August 20 2021
Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli posted the second and fifth-fastest lap times overall respectively, as the seventh round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship started at new venue Circuito de Navarra today.
Both riders and crews followed their familiar Friday Free Practice programme to focus on representative race simulations and long run pace under the scorching Spanish sun in order to gain as much information as possible to prepare for the weekend’s championship points-paying races. Finishing well inside the top five positions at the end of the day once again demonstrated both riders’ ability to adapt quickly to a new circuit – notwithstanding the two-day test in June.
Locatelli was the first to throw down the gauntlet in the morning session, with early pace that saw him hold P1 for a time during Free Practice 1, while teammate Razgatlıoğlu took the top honours in Free Practice 2 ahead of main championship rival Jonathan Rea in the afternoon.
The true test will come tomorrow and luckily, there will be no need to toss a coin for track conditions, as the forecast shows almost identical conditions to today: clear, sunny and hot. Free Practice 3 will likely take place in cooler conditions at 09:00 (CEST), with 30 minutes of running available before a crucial 15-minute rapid-fire Superpole qualifying at 11:10 and Race 1 directly under the early afternoon sun at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P2 - 1'37.752
“Today we are happy because it was a good start on Friday to finish second position overall for fastest times. For me, the race simulation is the most important but we are very strong, and also I am feeling like my bike is much better in the second session. We are feeling ready to race, but we will see because I think it will not be an easy race – very hot in Navarra! We will see, maybe it is not easy but I will try again to fight for the win.”
Andrea Locatelli: Combined P5 1'38.097
“In the end, I’m very happy because we have worked very hard on this first day and finished in a good position – P4 in the second session where conditions were hottest, P5 overall. We tried to search for a good rhythm in the heat and the feeling with the bike is not so bad. For sure for tomorrow we will try to improve a little bit more and try to take some more speed especially in sector four because we lose a little bit here. In general, I’m confident and tomorrow we will improve – but we will see, it will not be easy because it is so hot! Tomorrow we will be ready to race.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal – Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“Another new circuit for the WorldSBK Championship in consecutive events, which is certainly keeping things fresh and interesting for the teams and riders! On top of learning the intricacies of the Navarra circuit, the guys also had to cope with track temperatures well over 50 degrees, which is more like Thailand than Northern Spain. Toprak and Loka worked really hard today, both completing very consistent long runs and diligently working with their crews to get the very best performance from their R1 WorldSBKs. It’s been a solid start and we’ll keep focusing on maximising performance as we approach the first race tomorrow afternoon.”