Four manufacturers in the top five in the morning of the opening day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After two days of watching bikes from WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 take to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, it was time for MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship machines to take to the track for the first of two days of testing ahead of the 2021 season. Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) put down the first marker of the season with the fastest time in the morning session.
British rider Scott Redding topped the timesheets after a strong morning for Redding, posting a 1’41.198s to top the session, lapping under the current lap record with the caveat of a revised layout, with Ducati trying out devices around the seat area for both Redding and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Rinaldi was unable to replicate Redding’s pace, however, and finished the morning in fourth place, half a second behind his teammate.
Returning to the scene of his first WorldSBK podium, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was straight on the pace once again with second fastest as the team focussed on confirming items from a previous test. Rookie teammate Kohta Nozane finished the morning in 17th place as he looks to learn the bike, tyres and circuit throughout the test.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) was third in the morning session, with track temperatures edging close to 30°c, as he looked to refine the Yamaha YZF R1 he will be using throughout 2021, entering his second year with the team. His teammate, rookie Andrea Locatelli, will spend the test focussing on race simulations as he adjusts from WorldSSP to WorldSBK machinery with the reigning WorldSSP Champion ending the morning in 13th.
Team HRC are using the first day of testing to use a torque sensor as well as a new exhaust system for Leon Haslam and Alvaro Bautista with both riders following a similar programme, including work on electronics and engine braking strategies. The duo finished fifth and 11th respectively in the morning with work continuing through the afternoon.
Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was sixth with the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR, as he worked on confirming the front forks with Showa as well as new items on the chassis to improve grip at the rear of the bike. Teammate Alex Lowes was focusing on confirming items from tests at Jerez and Aragon, including a new swingarm, as well as electronics and geometry settings; Lowes finishing the morning in ninth place.
Making his debut for Team GoEleven, Chaz Davies finished the morning in seventh on the Ducati Panigale V4 R with the team not trying anything new for this test and Davies using it to get back up to speed after missing recent tests, with eight hours of track time available to Davies across both days.
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team have a new bike and a new line-up for the 2021 campaign with Tom Sykes being joined by Michael van der Mark on the M 1000 RR. The team have new components to try throughout the Catalunya test, including a new swingarm, exhaust, winglets and electronics durability improvements. Sykes finished the morning in eighth with van der Mark tenth.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) had an eventful morning running the BMW M 1000 RR at Catalunya as he showed strong pace to begin with but a crash in the opening sector costing him track time, eventually finishing the morning in 12th. WorldSBK’s youngest rider in 2021, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) was trying a new exhaust throughout the morning on the Panigale V4 R, as he finished in 14th place. He was just ahead of Moto2™ World Champion Tito Rabat with the team still searching for a base setting.
Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) continued his adjustment from WorldSSP to WorldSBK with the 16th fastest time in the morning despite a technical issue in the second sector of the lap, with both the 2020 and 2021 ZX-10RRs available to the Spaniard throughout the test, while Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) was in 18th place. Rounding out the 20-strong field was Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) on his first outing for his new team and Samuele Cavaliere (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) as the Italian rides Kawasaki machinery for the first time.
The top six as of 2:00pm Local Time.
1.) Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) 1’44.198s
2.) Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.471s
3.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +.0500s
4.) Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) +0.550s
5.) Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +0.632s
6.) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.668s
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