Wet start in France for WorldSBK
Wet conditions provided tricky conditions for Friday’s Motul FIM Superbike World Championship action with three of the top four riders having incidents at the end of Free Practice 2. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) topped the combined classification on Friday at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the Pirelli French Round.
Gerloff put in a late lap in Free Practice 2 to stop Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) having a clean sweep on Friday as the American rookie topping the session by just 0.015s ahead of Rea.
Rea had an off-track excursion in FP2 when he almost came off his bike at the Turn 6-7 Nurburgring chicane.
Jonathan Rea – P2
“Normally I would spend a bit of time in the box in the wet sessions, because we know our wet set-up works, but I felt good so I just wanted to keep doing laps and understand the new asphalt. We needed to understand the tyres as well. I tried both the wet tyres and the new one is incredible, definitely a step in the right direction. We got a lot of good info in the afternoon session. I had a moment between T6 and T7 today but I got away with it. We put a new tyre on the bike in the middle of the first session and we just ran it the rest of the day. I was feeling more confident and giving it more and more and we just found the limit. There was a bit too much confidence today, to be fair, so I will try and take it back a notch tomorrow.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Ducati) made it two Independent riders in the top three as he finished in third place as the Italian continues to impress throughout 2020.
Home hero Loris Baz (Yamaha) was in fourth place for the day as Rinaldi edged out his rival in the battle for Independent honours.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) was in fifth place with Tom Sykes (BMW) in sixth; Sykes going top of Free Practice 2 briefly before a crash under braking for the Turn 5 Adelaide hairpin shortly after with the British rider able to get up without assistance.
Alex Lowes – P5
“This morning we knew it was going to be wet all day and because it has been resurfaced here it is like a different track. I have memories from how the track was in the wet in the past but it is completely different. The surface feels a lot gripper to me and the times are a lot faster. The left side of the tyre still gets a little cold but in general the grip is a lot more. I actually enjoy riding here in the rain rather than just being nervous. This morning was not too bad and this afternoon I was one of the fastest guys all session. I am looking forward to riding again tomorrow and I understand a lot more about the bike now.”
Tom Sykes – P6
“The BMW S 1000 RR is making big steps forward, and we have shown that today. The general set-up of the bike has been good, of course in the wet conditions the competition becomes a bit more level, which coincidentally is where the majority of our podiums came last year. We did have a crash during this afternoons FP2 coming into T5. I was marginally on the left side on corner entry, which as a rider you tend not to do as it is very slippy on that corner, this unfortunately caught us out. I am looking forward to tomorrow. The weather is looking a little unpredictable from the morning to the afternoon which will be interesting, but for sure we will be coming out fighting whatever the weather.”
Scott Redding (Ducati) was classified in seventh place for the day despite a crash in Free Practice 2 at Turn 15, just ahead of Leon Haslam (Honda) in eighth place.
Scott Redding – P7
“If I have to be honest, I had fun today. It is always good to race on a new circuit and this one is really exciting. I would have loved to be able to race here in dry conditions. I was however satisfied with what we did in wet conditions, even with Pirelli’s new rear tire. I think we have great room for improvement“.
Leon Haslam – P8
“This morning we didn’t make so many laps as we were working on a few different things. My feeling wasn’t immediately great in the wet conditions, but we continued to work this afternoon and have made some good steps. Using the same tyre as the other guys, we were able to get faster and faster throughout the session, and I think I set my best time right at the end. We have some areas on which to work tomorrow, but I’d say we’re getting there. Now we just have to see what the weather brings tomorrow.”
Eugene Laverty (BMW) completed a strong day for the BMW outfit with ninth place, edging out Michael van der Mark (Yamaha) in tenth place.
Eugene Laverty – P9
“I really enjoyed today. The first real outing on the BMW S 1000 RR in the rain was in Catalunya, and I felt comfortable back then so with the running time today we felt fast and consistent. The grip level on the rear today was really strong so I could push the bike to feel the limit. The grip also on exit with the BMW S 1000 RR is good, we just need to potentially find some more grip on corner entry to improve the performance. The new tyre Pirelli have brought here has also worked well, especially when there is more standing water. This has also helped with the new asphalt that has been laid here as the lap times have been a lot quicker than in previous years. My aim for tomorrow is to keep enjoying my riding, the bike feels good and I am enjoying my riding, so let’s see where we end up.”
