Three Yamahas in the top three after the opening Free Practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya; five manufacturers in the top eight
The inaugural Acerbis Catalunya Round for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship got underway with Free Practice 1 where Turkish sensation Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) topping the session by nearly two tenths ahead of his teammate Michael van der Mark after a flurry of late laps.
The session was disrupted by drops of rain being reported in the first sector of the track but a flurry of quick laps in the last few minutes of the session changed the order rapidly with Razgatlioglu and van der Mark finishing first and second while Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) finishing in third place after a stunning late lap to make it three Yamahas in the top three; Gerloff recovering from a trip through the gravel at Turn 7 earlier in the session.
Early pace setter Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) was bumped down to fourth place despite leading for most of the session with the Spanish rider eventually finishing fourth in the 50-minute session and ahead of Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK); the reigning Champion going into the gravel at Turn 1 but recovering to improve on his lap times in the final 20 minutes of the session. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) finished in sixth place; the Italian continuing to impress as he finished as the lead Ducati.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) finished the session in seventh place with Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in eighth place as all five manufacturers finished in the top eight. Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was in ninth with Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) completing the top ten.
Jonas Folger (Bonovo Action by MGM Racing) showed strong pace in his first session in WorldSBK as he finished in 15th place but had been running close to the top ten before the flurry of late laps, while fellow debutant Valentine Debise (OUTDO Kawasaki TPR) finished the session last of the classified runners.
Leandro Mercado (Motocorsa Racing) crashed between Turns 13 and 14 in the early stages of the opening practice session and was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the accident with the Argentinean being diagnosed with a right wrist contusion and taken to hospital for further assessments; with Mercado to be reassessed before Free Practice 2. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) had a crash at Turn 5 in the latter stages of the session but appeared to be okay.
The top six following Free Practice 1, full results here:
1.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) 1’42.140s
2.) Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) +0.169s
3.) Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) +0.338s
4.) Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +0.373s
5.) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.474s
6.) Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) +0.495s
You can follow more action throughout the Acerbis Catalunya Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!