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More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:
Redding bounces back with slick gamble to take Race 2 victory at Aragon
After a disappointing Tissot Superpole Race, Redding responded in phenomenal fashion with commanding Race 2 victory
The drama continued in the final MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race of the Pirelli Aragon Round after a tyre gamble by Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) meant he responded to earlier disappointment to claim a sensational victory in Race 2 at MotorLand Aragon, coming home almost ten seconds clear of his rivals.
An earlier rain shower meant the track was wet but drying throughout the day and, although there was a drying line appearing, most riders decided to race with the immediate tyres. As the track dried further, Redding was able to make his slick tyres work to move into the front and he did not look back, while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) came home in second ahead of teammate Alex Lowes.
The intermediate runners started off the race in the strongest position with six-time World Champion Rea (and teammate Lowes with American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). Gerloff was able to make the move on Lowes for second place.
He soon had his eyes on Rea but it ended with Gerloff coming off his bike and Rea taking a trip through the gravel at Turn 14; an incident that cost both riders places and was placed under investigation by the FIM WorldSBK stewards, and Gerloff given a Long Lap Penalty; the first rider in WorldSBK to be given such a penalty.
The incident allowed Lowes, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to jump ahead of Rea, with Razgatlioglu challenging Lowes for the lead of the race before van der Mark got by his former teammate to give the BMW M 1000 RR its first lap in the lead.
The mixed conditions meant different strategies on the grid with tyre selection with only Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) and Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) starting from the grid, although Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) made the switch to slicks before the race started with the Italian starting from the pit lane.
While the intermediate runners had the advantage in the early stages of the races, the track soon came into favour for the slick-shod bikes, with Redding passing Razgatlioglu for the lead and soon pulling out a large gap to the chasing pack to take his first win of the 2021 season.
While Redding extended his lead out in front, the battle for second was hotting up between van der Mark, Rea, Lowes, Razgatlioglu and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who managed his intermediate tyres to latch onto the battle for second place. Rea had briefly got ahead of van der Mark at the final corner, but the Dutchman was able to fight back, although Rea was able to make the same move work on Lap 10 until Turn 1 on the next lap, with van der Mark fighting back.
Sykes was able to pass Razgatlioglu on Lap 12 of 18 to move into fifth place as BMW searched for a strong result on their first weekend with the new BMW M 1000 RR, although the move cost both riders time. On Lap 13, Rea was able to make a move on van der Mark and make it stick to secure second place, before Lowes followed through a couple of laps later. Van der Mark tried to fight back but found himself sandwiched between teammate Sykes, who was on the kerbs at Turn 1, and Lowes on the inside, with van der Mark eventually falling down to fifth behind Lowes in third and Sykes fourth; the first time two BMWs have finished in the top five since 2013.
Drama was never far away in this race and that continued throughout the top ten with a three-way battle for sixth place between Razgatlioglu, Folger and Gerloff; the Turkish star just about holding on from Gerloff and Folger, who started on slick tyres. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) was ninth with Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) securing his first top-ten finish.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) came home in 11th place ahead of a trio of rookies as Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) secured another points finish in his maiden WorldSBK weekend, Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 13th and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 14th on an impressive weekend for the youngest rider on the grid. Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was the final points position with 15th, finishing ahead of Rinaldi.
Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) was the only BMW rider outside the top ten, finish just clear of Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) who was 18th. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was the first to fall victim to the difficult conditions as he came off his Ducati Panigale V4 R at Turn, forcing the Welshman to retire from Race 2 on the opening lap of the race. Leon Haslam’s (Team HRC) race came to an end on Lap 5 after he came off his Honda at Turn 2, with the British rider retiring from the race. Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) was another retirement after he crashed at Turn 1. Davies was able to finish the race in 19th despite the crash, ahead of TPR Team Pedercini Racing duo Loris Cresson and Samuele Cavalieri.
P1 Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati)
“It was weird, it kind of feels like I haven’t raced because I was on my own. But it was a gamble. I took a gamble this morning, I didn’t know whether to go for the intermediate and I was debating. It was the same situation again on the grid, and I remember Sachsenring a few years ago in MotoGP™, the intermediate cost me a podium. I remember saying ‘I won’t use an intermediate in race conditions again, put the slicks on and I’ll take the chance’. It was a bit sketchy actually, the cojo*** as they call it here, in the beginning. You have to take a gamble sometimes. I lost out this morning, went the wrong way. I lost out at Brands Hatch in 2019, I went with intermediates, it cost me. I finally took a gamble and it paid off for a win. I’m happy for that but it was a really tough and strange weekend.”
