Riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli were each able to take positives, despite the rain, on the second race day of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship held at MotorLand Aragón today.
A wet 15-minute Warm Up session at 09:00 this morning set the scene for a tricky day ahead for all teams, including Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK. The 10-lap Superpole Race followed with light showers and a predominantly wet track that left everyone guessing which way it would go. This afternoon’s Race 2 was not much clearer and most of the field chose to race on Pirelli’s intermediate option, while a few riders gambled on full slicks in the hope that the racing line would dry as the race developed.
Two sixth place results for Razgatlıoğlu don’t tell the story of his fight-back from 10th on the grid in the Superpole Race, the first finisher on Pirelli’s full rain tyre, and a fighting performance in Race 2 which included holding the race lead for three laps and battling toe-to-toe with the top group of riders, before a combination of excessive rear tyre wear and some setting issues restricted his progress.
Equally, Locatelli’s first weekend in WorldSBK netted solid top 10 finishes in the two main races and excellent progression through the field in all three starts – going from 14th to finish 12th in the Superpole Race and starting 16th on the grid in Race 2 to finish a commendable ninth overall.
Tomorrow, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK travel directly to Portgual for the second round of the championship at Circuito Estoril, located around 30km from the capital of Lisbon. It was the venue of 2020’s season finale in October, where the team celebrated a near-perfect race weekend with Razgatlıoğlu taking his first ever pole position and winning two of the three races.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P6 / Race 2: P6
“In the Superpole Race, my strategy was to choose the wet tyre because I saw that it was starting to rain again on the grid – my target was to finish well and to start from a better grid position in Race 2. Sixth was good considering the conditions, the riders in front all chose the intermediate tyres so it was a hard fight to get this result. The second race, I tried hard again to fight for the podium and I was strong in the opening laps – taking the lead for some laps and enjoying fighting. The feeling was not good in the middle of the race and I had to manage some problems, but sixth position can still be important points for the championship. We will see next weekend in Estoril, I love the track, now my R1 is better than before and I have good memories from last year!”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P12 / Race 2: P9
“I am quite happy because in the end we finish P9. It is not easy on the first and second lap for me, so now we need to work on this but for sure today’s races were difficult in the wet conditions. In the middle of Race 2, I was able to go quite fast here and the feeling was good. Overall I learned a lot during the weekend, and with the guys on the team together we did a really good job. Today is one of those days where you can be unlucky or lucky. Because maybe if we tried to use the slick tyre, it could have been a good chance for us to do something – but okay, we lose this opportunity but it is only my first race weekend in WorldSBK. Now we go on to Estoril and hope to push much more because I have more confidence on the R1 and I think this track is a really good opportunity for us.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“Today was really challenging for all the riders and teams, and both the Superpole Race and Race 2 results this afternoon relied on taking the right gamble as well as having the right set-up and confidence. Following yesterday’s superb podium, two sixth place finishes for Toprak is disappointing but – put into the right context – he was the first finisher on wet tyres in the Superpole Race and fought right again at the front until a couple of problems slowed his progress in the long race. Andrea also has had everything thrown at him this weekend – hot conditions in yesterday’s race, a full wet Superpole Race and a long race on intermediates this afternoon. He has been focused and consistent and another top 10 result this afternoon is a solid start as a superbike rider. We knew that coming here to Aragón was going to be tough and even if today’s results were a little underwhelming overall, there are a lot of positives in terms of the outright pace of the 2021 R1 WorldSBK and our ability to fight at the front here in Aragon, at a track which has traditionally been really tough for us in the past. So, we head to Estoril looking to fight again for the podium next weekend!”