Michael van der Mark – P10
“The first day here in Magny-Cours and it was properly wet! Things felt alright this morning, I was OK with the bike and felt that we could improve in the rain. In the afternoon – at the beginning of the session – the conditions were better, I was feeling good and the speed was ok, but as soon as the track started to get a bit drier, we couldn’t make a step forward. I struggled a lot on corner entry so I’m a bit disappointed with the end of the session, couldn’t improve as much as I wanted but I don’t think we’re really far off. If we change a bit on my Yamaha R1 and I get my good feeling back in the rain, we’re ready to be at the front again.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati) was in 11th place, edging out Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) in 12th with Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in 13th; the Spanish rider had been in the top five in the first practice session. Leandro Mercado (Ducati) continued his comeback from injury with 14th place, ahead of Valentin Debise (Kawasaki).
Chaz Davies – P11
“We made progress in the two sessions. We have tried the new Pirelli rear tire and the feeling is that we have made a good step forward. I was able to improve lap after lap but it is clear that the gap is still quite wide. I’m sure we can make more progress tomorrow. At this point, I have to work mainly on my feeling with the bike“.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – P12
“This morning we had good pace in the rain, and it was also the first time back on the R1 after the crash in Barcelona. In the past, I have found the wet conditions difficult but it was a great start for me, the Yamaha R1 gave me better confidence than last year’s bike. This afternoon, I wasn’t able to find as much rear grip so we still have some work to do, also my physical condition is not perfect. But overall, I’m actually happy so tomorrow we will see what is possible.”
Federico Caricasulo (Yamaha) bounced back from a Free Practice 1 crash to finished in 16th for the day while Alvaro Bautista (Honda) finished the day down in 18th place out of 21 competitors.
Alvaro Bautista – P18
“Today conditions were full wet. This morning I had some difficulties, especially with my feeling at the rear because I basically had no grip. So for the afternoon we tried two different settings and, while the first one didn’t help me, the second has been interesting because it also incorporates some little improvements, some links, that Honda has brought here. My feeling improved as a result, and although it’s not yet where it was at Barcelona, it’s still a step compared to this morning. The low temperatures don’t help and the wet conditions are quite new for us to interpret with our bike, but we are working hard, also with the electronics, and continue to learn and get closer to what we need with every session. So, all in all, a bit of a different day in these conditions but always on the road to improvement. We’ll see what conditions are like tomorrow.”
WorldSBK Friday Combined Times
|1||G. Gerloff||Yamaha YZF R1||1m48.830|
|2||J. Rea||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+0.015|
|3||M. Rinaldi||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+0.084|
|4||L. Baz||Yamaha YZF R1||+0.582|
|5||A. Lowes||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+0.722|
|6||T. Sykes||BMW S1000 RR||+0.887|
|7||S. Redding||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+1.069|
|8||L. Haslam||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+1.126|
|9||E. Laverty||BMW S1000 RR||+1.192|
|10||M. Van Der Mark||Yamaha YZF R1||+1.637|
|11||C. Davies||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+1.813|
|12||T. Razgatlioglu||Yamaha YZF R1||+2.096|
|13||X. Fores||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+2.129|
|14||L. Mercado||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+2.357|
|15||V. Debise||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+3.444|
|16||F. Caricasulo||Yamaha YZF R1||+3.558|
|17||S. Barrier||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+3.655|
|18||A. Bautista||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+3.900|
|19||X. Pinsach||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||+4.644|
|20||T. Takahashi||Honda CBR1000RR-R||+5.314|
|21||S. Cavalieri||Ducati Panigale V4 R||+8.663|
FIM Supersport World Championship action resumed with the Pirelli French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours and it was a new face on top of the standings as Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha) mastered the wet conditions at the French circuit to go top of the standings as he continues to stand in for the injured Jules Cluzel.
Times for the front of the field were faster in the second Free Practice session with Smith lapping the Magny-Cours circuit in 1’54.549s to go fastest after the two sessions, heading off the challenge from Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) by nearly a second. Mahias bounced back from a crash at Turn 13 in Free Practice 1 to finished second overall for the day with the Kawasaki rider finishing just ahead of newly-crowned World Champion Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team); the Italian being pipped at the end of the second session by Smith and Mahias.
South African rider Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) finished the day in fourth place, despite a crash in Free Practice 2, after a strong showing in wet conditions as he finished ahead of Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team), with Manfredi the highest placed WorldSSP Challenge rider. Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) was sixth fastest overall for the day but had topped the opening Free Practice 1 session.
Hungarian Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) was seventh after both sessions with Karel Hanika (WRP Wepol Racing), Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) and Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completing the top ten; de Rosa suffering from a crash at Turn 5 in Free Practice 2.
Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was classified in 11th place with Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) in 12th overall; Viñales was in the top five during FP1. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was 13th with Glenn van Straalen (MPM Routz Racing Team) and Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) rounding out the top 15; van Straalen having a crash late in Free Practice 2.
