Holding firm: Gerloff retains top spot as Navarra test continues on Day 2

Tuesday, 22 June 2021 11:19 GMT

Midday at the new Spanish venue sees the American star resist the pressure from the opposition

Under sunny skies in northern Spain, the Circuito Navarra’s second day of testing fired into life as WorldSBK’s leading riders continued to adapt to the all-new circuit for 2021. Unlike Monday’s day one, Team HRC weren’t present on the second day, as they opted to only do one day of testing action. As well as this, the track remained partially damp in places after day one’s rain, leading to some hesitancy as riders ventured out before returning to the pits after just one lap. Eventually, as times continued to drop throughout Tuesday morning and the track improved, it was Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who took top spot, whilst Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had three crashes in just over two hours, bringing out two Red Flags, although he’s OK.

YAMAHA VS KAWASAKI: all in the top five

It was an Independent Yamaha team leading the way as GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff shone brightly at top of the time screens. The American also topped day one on his Navarra debut and Damiano Evangelisti, GRT’s technical coordinator, hailed a solid opening day for not just the position but the work completed. For day two, they’re opting to spend their time working on two things: one half on set-up and the other half on configurations. Following a crash on day one, Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was side-lined with a micro-fracture to his middle finger on his right hand and was thus replaced by Niccolo Canepa, who is developing some parts and finished the first stint of the day in tenth.

Having enjoyed a first day of action at the Los Arcos venue, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and teammate Alex Lowes continued to work, although in different directions and for varying motives. Rea was focused on finding a base-setting for Navarra and not looking at Donington Park. However, on the other side, Lowes was trialling some new internal components on day two after getting used to the circuit on day one. However, Lowes’ test took a turn for the worst in the morning as he crashed at Turn 13, bringing out the Red Flag just before 11:00am. Lowes was able to re-join the session but then crashed for a second time, this one at Turn 9 but was able to walk away. Back out again, Lowes had a third crash, this time at the fast Turn 1 and was OK, although he brought out the Red Flag. As teams went for lunch, Rea was second whilst Lowes was fifth.

Continuing a busy testing schedule, the factory Yamaha of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) was continued enjoying the circuit as he got to test some new, rider-specific internal components. With aims of completing a long run to check his overall pace, Razgatlioglu is ticking plenty of boxes throughout testing, something that Paul Denning has previously heaped praise on Toprak for doing. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) continued to work on the set-up of the bike and understanding the track but suffered tech problems during morning track action. On his return to the track, Locatelli went briefly top with less than hour before lunch, finishing the opening track action in fourth, one place behind Razgatlioglu.

BMW continue their progress

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team were also in action on day two, with Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark continue to sift through their testing program. After not finding the results they were after with some chassis parts in regards to overall development of the bike for the season, today’s focus shifted to suspension settings and dialling the bike in so that they have something to work with when the Navarra Round gets underway in August. Van der Mark stated at the end of the first day that the aim is to make the bike less nervous in the braking area and to not be running wide after releasing the brake, whilst also working in the long corners and getting the bike to turn more. As lunch beckoned, van der Mark was sixth, whilst Sykes was seventh, ahead of Independent BMW rider Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing), who is doing plenty of back-to-back testing to determine a direction, whilst also hailing positives with the new chassis.

Aegerter on fire in WorldSSP

In World Supersport, Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) continued to have the advantage over Indonesian teammate Galang Hendra Pratama, as the Dutch squad continue their testing schedule. Aegerter tested suspension, clutch, and electronic set-ups, as well as different gearings on day one and hopes to refine small details on day two.

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