World Superbike: Razgatlioglu P1, Gerloff P5 In FP2 At Navarra (Updated)

World Superbike: Razgatlioglu P1, Gerloff P5 In FP2 At Navarra (Updated)

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

SBK FP2

 

 

 

Razgatlioglu tops heated FP2, Rea maintains overall advantage at Navarra

 

Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

The title rivals continue to knock spots off each other, trading places blow for blow ahead of Saturday action

The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s seventh round is well underway as the Pirelli Navarra Round kicks off at the Circuito de Navarra in Spain. The opening day of action was as fierce as ever, although it was Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who held on for top spot, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the top three in the Championship going into the first of two race days in that very order.

KAWASAKI VS YAMAHA VS DUCATI: a familiar battle

 

Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Over at Kawasaki, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued his strong pace on from the opening session into the afternoon. However, the increase in temperature left Rea in seventh for the vast majority of the session, whilst his teammate Alex Lowes was just behind his teammate in the afternoon in eighth place. Lowes made good improvements throughout the afternoon as the heat became more of a factor. However, as the chequered flag waved at the end of the day, Rea was still on top overall come the conclusion of action although FP2 saw him one second slower than his FP1 time, whilst Lowes was the other end of the top ten, in tenth.

Having led most of the afternoon session, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was in good form in the afternoon heat of Navarra. Despite most of the riders struggling to improve on their morning times due to the higher temperatures and greasier track surface. In the end, Toprak was able to top FP2, although he was second overall. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was once again right in the mix as the Italian continues to grow in stature. He was in third for the majority of the session before finishing fourth at the flag; Locatelli was fifth overall at the end of the day.

Third place on the overall timesheets was Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with the British rider picking up his strong pace from the last round at Most. In the closing stages of FP2, it was Redding who was looking strong as he made gains throughout various sector times but returned to the pits with a technical issue in the final minute of the session. His teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi also improved throughout the afternoon, finishing third in FP2 and actually improving his time from the morning, one place behind Redding. Overall, however, it was Redding third and Rinaldi seventh.

INDEPENDENT SURGE: in the fight for the podium?

The battle for Independent supremacy is set to be a big one this weekend; Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) took the honours on the overall times but in FP2, he suffered a crash at Turn 4. This afternoon’s pace was still enough however, although Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) is a serious contender this weekend and looks like he may be able to go with Gerloff, although grid position will be vital. Gerloff was fourth overall, Davies sixth, whilst another Independent rider who impressed were Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) who was 11th overall but the fastest in the final sector in FP2.

HONDA AND BMW: top ten on combined times

Eighth place in the combined times was Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC), with the Spaniard particularly strong in the morning session before setting his fastest FP2 time on his final lap of the session. Whilst Bautista was the lead Honda, teammate Leon Haslam had a positive afternoon as he improved his time in comparison to the morning to finish in 14th, although he was still left in 15th in the combined times, despite being the third-fastest through the opening sector in the afternoon heat.

Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) took BMW into ninth place and was one of the many riders who couldn’t improve their time in the afternoon session. Sykes was less than a second off the top spot, whilst his teammate Michael van der Mark couldn’t crack the top ten on the opening day; the Dutchman completed 38 laps but was 11th, something he will hope to improve on as the weekend evolves.

THE REST OF THE FIELD: fight of the Independents

The rest of the field saw Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) in 13th, Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) in 14th – the Spaniard however showing flashes of hope throughout – and then the returning Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 16th, despite an FP1 technical issue and FP2 crash at Turn 15, although he was OK on both occasions. Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was 17th, although he was third-fastest in the final sector in the afternoon, ahead of Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport – Yamaha) in 18th and another returnee, Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team), in 19th. Wildcard Naomichi Uramoto (JEG Racing) completed the top twenty overall, ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and his teammate, American Jayson Uribe.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:

Team HRC gets to work at new track Navarra

The Superbike field got a first taste of the new Navarra Circuit in Northern Spain as the first practice sessions making up the seventh Superbike World Championship round played out today in sunny conditions.

