World Superbike: Rinaldi Rips During FP2 At Misano (Updated)

World Superbike: Rinaldi Rips During FP2 At Misano (Updated)

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

SBK FP2

SBK FP1 + FP2 Combined

 

 

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

Rocket Rinaldi heads rivals as WorldSBK returns to Misano

 

Michael Ruben Rinaldo (21). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.
Michael Ruben Rinaldo (21). Photo courtesy Dorna WorldSBK Press Office.

 

Italian rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi takes to Italy for the first time on a factory Ducati machine and topped the timesheets on Friday

Friday action in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continued into the afternoon at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” and it was home hero Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who topped the timesheets as he took to the Italian venue for the first time in WorldSBK on factory Ducati machinery for the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round.

Rinaldi had been the long-time leader in Free Practice 1 before a late lap meant he was usurped by Turkish sensation Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) in the closing stages, but Rinaldi was able to respond in the afternoon session to post a time of 1’34.334s, three tenths clear of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who put in a strong lap towards the end of Free Practice 2.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Razgatlioglu both posted a 1’34.848s across the day, with Razgatlioglu setting that time to top Free Practice 1 session, while Rea found almost a second between the two sessions; Rea losing some track time in the opening session. Razgatlioglu was classified in third place with Rea in fourth although the Turkish rider did suffer a technical problem as Free Practice 2 came to an end.

American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed fifth place in the combined classification after posting the third-best time in Free Practice 1, with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in sixth; Redding missing out on track time in Free Practice 1 after a technical issue, while he was also sanctioned for not immediately stopping his bike following that issue with a suspension from the first 20 minutes of Free Practice 2.

Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) had a strong afternoon session to claim seventh place after Friday’s action, although the Spanish rider did crash his Honda machine at Turn 4 but was able to re-mount the bike once the session had ended. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was in eighth place after bouncing back from a challenging morning while Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Leon Haslam (Team HRC) completed the top ten.

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), sporting a striking livery with his Puccetti Kawasaki bike, had a crash in the final corner that cost him plenty of track time with over half an hour to go in the session; Mahias had shown strong pace in the early stages of Free Practice 2 which enabled him to finish 11th overall on Friday.

Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was 12th as he goes in search of his 100th WorldSBK podium this weekend; the British rider crashed but re-mounting his Ducati machine at Turn 4 and able to finish ahead of Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) with the Spanish rider having a very similar incident almost straight after Davies. BMW runners Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Eugene Laverty (RC Squadra Corse) completed the top 15.

Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) made it three BMW riders in a row with 16th place, just ahead of Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK); the Italian trying to use Razgatlioglu as a reference point in the second session.

Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 19th place with Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha), Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Loris Cresson rounding out the 22-strong field at Misano.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:

Promising first day for Bautista at Misano, Haslam aims to make a bigger step tomorrow

Alvaro Bautista rounds out a day of continuous growth at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” in seventh place, just over three tenths of a second from a top-three position. Haslam follows close behind, but was left wanting more after making a strong start to the day.

Team HRC have wrapped up the opening day of the the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna round, its factory riders Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista in action today during the first free practice sessions.

During the morning’s opening practice, Bautista and Haslam got straight to work, focusing on bike set-up and making the most of the fair weather (air temp. 26°C, track 39°C).  Haslam was able to set a best of 1’35.733, in the final minutes of the phase, Bautista following suit to close with a fastest time of 1’35.809. These references put the Team HRC riders in seventh and ninth place at the end of the session.

Later in the day, as second practice played out in similarly warm and dry conditions, Bautista and his team made some changes in the bike geometries and was able to improve on their earlier time already in the opening stages of the 45-minute phase. Making continuous progress throughout the practice, the Spaniard set a best of 1’35.202 to secure seventh place in the combined standings (6th in the session), despite an inconsequential crash in the final minutes. On Bautista’s side of the garage, the main target is to further improve the bike’s electronics set-up prior to tomorrow’s qualifying session and first race.

Haslam continued to work to adapt his bike setting and riding to the Italian track and dropped his lap time by a half second in the final seconds (1’35.328) to round out the day in tenth position overall.

