Ninja ZX-10RR at Donington after the cancellation of last year’s event. Donington is not one of the circuits Rea or Lowes have tested at in 2021 on the new Ninja ZX-10RR, which made the first two sessions important exercises in data gathering, as well as regular competition to set fast lap times.

Since the most recent championship round at Misano and before Donington Rea and Lowes tested at what will be a new track for WorldSBK to race at in 2021, Navarra in Spain. They put some of the experience from that test to good use today back on home asphalt.

Next Rea and Lowes will face a final short FP3 session on Saturday morning, before the Tissot Superpole Qualifying session and then a full distance Race One over 23 laps on Saturday afternoon.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “The bike was working pretty well today and straight away I felt a good rhythm. The level of grip of the track is pretty low compared to 2019 but I don’t think there has been a lot of activity here. So it just took a little bit of time to understand and we tried not make too many changes because we expected the track to have more tyre rubber laid down as the day went on. We made a set-up change that would increase agility, especially in the first two sectors and I felt as big improvement – but it compromised the last two sectors where I was really strong in FP1. So we need to find a middle ground for tomorrow. But I felt quite good and my rhythm was really strong. I could ride in the 1’28 lows so I feel that has put us in good shape for tomorrow. I am satisfied with the days’ work.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “We did not have a normal session this morning. I did not feel quite right so I did not really push, so I just did some laps to learn the Kawasaki on this track. In the afternoon we used our base setting, more or less, from the last few tests, and we tried a couple of things on the electronics and I felt quite good from the start. I was able to do a lot of good, fast consistent laps. It was a positive afternoon and I did not feel like I was pushing too hard. The pace was strong so it was probably one of my more positive Friday sessions.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was ninth fastest on the  opening day; Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 16th. The final regular Kawasaki Independent rider Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 21st. Local rider Luke Mossey (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 17th on day one at his home circuit of Donington.




More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:

Team HRC rider Haslam takes on home track Donington, Bautista working hard to improve feeling

Team HRC is now in action at the Donington Park circuit in the UK, the stage for round four of the 2021 Superbike World Championship.

Riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam have taken part in the opening day’s free practice sessions, both of which played out in warm, dry conditions, although this may change tomorrow as rain is forecast over the weekend.

Working hard to find the best possible set-up for their CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADES around the technical Leicestershire track, the factory riders completed a challenging but constructive first session, in which Haslam achieved a fastest time of 1’28.843 to finish the opening phase in seventh place, while Bautista’s best – a 1’29.932 – saw him position fourteenth.

During the afternoon’s second timed practice, the Team HRC riders continued their preparations ahead of the weekend’s three races and local rider Haslam rounded out the day in a solid eighth position overall. Bautista also shaved off several tenths to set a 1’29.568, which put him fifteenth at the day’s end.

Alvaro Bautista  19

P15  1’29.568 (2.044)

“Today was an objectively difficult day and our position reflects this, because normally we are quite closer to the front group in terms of performance. We need to keep working on the set-up because right from the first few laps this morning I have been struggling to ‘feel’ the tyres. With this problem I can’t push hard and exploit the potential of the bike. The changes we have tried haven’t solved the issue yet, but at least we have done some exploratory work and now we will analyse the data and try to find a solution tomorrow”.

Leon Haslam  91

P8  1’28.395 (+0.871)

“Obviously I know this track very well, which is a benefit. We’ve not been here on the Honda, but my experience with different bikes here means I know where and how the bike should be turning and so I think we’ve highlighted a few areas where we need to improve. There’s no one specific thing we need to work on, it’s more a case of putting it all together to find a solid overall package. It’s been a tough day but also a very useful one, and now we have more idea as how to move forward”.





More, from a press release issued by Racing Ducati:

#GBRWorldSBK FP. Scott Redding and Michael Rinaldi respectively fifth and seventh after the free practice for the Prosecco DOC UK round

A beautiful sun shines over Donington Park, iconic English circuit that hosts the fourth round of the 2021 WorldSBK season. On a track not particularly favorable to the Ducati Panigale V4R, Scott Redding and Michael Ruben Rinaldi work hard with their teams, making tangible progress during the first day of free practices. The two Racing – Ducati riders close respectively in fifth and seventh position waiting for tomorrow’s Race-1 that, according to the weather forecast, could be characterized by rain.


