Toprak tops Friday at Catalunya
Day one of the Acerbis Catalunya Round for the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship was a day of two halves as the mostly dry weather in the morning made way for mixed conditions in the afternoon; the track conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya slowly improving after a shower soaked the track. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) ended the day fastest after posting the best lap time in the dry Free Practice 1 session.
The combined classifications meant Razgatlioglu topped Friday’s running after a flurry of quick laps at the end of Lap 1 changed the order rapidly. The Turkish rider led a Yamaha 1-2-3 as teammate Michael van der Mark and American Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) finishing the day in third place.
All three riders were running as the session came to a close and kept improving their lap times with Gerloff putting in a stunning lap for third place right at the end of the session; allowing him to finish the day nearly a second clear of team-mate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team); the Italian in 14th place.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – P1
“Today we had a good start in FP1, but I still feel like we still have some work to do to improve more – this is normal after only one session. I’m happy with FP2 as we rode in wet conditions and normally this is my big weakness, but I had a good feeling on the Yamaha R1 today and I could understand the grip levels. Maybe 10th position is not “good”, but I feel like I am riding better in these conditions! We are happy with today, everything is working really well in the team and I am enjoying my R1 very much here in Barcelona – maybe too much after FP1, as I made a big “stoppie” for fun but Race Control were not so impressed, so I had to say sorry to them!”
Michael van der Mark – P2
“Really happy with the first day here in Barcelona, the conditions were different to the test but I felt very good with the bike immediately and the changes we made during FP1 were all positive. The bike’s also quite a lot different to what we had here at the test, so it was really interesting to see how the R1 was performing. I was really happy with how fast we were this morning, and also with the used tyre we had really good pace. In my fast lap I had a small moment, but even with this FP1 was great. FP2 was wet so I waited a little bit to see how track conditions were before I went out with the bike and to be honest I felt really comfortable. I was making progress every lap and in the end we tried a different bike set-up for these conditions but also the track was drying a lot. Happy with my bike, happy with FP1 and I think it was valuable to ride in FP2.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal
“A positive Friday and a good first day here in Barcelona both for us as Pata Yamaha and for WorldSBK. It’s a great facility, the circuit layout is fantastic and, as we hoped, it looks like a more “friendly” track for the R1 by comparison to Aragón. Both Mikey and Toprak had a great feeling straight away in FP1, running competitive and consistent lap times, while also managing to both make impressive laps on fresh rubber at the end of the session to go one and two. Equally important, the wet performance was good, with Mikey right at the sharp end as usual and Toprak improving significantly on what has previously been a weak point for him. Race distance will be a challenge on this circuit in terms of rear tyre durability, but we’ve made a strong start to the weekend and let’s hope it can continue.”
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) had led the majority of the running in the opening practice session of the day but was one of a handful of riders who did not take to the track in the last few minutes of the session; the Spanish rider finishing the day in fourth place ahead of reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Alvaro Bautista – P4
“We’ve had a positive day. In FP1 I focused on using just one tyre, as the track is critical in terms of tyre consumption and we don’t have real references here of course. I was really happy with my feeling today and held first place for most of the morning’s session, only losing it when others put in fresh tyres at the end. The bike is giving me more feedback and I’m feeling increasingly in control. This afternoon I used the rain tyres for only the second time. At first the feedback on the wet track wasn’t great, but we made some changes to improve my feeling and pace during that session and to be honest, by the end, I was feeling quite confident also in the wet. So we have some ideas ahead of tomorrow as well as good information regarding tyre life, which I think will be key in the races.”
Bautista’s Team HRC team-mate, Leon Haslam, finished the day in 18th place but was running towards the front of the field in the wet Free Practice 2.
Leon Haslam – P18
“It was a little tough today. We spent the morning working on the bike and so I only made a couple of flying laps. We weren’t doing too badly in the heavy rain this afternoon but as the track began to dry my feeling wasn’t as good, so we have a few things to reassess. I’m enjoying the track though and those first laps in the rain have helped build my confidence. Tomorrow we’ll use FP3 to make a few changes to try and find better feeling ahead of the Superpole and race one.”
Rea had appeared to be unhappy during the early stages of Free Practice 1 but found lap time as the session progressed and ended the day in fifth place, with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in eighth place as KRT finished with both bikes inside the top ten as they celebrated their home race. Rea ended the Free Practice 2 as the fastest rider in the wet session.
Jonathan Rea – P5
“In the end I felt quite good with the bike and found a good rhythm. This morning I had some issues in braking, when the lever was coming back too far, so the first half of the session was dealing with that. In the afternoon it was wet so we were just step-by-step finding the conditions. We have never ridden here in the wet so we were just looking out for those slippery areas. I almost got caught out in the afternoon when Maximilian Scheib fell just in front of me – and first of all I want to say that I hope he is OK. I was catching him and he lost the rear on the exit of turn five. I was right there and I got in between the bike and him, so I was so lucky. After day one I feel like we are quite prepared and I have experience in wet and dry conditions now. We know what we are dealing with.”