 

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

 

Alvaro Bautista  19

FP2 P6 –  COMBINED P7

“With every round, the level of competition seems to increase and the lap times between the different riders and manufactures get closer and closer. We’ve had a positive day, despite a small crash at the very end of the FP2 session. We tried some new Pirelli tyres and I’m happy with the feeling they offer, and that’s good because I think we have even more room for improvement if we are able to make the bike a bit less aggressive, with a set-up that’s a little more balanced. We already made a step forward from one session to the next, improving the bike’s stability and reducing wheeling, but on the other hand the electronics set-up needs more work as we struggled with this in the afternoon. We’ll try to improve that tomorrow using the information we collected today. I feel we are already more competitive than in Estoril, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s good that we’ll have two qualifying tyres, as we’ll have a better chance of completing a good lap and it will at least reduce the risk of being penalised by any yellow flag”.

 

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

 

Leon Haslam  91

FP2 P9 –  COMBINED P10

“We improved our lap time slightly at the end of the session but I’m not really satisfied. I felt very confident this morning, after making my fastest lap on what was the tyre’s very last lap, so I was aiming for a much better result this afternoon, which I think was within our reach. Instead, we were unable to make the step we were looking for, as we had a few issues, so I feel we kind of wasted a good opportunity. Now we need to regroup and be ready to make that step tomorrow”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Razgatlıoğlu Third Quickest in Scorching Friday Free Practice at Misano

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu topped the first free practice session and finished the day third overall on the combined timing sheets, as the third round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship began in sweltering conditions at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” today.

As ambient temperatures pushed the mercury up to nearly 30°C, track temperatures soared to more than 50°C, making conditions difficult for some riders – including 2021 WorldSBK rookie and local hero Andrea Locatelli.

Teammate and Turkish sensation Razgatlıoğlu thrived at the sharper end of the field, continuing his unbroken streak of topping Free Practice 1 since the start of the season in Aragon. While the pace increased slightly this afternoon, the #54 rider focused on race simulation work on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK in anticipation of the races ahead.

Locatelli understandably has high expectations for his only “home” event in Italy this season and is working with his crew to find a step in performance for tomorrow, after a challenging Free Practice 2 in the heat this afternoon.

The forecast shows no signs of cooling down on Italy’s Adriatic Coast over the weekend, so the riders will have one final Free Practice 3 session to get to grips with the heat before Superpole qualifying at 11:10 (CEST) and Race 1 at 14:00.

 

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

 

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P3 – 1’34.848

“Today we had a really good start and then in the second session we focused on working towards the race. We also tried the new tyres delivered by Pirelli for this race, and both sessions were very positive for me. Also tomorrow we will try to improve a little bit on the set-up and decide on the tyres for the race. We will see tomorrow, because of course it is most important for me to perform in the race, not in FP2! Thanks to my team, we are working very hard together and we are quite happy with what we achieved today.”

 

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

 

Andrea Locatelli: P18 – 1’36.182

“This day was not easy for us here in Misano, because my expectations are to be much better than this. The feeling for me is not so good with the bike in the heat. I don’t know why yet – we tried to start with the set-up we had in Estoril but maybe this is not suitable for my style on this track, so we will continue to work and try to understand more for tomorrow. But I am sure I can improve a lot because now we are too far back, but we will see tomorrow. We will always try to do our best and make a big step!”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“It’s great to be back at Misano after a two year break! It’s been a very strong first day for Toprak, but unfortunately a slightly challenging one for Andrea. It’s always very difficult when the track temperatures reach the mid-50s, as they have today, to find the right balance and to generate enough front and rear grip. On Toprak’s side, another very impressive long run in FP2 has given us great information and will help us to put an even more competitive R1 WorldSBK underneath him tomorrow. Andrea is not far off, even if the position looks horrible, but as a team need to give him an R1 that allows him to feel more comfortable in these conditions. As a rider it’s a new experience being in such high temperatures and he needs to also learn and adapt to the superbike sliding around perhaps more than he would like. But again, a decent long run today would have given him more information than sitting in the garage studying the data – so I expect a big step in FP3 tomorrow morning.”

 

 

 

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

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team today returned to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the third round of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship.

 

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

 

Following a year’s absence from the Rimini circuit in 2020, the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team pairing of Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark finally returned to track onboard their BMW M 1000 RR’s, and were greeted by fans for the first time in 2021.

Tom Sykes, who is looking to relive the team’s podium success in 2019, entered FP1 sporting his beach inspired helmet, however struggled for pace during the session as he finished in P14 (1’36.231). The team made some adjustments to Tom’s BMW M 1000 RR in-between FP1 and FP2 which instantly made a difference to the lap times. In the early stages, Sykes was running within the top 5 places although slipped down the order in the closing minutes, finishing in P8 on combined times (1’35.232).