Michael Rinaldi closes with the fourth fastest time despite a T4 in which he is not able to be competitive.

Positive feeling for Scott Redding who uses the same tire throughout the session completing 23 laps with a convincing race pace.


Scott Redding’s feeling grows considerably in the afternoon.   The pace is constant,  but  the English rider is not able to be particularly incisive on a single lap.

His ideal time, in fact, is three tenths less than the best time and this could be a positive factor in view of the Superpole tomorrow morning.

Michael Rinaldi works with his team to overcome the difficulties encountered in the last sector of FP1, although losing some time in the T2. The feeling is however positive as the Italian rider also records the top speed of the first day (273,7).

Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati #45)

“All in all it wasn’t a bad day but I wasn’t able to be incisive on the single lap. This is a particular track with many different corners that do not play in our favour. The feeling, however, is positive. In the afternoon things improved but we still have to find the best set up that will allow me to ride at my best. The weather forecast? I don’t really care because we’ll all start in the same conditions”.

Michael Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati #21)

“Today was a pretty positive day even though we are a little bit far from the top. This morning we struggled a lot in the last sector, that’s why between FP1 and FP2 we focused a on fixing the set up. In the afternoon things went better but, as it often happens, we missed something, especially in T2. We just have to put together all the pieces of this puzzle and I am confident  that we will make it”.




More, from a press release issued by Team Go Eleven:


A difficult Friday, as expected from the premises, that of Chaz Davies and Team Go Eleven on the Donington Park track. The Misano injured shoulder is painful in different points of the track, limiting the performance of the number seven.

In the first free practice session, the Welsh rider made several laps, all keeping the same tire, in race configuration, obtaining the Best Lap at the end of the session. During the session the technicians had to open the handlebars slightly, in order to stress the injured joint as little as possible. While the comfort was notable, on the other the lap performance suffered. However, Chaz reported that he was comfortable on the bike and that he had a good feeling with his Panigale V4-RS, even with really used tyres.

In FP 2 the sun quickly warmed the track, and the temperature rose close to 40 ° C. Team Go Eleven continued the work on racing tyres in the first part of the session, obtaining good feedback; Chaz immediately improved his times from the morning, despite still complaining of some problems with the rear. In the last minutes, the light-blue Panigale V4-RS went on track for a time attack with a soft compound. The excessive grip from the SCX increased the effort on Chaz’s right shoulder, who was unable to fully exploit the potential of the bike, and preferred to study its behaviour without pushing too much. With “harder” coverage, however, the pace isn’t bad and the feeling is pretty good. Throughout the day, Chaz preferred not to do many, trying to save himself for the rest of the weekend and not inflame his shoulder further. Some small changes will be made during the night, with the aim of aiming for a good Superpole on Saturday.

Tomorrow, the weather forecasts predict a rather unstable weather with a high probability of rain, which could make the work done in free practice almost completely useless. Dry or wet makes no difference, we just have to wait impatiently for the Superpole and Race start time!

Chaz Davies (Rider):

“It’s nice to ride again in Donington in the sunshine, I am not sure what is gonna do for the rest of the weekend. The first session this morning was quite painful on the shoulder, but when I did a few more laps I felt better, I tried to adjust the handlebar position a little bit to help me. Anyway I struggled a little with that injury. It is what it is, I can ride at 90%, but when I try to push the last 10 % I get a few problems. The bike felt quite ok to be honest, I didn’t really put together a lap where I pushed 100%. I think there is a good margin to improve, but the main thing will be on the physical part. We have to see what the weather does for the rest of the weekend; maybe in rain conditions the physical will be less critical!”




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Razgatlıoğlu Top Three in Free Practice, as Locatelli Shows Promise at Donington Park

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was third quickest during Friday Free Practice, while teammate Andrea Locatelli showed promise in 11th position as the fourth round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship started at Donington Park in the United Kingdom today.