P2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I’m just so happy to finish, to be honest! Early in the race, he came through and I thought, the line wasn’t big there, it was quite narrow and then he crashed, but my instincts told me to open the gas and try to get away from the bike. Then there was deep, deep gravel. I fully motocrossed it, putting weight on the rear, going through the gravel. I thought I best let at least two guys past so I didn’t gain an advantage, for sure, because it was faster to straight line the chicane. I did what I could with the intermediate, huge kudos to Pirelli because that tyre stayed together. We were doing 52s at the end and that was fast, the thing’s moving around but the bike was working really well today. Of course, the right decision was slicks so fair play to Scott for that.”
P3 Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“Happy with that. To be honest, I nearly went full dry as well on the grid but the track was so wet but from the sighting lap to the warm up lap it changed completely. I went for the intermediate, it was the safest choice for me. To be honest, after three or four laps, I was struggling especially with the front. It was just getting too hot. I had a little bit of a battle with Michael and Toprak but I was just destroying the tyre trying to dive up the inside and brake really late. I thought I couldn’t get any further than this group, so tried to be smart and smooth, lift the bike up, and at the end of the race I played a little bit with the mapping to change the power of the bike and the last four or five laps I found a pretty good setting that was hooking up really well, I still had some grip and I was catching Jonny back a little bit. It’s been a tough weekend in terms of managing the conditions but for the first one, to be back racing, back on the grid, I’m really happy about that and really looking forward to Estoril next week.”
More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:
#AragonWorldSBK Race-2. Only the brave! Scott Redding bets on slick tires – on the wet track – and conquers a stunning victory at Motorland
This Sunday at the Motorland circuit of Aragon (Spain) will not be easily forgotten, also due to the unpredictable weather conditions.
A day full of emotions for the Aruba.it Ducati – Racing team, started with the disappointment for the Superpole Race and finished with the heroic victory of Scott Redding.
Michael Rinaldi plays all for all but his extreme choice does not bring the desired results.
Both Redding and Rinaldi start the race with rain tires, but they have to face some difficulties from the first lap: the rain is not as heavy as in the morning, and the race gets complicated for both the riders.
Scott tries to push in the first 2 laps taking the lead, but soon he is no longer able to secure his position against his opponents, who chose the intermediate tires.
The Englishman fights until the end to finish in P8 and gaining, at any rate, 2 points.
Starting from the ninth position, Michael finds himself in the same situation and finishes in P12.
It is tricky to guess the track condition. The rain has stopped falling but the tarmac is still wet and chances of a new storm are high.
Scott Redding gets on the grid with the intermediate tires, but at the very last moment right before the start, he decides – the only one to make this choice – to opt for the slicks tires, both on the front and on the rear. The English rider wins his bet: he regains seven positions in the first six laps, and then he takes the lead on lap 7, winning the race almost 10 seconds ahead of Rea (Kawasaki).
Michael Rinaldi tries to play the same card coming back to the pits at the end of the sighting lap to put on slick tires. The gap with the group – on intermediate tires – is however too wide to be bridged. The Italian rider finishes in 16th place.
Scott Redding, Michael Rinaldi, and the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team now move to Portugal for the second round of the 2021 season, which is taking place next weekend at the Estoril circuit.
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #45)
“Yes, it’s true, I took a big risk. In my career, however, the intermediate tires have betrayed me twice, both times when I was close to achieving a great result. For this reason, without hesitation, I asked my team to put on slicks tires. In the first few laps I tried not to make any mistake and then, obviously, it was not difficult to take the lead. For sure I would have preferred winning after having fought with the other guys, but it is still an important success, especially in light of what happened this weekend”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“In these circumstances, you have to know how to evaluate the situation and make the right choice. Today I made the wrong choice and, as a result, I had one of the worst races of my career. Last year I came away from Aragon with 3 podiums; this year with only 9 points. This means that we have to find the feeling that we have been missing. The motivation is not lacking and I will try, together with the team, to turn the page from the next race”.
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport WorldSBK Team:
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claims its best team result so far in WorldSBK with the new BMW M 1000 RR.
Fourth and fifth place for Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark in race two of the season-opener at MotorLand Aragón.