It was the first outing on the BMW M 1000 RR for Michael van der Mark at the Misano World Circuit, and he was keen to get the early laps under his belt. Michael managed to get a solid 19 laps during FP1 whilst finishing the session in P10 (1’35.831). In the afternoons final session of the day, Michael could not match his pace set in FP1 and as a result finished the day in P14 on combined times.

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad

“FP1 was in much cooler conditions and both guys settled in reasonably quick. Tom made some good steps forward, but Michael didn’t get that transfer in feeling from Estoril to here, so he has had an awful lot of work to do today.

“Tom made some good chassis changes and tried the new SCX and SC0 tyre, which we are still unsure which route to go down with and is a borderline decision for Tom. We will keep working tonight and hopefully should be in a good position come tomorrow. Michael has found it difficult in FP2 again with the higher temperature and could not get a comfortable feeling with the chassis, so we have a lot of work to do overnight, and the guys will work hard to give him a setting that will give him some confidence and rhythm going into FP3.”

Tom Sykes:

“I don’t think we have got the best from our race set up today for the simple reason we did a lot of trial and error, however gained a lot of information for the BMW M 1000 RR. Overall, I am surprised to be where we are considering what we have been doing, so for me I am feeling fairly relaxed about that. Tomorrow is another day; we will have good sit down and assess the changes we made today and hopefully make a good step forward for FP3 in the morning.”

Michael van der Mark:

“It’s not exactly where we want to be. This morning’s FP1 session felt okay, I was feeling good on the bike and the lap times were relatively okay which I was happy about. Then this afternoon we tried to change some settings on the bike, but we struggled a lot with stopping the bike and initial turning, which is quite hard to struggle in areas at this track as you need to stop and you need a lot of turning on the bike. Anyway, It was nice to be back riding here in Misano and as soon as we can get the bike to turn how we want, it will be fun again.”

 

 

 

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

DAY ONE; CHAZ FOCUSES ON THE RACE DISTANCE!

A good but not great Friday for Team Go Eleven and Chaz Davies on the Misano track! The sun and the high temperature of the asphalt marked today’s sessions, which are essential for finding the right set-up in view of the very important days of Saturday and Sunday.

In FP 1 the Go Eleven Team adapted the Estoril bike configuration for the Romagna track, making lot of laps with the harder solution at the rear; unfortunately Chaz couldn’t  take part at the Misano tests during the winter, so there were no valid references from which to start. At the end, feeling quite at ease on the bike, he tried the new Pirelli solution at the rear, having an excellent response and improving his Best lap by about a second and finishing in the Top 5.

In the afternoon Chaz and the staff tested the bikes and tyres, covering almost the full race distance, with the same tyres. Excellent datas collected and a good race pace, so much so that the Welsh rider set his best lap in the fourteenth lap. Unfortunately at the end of the session he couldn’t take advantage of the new tyre due to a small crash, just as he was in line for a good jump forward. No problem either to the bike or to the rider, who got up and finished the session. So, probably, the timesheet doesn’t reflect the real potential, but surely there are still a couple of details to fix.

Tomorrow it will be a decisive day for the Home Round; for the first time the Superbike riders will experience the double qualifying tyre, Superpole will be a very tight and delicate session!

 

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

 

Chaz Davies (Rider):

“Today it has been a little bit tough, it has been a year since we rode here and no testing in the winter. There is a new surface here, so I felt like I had a little bit to learn today, to try to get myself at the speed. Probably we could have done a little bit of a better job, we didn’t quite put everything together, so we need to do it tomorrow. I think it will help to have a night to sleep on it and adjust some data with the guys. Overall I am optimistic because I felt there is plenty of room for improvement and I think we can do that!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Strong Friday Finish For KRT Riders

KRT riders Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea finished second and fourth fastest respectively after the opening day of practice at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Both riders found set-up improvements in the second session on their new Ninja ZX-10RR machines, moving up the timesheets as a consequence.

In hot and humid conditions the KRT riders took on their latest challenge at the 4.226km long circuit on their new 2021 machines and each found a different area to concentrate on in FP1. With some changes made between the practice sessions the KRT duo found their best pace at the right time in FP2 to set strong times and look to the next day of action with confidence.

Lowes spent some of Friday learning more about the new Ninja ZX-10RR in his first visit to Misano as a Kawasaki rider. After a steady start in the morning he worked his way to competitive pace in FP2 after choosing a different, softer, tyre option. His best lap was only bettered by one rider, who had previously tested at Misano in the off-season.