As the ink dried on Razgatlıoğlu’s new two-year contract with Yamaha Motor Europe, the team’s Turkish ace set about the business of preparing for the immediate challenge ahead: to fight for the podium – and race wins – again this weekend.

While today’s conditions were relatively warm and dry for the Derby region, heavy rain over the past fortnight meant the racing line on track was “dirty” in the first Free Practice session this morning. Thanks to a full roster of supporting classes from the FIM Sidecar World Championship through to the new Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup for young riders running throughout the day, the WorldSBK field found a much cleaner surface available for Free Practice 2 this afternoon.

Both Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders completed long runs, simulating their potential race pace in the second practice in order to provide invaluable data for the team to evaluate and find improvements ahead of Race 1.

Razgatlıoğlu found a small improvement in outright pace, but still had difficulty in generating rear grip in the afternoon while Locatelli, in just his fourth WorldSBK round, took a big step forward improving his best lap time by nearly 1.2 seconds to record the 10th fastest time in Free Practice 2 and with race pace much closer to the front runners.

The first real test will come tomorrow morning with Superpole qualifying at 11:10 (BST) after one final Free Practice session at 09:00 of 30 minutes, with “lights out” for Race 1 at 14:00.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P3 – 1’28.048

“Today we started to try to find a good setup with the bike, because the track was very dirty, but now the track condition is much better. Also we are working for good grip with the rear tyre because I was finding this a problem today. We tried a small race simulation in the afternoon, 12 laps, it was not bad but not really fast and we need to improve the rear grip. Now we are working for tomorrow, I speak with my team because we need to improve a little bit for the race, we will see what is possible – tomorrow we try again. For the future, I’m really happy to stay with this team! Every year Yamaha and my team is working for a good bike. I think next year we can be stronger, because we keep moving forward. But for now, this weekend and this season is important; I like this track and we want to improve for the race.”

Andrea Locatelli: P11 – 1’28.594

“I’m really happy because we did a really good job, we understand more on the bike and also me on the track, because it’s completely new. We started with a base setup like Navarra and the feeling was immediately nice this morning. In the afternoon the conditions were a little bit different because the temperature of the asphalt got a little bit high. But I think we worked very well and I am happy. The feeling is good, I can push on the bike – maybe if we have some riders in front I can do more on the lap time. I’m very happy because it’s the first time that we started fast on the Friday and this is good for my confidence. Tomorrow we will make some small adjustments around the bike and we will see what the conditions are like, as maybe it will rain. I think I am ready!”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“It’s good to be back at Donington after missing the race last year, and even if the government restrictions make the number of fans trackside very limited, it’s still great to see some people cheering on the riders here. We haven’t had a bad day – on Loka’s side it was our best Friday of the season so far, only 0.5 of a second from Toprak, which considering it’s a new circuit for him is a really good sign. He showed great consistency his long runs this afternoon, but more importantly his pace was a lot closer to the sharp end. Toprak, as always, was fast and in the top three all day, but finishes the day slightly frustrated in terms of what he was able to achieve and the amount of rear grip he was able to generate. If it stays dry tomorrow, there’s definitely some work to do to improve both his ultimate pace and consistency on the long run, and the team will be working hard to make a step.”




More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today returned to Donington Park for the fourth round of the FIM World Superbike Championship.

The forecasted weather for this weekend’s #GBRWorldSBK predicts rain for Saturday and Sunday, however in todays Friday free practice it remained dry for both sessions. Tom Sykes, eager to return to his winning ways around the 4.023 m circuit was quick out the box and made an instant impact to the timing sheets in FP1. Despite a small crash at T11 in the early stages he ended the session in P3 (1’28.202). Michael van der Mark who took the double race win here in 2018 equally had a solid opening session this morning, lapping consistently in the low 1’29.000’s throughout FP1 to finish in P10 (1’29.104).

FP2 was not without drama for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Sykes in the opening laps had a crash at T6 /7, barrel rolling his BMW M 1000 RR into the gravel. The crew did a fantastic job in getting Tom back out for the final 12 minutes as he finished the session in eleventh, P6 on combined times. Michael made some good steps in FP2 improving on his initial 1’29.104 lap time from this morning’s session. His best lap being a 1’28.549, just +1.025 from P1.

