It was a top shelf performance as the returning Argentinean got more than he bargained for after the opening session of the weekend
It was cold, damp and cloudy – not your average British summer weather but instead the conditions that greeted the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship on Friday morning at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. With over 300 days of sun each year in the southern Andalusia region, the end of October perhaps isn’t one of them. With only four riders setting lap times, it’s fair to say FP1 isn’t going to be a reliable session to lead into.
Leaving it late to head out onto the circuit, Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado (PETRONIAS MIE Racing Honda Team) is replacing the injured Eric Granado for this weekend and was back with his old team and straight to the top of the times after a handful of laps in unfavourable conditions. He pipped Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) who was P2, ahead of 2023 IDM Superbike champion wildcard Florian Alt (Holzhauer Racing Promotion) who was the first on track in P3. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) was fourth. All other riders, including Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) remained in the pits.
Top four (only four who set lap times) during WorldSBK FP1 at Jerez, full PDF here:
1. Leandro Mercado (PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team) 2’01.309s
2. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +1.405s
3. Florian Alt (Holzhauer Racing Promotion) +1.508s
4. Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing MOVISIO) +3.194s
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