Impressive performance and fastest lap of the race from van der Mark in the morning’s Superpole race.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) rounds off a successful Sunday by fighting back to eighth; 17th place for Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse).
Alcañiz. The new BMW M 1000 RR has demonstrated its potential in the FIM Superbike World Championship. The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team claimed its best team result so far at the opening round of the 2021 season at MotorLand Aragón (ESP). Tom Sykes (GBR) and Michael van der Mark (NED) ended race two on Sunday afternoon in fourth and fifth places, just one and a half seconds outside the podium positions. Van der Mark had already impressed with a strong comeback in the morning’s Superpole race. Jonas Folger (GER) from BMW satellite team Bonovo MGM Racing finished eighth to round off a successful Sunday.
After enjoying warm and sunny conditions on Friday and Saturday, Sunday started with rain. The circuit was damp in places at the start of the Superpole race, but was also drying out in other places making tyre selection rather tricky. Van der Mark opted for slick tyres, on which he shot through from 15th on the grid to finish fifth at the end of the ten-lap sprint race. The Dutchman also set the fastest lap of the race on his BMW M 1000 RR. Sykes started from third place on the wet-weather tyre, and was initially running in the top five. However, he then fell back through the field and returned to the garage on lap eight as his tenth place on the grid for race two was secure in any case.
Conditions were similarly unsettled at the start of race two in the afternoon. Van der Mark (fifth on the grid) and Sykes (tenth on the grid) both opted for intermediate tyres. Van der Mark was battling with the leading group from the word go, and actually briefly took the lead on lap six. He then spent several laps defending second place against Jonathan Rea (GBR / Kawasaki). With just a few laps remaining, Rea and his team-mate Alex Lowes (GBR) managed to find their way past him. Meanwhile, Sykes was consistently picking his way through the field and ultimately found himself behind van der Mark. The two swapped positions on lap 16 of 18, meaning Sykes finished fourth, ahead of his team-mate in fifth.
Folger ended the Superpole race in 13th place, having started 18th. His big moment came in race two. He and the Bonovo MGM Racing team opted for slicks. Folger initially had to restrain himself and dropped down the field. However, he then launched an impressive comeback. On the final lap, Folger had climbed into sixth place, behind the two riders from the BMW works team. Shortly before the chequered flag, he lost two positions due to a small mistake, meaning he crossed the finish line in eighth place. Eugene Laverty, riding for BMW satellite team RC Squadra Corse, was 16th in the Superpole race and ended race two in 17th place.
Reactions after race two at MotorLand Aragón.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We are very happy. We invested so much work in this project in the winter, and it was very difficult at the tests to establish exactly how we really compared to the others. We got off to a difficult start this weekend, so it is great to be able to turn that around in this way. Sure they were extraordinary conditions, but it was very pleasing to see that we were able to challenge the Kawasakis, which are setting the benchmark, for the full race. There were obviously times in the race when we would have liked to have finished on the podium, but it is excellent that we were able to demonstrate with two or even three bikes that we have the potential to do that. It is a strong result, on which we can build. We are super happy. The work has paid off, but we will not stop here – we will continue to work hard.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “A great day. Yesterday it was a struggle in areas, so I was happy with how we finished the race. Today, I was struggling to see if we could improve on that, but this morning Michael went out in the morning’s warm-up in the rain and was immediately fast considering this was his first ever outing in the wet conditions on the BMW M 1000 RR. In the Superpole race, Michael had a really good run, so to see him come away with fifth was pleasing as he is learning every day when he gets on the bike. Tom had an issue with the rear tyre in the Superpole race so we had to retire but nevertheless we started in P5 and P10 in race two. That race was really exciting, to be battling for the lead and never out of the top-three, top-four places for most of the race was great to see. Both BMWs were in the spotlight and it’s testament to the whole of the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team who have brought this bike through. Heading into Estoril we can be confident we can be threat for the rest of the season.”
Tom Sykes, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “A bittersweet day, really. We definitely had a Superpole race to forget which we won’t go into too much detail about. That meant that we compromised our start position in race two. For race two, I wanted to go with the slick tyre but after this morning we opted to play it safe on the intermediates. Overall, after a good start, it was a bit of a waiting game. I could see what the guys in front of me were doing but obviously considering the tyres we were on I tried a different strategy to feel where the BMW M 1000 RR was working and where we had to improve. Unfortunately, we just missed out on the podium today, but considering our results here last year it is a huge improvement.”
Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “This morning, we had a wet warm-up session which was my first time on the BMW M 1000 RR in the rain, and to be honest I had such a good feeling from the first lap. The Superpole race was in mixed conditions but I opted to go with the slick tyre and in the end was the right choice. It did however keep raining at times during the race which slowed me down in places but anyway it was a good result for us. This afternoon’s race two again was a gamble on tyre choice, and I knew I made the wrong choice going up to the start as the track was drying so quickly. Despite that we made a good start, had some incredible battles taking the lead but I knew I was asking too much of the tyres and in the end some guys got past me. But we have got to be happy with the two P5 positions and most importantly the experience I’ve gained with the BMW M 1000 RR.”
Jonas Folger, Bonovo MGM Racing: “We are absolutely happy with eighth place in race two. It is class that we managed this at the end of what was a difficult weekend. The conditions were very difficult and we did not know for a long time whether wets or slicks were the best option. We opted for slicks in the end. Only very few others made the same decision, including the winner Scott Redding, and we set the same lap time as Scott. The weather obviously suited us, but we are very happy. Unfortunately, I went wide in the battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu at the end of the race, otherwise we could perhaps have finished sixth. However, eighth place was still the highlight compared to the rest of the weekend, so we are very happy.”
Eugene Laverty, RC Squadra Corse: “It was not a good day, unfortunately. We had some problems in all sessions. For the long race, I had the wet front tyre and the other riders had intermediates or slick tyres so there was no chance to move further forward. So it was really disappointing but I am looking forward to Estoril already. I said that Aragón and Estoril have been the toughest two tracks for our bike last year so we have a big challenge but we did a good job here yesterday during qualifying so that’s reason for optimism. In Estoril, we need to put our progress on paper because this weekend we weren’t able to get the results we wanted.”
More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:
Rea Wins Another As Lowes Podiums Twice
Jonathan Rea (KRT) scored another race win and then a second place at Motorland Aragon on Sunday 23 May to lead the championship after the first weekend of WorldSBK racing in 2021. Alex Lowes (KRT) is ranked second overall after two more strong podium rides, in second and third place.
After two dry days at Motorland rains appeared on Sunday morning, making the warm-up session fully wet. The ten lap Tissot Superpole ‘sprint’ race and then the final 18 lap Race Two were held in slightly different, if changeable conditions, where tyre choice proved to be even more important to the final results than normal
In the ten lap Superpole race at 11.00am Rea used his pole position starting place to full effect, only being demoted for a short time before taking back a lead that would grow to 3.5 seconds over Lowes at the flag.
Lowes was again on good form in the sprint, with both KRT riders opting for what proved to be the correct choice of intermediate fronts and rears in the sprint race.
Race Two proved to be more or less dry on the racing line after the sighting lap, which saw Scott Redding and his slick tyres take his first win of the year.
Rea was a clear second despite being pushed off track when another rider ran in too hot during the approach to a corner. Fortunate not to fall, Rea got going again from fifth place to work his way into a final second place and finish off a superb weekend – highlighted by reaching an unprecedented career total of 100 race wins on Saturday. He now has 101 race wins in total after his subsequent Superpole race win on Sunday.
Lowes was in combative and controlled form in the long Race Two, using his intermediate tyres to their best effect to finish on the podium in third place after his two runner-up showings earlier in the weekend.
After a very strong start to the season with the new Ninja ZX-10RR the KRT riders are 1-2 in the championship standings. Rea leads with an almost perfect 57 points, Lowes has 45 and Redding 40. Kawasaki leads the manufacturers championship by 13 points after round one.
The season opener at Aragon will be followed by the Estoril Round in Portugal, between 28-30 May.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really content with the weekend because to win the first race of the season was 100 times better than last year, and also to claim my 100th victory was a real target of mine. Today, I never experienced conditions like this in my whole career, where it really is a big tyre choice by the minute. Every minute it changes. With three minutes to go in race two I was asking Pere if they still had slicks on the grid! The Superpole race was the first time I had ever raced the intermediate tyres so huge kudos to Pirelli. I decided after that experience to use that tyre choice in the final race as well. It was the safest option. It wasn’t the right one, but it was the safest one, for sure. The majority of the grid had that combination. I realised that I was going to race for second but second feels like a win. The only way we could have been more competitive is with the right tyre choice. From that point of view I am really happy and excited for Estoril next week.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “We had no chance of staying with Scott in race two because after two laps the track was completely dry. That was a shame but I felt good on the bike and at the end I played a bit with some settings to find a bit more grip. Three podiums to start the year, on a track I think I have had one podium at in a sprint race on another bike before, but nothing really special. So it is nice to start the season like this. It is just one weekend but I feel good on the bike, which helps. If you are in control on the bike then you can manage the situations a little bit better. This morning in the full wet conditions I felt good. In the dry I felt good. In the mixed conditions we did a good job. In all of these conditions with the bike we understand what is happening and that puts us in a good position going forward.