Team HRC riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam made some progress throughout the opening session, picking up the pace in the final stages as their confidence around the new track grew. Bautista, for whom this weekend constitutes another home round, was able to set a fastest time of 1’38.531, which saw him place seventh, while Haslam ended the session in fifteenth position with a 1’39.257.

During the second afternoon session, both riders worked steadily with their respective technicians to find a suitable set-up for their CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADES around the Spanish track. With conditions much warmer than in the morning, Bautista, along with many other riders, was unable to improve on his earlier time, closing eighth in the combined standings.  Haslam was able to lower his lap time in the early stages, a 1’39.207 but rounded out day one in fifteenth position.

 

Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy Team HRC.
Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy Team HRC.

 

Alvaro Bautista  19

“We tested here a couple of months ago and conditions remain similar now, in that the track is still bumpy. It’s a challenging one, with many slow corners – I think the most enjoyable section is the first fast corner. This morning we had issues with the braking, my bike rather unstable, so in the afternoon we tried to work on this but the track conditions were hotter and so we had less grip. I tried some different compounds but the grip, particularly at the edge of the tyre, was very low. We have some more ideas for tomorrow anyway, and this morning we weren’t so far from the front, so let’s see if we can find something to improve the bike’s stability and rear grip.”

 

Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy Team HRC.
Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy Team HRC.

 

Leon Haslam  91

“This morning we had a small crash, unfortunately it came when I put a new tyre in so results in the end were not so good. We are having some problems trying to stop the bike. Conditions this afternoon were very hot, and we spent most of the session trying to understand how to improve in terms of corner entry because we had the same issue as in the morning and I could not go any faster with the new tyre. We still have some work to do tomorrow, but we knew this circuit would be tough. We are competitive at many tracks, but the very tight corners are one of the areas in which we need to improve, and this circuit in particular has a lot of these. It’s a good track at which to test our weak points anyway, and we will keep trying and pushing for this.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:

Good start for Scott Redding and Michael Rinaldi in the free practices for the Pirelli Navarra Round

The first day of free practice at the Navarra Circuit ends with Scott Redding and Michael Ruben Rinaldi respectively in third and seventh position in the combined standings, at the end of two sessions that have offered very interesting indications to the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team riders.

FP1

P3 – Scott Redding starts the weekend on the right foot and he seems to be at ease on the Navarra circuit, especially with the harder tire.

P9 – Michael Rinaldi encounters some difficulties in the first part of the session, especially in the third sector. In the last run with the new rear tire, the Italian rider manages to reduce the gap.

FP2

P2 – The feeling with the Panigale V4R is good and Scott Redding takes the opportunity to complete a long run, setting the second fastest time and recording an extremely incisive pace.

P3 – With the higher temperature Michael Rinaldi is able to make a great step forward and is the only one in the Top 10 to improve his morning time.

 

Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Scott Redding (45). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #45)

“It was a very positive day and I must admit I had a lot of fun. I completed a lot of laps and even when at the end of FP2 the team asked me to come back to the box, the feeling was so good that I kept lapping then running out of gas. That’s good, also because the pace was strong even in the afternoon with the higher temperature”.

 

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (21). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)

“We encountered some difficulties today. This morning I didn’t have a good feeling with my bike while in the afternoon, on a much warmer tarmac, we were able to improve while the others struggled a bit more. For this reason, I’m quite satisfied even if we have to work to make a small step forward”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Rea Fastest At New WorldSBK Circuit

Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes ended the first day of practice at the Circuito de Navarra in first and tenth place respectively as the seventh round of the FIM Superbike World Championship got under way in warm and dry weather conditions.

The morning session, held on cooler asphalt than the super-heated afternoon period, delivered the best overall times of day one at the technical and very modern Navarra layout.

With Rea using settings on his machine which were first evaluated during a recent Barcelona test at the Montmelo circuit he proved the quickest rider of all in the morning, setting the new track best of 1’37.629.

