Podiums and Star Performances at Estoril for World Championship Riders

Yamaha-Motorcycle-Logo-2017

Just one week after the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship opener at Aragón, the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team and Alstare Yamaha WorldSBK Team were back in action at Estoril. Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took his podium count to four after a clean sweep of top three finishes, while Yamaha’s rookies enjoyed some of their best performances so far.

 

After topping Friday for the second consecutive week, Razgatlıoğlu qualified on the front row in third in the Superpole, after a penalty ahead, despite only doing one real fast lap. In Race 1, Razgatlıoğlu battled with Ducati’s Scott Redding and Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea throughout in what was a titanic three-way fight for the lead. Rea mounted a late attack on the 24-year-old, but Razgatlıoğlu pulled off a series of stunning late braking defences to keep him at bay, finishing second. In the Superpole Race, he was second again and first of the SCX tyre runners.

 

In Race 2, the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider was given a double long-lap penalty for jumping the start, which was made worse by the fact he had penalised himself by pulling the brakes on again as the lights went out. He had initially run fourth, climbing to second before serving his penalties, which saw him drop back to sixth. However, another exceptional ride saw Razgatlıoğlu climb back into the podium places, finishing third.

 

 

At GRT Yamaha, Garrett Gerloff had been left feeling “confused” by Friday’s performances, but managed to find a good set-up on his Yamaha R1 to line up fourth for the races. In the opener, the American was forced to back out of the first corner melee, and dropped to eighth in the early stages. The Texan made an excellent recovery though, finishing fourth and matching the leaders’ pace.

 

Sunday’s Superpole Race saw a much more competitive start for Gerloff, who held his position off the line. Although the result was the same as Race 1, his fourth-place finish this time was just 2.059s from the race-winner. In Race 2, the 25-year-old made another good start and was settling into a rhythm, before he lost the rear under braking into Turn 6 on the second lap, falling out of the race and collecting Michael Rubin Rinaldi’s Ducati on the way.

 

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Andrea Locatelli had only ridden a limited number of laps here with the Yamaha R1 after the final round in 2020, and made a good step forward in Saturday’s FP3 session. The Italian was ninth in qualifying, courtesy of two penalties ahead, but dropped to 15th over the first few laps. However, he improved his pace in the second half of the race and finished 10th.

 

After coming home 11th in the Superpole Race, the 24-year-old was able to put it all together in the final feature event. Locatelli held his place at the start, climbing from ninth to finish an impressive fifth in only his second WorldSBK weekend.

 

For GRT Yamaha’s Kohta Nozane, this was a new track entirely, having never raced or tested here previously. The Japanese rider was given a setback following a massive highside at the end of FP2, which knocked his confidence and meant the team had to build a new bike. After qualifying 16th, Nozane improved to 15th in Race 1, but the following morning his crew found a technical issue, which meant he had to skip Sunday’s Warm Up, hindering his preparations for the races. 15th in the SPRC was followed by his fifth points finish of the season in 13th, where he fought among WorldSBK veterans once again.

 

Alstare Yamaha’s Christophe Ponsson endured a difficult weekend, after an issue forced him out of Race 1, the French rider was 20th in the SPRC, improving to 17th in the final race of the weekend.

 

In the FIM Supersport World Championship, two thrilling and unpredictable races saw Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Steven Odendaal take his third consecutive victory in Race 1, with GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel joining him on the podium in third.

 

Sunday’s race saw an even more tightly contested battle for victory, which included 10 riders at some stages. Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Dominique Aegerter charged his way from fifth on the grid to take an emotional first victory, dedicating it to Jason Dupasquier, with 2018 bLU cRU graduate Luca Bernardi taking a sensational second-place finish in only his second WorldSSP weekend.

