The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla enjoyed a competitive start to the first ever FIM Superbike World Championship event in Barcelona, with Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Michael van der Mark going one-two in today’s free practice sessions, their best laps posted on Pirelli’s SCO standard race tyre during FP1. The lap times could not be challenged in the final session of the day due to wet track conditions.
As a new event for the riders, Razgatlıoğlu and Van der Mark completed a further 17 and 14 laps respectively during FP2 to find good wet setups and understand the conditions should showers continue tomorrow.
With possible scattered thunderstorms forecast until late morning, the final Free Practice at 09:30 (GMT+2) and Tissot Superpole at 11:00 could prove challenging for the WorldSBK field. The first points-paying FIM Superbike World Championship race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will likely take place in dry conditions at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P1 – 1’42.140
“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 – 1’42.309
“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.”