Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu topped the first free practice session and finished the day third overall on the combined timing sheets, as the third round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship began in sweltering conditions at Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” today.
As ambient temperatures pushed the mercury up to nearly 30°C, track temperatures soared to more than 50°C, making conditions difficult for some riders – including 2021 WorldSBK rookie and local hero Andrea Locatelli.
Teammate and Turkish sensation Razgatlıoğlu thrived at the sharper end of the field, continuing his unbroken streak of topping Free Practice 1 since the start of the season in Aragon. While the pace increased slightly this afternoon, the #54 rider focused on race simulation work on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK in anticipation of the races ahead.
Locatelli understandably has high expectations for his only “home” event in Italy this season and is working with his crew to find a step in performance for tomorrow, after a challenging Free Practice 2 in the heat this afternoon.
The forecast shows no signs of cooling down on Italy’s Adriatic Coast over the weekend, so the riders will have one final Free Practice 3 session to get to grips with the heat before Superpole qualifying at 11:10 (CEST) and Race 1 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P3 – 1’34.848
“Today we had a really good start and then in the second session we focused on working towards the race. We also tried the new tyres delivered by Pirelli for this race, and both sessions were very positive for me. Also tomorrow we will try to improve a little bit on the set-up and decide on the tyres for the race. We will see tomorrow, because of course it is most important for me to perform in the race, not in FP2! Thanks to my team, we are working very hard together and we are quite happy with what we achieved today.”
Andrea Locatelli: P18 – 1’36.182
“This day was not easy for us here in Misano, because my expectations are to be much better than this. The feeling for me is not so good with the bike in the heat. I don’t know why yet – we tried to start with the set-up we had in Estoril but maybe this is not suitable for my style on this track, so we will continue to work and try to understand more for tomorrow. But I am sure I can improve a lot because now we are too far back, but we will see tomorrow. We will always try to do our best and make a big step!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal
“It’s great to be back at Misano after a two year break! It’s been a very strong first day for Toprak, but unfortunately a slightly challenging one for Andrea. It’s always very difficult when the track temperatures reach the mid-50s, as they have today, to find the right balance and to generate enough front and rear grip. On Toprak’s side, another very impressive long run in FP2 has given us great information and will help us to put an even more competitive R1 WorldSBK underneath him tomorrow. Andrea is not far off, even if the position looks horrible, but as a team need to give him an R1 that allows him to feel more comfortable in these conditions. As a rider it’s a new experience being in such high temperatures and he needs to also learn and adapt to the superbike sliding around perhaps more than he would like. But again, a decent long run today would have given him more information than sitting in the garage studying the data – so I expect a big step in FP3 tomorrow morning.”