Rea spent some time in his pitbox in the morning due to issues experienced with his rear brake set-up, but after positive technical changes he was eventually firmly inside the top four places at one of his favourite WorldSBK circuits.

The KRT duo had no recent experience of the Misano WorldSBK after the cancellation of the 2020 race weekend – due to pandemic restrictions. The track has been resurfaced since the WorldSBK riders last used Misano as a race venue, with the new asphalt improving the overall riding experience.

With one day of action complete the final grid positions for Race One will be determined after FP3, during the Tissot Superpole session on Saturday 12 June. Race One will take place over 21-laps on Saturday and then the Tissot Superpole Race and Race Two will completed the Misano weekend on Sunday 30 May.

 

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

 

Alex Lowes, stated: “We did not test here this year but a lot of others did. We used an SC0 tyre in the morning session because in the previous two rounds we have been quite fast on this tyre choice. But at this track the SC0 seems to be spinning a bit too much so in the afternoon we made a small change on the bike, nothing really big, and used some different tyres. We made a good step compared to this morning without changing too much on the bike. There are some bumps into turn three and a little bit in the last corner where you are on the entry, but apart from this the track surface is great and the grip is better than I remember. For me, it is a very good job.”

 

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

 

Jonathan Rea, stated: “We have had some people in the spectator areas at this round this year and it is nice to see. Racing is nothing without the fans. In FP1 I didn’t have any rear brake and it was frustrating. I couldn’t ride in the same way and I couldn’t balance the bike in the entry to the corners. We wasted the first session trying different things but during the lunch break the guys swapped the system from bike 2 to bike 1 and directly it was better. I felt good from the first lap of FP2; the rhythm was coming. I enjoyed the circuit and I was able to understand the new rear tyre that Pirelli brought here. At the very end I also tried the new front tyre, so we have a lot of information now. In the afternoon I felt quite consistent on the tyres and felt good on the bike, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 11th after combined qualifying with Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 19th. Samuele Cavalieri (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) placed 21st and Loris Cresson (TPR Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 22nd today.

 

 

 

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

Good start at Barni Racing Team’s home track: P6 for Rabat in FP1, P13 in combined standings

Misano Adriatico, 11 June 2021. The Barni Racing Team and Tito Rabat end the first day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, which hosts the third round of the WorlSBK, with positive feelings.

Riding the Ducati Panigale V4 R, the Spanish rider concluded the first two free practice session in P13 in the combined timesheets after a good FP1, but also a crash at the end of the afternoon session.

Rabat was fast and consistent in FP1, which was run in cooler temperatures. With several laps around the 1’35 high Rabat showed good pace and his best time of 1’35.651 put him just outside the top 5.

In FP2, where he made two more long runs, the #53 suffered more from the high temperatures and managed to improve his lap time by a few hundredths. With a time of 1’35.614 he finished P13 both in the session – ended prematurely due to a crash at “Carro” turn – and in the combined timesheets.

 

Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Barni Racing Team.
Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Barni Racing Team.

 

Tito Rabat, #53

“We had a good FP1 and also in FP2, despite a crash, we were able to make two runs that allowed us to understand well the tyre wear. We are missing a small step that we will try to make tomorrow.”

Marco Barnabò – Team Principal

“We did a lot of laps both in the morning and in the afternoon session. We have a good pace, but we struggle when the track warms up. Unfortunately this is a problem we have every weekend. When the temperature rises Tito loses feeling in the front, which was also the cause of the FP2 crash. After all the progress we have made, we are now focused on this aspect because to be fast when it is very hot it’s what we need to stay with the front guys.”

 

 

 

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

#ITAWorldSBK FP. Super Friday for Rinaldi who dominates the free practices. Redding finishes in sixth place after a complex day

Michael Ruben Rinaldi starts his “Home GP” in a great way giving to the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team the first place in the free practice for the Pirelli Made in Italy Emilia-Romagna Round, third event of the 2021 WorldSbk season.

Scott Redding has to deal with a technical problem in FP1 and a penalty in FP2 but still manages to close the day at two-tenths of a second from the hypothetical front row.FP1
Michael Rinaldi starts the weekend robustly at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli,  remaining at the top of the standings for a long time and then ending up in second position just a few thousandths of a second behind Razgatlioglu (Yamaha).

Scott Redding pushes hard too, but a technical problem forces him to go back to the pits after only 10 laps.

The feeling with the Ducati Panigale V4R grows lap after lap allowing  Michael Rinaldi to push harder. The Italian rider sets the best time in three of the four sectors and closes first with an advantage of almost 3 tenths.

