July 15 2022
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu was initially fastest overall this morning in Free Practice 1 at Donington Park kicking off the fifth round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship in the UK today.
However, lap times tumbled across the board this afternoon as the temperature heated up, with championship rival Jonathan Rea going half a second quicker than the rest of the field in the closing stages of Free Practice 2. Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK stood by its tried and tested race simulation running plan, with defending champion Razgatlıoğlu focusing on race pace rather than outright speed. Despite improving on his lap time by nearly 0.25s, it wasn’t enough to retain the top spot.
The team hope to make a step overnight to find more rear grip for both Razgatlıoğlu and teammate Andrea Locatelli to enable them to fight at the front during the 23-lap feature tomorrow.
Locatelli, in just his second visit to the tricky UK circuit, made steps to recover lost track running in Free Practice 2 after an early crash at Goddard’s in Free Practice 1 reduced his available track time this morning while the team repaired his #55 R1 WorldSBK. The 25-year-old Italian recovered to eighth overall in the combined times this afternoon.
Saturday Race day begins with Free Practice 3 at 09:00 (BST) followed by Superpole qualifying at 11:10 and Race 1 “lights out” at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P2 - 1'27.567
“I’m very happy that we come back again to the UK and Donington Park, because I like this track a lot. Today we try for a good set-up for the race, but we have to keep working because in FP2 I am not really happy – but P2 was not a bad lap time. We need more grip for the rear and after, I’m just riding because you know I enjoy this track! We will try also a new set-up, we will see. This is just the first day, tomorrow we have FP3 and after we will try again a good set-up for the race. Every race weekend this year we see big improvement, everybody is very fast. Important the race, not Friday – so we are just working for this and I hope tomorrow I am fighting for the victory.”
Andrea Locatelli: P8 - 1'28.305
“The first day was not easy because in FP1 I crashed after five laps and we lost a lot of time. Also the feeling after I returned on track was not really good, but in the end, this afternoon we worked around the bike and the feeling was better and we improved on the lap time as well. In general, it’s a strange feeling here in Donington because I have a lot of problem with the rear grip but for sure, we understand something and tomorrow we can improve the bike so this is a great point for us. It’s not so bad to close day one here in P8 and now try to trust in myself to get some good here results tomorrow, to try to close the gap with the front group and to do a really good Superpole and also Race 1 because it’s important for the championship. So we need to continue our work, focus on the job and push to take some good results.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal – Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK:
“A positive first day here at Donington: a dry race track, a big crowd for Friday and a great atmosphere around what looks like is going to be the biggest UK WorldSBK event for some years! Performance-wise, it was actually quite challenging. On the face of it, second on the time sheets for Toprak is not bad, and considering it’s only his second visit here, Andrea’s performance is also a solid start. But, to be honest, we’ve got work to do to find more rear grip for both riders and more consistency on the race pace. Jonathan has a clear advantage looking at today but we will be doing everything we can overnight to make a clear step for tomorrow.”