After unveiling their new 2021 liveries, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK and the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team hit the ground running at the FIM Superbike World Championship test in Barcelona, as the riders got some important running with their 2021-spec Yamaha R1 bikes, while the Alstare Yamaha WorldSBK Team also geared up their preparations for their return to the championship.
The three teams collectively completed 713 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya across the two days, with Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Andrea Locatelli racking up the most mileage, 179 laps, and GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff going quickest of the Yamaha R1 riders, setting a time of 1’40.497 that was good enough for third on combined times.
Returning to the track he took his maiden WorldSBK podium at, American rider Gerloff was quickly up to speed and spent most of the opening day focused on long-run pace, while also trialling the new Brembo front brake calipers. He traded fastest times throughout the session and eventually ended the day in third with 82 laps.
The 25-year-old continued to make progress on the second day and once again featured at the top of the timings throughout the session. Gerloff’s best lap came towards the end of the test, with the GRT Yamaha rider leaving Barcelona having completed 151 laps.
In only his third outing since joining Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK, Andrea Locatelli focused on gaining more confidence on the Yamaha R1 bike and the new parts. The Italian, who has settled well into the team and with crew chief Andrew Pitt, completed a number of long runs and ended day one with 93 laps completed and the 10th fastest time.
On day two, the 24-year-old quickly improved his time in the opening stages and made no mistakes across the two days, ending the Barcelona test ninth on combined times with a fastest lap of 1’41.258.
Teammate Toprak Razgatlıoğlu enjoyed a solid first day and looked to be well in the mix, with his time of 1’41.334 good enough for sixth. On day two, the Turkish rider was placed into isolation and withdrawn from the test after a positive result for COVID-19 in a mandatory pre-travel polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
GRT Yamaha’s 2021 newcomer Kohta Nozane was in Barcelona for the first time and steadily upped his pace throughout the opening day. The Japanese rider was 15th fastest by the end of the first session, having managed 84 laps.
On the second day, after continuing to learn the Pirelli rubber and Spanish circuit, 25-year-old Nozane made his first run of the test on the qualifying tyres, and improved to a 1’41.628. This was good enough for 12th on combined times, putting him well in the mix against seasoned WorldSBK opposition, with the MFJ All-Japan Road Race JSB1000 Champion completing 163 laps in total.
Alstare Yamaha, who will receive technical support from Yamaha in 2021, also enjoyed a productive two days in Barcelona, with rider Christophe Ponsson managing 141 laps and going 18th on combined times, with a fastest lap of 1’42.423.