Have Yamaha turned a corner at MotorLand Aragon?

Friday, 21 May 2021 16:35 GMT

After appearing to struggle at recent rounds at Aragon, Yamaha showed impressive pace throughout Day 1 at MotorLand…

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship roared back into action at MotorLand Aragon for the Pirelli Aragon Round with Yamaha leading the way at a track they have had difficulty with in recent years. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) topped the times on Day 1 while Garret Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was third in the morning session and overall as his strong form continued.

Turkish star Razgatlioglu’s best result at MotorLand Aragon came in 2020 in Race 1 for the Teruel Round with a fifth-place finish while he has finished, sixth once, seventh on three occasions, eighth and ninth twice and tenth once in his 11 races at the Alcañiz venue, as well as one retirement from Race 2 in 2019. MotorLand Aragon is just one of three circuits on the 2021 calendar that he has not scored a race at when racing there, alongside the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and TT Circuit Assen.

Reacting after setting the fastest lap time of the day on Friday, and looking ahead to the weekend, Razgatlioglu said: “The last test, together with the team, we could improve at Aragon and also in the first session today. We pushed for a good lap time in the last six minutes and in the afternoon, we don’t try for a good lap time because we’re working on a race simulation. Today I’m happy because it’s first the day, and in first position, an important place and also, we worked for the race in the afternoon.

“It was really hot conditions and we worked for this because we need to understand tyre life. But after the last laps, I arrived on a different bike, not my bike, because it was sliding a lot and also not possible to stop! Also, we improved, but we need to improve again tomorrow in case it’s hot in the race. My goal for the first race is to get a podium, which I know isn’t easy at Aragon!”

American Gerloff has raced at MotorLand Aragon six times in WorldSBK, all in 2020 thanks to the Aragon and Teruel Round double-header last season. He has a best result of tenth place, finishing there twice, but never any higher. Both Razgatlioglu and Gerloff completed several test days at Aragon with the hope of improving these results.

Discussing the strong Yamaha pace on Friday, Gerloff said: “This track seems like it has a lot more grip on offer when it’s cooler and so this morning the bike was working really great. I mean, the bike was working well in the afternoon too but just with the track on offer, the same grip was a little bit more difficult for, I would say Toprak and myself, to carry the corner speed that Yamaha’s known for. In general, I feel really consistent, maybe just a little bit off time wise but I think our race pace is actually pretty good at least compared to what we were looking at compared to other riders. I feel confident and I think tomorrow’s going to be cooler anyway, and maybe with some cloud cover, which will be really good for us.”

A strong Friday for Yamaha at a circuit they’ve not traditionally gone well at sets them up nicely, especially with Razgatlioglu and Gerloff coming into 2021 on the back of podium finishes at the end of the 2020 campaign. It may have been a long wait to get back racing, but it looks like Yamaha are speeding out of the blocks for the new campaign.

Can Yamaha continue their impressive pace as the weekend continues? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!