After a thrilling two-day test welcomed new items and new looks for some riders, lap record pace was the call of the day as Michael Ruben Rinaldi dethroned Toprak Razgatlioglu…
The Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” continued to host the final portion of day two testing for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as a variety of teams continued their preparations for a titanic tussle in the year ahead. Having led the way for more or less the whole time, Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was displaced at the top by Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in the final two hours of the test, as the Italian star hit lap record pace to take the advantage away from Yamaha.
Over at the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad, Michael Ruben Rinaldi was using the new front brake calipers and he cemented his feelings in the final hours of the test by rocketing to the top, right on Tom Sykes’ Superpole lap record (1'33.640). Rinaldi had a crash in the afternoon at Turn 8 but was uninjured. Scott Redding continued getting a feeling for his machine after trying out the new front brake calipers. Feeling like he can bring more to the table if he was to ride a bike that isn’t always evolving so that he is able to make a step within himself, Redding completed 64 laps at Misano, continuing to make progress on his way to fourth.
Aiming at improving the stopping and turning of his YZF-R1, Razgatlioglu and crew chief Phil Marron got to work on the feeling between rider and machine and making the improvements on one of Toprak’s biggest problems in 2020. Using the new Brembo front brake caliper once again – having used it at Jerez in November last year – as well as a new air-intake designed to increase speed and reduce lift and with the upgraded 2021 engine, Toprak was able to finish second. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was likewise impressive as he continued to get vital laps under his belt on a bike that is more or less new to him, even in regard to the November test at Jerez, to conclude the test in fifth and with good sensations moving forward.
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Japanese rookie teammate Kohta Nozane were working on finding new base settings for their season ahead. For Gerloff, his aim was to get back into the rhythm of things and to get accustomed to the 2021 Yamaha, having been on the 2019 version last year. It was a strong second day, with Gerloff running inside the top three throughout and even leading at one point before finishing third at the flag. With Nozane, who is fresh from MotoGP™ testing, he aims to continue to adapt to Pirelli rubber as well as the team surrounding him, with the hopes from the team being that he is at the sharp end by the end of the season. He finished eighth at the end of the day, scalping Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) who was ninth.
The Kawasaki effort was solely resting on Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with him graduating up from the Puccetti Kawasaki WorldSSP team to enjoy a first full year in WorldSBK. With 2020 ZX-10RR equipment but with 2021 parts to put through their paces, Mahias was around a second off the pace in the closing hours and finished a hard-earned sixth overall.
At the Motocorsa Racing Ducati Panigale V4 R set-up, Axel Bassani continued to impress quietly and steadily, as he continued to get up to speed in consistent weather conditions. Testing the 2020 bike on day one before switching to the 2021 machine for day two, Bassani has had to adapt his riding style slightly between the two. He was happy with his work but will be focusing on working in the braking areas. For Tito Rabat, he continued to get used to WorldSBK machinery and put in over 100 laps. The Spanish rookie clocked the greatest number of laps out of anyone at the test on day two and will hope to put all of the data acquired into good practice in their upcoming tests, in order for Tito to bridge the gap to the leading group.
At the Alstare Yamaha set-up, Christophe Ponsson had a difficult day after suffering a big crash towards the end of the morning session. Come the end of play on the second day, Ponsson was tenth.
In WorldSSP, Philipp Oettl (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was the best rider on track, marginally ahead of South Africa’s Steven Odendaal (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). Oettl has an all-new Kawasaki ZX-6R and was looking at working on suspension feeling, whilst Odendaal is bedding himself in with the reigning Champions, as they work together on finding a bike that suits his riding style. Randy Krummenacher (EAB Racing Team) was third overall and continues to readapt to Yamaha machinery after a year off it in 2020; the Swiss rider set 67 laps, more than anyone in WorldSSP. Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) completed WorldSSP running in fourth after a crash in the morning, although he was able to get back on track as he gels with the new squad.
1 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’33.688, 59 laps
2.) Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’33.886, 69 laps
3.) Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’34.013, 67 laps
4.) Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’34.361, 64 laps
5.) Andrea Locatelli (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1.34.794, 69 laps
6.) Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1’34.806, 58 laps
7.) Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 1’34.847, 57 laps
8.) Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’35.003, 60 laps
9.) Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) 1’35.210, 106 laps
10.) Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) 1’36.392, 27 laps
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