The 2021 French Round is proving to be an unpredictable affair with different bikes coming out on top in different sectors of the 4.411km circuit
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship made the short hop from Navarra in Spain to Magny-Cours in France for the Motul French Round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. Traditionally a circuit that Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has had success at with race wins and Championships secured, the 2021 edition is looking tighter than ever. With four sectors making up each track, after Friday action in France four riders and three manufacturers occupy the four top spots available.
THE FAST SECTOR ONE…
The first sector at Magny-Cours features the fast left-hand corner of Turn 1 before a long sweeping turn to the right and then a long run down to the braking zone of the Turn 5 Adelaide hairpin, with the timing sector for this point just before the hairpin. Here, it is Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who leads the way with a 28.961s first sector, the only rider in the 28s mark for this sector. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) showed Honda’s prowess in this part of the circuit with second at the timing point, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK).
BRAKING AND ACCELERATION KEY IN SECTOR TWO
With sector two including the braking area of the Adelaide hairpin and then the run down to the 180-degree left hand corner, braking and acceleration are key for a fast sector two while it also includes the Nurburgring chicane. Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) leads the way here but just 0.003s separate the British rider and Razgatlioglu with 21.086s and 21.089s respectively; the pair with a clear advantage over Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in third who sits more than a tenth back in this sector.
QUICK CORNERS IN THE THIRD SECTOR
The 180-degree corner of Turn 9 is a quick corner, leading onto a short straight before the Imola chicane, with the timing point on the exit of the chicane. Razgatlioglu actually loses time here compared to his rivals, although it is very close between the top six with a tenth separating them all. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) leads the way with a time of 21.946s, while Gerloff is second and Rea making his first and only appearance in the top three in any sector, less than a tenth away from Sykes’ pacesetting sector three time.
TOPRAK ON TOP IN A HARD BRAKING ZONE…
A right-hand corner feeds through to a long run into the Lycee pin, a slow-speed right-hander that feeds into the Lycee complex. Razgatlioglu leads the way here where hard braking is key and has over half a tenth over Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati); it’s the only time Redding appears in the top three of any sector despite going second fastest after Friday’s action. It’s also the first appearance for Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) as he finishes the lap strongly.
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