Jonathan was 0.123 seconds faster than the next nearest rider in FP1 and almost all the riders were unable to increase their best pace in FP2 as the track temperatures rose and grip decreased.

Lowes declared himself happy with his first day and although tenth overall he was less than one second from his team-mate Rea’s new track best.

On Saturday morning Alex will concentrate on building a final starting set-up for the opening race on Saturday afternoon.

Both Rea and Lowes, like most of their rivals, had tested at the 3.933km long Navarra Circuit earlier this summer. They found the same mix of technical sections, occasional fast corners and significant bumps around the track surface on some corners.

Before Race One takes place over 23 laps of Navarra the KRT riders will take part in FP3, then Tissot Superpole, which will determine the grid positions for both the first race and the Superpole Race on Sunday morning.

 

Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea (1). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Jonathan Rea, stated: “We had two very different sessions today to confirm some items that we used at the recent Montmelo test. I felt OK getting up to speed with the track and the bumps. When the temperature came up in the afternoon it changed the track little bit, so the grip level dropped. We went back to some components that we had been using previously in FP2. Basically we confirmed that we had been going in the right way at the Montmelo tests.”

 

Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Alex Lowes (22). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Alex Lowes, stated: “I actually felt good on the bike today. Our lap times don’t reflect how I felt out on track. With the bike set-up we are looking to improve our corner entry, especially in the trail braking area, to be ready for Race One on Saturday. That’s the area we are going to focus on most of all. The circuit layout is fun – I like it.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) came back to competitive action at Navarra after missing the Most round with a wrist injury. He finished 16th of the 22 riders in WorldSBK on Friday.

Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was forced to withdraw from a home round in his native Spain after testing positive for Covid-19, just a day before the action was due to take place.

 

Jayson Uribe (14). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Jayson Uribe (14). Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) was 21st and his new team-mate Jayson Uribe (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) 22nd on day one at this new WorldSBK track.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:

Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli Shine in Scorching Navarra Free Practice

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli posted the second and fifth-fastest lap times overall respectively, as the seventh round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship started at new venue Circuito de Navarra today.

Both riders and crews followed their familiar Friday Free Practice programme to focus on representative race simulations and long run pace under the scorching Spanish sun in order to gain as much information as possible to prepare for the weekend’s championship points-paying races. Finishing well inside the top five positions at the end of the day once again demonstrated both riders’ ability to adapt quickly to a new circuit – notwithstanding the two-day test in June.

Locatelli was the first to throw down the gauntlet in the morning session, with early pace that saw him hold P1 for a time during Free Practice 1, while teammate Razgatlıoğlu took the top honours in Free Practice 2 ahead of main championship rival Jonathan Rea in the afternoon.

The true test will come tomorrow and luckily, there will be no need to toss a coin for track conditions, as the forecast shows almost identical conditions to today: clear, sunny and hot. Free Practice 3 will likely take place in cooler conditions at 09:00 (CEST), with 30 minutes of running available before a crucial 15-minute rapid-fire Superpole qualifying at 11:10 and Race 1 directly under the early afternoon sun at 14:00.

 

Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (54). Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P2 – 1’37.752

“Today we are happy because it was a good start on Friday to finish second position overall for fastest times. For me, the race simulation is the most important but we are very strong, and also I am feeling like my bike is much better in the second session. We are feeling ready to race, but we will see because I think it will not be an easy race – very hot in Navarra! We will see, maybe it is not easy but I will try again to fight for the win.”

 

Andrea Locatelli (55). Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Andrea Locatelli (55). Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

Andrea Locatelli: P5 – 1’38.097

“In the end, I’m very happy because we have worked very hard on this first day and finished in a good position – P4 in the second session where conditions were hottest, P5 overall. We tried to search for a good rhythm in the heat and the feeling with the bike is not so bad. For sure for tomorrow we will try to improve a little bit more and try to take some more speed especially in sector four because we lose a little bit here. In general, I’m confident and tomorrow we will improve – but we will see, it will not be easy because it is so hot! Tomorrow we will be ready to race.”