Galang Hendra Pratama (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) and teammate Andy Verdoïa both suffered crashes during the day as they finished in 17th and 25th respectively, while Alejandro Ruiz Carranza (EMPERADOR Racing Team) had an off at the end of the session.
WorldSSP Friday Times
|1||K. Smith||Yamaha YZF R6||1m54.250|
|2||L. Mahias||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+0.812|
|3||A. Locatelli||Yamaha YZF R6||+0.915|
|4||S. Odendaal||Yamaha YZF R6||+1.028|
|5||K. Manfredi||Yamaha YZF R6||+1.238|
|6||H. Soomer||Yamaha YZF R6||+1.433|
|7||P. Sebestyen||Yamaha YZF R6||+2.091|
|8||K. Hanika||Yamaha YZF R6||+2.213|
|9||A. Bassani||Yamaha YZF R6||+2.327|
|10||R. De Rosa||MV Agusta F3 675||+2.531|
|11||P. Oettl||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+2.817|
|12||I. Vinales||Yamaha YZF R6||+2.888|
|13||M. Gonzalez||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+3.056|
|14||G. Van Straalen||Yamaha YZF R6||+3.166|
|15||D. Webb||Yamaha YZF R6||+3.423|
|16||H. Okubo||Honda CBR600RR||+3.492|
|17||G. Hendra Pratama||Yamaha YZF R6||+3.617|
|18||F. Fuligni||MV Agusta F3 675||+3.777|
|19||C. Perolari||Yamaha YZF R6||+4.010|
|20||A. Ruiz Carranza||Yamaha YZF R6||+4.383|
|21||C. Oncu||Kawasaki ZX-6R||+4.518|
|22||P. Hobelsberger||Honda CBR600RR||+5.459|
|23||L. Cresson||Yamaha YZF R6||+6.348|
|24||S. Frossard||Yamaha YZF R6||+7.535|
|25||A. Verdoia||Yamaha YZF R6||+9.400|
|26||L. Montella||Yamaha YZF R6||+14.869|
Conditions proved to be difficult for riders up and down the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship paddock with numerous incidents across the day at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours but it was Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) who topped the day’s running ahead of the Pirelli French Round after two Free Practice sessions.
Booth-Amos set a time of 2’09.900s to top the time sheets in WorldSSP300 at Magny-Cours as he posted the fasted time of the day ahead of Scott Deroue (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) as the Dutchman looks to regain some ground on teammate Jeffrey Buis in the Championship standings with just two rounds to go. Hugo de Cancellis (Team TRASIMENO) was third fastest after putting in a late lap at the end of Free Practice 2.
Kevin Sabatucci (Kawasaki GP Project) made it four different nationalities in the top four as he put his Kawasaki Ninja 400 in fourth place, holding off a late challenge from French rider Tom Bercot (ProGP Racing); the Frenchman falling down to fifth right at the end of the session after being briefly top. Three French riders were in the top six with Enzo De La Vega (Machado Came SBK) in sixth place.
Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300) was in seventh place after having a crash at Turn 9 in Free Practice 2; one of numerous riders to come off their bikes in tricky conditions. Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was the highest-placed rider from Group A in eighth place despite a crash in Free Practice 2, with Polish rider Daniel Blin (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300) and Eunan McGlinchley (Team# 109 Kawasaki) completing the top ten.
Alvaro Diaz (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300) finished the day in 11th place, just ahead of Ukrainian Nick Kalinin (Battley-RT Motorsports by SKM-Kawasaki) and Victor Rodrigue Nuñez (EAB Ten Kate Racing) in 12th and 13th respectively. Felipe Macan (Team Brasil AD 78) finished in 14th place despite a crash on the exit of the final corner at Turn 17, fending off Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) who completed the top 15.
Championship leader Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) could only manage 19th place over the two sessions and will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing Friday ahead of Saturday’s Tissot Superpole and Race 1. Mika Perez (Prodina Ircos Team WorldSSP300) and Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) were just ahead of Buis despite both crashing in FP2 with both able to get back to their machines.
Tom Edwards was the hightest placed Aussie on Friday in 24th position on combined times ahead of Tom Bramich in 30th and debutante Sharni Pinfold was 47th outright after her first day on the Smrz Kawasaki.
WorldSSP300 Combined Times
|3||H. De Cancellis||Yamaha||B||+0.895|
|6||E. De La Vega||Yamaha||B||+1.265|
|13||V. Rodriguez Nunez||Yamaha||A||+1.976|
|18||S. Di Sora||Kawasaki||A||+2.426|
|21||J. Perez Gonzalez||Yamaha||B||+3.042|
|31||A. Millan Gomez||Kawasaki||B||+4.080|
|36||I. Iglesias Bravo||Kawasaki||B||+4.407|