Wet conditions impacted both Friday sessions, but German rider Philipp Oettl was able to take advantage to put himself in third place
Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven) was one of the standout riders on Friday as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship hit Donington Park. The German rider took advantage of mixed conditions across Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 to claim third spot during the Prosecco DOC UK Round and he finished as the fastest Ducati rider on Day 1 as he, along with other Ducati competitors, looks to end the Italian manufacturer’s drought at Donington.
Oettl completed 16 laps during Free Practice 1, a session which was sporadically hit by rain, and posted a best time of 1’27.757s to secure third place. He was just over a tenth away from pacesetter Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in second, while he was four tenths clear of the next fastest Ducati rider. This was reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in eighth with the Spaniard setting a 1’28.143s.
In FP2, rain fell throughout much of the 45-minute session which disrupted running. Only seven riders set a lap time and Oettl was not one of these. The 27-year-old only completed a single out lap, right at the start of the session, before returning to his box. He did not go back out on track throughout FP2 and his time from FP1 was good enough to secure a place in the top three at a circuit he finished outside the top ten at in all three races last season.
Explaining his goals for Donington, Oettl said: “It’s a good way to start the weekend. There weren’t a lot of laps today but I’m happy with the feeling I had on the bike and especially in the last sector. That was a difficult part for us last year and I think we already made some small improvements. The new surface feels great and I’m looking forward to riding tomorrow. You have to be optimistic after today and I think we can be competitive. A top five like in Australia would be great. We made a good improvement at Misano and I hope we can continue on that way. We need a good Superpole and then, in the race, we can be competitive.”
Can Oettl repeat his Friday heroics? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!