Paul Denning, Team Principal – Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

“Another new circuit for the WorldSBK Championship in consecutive events, which is certainly keeping things fresh and interesting for the teams and riders! On top of learning the intricacies of the Navarra circuit, the guys also had to cope with track temperatures well over 50 degrees, which is more like Thailand than Northern Spain. Toprak and Loka worked really hard today, both completing very consistent long runs and diligently working with their crews to get the very best performance from their R1 WorldSBKs. It’s been a solid start and we’ll keep focusing on maximising performance as we approach the first race tomorrow afternoon.”

 

 

 

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

NAVARRA DAY 1; BACK IN THE GAME!

WorldSBK is back in action and Chaz Davies, alongside with Team Go Eleven, proves to be competitive and consistently fast on Friday in Navarra.

In FP 1 the riders face the ups and downs of the Los Arcos circuit for the first time ever, looking for the right set-up to soften the tricks of the track. The many bumps, also visible through the screen, immediately put the protagonists to the test. Chaz and the Go Eleven Team found the right pace right from the beginning, so much so that the light-blue Ducati number 7 was among the top 6, improving its laptime lap after lap. Towards the end of the session Chaz touches the low 38, entering the Top 6.

In FP 2 the sun shines strongly above Navarre with its 32 degrees in the air, almost 50 on the asphalt. After a small problem at the beginning of the session, that forced Go Eleven to loose the first 10 minutes, Chaz tested a new tyre solution, both at the front and at the rear, in order to obtain as much data as possible in view of the two main races. In the afternoon, due to the higher temperatures, hardly anyone was able to be close to the times of the morning. However, the Welsh rider finished again in the top six, finding a certain consistency in performance in the various conditions, limiting the gap to around half a second.

With a view to Saturday, the technical staff will work to improve a few tenths, focusing mainly on the confidence on the front. For tomorrow, no strategies, only one goal: to have a good Superpole!

 

Chaz Davies (7). Photo courtesy Team Go Eleven.
Chaz Davies (7). Photo courtesy Team Go Eleven.

 

Chaz Davies (Rider):

“Pretty solid day, I am happy to be back in Top 6. Obviously, in Most it was a lot more difficult, but now the bike seems to work reasonably well. There is a little bit to improve myself and clean up, but overall the starting point was a positive one. We need to work a bit with the guys tonight, to see what to improve and what we can make. We have to decide the tyre plan for tomorrow, too. Overall I am much happier than the last time, and physically I feel a good step better!”

 

 

 

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

Temperatures soar on the opening day at Navarra for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today returned to the picturesque Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain for the 7th Round of the FIM World Superbike Championship. This mornings FP1 session saw the BMW pairing of Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark both finish inside the top 12 places onboard their BMW M 1000 RR’s.

Temperatures soared from the morning’s session going into FP2 with track temperatures reaching 45°C + meaning only a handful of riders managed to better their times set from FP1. Tom Sykes remained in P9 with his best combined lap time of a 1’38.536. Teammate Michael van der Mark was just two tenths behind Tom, putting him in P11 overall.

Shaun Muir:

“I think we made a good step forward from the last time we were here at the test. This was something we were really interested to see as we knew when we left Misano we were not so strong, so to come here and be strong has confirmed this. Tom and Michael are 0.5 and 0.7 seconds from the front so it is really close on lap times. On race simulation we are clear which tyres we are going to run, which is good. We will go into FP3 in the morning with a very clear direction with some fine tuning to do over night. So, all in all a solid day and I’m looking forward to the race and qualifying.”

 

Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy BMW.
Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy BMW.