Due to the penalty imposed by the Race Direction for not stopping in front of the flag after the technical issue in FP1, Scott Redding is forced to skip the first 20 minutes of FP2. Despite this, the British rider manages to complete 13 laps with an encouraging race pace.

 

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

 

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

“It was a very positive day especially because we were able to make some big steps forward. This morning we were fast but I wasn’t happy with the feeling with the bike. The team did a great job between FP1 and FP2 and in the afternoon I was able to push more effectively. When we work like this we can only be satisfied with ourselves. Tomorrow we will give our best”.

 

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

 

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

“It was definitely not the Friday I was expecting to start the weekend well. Unfortunately, I had that technical problem and then the penalty. I went to the race direction and I apologized for coming into the pits despite the flag. We were not able to complete the program that we planned,  and this is the reason why I  do not feel to be in the best conditions. Tomorrow we will have to improve a lot to be more competitive”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by GRT Yamaha:

High temperatures hamper GRT’s progress on Day 1 at Misano

The third round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship began today with the first two free practice sessions of the Misano weekend. The Italian circuit, which was eventually removed from last season’s schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, represents a brand new challenge for the young riders in the field, many of whom may have never raced on it with the big and powerful Superbike machines.

This is indeed the case for both GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team riders, who can, at least, rely on some valuable laps run at Misano during the March test session. The team’s first day in Italy started off in a good fashion, with both Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane pleased with their performance in the FP1. The temperature, though, had a different plan and, for both GRT riders, the intense heat of the afternoon (46°C on the tarmac) proved to be a worthy opponent. The crew will use tomorrow’s FP3 to the fullest to make the tweaks necessary to improve the R1’s behaviour with the high temperatures typical of race time.

For Gerloff, this weekend brings an additional obstacle to overcome: the American, in fact, was inflicted a penalty because of his accident during Race 2 in Estoril which also involved another rider. He will have to start tomorrow’s Race 1 from the pit lane and try to recover as many positions as possible. Today, he began the weekend on the right foot with the 3rd fastest time in the FP1, a 1’34.923, before being unable to replicate the same performance in the heat of the afternoon. He ended the second free practice session in 11th (1’35.396) but remains confident that the team will help him get back to the front tomorrow.

Nozane, instead, continues making experience in order to get closer and closer to the front-runners. He enjoys the Misano circuit, and was happy with the behaviour of his R1 on the Italian track during the morning session, in which his 1’36.288 gave him the 15th position. The hot afternoon, though, turned out to be more difficult than expected for him too, but he still managed to improve his best lap (1’36.044) yet again. His objective for tomorrow is to run all the laps and keep improving in order to score as many points as possible.

Garrett Gerloff: 3rd / 11th (1’34.923)

“We were lucky to be able to run laps here in March, because this track is not super intuitive. I felt really good this morning, but when the temperature rose in the afternoon I lost the feeling with the bike a little bit. We are not too far off of the morning’s laptime, but a lot of other guys went faster in the afternoon and that’s what we should have done too. I tested the new Pirelli tyre in the afternoon: it was definitely interesting and it’s great to have more options, but it will make the tyre choice more difficult because the time to test all the compounds remains the same. Both the new and the old tyre struggled in the higher temperatures, with the front getting a little greasy and making it more difficult to keep the momentum up, so the choice ahead of the races will not be easy. Starting from the pitlane, my goal for tomorrow’s race is to do my best and try to catch as many of the other riders as possible. We may just use the race as a long session to collect some information ahead of Sunday. The Superpole remains super important, and it’s cool to have two sets of qualifying tyres because it allows us to get used to the different feel they have in a less abrupt way. This should be an advantage for me, we will see if it really helps me get a better starting position for Sunday’s Superpole Race.”

Kohta Nozane: 15th / 17th (1’36.044)

“I already had some experience here so I had a good feeling with the track from the start and, in comparison to the Estoril weekend, I had a pretty solid pace since the beginning. But unfortunately, throughout both FP1 and FP2 I could not improve my pace as much as I hoped. As a result, both my position and the laptime did not match my expectations, but, at least, I feel like I can maintain this pace consistently without losing precious tenths, which is a large improvement. I like this track and tomorrow I want to reward my team with a good result at their home race.”

Gerloff and Nozane will be back on track tomorrow at 9 AM for the FP3, with the Tissot Superpole and Race 1 following, at 11:10 AM and 2 PM local time respectively.

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