Shaun Muir, Team Principal

“Considering it been an expensive day, I am relatively pleased with the outcome. Tom had a really fast crash at T6 / 7 which left a lot of damage to the bike, so a huge credit to the boys in getting him out in the remaining moments of the session. We later found that we had twisted the swingarm, so Tom did a good job in the circumstances. Overall, I am happy with Tom, we know he’s got pace and will come good tomorrow morning in FP3, but again we are unsure on what the weather will bring.

Michael has worked through a number of issues; it hasn’t turned out to be a bad Friday for him considering his position in P10. We don’t want to be in P10 but there has been good progress with him today which I have to pleased about. The set-up tomorrow is going to be critical as we are unsure on the weather. So, this will be a blank canvas for everyone tomorrow and id imagine It will be a completely new grid set up.”

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director:

“It’s a shame Tom had a crash right at the start of FP2. He had P3 in the opening free practice session and I strongly believe he could have kept this position in the end. The guys had a lot of work to do with the bike which meant we unfortunately lost time in the session. Michael was in P10 overall today, just a few tenths behind P6 which was mainly lost in the final sector, struggling with similarly issues to the ones we had at the last round in Misano. Overall, I don’t think that today is too much of a reference, since it´s highly likely that it will be wet tomorrow and the cards are being reshuffled.

Tom Sykes:

“Long and short, I said to myself before arriving here this weekend I will drag the bike around if I have too. In FP1 we took a step back in time with some of our set up and felt comfortable doing the lap times, which was positive. Then for FP2 we had a good plan but unfortunately, I had a crash on my first flying lap. I probably got a bit carried away but I got caught out with a rear slide, so I lost the front which was not ideal. I have to say the guys did an incredible job in getting her fixed. The bike got back to the box with 28 minutes to go and I was leaving the box with 12 minutes left on the clock so great work from those boys. It is what it is, I was not able to try the things I was wanting to do mid FP2 as a result but looks like the rest of the weekend is going to be fairly moist, so it doesn’t matter too much. But it was one of those days, if we had a dry race tomorrow, I feel like we are prepared regardless.”

Michael van der Mark:

“I really enjoyed riding today and its great to be back a Donington Park, I have some great memories here. This morning we felt good with the bike and made some small changes which improved our lap time. Unfortunately, we went the wrong direction at the end of FP1 which was frustrating but in FP2 we made a big change on the bike which helped stability in braking. I was having fun and enjoying my time out there, but we are losing too much time in the final sector with the stop and go section. We know this is a weak point of the BMW M 1000 RR but we for sure we can improve in this area, but overall, I don’t think we had such a bad Friday.”




More, from a press release issued by GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team:

Gerloff tops the standings on day 1 for GRT, Nozane withdraws from the weekend

After being left out of the schedule in the pandemic-marred 2020 season, the UK round of the FIM World Superbike Championship is back this weekend at the Donington Park circuit. The action got under way today with the first two practice sessions at the legendary British track. The teams used the day to work on the setup of their bikes whereas the riders tried to get reacquainted, or, in some cases, to make their first-ever laps on this circuit.

It was a bittersweet day for the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team. The entity of the injuries sustained to the middle finger of his right hand during the recent Navarra test, in fact, did not allow Kohta Nozane to complete more than 4 laps during Free Practice 1, after which the Japanese opted to withdraw from the rest of the weekend in order to focus fully on his recovery ahead of the Assen round in three weeks.

On the flip side of the coin, it was a stellar day for Garrett Gerloff. The American, riding the wave of his very positive first race on a MotoGP machine last weekend, used FP1 to introduce himself to the brand new track and closed the session in 5th place with a 1’28.681. By the time the afternoon session came around, though, Gerloff and the track were already good friends, and the #31 topped the timing sheets thanks to a 1’27.524, more than one second quicker than in the morning despite higher temperatures.