 

Tom Sykes:

“It’s not been a bad day. We have been understanding the package off the back of a test in Catalunya and we understood a few of the parameters. This afternoon in the hotter conditions we really looked at some of the tyre selection that Pirelli have brought here. I was overall happy with our consistency and the pace at the end on used tyres. Hopefully now we have got a lot of information of that and overnight we will now make some fine adjustments and try again tomorrow. It is looking like it is going to be a very hot weekend so hopefully we can maintain that pace from FP2.”

 

Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy BMW.
Michael van der Mark (60). Photo courtesy BMW.

 

Michael van der Mark:

“I think if you look at the position from today it is not really where we want to be. This morning I felt good on the bike and did some OK lap times, but the times from 7th to my position are really close. Unfortunately, my fastest lap got cancelled so that is why I am back in eleventh place. I think otherwise I potentially would have been 7th which is not so bad. This afternoon was good for us in the warmer conditions to try some things on the bike and see how it works, I was happy with the bike it just seems we are missing some things in a few areas. I think we can fix this and be higher up the grid tomorrow.”

 

 

 

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

Gerloff immediately quick, Nozane looking for more confidence at Navarra

Two months after the June test, the FIM Superbike World Championship paddock came back to Navarra today for the first-ever round at the Spanish track. Some riders immediately took a liking for the new circuit, whereas others, like GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Kohta Nozane, are already carrying bad memories of it with them from the past.

Without, for once, any weather concerns, the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team used Friday’s free practice sessions to work with the data collected two months ago during the test, to try to give the riders the best possible setup for their bikes. For Garrett Gerloff’s crew, this was not too difficult of a task: 4th after Free Practice 1 (1’38.082), the American was feeling even more comfortable on his R1 during the afternoon, before an odd crash at turn 4 cut his session short. He was still 5th fastest (1’38.571) and remains very confident ahead of the rest of the weekend.

For Nozane, instead, the information collected in the June test was limited, as he had crashed and injured himself only 20 laps into the first day. Therefore, his mission for today was to work on his race pace despite the limited data to rely on. He was 17th in the morning (1’40.197) but he was then one of the few riders able to improve their laptime in the FP2, which he finished in 16th place (1’39.826). His feeling also improved in the afternoon, and the Japanese hopes to keep moving forward tomorrow.

 

Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy GRT Yamaha.
Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy GRT Yamaha.

 

Garrett Gerloff: 4th / 5th

“It wasn’t a bad day and I am really happy with the progress we made. In FP2 we made a big step forward compared to FP1, but we weren’t able to capitalise on it because of a crash that didn’t allow me to finish the session. It was a weird crash: there is a big bump in that point that we hit every lap, but for some reason on the lap of the crash I lost the grip on my front tyre while going through it. I don’t exactly know why, because I did everything the same way as the laps before. This track is very similar to Portimao in the first sector, apart from the surface. The grip isn’t too bad but there are a lot of bumps around the circuit that you don’t see on tv, which makes it more challenging to find the right setup. It’s a nice track and I am liking it so far this weekend. Three Yamahas are at the front, which demonstrates again that the R1 is the best bike on the grid, all around. It just does everything really well and gets along easily with very different riding styles, as you can see yourself when looking at Razgatlioglu, me, Locatelli, or Nozane. This weekend I feel good and I will try to do the best I can.”

 

Kohta Nozane (3). Photo courtesy GRT Yamaha.
Kohta Nozane (3). Photo courtesy GRT Yamaha.

 

Kohta Nozane: 17th / 16th

“I could only run 20 laps on this track during testing two months ago because then I crashed and injured my middle finger. It’s not a good memory for me, but today in FP1 I felt okay and I worked on finding the right tyre compound for the race. In FP2 I worked on the long run; my pace is still not good enough but step by step I am improving, and maybe we have found the correct tyre compound for the race. It was a good Friday, tomorrow we will try to make another step in the right direction.”

The WorldSBK riders will be back on track tomorrow morning at 9 AM for FP3, and then again at 11:10 AM for the Tissot Superpole and at 2 PM for Race 1, local time.

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