More, from a press release issued by Dorna WorldSBK Press Office:
Rea fastest in mixed conditions in FP2, Bautista crashes, Razgatlioglu 10th
It was a rainy first day in France with wet weather in abundance for the WorldSBK riders to deal with
Friday highlights – WorldSBK
* In both Free Practice sessions, rain fell during the session with the track eventually drying up towards the end of practice.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Rea posted a best time of 1’49.379s to top FP2 times by over a second.
He was the only rider to ride into the 1’49s bracket in FP2 on his way to top spot.
“It was solid. I got caught out this morning after one lap. The rain came and I brought the bike in, so I didn’t register a lap time during the dry period. All my day’s testing was in the wet. I felt quite OK with the bike, more so in the afternoon. I felt better, this morning I was really struggling with the edge grip. We addressed that in the afternoon, and I felt much better. Also, an area we really struggled with in 2020 was when the track dried out. I really struggled to get off the first gear corners. Too much spinning and not enough forward momentum. I think we addressed that today. The end was not a dry track, but we were still making improvements in lap times.”
P2 – Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing)
Bassani was second in FP2 with a best time of 1’50.407.
He was the only rider (apart from Rea) to lap in the 1’50s.
“I’m happy about today. It’s only Friday we are in the top three in wet conditions, but also I think in dry conditions, we have the possibility to do a good job. We will see tomorrow. The weather here at Magny-Cours is not easy to understand. For me, it’s the same. I’m ready for everything.”
P3 – Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Having been fastest during the opening session courtesy of his fast time at the start of the day, Lowes finished third in FP2 but remains fastest in the combined timing.
Lowes finished 1.639s behind teammate Rea in FP2.
“The day has been a little bit strange with the weather. We haven’t managed too many laps this morning. We went on slick tyres, did three laps and it was starting to slip a little bit and the rain came down quite heavy. So, we put the wet settings in the bike and we finished the session with maybe seven laps. My feeling was really good straight away. This is always positive in the rain conditions. This afternoon, I was hoping it will be dry as it looks like the weather is going to improve as the weekend goes on. This afternoon, I tried a small change on the electronics to help the bike in the corner. I felt really strong on the bike. I only did a couple of laps. We didn’t want to use any more tyres; we used the tyres from this morning, but the bike feels good.”
P4 – Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
The Championship leader was fourth in the afternoon session.
In FP2, he crashed at Turn 15 in the tricky conditions.
“It has not been an easy day. In the morning we started on dry tyres but it was already raining. After two laps, it started to rain harder, so we had to switch to a rain set up. In the morning, I felt not so bad. This track is a very particular track in wet conditions; you have to work a lot on the electronics. So, for the afternoon, we were prepared for both wet or dry conditions. At the end, it started to rain. I improved my feeling with the electronics compared to the morning. I miss rear traction on the exit of the corner. We tried to improve the setup of the bike and we found something. The feeling was also good in the wet and we were quite fast. Without the crash, we would be even faster. But the most important is the feeling with the bike.”
P5 – Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
Rinaldi finished in fifth place in the wet afternoon session.
“Friday was tricky. We only made two laps in dry conditions this morning and then we had difficult conditions. But anyway, it was a positive start of the weekend. Also, in the wet, I wasn’t comfortable at the beginning. But we worked during the session, and I improved and finished better than I expected.
P6 – Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team)
Gerloff completes FP2’s top six 2.376s behind Rea.
In FP2, he crashed with a highside on the exit of Turn 12, resulting in a red flag for debris.
“After the crash, my team fixed the bike, and I was able to go up to the top six which we were all happy about. I got one lap this morning in the dry and it wasn’t even a time lap. I feel pretty good in the wet and I feel good in the dry, at least on the one lap I did. I think we’re ready for everything tomorrow.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was 10th in FP2. He was 3.159s slower than Rea. Reacting to today’s session he said: “This morning, I felt much better in the wet conditions but in the afternoon, we tried a new setup but without improving the feeling. We saw a problem in the data. Saturday morning looks like it will rain but we will see; anyway, it’s good to train in the wet because everyday, I’m learning and improving my riding in these conditions. I prefer mixed races or dry races, but tomorrow we’ll see.”
French rider Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished in 12th place in the wet FP2 session whilst Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) was 14th. Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) was 20th.
WorldSBK action resumes on Saturday from 09:00 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole at 11:10 and Race 1 at 14:00.