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing rider Lucas Mahias retired in the sprint race today but was tenth in race two, placing him 15th overall. Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki competitor, and another rookie, Isaac Vinales was 15th and 13th today, having scored point in all three opening races in his native Spain. Loris Cresson and Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) have yet to score points, with Cresson 20th each time and Cavalieri retiring and then 21st in Sunday’s races.
More, from a press release issued by Barni Racing Team:
Barni Racing Team and Rabat: signs of growth despite a retirement due to a crash in Race 2
Alcaniz (SPA), 23 May 2021. Despite two retirements during the weekend at Motorland Aragon, where the first round of the 2021 WorldSBK season took place, the Barni Racing Team came home with important growing signals ahead of the next round, scheduled in a week at the Estoril circuit, Portugal. After the retirement in Race 1 due to a technical problem, Tito Rabat’s Race 2 ended prematurely due to a crash, just when the Spanish rider was chasing the Top 10. However, in the first Superpole Race of the season, the #53 finished in P14 due to a wrong tyre choice.
In the Superpole Race, held in light but persistent rain, Rabat chose wet tires on both front and rear. The choice did not pay off in the first part of the race, where the Catalan lost positions. From the middle of the race onwards, he started a great duel with Vinales (Kawasaki) and, despite a series of overtakes and counter-overtakes, the two managed to recover even on Laverty. Under the checkered flag Rabat won the three-way fight for P14.
On the starting grid for Race 2 the Ducati Panigale V4 R of the Barni Racing Team lined up on the fifth row. Starting from the thirteenth spot, Rabat had to get familiar with the intermediate tyres, which he had never tried before. After an initial adaptation period, he began to push on. Trying to catch up with the group of riders fighting for the top 10, Tito crashed in turn 1 with five laps to go.
Tito Rabat, #53
«For sure it has been an unlucky weekend, and today the weather made things even more difficult. For the first time in race I used the rain tyres, even though they were not the right choice in the Superpole Race. In Race 2 we used the intermediates and from middle race until the crash my pace was solid and fast. I was pushing because I knew that the riders in front of me were slower, but at Turn 1 I lost the front. I’m very sorry for the team, but beyond the bad luck, I’m convinced that the weekend was useful for us to gain experience».
Marco Barnabò – Team Principal
«From the outside it looks like a bad weekend because we didn’t score any points, but that’s not the case at all. In the Superpole Race we made the wrong tyre choice, while in Race 2, from the middle onwards, we were the fastest on track among the riders who had intermediates. Tito rode for the first time with these tyres and now it is clear that, once he gained experience, he can stay with the group ahead in any condition. Everything that has happened between Friday and today will be useful for us and we look forward with good feelings».
More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:
Team HRC unable to make the most of opportunities at Motorland Aragón
The second and final day of racing at Motorland Aragón, which was characterised by mixed conditions, saw Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam score seventh and tenth place respectively in the morning’s Tissot Superpole race. In race 2, Bautista crossed the line eleventh, while Haslam unfortunately failed to finish.
Thanks to yesterday’s qualifying results, Bautista and Haslam lined up on the third row of the grid for the 10-lap Tissot Superpole race, which ran on a wet track. Both riders got away fast and were lying fifth and sixth through the opening turns, but, having opted for rain tyres, lost a little ground over the subsequent laps when the track started to dry out. Part of a group of five riders, the Team HRC pair battled hard over the course of the brief race, but the limited laps meant that they could only do so much. Bautista ultimately crossed the line seventh, a fraction of a second behind Razgatlioglu, while Haslam finished the race tenth.