Alex Lowes – P7
“I felt quite good this morning in the dry session. We used the same tyres for all of FP1 and we went well on them. We had a good test here so even though we did not get any dry track time in the afternoon today we feel quite good with the set-up of the bike. In the rain I tried some different settings on the bike but the track conditions were also drying up and changing so it was a strange session. I have not done many wet laps on the bike before so it was nice to get out in the rain. Now let’s see what the weather is like on Saturday. I feel great and three or four days after the Motorland race I was feeling completely relaxed. It is so nice to be here feeling good, feeling fresh, knowing I can attack the races rather than physically struggle for 20 laps.”
Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) finished the day in eighth place as BMW, who were strong in a test at the circuit in July, continue to show good pace at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Tom Sykes – P8
“I am feeling quite good at the end of the day, I also think P8 is not a true reflection of how we performed. We made a few changes to the BMW S 1000 RR this morning, found some good improvements here and there so this is great that we keep moving forward. I was happy with our consistency throughout the session and the gap to the top, before the soft tyres came out at the end. This afternoon we had a wet session and I wanted to see what grip we had available, so I certainly took it easy in the opening stages. Once I had the feeling on the bike the lap times began to come to us, for sure the changes we made in the morning session helped in the wet conditions so to be P3 / P4 and respectable gap to the top boys was pleasing. Obviously towards the end the track began to dry, we did plan to schedule a change but, in those conditions, there was not much need to risk it and as a result dropped down the timing sheets. I feel that today has been very successful and I am looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.”
Team-mate Eugene Laverty finished the day in 12th place, just two-tenths outside the top ten.
Eugene Laverty – P12
“Today was a good day, and right from start of the session we were up in the second and third positions for a while. We decided to stay on the used tyre as we were testing a different rear setting on the bike for the race, this meant we got bumped down the order towards the end but reality is we were likely in the top 6, which is the first time this year. The second session we ended up in P9, this was good for us as the last time I rode the bike in the wet was in Phillip Island, which we didn’t have a good feeling on. My aim as normal for tomorrow is to get up into that top 6 in qualifying, this will give us a real good chance for the opening race.”
Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was classified in ninth place for the day’s running, around seventh tenths away from Razgatlioglu’s pace, with Redding looking to start clawing back some of Rea’s 36-point Championship lead. Teammate Chaz Davies was in 11th place but with little to separate the two Ducati riders on the timesheets.
Scott Redding – P9
“It was a very particular day that allowed us to go out on the track in different conditions. For this reason, I think it was a positive first day at the end of which we collected interesting data. In FP1 the feeling with the bike was good. We worked for a lot with the used tire and at the end of the session, I preferred not to try the time attack. The feelings are positive“.
Chaz Davies – P11
“I am quite satisfied with what we did today, especially in FP1 in dry conditions. We completed many laps with the same tire and the race pace was incisive. We tried to improve the grip with positive results. The plan of the afternoon was to try other tires solutions but the rain did not allow us to do it. Anyway, I am very confident“.
Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was inside the top ten after Friday’s two practice sessions but was another who showed strong pace in the mixed conditions in the afternoon, finishing sixth in the second practice session although the Frenchman crashed in the latter stages of the session at Turn 7. Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finished the day in 13th place after edging close to the top ten, finishing half a second away from Baz in tenth.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) was 15th after his first day of WorldSBK action after showing promising pace early in the opening session but falling down the order as others improved their lap time. Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) was 19th for the day with Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) in 20th on his WorldSBK debut, and rookie Valentin Debise (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) completing the order.
Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) was declared unfit for the weekend following a crash in Free Practice 1 after he came off his bike, with the Argentinean taking to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a right wrist fracture (radius and scaphoid). Takumi Takahashi (MIE Racing HONDA Team) crashed during the wet running at Turn 4; finishing the day in 17th place. Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) suffered a crash in the wet running in Free Practice 2 at the Turn 4 right-hander causing the session to be Red Flagged; Scheib taking to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash and later declared unfit with a right acromioclavicular joint injury and taken to a local hospital for further assessment.
WorldSBK Friday Combined Times
|2||M. Van Der Mark||Yamaha||+0.169|
The FIM Supersport World Championship teams and riders were greeted with dry running in the morning and a damp track in the afternoon as the Championship made its debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the inaugural Acerbis Catalunya Round. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) topped the combined timesheets after setting the pace in the morning Free Practice 1 session.
Mahias posted a time of 1’45.682s to top the timesheets on the opening day of running in Montmelo as he looks to keep his Championship hopes alive across the Catalunya Round weekend. The French rider was less than a tenth clear of Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) at the top of the standings, although Viñales did top the second practice session ahead of Mahias. Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was third in the standings after the two practice sessions.
Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), who can clinch the WorldSSP World Championship title at the Catalunya Round, finished in fourth place overall for the day, with the Italian three tenths away from Mahias’ pace. South African rider Steven Odendaal (EAB Ten Kate Racing) finished in fifth place, matching Locatelli’s time, while Corentin Perolari (GMT94) completed the top six.
Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was seventh with Kyle Smith (GMT94 Yamaha), replacing the injured Jules Cluzel, in eighth place; Smith making his return to WorldSSP as a substitute rider. 2019 WorldSSP300 World Champion Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) was ninth in the classification with Danny Webb (WRP Wepol Racing) completing the top ten in the James Toseland-run team; Webb surviving a trip through the gravel in the first session to post the tenth best time.
Can Öncü (Turkish Racing Team) was 11th fastest after the two sessions but briefly found himself leading the timesheets in Free Practice 2. He finished ahead of Kevin Manfredi (Altogoo Racing Team) with the Italian finishing the day as the highest placed WorldSSP Challenge rider. Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Kallio Racing) was 13th with Andy Verdoïa (bLU cRU WorldSSP by MS Racing) in 14th and Axel Bassani (Soradis Yamaha Motoxracing) rounding out the top 15.
Miquel Pons (Dynavolt Honda) was the lead Honda rider in 16th place as he edged out teammate Patrick Hobelsberger in 17th place. Peter Sebestyen (OXXO Yamaha Team Toth) was in 18th place after showing impressive form in recent rounds; the Hungarian will look to return to the top ten throughout the weekend.
WorldSSP Friday Times
|7||R. De Rosa||MV Agusta||+0.730|
|19||F. Fuligni||MV Agusta||+2.588|
|21||A. Ruiz Carranza||Yamaha||+2.714|
|22||G. Hendra Pratama||Yamaha||+2.985|
|23||G. Van Straalen||Yamaha||+3.601|
|24||O. Gutierrez Iglesiasesp Gmt94 Y||Kawasaki||+3.752|
FIM Supersport 300 World Championship’s visit to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Acerbis Catalunya Round was disrupted by rain in the afternoon meaning Bruno Ieraci (Kawasaki GP Project) topped the times after going fastest in the morning Free Practice 1 session with dry conditions with the Italian going two tenths quicker than his nearest rival.
Group B riders were the first to venture on track this morning but riders from Group A riders made up the first three positions in the combined standings with Ieraci posting a 1’56.453s to lead Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) and Championship leader Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT); Buis continuing his Championship charge by being in the top three in practice.
Inigo Iglesias Bravo (Scuderia Maranga Racing) was in fourth place overall for the day, almost matching both Meuffels and Buis on pace during the session and finished as the lead Group B rider for the day. Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT) made it three MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT riders in the top five with fifth place, finishing just ahead of Alan Kroh (Yamaha MS Racing).
Samuel di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) finished the day in seventh place with Meikon Kawakami (Team Brasil AD 78) in eighth place and Marc Garcia (2R Racing) in ninth; the 2017 WorldSSP300 Champion making his return to the Championship at 2R Racing following Victor Rodriguez Nuñez’s switch to EAB Ten Kate Racing. Angel Heredia (DEZA-ISMABON Racing Team) completed the top ten as he competes at the Catalunya Round as a wildcard.
Tom Booth-Amos (RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) finished the day in 11th place as the three-time podium finisher missed out on the spot in the top ten by just a tenth of a second, while Ton Kawakami (Yamaha MS Racing) was in 12th, less than a tenth behind Booth-Amos. The top 12 were separated by just six tenths of a second in dry running.
Scott Deroue (MTM Kawasaki MOTOPORT), currently second in the Championship and 12 points behind teammate Buis, was 15th in the Group B classification as the Dutch rider looks to close the gap on his teammate at the top of the Championship.
In the afternoon session, in the rain in Montmelo, Eunan McGlinchey (Team# 109 Kawasaki) topped the times as teams and riders looked to gather information for any more potential wet running across the weekend. Bahattin Sofuoglu (Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300) was a faller in the afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session as the Turkish race winner came off his bike at Turn 10 with Sofuoglu able to complete four laps in the session.
WorldSSP300 A Combined Times
|5||S. Di Sora||Kawasaki||A||+0.342|
|24||V. Rodriguez Nunez||Yamaha||A||+2.855|
WorldSSP300 B Combined Times
|1||I. Iglesias Bravo||Kawasaki||B||1m56.786|
|8||J. Perez Gonzalez||Yamaha||B||+0.923|
|13||F. Perez Casas||Yamaha||B||+1.385|
|18||H. De Cancellis||Yamaha||B||+1.665|
|21||E. De La Vega||Yamaha||B||+1.877|