Garrett Gerloff: 1st

“It’s funny to say, but I feel a lot of USA vibes here: English everywhere, and this track which really reminds me of Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, and Pittsburgh back at home. Today was good and I look forward to the rest of the weekend: I already feel like I have a really good bike, and the R1 has historically always been fast around here, just like on most circuits. It’s nice to know that Les (Pearson, Chief Engineer, who knows all the secrets of Donington Park after years in the WorldSBK paddock) always has everything already planned and under control: whenever I need any information, he already has everything ready. With me focused on learning the track, it is nice to know that he has all the adjustments set to go depending on my comments. I feel really good on the bike, so I just want to get through qualifying and go racing now. I was surprised at how little grip the track had in the heat of the afternoon and my first run during FP2 was all over the place, but it seems like it might rain both tomorrow and Sunday anyway. We have a good bike either way, we will see how it goes.”

We will find out what surprises the weather holds when the bikes go back on track tomorrow, starting with FP3 at 9 AM and with the Tissot Superpole and Race 1 later on, at 11:10 AM and 2 PM respectively, local time.




More, from another press release issued by Yamaha:

Gerloff Tops Opening Day on Donington Park Debut

The FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Donington Park for the first time since 2019, and despite having never ridden at the legendary British venue, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff ended Friday fastest on combined times.

It was a stellar day for Gerloff, who was riding the wave of his very positive first race on a Yamaha M1 in the MotoGP round at Assen last weekend. The American used Free Practice 1 to introduce himself to the track and ended the session in fifth place with a 1’28.681. By the time the afternoon session came around, Gerloff was already well acquainted to the circuit, and the 25-year-old topped the timings thanks to a 1’27.524, which was good enough for 0.317s quicker than his nearest challenger.

Overall though, it was a bittersweet day for the GRT Yamaha team, with Kohta Nozane electing to withdraw from the weekend following a distal phalanx fracture on his middle finger (right hand) sustained at the Navarra test. The Japanese rider ran four laps in FP1, but was concerned about his and the other riders’ safety due to the nature of his injury.

Garrett Gerloff: P1 – 1’27.524

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

“It’s funny to say, but I get a lot of US vibes here. Everyone speaks English, and this track reminds me of Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, and Pittsburgh back at home. Today was good and I look forward to the rest of the weekend. I already feel like I have a really good bike, and the Yamaha R1 has historically always been fast around here, just like on most circuits. It’s nice to know that Les (Pearson, Chief Engineer) always has everything already planned and under control. Whenever I need any information, he already has everything ready. With me focused on learning the track, it is nice to know that he has all the adjustments set to go depending on my comments. I feel really good on the bike, so I just want to get through qualifying and go racing now. I was surprised at how little grip the track had in the heat of the afternoon and my first run during FP2 was all over the place, but it seems like it might rain both tomorrow and Sunday anyway. We have a good bike either way, we will see how it goes.”




More, from a press release issued by Barni Racing Team:

Rabat (P14) and the Barni Racing Team improved the feeling in day 1 at Donington Park

Castle Donington (GBR), 2nd July 2021. A P14 for Tito Rabat and the Barni Racing Team on the first day of free practice at Donington Park circuit, Great Britain. Fresh from a day of testing at Misano, Rabat started with the setup solutions he tried only a few days ago. With the additional changes made in FP1 he was able to lower his best time by more than six tenths between FP1 and FP2, reaching a final 1’29.414 that placed him in fourteenth position in the combined timesheets. The improvement seen between the first and second session is significant despite the air and asphalt temperatures rising, a situation that often put the #53 in crisis. Tomorrow in the third free practice session the Spanish rider will try to take another step forward before going into Superpole and then Race 1.

Tito Rabat

“The most important thing is that we finished the day on a high. We have improved a lot and I was able to cut the lap time between the first and second free practice sessions, but above all the feeling has improved. We have understood the direction we need to take in order to take another step forward tomorrow and hope that the rain doesn’t ruin all our work.”

Marco Barnabò – Team Principal

“We have seen the fruits of the test in Misano because the rider has found more and more feeling between the first and second session. During the FP2 Tito was able to improve his lap time, which was not always the case in the first races. We are confident, but the key factor tomorrow and Sunday will be the rain, almost everything will depend on the weather conditions.”

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