The second Superbike race followed at 2pm CET. Based on the results of the morning’s Superpole race, Bautista started from seventh on the grid, and Haslam tenth, both on intermediate tyres. Bautista held his position through the opening turns, while Haslam gained a position to move into ninth on lap one, then eighth come lap three. On lap five, Haslam unfortunately crashed into turn 2, putting a premature end to what could have been a promising race. From the mid-race point, Bautista found himself struggling again with an electric problem, which caused him to progressively lose out in the latter stages and cross the line in eventual eleventh position.
At the end of this opening weekend, Haslam positions twelfth in the general standings with eight points, followed by Bautista, thirteenth, also with eight points. Team HRC will travel immediately on to Portugal, and the circuit of Estoril, where round 2 of the WorldSBK championship is set to play out already next weekend (28-30 May).
Alvaro Bautista 19
SUPERPOLE RACE P7 RACE 2 P11
“Today in the Superpole race we opted for rain tyres and when the track started to dry out the riders who had chosen intermediates or slicks clearly had different pace. In the end we ended up seventh, the second fastest among those who’d opted for rain tyres. The positive thing is that I had good feeling with the bike in conditions where we have struggled in the past, and that means we’ve taken a step forward in that respect. In race 2, the track was wetter than in the morning and we opted for intermediates, but the asphalt dried quickly during the race. It was the first time I was using these tyres and with a setting that was a bit of a mix, I wasn’t perfectly comfortable. Then, towards the middle of the race I started to have the same electric problem as yesterday and kept struggling to change gear. I had to manage the situation, riding very carefully to avoid taking any risks. It’s a shame, because without this problem yesterday we would have been fighting for the podium, and at least for the top six today. Having said that, we have to stay focused on the positive things, on the fact that we have worked very well on the set-up, the geometry, the suspension, and also the electronics. This gives me a lot of positive energy for next weekend at Estoril.”
Leon Haslam 91
SUPERPOLE RACE P10 RACE 2 DNF
“The Superpole race did not go well unfortunately, after what was a positive (wet) warm-up. One of the issues was that we should have gone with the intermediate, but we also struggled a bit with throttle delivery. So a difficult race in which I took some risks on several occasions. Then in the final race we went with the intermediate solution, as did most riders, and the pace felt really good. I felt that we resolved the power delivery, as well as a few other things, it was only unfortunate that I then crashed. So even though the results overall have not been what we wanted, I do feel that we were able to make a good step in this final race, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do next weekend at Estoril.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Go Eleven:
CRAZY WEATHER, A TWO FACES SUNDAY AT GO ELEVEN!
A truly changing Sunday in Aragon, with mixed weather conditions that affected all the sessions. A light rain wet the track several times, without being too heavy. A dry / wet mix created problems to teams and riders.
In the Warm Up, in real wet conditions, the WorldSBK protagonists had the first opportunity of the season to compete with rain tyres. Nobody, however, took too many risks, as it was a very close session to the start time of the Superpole Race.
Just before the Superpole Race, the rain drops and half of the circuit turns out to be almost dry. As soon as he arrived on the grid, Chaz decides immediately convinced to start with intermediate tyres. It was the right choice and the Welsh rider makes a huge gap together with Lowes, Rea and Gerloff. Towards the middle of the race the battle for the podium ignites, the two “Independent” riders swap positions, but the American Yamaha rider was a bit more fast. Excellent fourth position obtained, other good points brought home and a perfect starting position for race 2. Once again, just out of the podium, but congratulations to Chaz both for the courageous choice at the start of the race and for the management of the race!
For Race 2 the conditions are, perhaps, even more complicated. It rains until you reach the grid, after which it stops and a pale sun also comes out. Chaz and the Go Eleven team make for a risky choice, which turned out to be wrong. Rain in front, intermediate behind. Unfortunately, however, not even the time to prepare for the flag to flag and Chaz loses the front, crashing in turn 7. He gets up, goes to the pits to put on the slick tyres and returns to the track determined. Each lap is on average half a second faster than Scott Redding, who will be the winner, without right stand and rear brake, without a wing and part of the rear fairing. The consolation of Race 2 is having set the fastest lap and showing that we could have won the race!
Luckily, not even the time to throw down this Race 2, and it’s already time for Estoril, another track as spectacular as it is technical. Hoping that the weather will be friendly, the goal is to bring home some good races and to get solid points for the Championship!
Congratulations to Scott and to all the Aruba.it Racing-Ducati Team, for the first win of the season for the Ducati Panigale V4-RS!
