October 16 2021
Championship leader Toprak Razgatlıoğlu dominated both Free Practice sessions at Circuito San Juan Villicum to finish the day fastest overall, as the penultimate round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship got underway in Argentina today.
The Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider didn’t take long to get up to speed even with tricky conditions on track following a sandstorm yesterday afternoon, setting the fastest lap time in Free Practice 1 by almost exactly half a second (0.501s) from the next closest riders Scott Redding and main championship rival Jonathan Rea.
The times tumbled further in the afternoon session as the track surface cleared, in spite of the team’s usual shift to focus on a race simulation, in its tried-and-tested running plan for Friday of each WorldBSK event. After improving to post the fastest overall lap time of 1'37.872, set on the 14th lap of his long run, Razgatlıoğlu and the team ended the day pleased with the package they have prepared for tomorrow’s race.
For teammate Andrea Locatelli, it was the first opportunity to turn a wheel in anger at the picturesque circuit and he finished the day with the eighth-fastest time from Free Practice 2, within striking distance of the top six. He and the #55 Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK crew will look to make improvements to his R1 WorldSBK to help “Loka” search for more grip and confidence in FP3 starting at 10:00 local time (UTC-3).
With just six races remaining in 2021, the second to last Superpole qualifying will start at 12:10 to decide the grid positions for Race 1 taking place at 15:00 – where all eyes will be on the battle for race and championship supremacy once again.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P1 - 1'37.872
“We start this morning and, you know, I clean the track… we are all cleaning the track! And also, it was a good lap time this morning, the feeling was good. This afternoon we try a race simulation and it was also very positive and I am happy with my R1. Now we are ready to race, the race is always difficult but I will try my best again to be fighting for the win. Thanks to my team because this afternoon we made a good set up for my bike and we are happy, but we will see tomorrow!”
Andrea Locatelli: P8 - 1'38.875
“After this morning I was happy because the feeling is not so bad with the bike and I was able to learn the track quickly. But I don’t know why this afternoon, the feeling is not coming so well. I can’t find the grip in both the front and rear, it is not easy and we lost a lot of time. But in any case, we need to work for tomorrow, look at the problem and try to understand what we can do. I’m not really happy about my first day, but sometimes the Friday can be difficult so we will see tomorrow and for sure I think we can improve a lot.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal – Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“It was a long and at times stressful journey to Argentina, but now that we’re here and find the track in great condition with many improvements made, and the incredible mountain range in the background, we can only say it’s a pleasure to be here in San Juan. In terms of performance, it was tricky for everyone this morning after yesterday’s sandstorm. But, we hoped that the combination of Toprak and the R1 would be strong here and the two Free Practice sessions have proved that. It won’t be easy, because it never is, but today’s preparation has been as good as we’ve seen all season. It’s a new track for Loka, he’s still got to find his rhythm on the slightly slippery surface and understand the best way to be fast. But, he took a big step at the end of FP2 and with a good night’s sleep under his belt and some helpful adjustments from his guys, I am sure we’ll see a stronger performance tomorrow.”