 

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: R1 – P2 / SPRC – P2 / R2 – P3

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

“On Saturday, I had a good start and then I followed Redding – he was really fast, especially in sector 2, and all through the race I was trying always to close the gap. In all laps I was trying to fight for P1 but it was really difficult! But towards the end I also see Jonathan behind me, I was trying again for P1 but on the last lap I had to fight to keep P2. The second race was very strange because it was the first time I had a jump start – I am surprised because I have never made this mistake, and also never felt so disappointed like this after the race. Maybe I could have been fighting for the win, but I had to take the double long lap penalty, I tried my best and got on the podium now in all three races. I am also sorry for my team who worked so hard this weekend, but we take good points for the championship and we will see for the next race. Misano will be the first time for me on the Yamaha, but I am feeling very strong and we had two days testing there already so we will see if we can fight again for the win.”

 

Garrett Gerloff: R1 – P4 / SPRC – P4 / R2 – DNF

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

“I had an excellent start in the first race, but then, when braking into Turn 1, a rider got to my inside and I had to pick the bike back up and go wide. Four or five people ended up passing me, which was frustrating because I just wanted to have a clean first lap so that I could settle in and run a smooth race. It was a bad way to start, but then I put my head down and did the best I could to finish in the best possible position. We had good pace, I made a couple mistakes here and there but still finished fourth and as the top independent rider. We made some further improvements to the bike overnight and I was excited for the Superpole Race, which went smoothly – I had a better start and a better first corner than yesterday and I was able to keep up with the top three. I felt confident, but there were a couple of corners in which I was losing a little bit of ground. In Race 2, I had a great start and was trying to settle in and keep calm, but I had a really strange moment going into Turn 6. I braked a little earlier than I had all day in order to start saving some tyres, but the bike kicked me once the rear wheel sat down. It was so violent that I lost control. I did my best to slow down and go straight, but unfortunately I tagged another rider and we crashed. I am glad that we were both okay, we will now try to put the accident behind us and focus on the next round at Misano, which is a track that I really like.”

 

Andrea Locatelli: R1 – P10 / SPRC – P11 / R2 – P5

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

“I am very happy with this weekend, because in the end we have a really good result. On Saturday, the race was not easy, I made some mistakes during the first laps, I lost positions and the opportunity to have a better result – but, on Sunday we made a big improvement and with this I’m really happy. I now take some confidence with the bike and it’s just the second weekend. We are closer to the front, we are faster and we just need to try and learn a little bit more and also to try to take even more confidence with the set-up of my R1. We did a really good job overall, working really well with the team and I am very happy for this. We took P5 in Race 2 and this is a big result for me in just the second weekend!”

 

Kohta Nozane: R1 – P15 / SPRC – P15 / R2 – P13

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

“Despite having never run any laps here, I was expecting to like it before the weekend. But on Friday, I immediately realized that the circuit is a lot more technical than first meets the eye. The big crash I suffered also slowed our work down, but I feel really grateful towards my team for basically giving me a new bike. They have been working so hard, and thanks to them I have been able to race all the laps so far. On Sunday, we also missed the Warm-Up, but it was the right choice as we managed to find the cause of yesterday’s technical problems and that saved our races. Race 2 was my best race so far since the beginning of the season and the next round will be in Misano, where I have already tested. I had a good feeling there too, so I will try to get there in my best physical shape.”

 

Andrea Dosoli

Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager

“Another very positive weekend for us in Estoril, but one that was overshadowed by the sad passing of Jason Dupasquier at Mugello. The whole Yamaha family extends their sincerest condolences to Jason’s family, friends and the PrüstelGP Team. Last weekend we had confirmation of the technical progress seen in Aragon and the rider step up program, with impressive results achieved by our rookies in WorldSBK and WorldSSP. We’ve left Estoril with three podiums in WorldSBK but with a strange feeling that we could have achieved more, this is the positive attitude we’re looking for, it will turn in extra motivation for the next races, knowing that we’ve the right packages (rider, bike and team) to always aim for important result. Congratulation to Toprak and his team for the podiums and the second place in the championship. A great performance from Andrea in his only second WorldSBK race, really well done! Garret could have achieved more as he had the speed for a podium in Race 2, we’re all sorry for what has happened and confident for the next races. Despite a huge crash on Friday and a new track, Kohta has done another step in his adaptation to the WorldSBK, which has been very promising. I also would like to congratulate Dominique Aegerter for his first win in WorldSSP and the excellent results achieved by Luca Bernardi and Manuel Gonzalez.”

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