Setting the only sub-1’40 lap time of the weekend so far, Jonathan Rea left it late to blast clear at the head of the field
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship enjoyed a lively day of action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for round ten and the Motul Spanish Round. With rain falling lightly just before the start of the session, the WorldSBK riders were out on track and setting the lap times in almost perfect conditions, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) topping the day’s running ahead of Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK).
KAWASAKI AND DUCATI: Rea and Rinaldi lead the way
Third in FP1, Jonathan Rea was at the front of FP2 for the majority of the session and was down to competitive times from the start. Teammate Alex Lowes enjoyed a solid FP1 in fourth although a hand injury limited his running to just six laps. Both were inside the top five during FP2, Rea in particular doing longer runs to get a better understanding of the new ZX-10RR at the track. With less than three minutes to go, Rea set the first sub-1’40 of the weekend and led the way into Saturday with nearly four tenths of a second as his advantage.
It was a bright start for the red of Ducati as Michael Ruben Rinaldi was leading the way for most of the second half of the session, before ultimately finishing second on the combined times. Rinaldi was second in FP1 too, so it has been a solid start for the Italian, who picked up where he left off after winning at Catalunya. Teammate Scott Redding left it late to come up the order, finishing the day in fifth place overall, fourth in FP2. On the combined times, Redding places fifth but with temperatures expected to rise during the weekend, expect the Ducatis to grow stronger. Combined, they set 82 laps, valuable for the weekend ahead.
YAMAHA VS HONDA: Toprak third, two Hondas in the top six
Having topped Free Practice one in the morning, Toprak Razgatlioglu left it late to feature at the front in FP2. The Turkish rider was outside the top five for most the session before popping up the order, consolidating his third place on the combined times. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was out on track and in solid form, down in eighth place in FP2. Come the close of Friday action, with Razgatlioglu in third overall and seventh in FP2, Locatelli, who was sixth in the morning session, concluded the day in eighth place overall.
The Jerez weekend was off to a bright start for Honda as Leon Haslam (Team HRC) placed fourth on the combined times. The team took part in a private test at the circuit not so long ago, so recent track action seems to be paying dividends. Despite a fast crash in the closing stages of FP2, there were plenty of positives for Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) on day one at Jerez. The Spaniard improved his time by eight tenths of a second in FP2 in comparison to FP1 but crashed at Turn 11. Tucking the front and seeing his bike cartwheel through the gravel, Bautista was able to finish in sixth overall. Bautista and Haslam were the top two through the second split, showcasing Honda’s strengths.
BMW’S NEW LOOK: van der Mark and Laverty at Jerez
For BMW, their weekend got underway with Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) flying the flag in tenth place overall and in FP2. The Dutchman set 39 laps across the day and was 1.102s behind the top time of Jonathan Rea. New teammate for this weekend, Eugene Laverty, had a solid session in 14th place as he gets back used to racing action, setting an identical lap time as Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). Expect Laverty to come on stronger as he gets back used to WorldSBK racing.
INDEPENDENT BATTLE: Gerloff vs Bassani readies
Leading the Independents in ninth place was the lead Independent in the Championship, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team). He was ahead of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in 11th, the Italian suffering a technical issue in the closing stages. Loris Baz (Team GoEleven) was next up in 12th place on his return to WorldSBK, whilst Isaac Viñales was 13th, the Spaniard growing stronger in recent rounds. Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 15th.
The best of the rest saw Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Racing) in 16th, ahead of Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport Yamaha), who crashed at Turn 1 in the middle of the session but was OK. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was only 18th, ahead of wildcard Marvin Fritz (IXS-YART Yamaha) who crashed at Turn 13 but was OK and Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team). Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished the day in 21st after the Japanese rookie crashed at Turn 5. Andrea Mantovani (Vince64) was next up, ahead of Loris Cresson (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Lachlan Epis.
Top six after day one at Jerez in WorldSBK, full results here:
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 1’39.671
2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.399s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +0.403s
4. Leon Haslam (Team HRC) +0.657s
5. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.671s
6. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +0.678s
FP3 for WorldSBK kicks off at 09:00 local time (GMT+2), so don’t miss it on the WorldSBK VideoPass!