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“Today was a strange day, this morning Chaz made the right tyres choice, a courageous choice that paid off in the Superpole Race. Unfortunately in the afternoon we crashed on the first lap and it was a real shame! He managed to restart and without the right stand, the rear brake and the right wing he was the fastest on the track and set the fastest lap of the race. It’s a pity…but we are happy by the fact that we could fight for the win, the pace was there and it was one of the bests!”
Chaz Davies (Rider):
“Today obviously it was really difficult. The Superpole Race was a positive result, we definitively made the right decision with tyres and we had a solid race, finishing P 4. I was happy with that, it was a good starting position for the second Race. For race 2, from the warm up lap I knew we have made the wrong decision with the tyres. I had to decide whether to stop immediately before the race start and put the full slick or start the race. I decided to start the race, but I had a wet front tyre, and at Turn 7, on the very first lap I close the front. Exactly why I am not sure, I could have been a little bit on an extra wet path, sure even that the front tyre wasn’t fully up to working temperature and it scrubbed. But anyway I crashed unfortunately, I picked up the bike, I went to the garage, I put the slick on, then I just tried to enjoy the seventeen laps. I just got the small consolation to get the best lap of the race and the pace wasn’t so bad. I just obviously wished that I made the decision to start on slicks. Today it was a really difficult day, it was really easy to be the hero or the zero and we were both today, hero moved in the Superpole Race, zero moved in the main race. Anyway it has been good to enjoy the weekend with the Team, thanks for the effort and look forward to Estoril next week!”
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Strong Performances for Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Despite Wet Weather Gambles
Riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli were each able to take positives, despite the rain, on the second race day of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship held at MotorLand Aragón today.
A wet 15-minute Warm Up session at 09:00 this morning set the scene for a tricky day ahead for all teams, including Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK. The 10-lap Superpole Race followed with light showers and a predominantly wet track that left everyone guessing which way it would go. This afternoon’s Race 2 was not much clearer and most of the field chose to race on Pirelli’s intermediate option, while a few riders gambled on full slicks in the hope that the racing line would dry as the race developed.
Two sixth place results for Razgatlıoğlu don’t tell the story of his fight-back from 10th on the grid in the Superpole Race, the first finisher on Pirelli’s full rain tyre, and a fighting performance in Race 2 which included holding the race lead for three laps and battling toe-to-toe with the top group of riders, before a combination of excessive rear tyre wear and some setting issues restricted his progress.
Equally, Locatelli’s first weekend in WorldSBK netted solid top 10 finishes in the two main races and excellent progression through the field in all three starts – going from 14th to finish 12th in the Superpole Race and starting 16th on the grid in Race 2 to finish a commendable ninth overall.
Tomorrow, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK travel directly to Portgual for the second round of the championship at Circuito Estoril, located around 30km from the capital of Lisbon. It was the venue of 2020’s season finale in October, where the team celebrated a near-perfect race weekend with Razgatlıoğlu taking his first ever pole position and winning two of the three races.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P6 / Race 2: P6
“In the Superpole Race, my strategy was to choose the wet tyre because I saw that it was starting to rain again on the grid – my target was to finish well and to start from a better grid position in Race 2. Sixth was good considering the conditions, the riders in front all chose the intermediate tyres so it was a hard fight to get this result. The second race, I tried hard again to fight for the podium and I was strong in the opening laps – taking the lead for some laps and enjoying fighting. The feeling was not good in the middle of the race and I had to manage some problems, but sixth position can still be important points for the championship. We will see next weekend in Estoril, I love the track, now my R1 is better than before and I have good memories from last year!”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P12 / Race 2: P9
“I am quite happy because in the end we finish P9. It is not easy on the first and second lap for me, so now we need to work on this but for sure today’s races were difficult in the wet conditions. In the middle of Race 2, I was able to go quite fast here and the feeling was good. Overall I learned a lot during the weekend, and with the guys on the team together we did a really good job. Today is one of those days where you can be unlucky or lucky. Because maybe if we tried to use the slick tyre, it could have been a good chance for us to do something – but okay, we lose this opportunity but it is only my first race weekend in WorldSBK. Now we go on to Estoril and hope to push much more because I have more confidence on the R1 and I think this track is a really good opportunity for us.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“Today was really challenging for all the riders and teams, and both the Superpole Race and Race 2 results this afternoon relied on taking the right gamble as well as having the right set-up and confidence. Following yesterday’s superb podium, two sixth place finishes for Toprak is disappointing but – put into the right context – he was the first finisher on wet tyres in the Superpole Race and fought right again at the front until a couple of problems slowed his progress in the long race. Andrea also has had everything thrown at him this weekend – hot conditions in yesterday’s race, a full wet Superpole Race and a long race on intermediates this afternoon. He has been focused and consistent and another top 10 result this afternoon is a solid start as a superbike rider. We knew that coming here to Aragón was going to be tough and even if today’s results were a little underwhelming overall, there are a lot of positives in terms of the outright pace of the 2021 R1 WorldSBK and our ability to fight at the front here in Aragon, at a track which has traditionally been really tough for us in the past. So, we head to Estoril looking to fight again for the podium next weekend!”
