WorldSBK teams and riders get three free practice ahead of Tissot Superpole and three races across the round
With the Hyundai N Catalunya Round in full swing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the ninth round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign, two key figures from WorldSBK explain the plans in practice to prepare their riders for three key races in an incredibly tight Championship battle.
Just seven points separate Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), while just 13 points separate Yamaha and Kawasaki in the Manufacturers’ Championship with both title battles as close as ever throughout 2021.
During Free Practice 2, Guim Roda (Team Manager, Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Paul Denning (Team Manager, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) gave insights into how each outfit runs on Friday to give their riders the best possible setup for WorldSBK’s three races on Saturday and Sunday.
Roda emphasised the long run work that goes into each weekend, saying: “We are basically working to prepare for the long races. Of course, the tyres over the long distance will be the key so we are trying to understand how to manage the life of the tyres, as is everybody in the paddock. This will be our main job today and try to arrive tomorrow in the race weekend in the best balance of long-distance and fast laps.”
At Pata Yamaha, Razgatlioglu was joined by teammate Andrea Locatelli on track during the session as they looked to assist each other. Barcelona-Catalunya is a circuit Locatelli knows well from his Grand Prix days while Razgatlioglu missed out on two races here last year after a Warm-Up crash in the inaugural Catalunya Round.
Discussing how Razgatlioglu and Locatelli worked together, and Yamaha’s plan, Denning said: “They’re both on a slightly different tyre to give them the opportunity to see each other’s bikes. They’ll probably swap around a few laps into this long run. Honestly, the pace in the long run isn’t the critical point, it’s to get the information to really understand where we’re at. That strategy so far has served us well this year, so we’ll stick with it. Small margins in performance are obviously welcome but honestly it won’t be the fastest lap time that dictates the result here, it’ll be who can get around the track for 20 laps with good rhythm. Jonathan’s doing a very good long run at the moment with a good, constant pace in the low 1’43s. The flashy mid-1’42s are lovely but it’ll be who can keep it close to the high 1’42s, 1’43 dead after 20 laps that will make the difference and that’s what we’re working on this afternoon.”
Watch the rest of the Catalunya Round starting from FP3 at 09:00 Local Time (GMT+2) on Saturday using the WorldSBK VideoPass!