More, from a press release issued by GRT Yamaha:
First podium of the season for GRT in Aragon
The first round of the FIM Superbike World Championship came to a close today under wet conditions. The rain came down heavily during the morning’s Warm Up, but it also affected both the Superpole Race and Race 2, which were run on a slippery but not totally wet surface. The conditions were particularly tricky, making it difficult for the teams to make the correct tyre choice for the race.
The last day of the weekend represented a great step in the right direction for the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK team, as demonstrated both by the performances on track and by the final results, despite the non-completely satisfactory outcome of Race 2. The arrival of the rain, in fact, helped the two GRT riders exploit the entire potential of their R1, and the correct choice of the intermediate tyre allowed them to immediately demonstrate it during the Superpole Race. Race 2 began in the same fashion, with Garrett Gerloff able to fight for the lead, until a crash at turn 14 put an early end to his chances of winning the race.
The Texan’s day had started off with the 8th fastest time in the Warm Up (2’05.193), which was followed by the first podium of his season, a third place which he achieved in the Superpole Race after an impressive recovery from the back. In Race 2 he continued showing great confidence and pace and was able to fight for the lead in the first laps, until a crash forced him to make yet another comeback from the 13th position, and he eventually crossed the finish line in 7th. Despite the disappointment of Race 2, the #31 demonstrated that he will be a force to be reckoned with starting from the upcoming Portuguese round.
Kohta Nozane also impressed on Sunday: 14th in the WarmUp with a 2’06.558, he then ran a strong Superpole Race, climbing to 9th from his 16th starting spot thanks to his consistent pace on the intermediate tyres. In the longer Race 2 he was not able to repeat the same Top-10 performance, but he ran a smart and error-free 18 laps, gathering important experience in mixed conditions and still improving on his Saturday result by finishing 12th. With his first race weekend under his belt, the Japanese can only improve in the next rounds.
Garrett Gerloff: 3rd / 7th
“Our Sunday started off really well with a third place in the Superpole Race. The team and I made a perfect decision to go with the intermediate tyre, and it worked. It was nice to be on the podium, even though I felt like I could have gotten second place. In Race 2 I felt really good since the start, and wanted to at least fight for the podium, so I’m very frustrated with the mistake I made: I was behind Johnny (Rea), but I couldn’t stop as quickly as he did, and my options were either to hit him in the back or to get to his inside and hopefully miss him, so that’s what I tried to do. Unfortunately I still ran into him, but at least he was able to stay on two wheels. I crashed, but I managed to pick up the bike right away and keep going. It was a bit bent, but overall the bike was good, so I tried to give the team the best possible result despite the mistake. It was nice to be the top independent rider at the finish. Next week we go to Estoril, a track that both I and my R1 really like, so see you there.”
Kohta Nozane: 9th / 12th
“The conditions were different today, so the tyre choice was a bit tricky. The track kept changing too, so, at the beginning of the race, I was too cautious and I lost positions. I still managed to finish the race and learn so many things. I also took note of so many different aspects in which I have to improve. The next race will be my first time in Estoril, so it will be tough for me, but I will try to be as prepared as possible to do my best for the team: they are working so well with me and helping me a lot, so I will try to get a good result for them in Portugal.”
After the first round of the season, Gerloff sits 6th in the championship standings with 23 points, whereas Nozane is 15th with 7. In less than a week the WorldSBK riders will be on track again at the Circuito do Estoril, with the FP1 kicking off the weekend on Friday 28 May at 10:30 AM, followed by the FP2 at 3 PM, local time.