REPORT: Carrasco fastest on Day 1 of Cremona WorldWCR test, Mei Liu quickest in afternoon rain

Thursday, 16 May 2024 16:12 GMT

It was an eventful first day of action for the WorldWCR field in Italy, with rain falling in the afternoon as riders prepare for the 2024 campaign

The first collective track action for the FIM Women’s Circuit Racing World Championship took place at the Cremona Circuit in Italy, with Ana Carrasco (Evan Bros Racing Yamaha Team) taking advantage of dry conditions in the morning to end the day on top. With rain falling in the afternoon, times didn’t improve after the second session which allowed the Spaniard to secure P1 on Day 1 of the test. With the season starting at Misano in a month, the test will prove valuable for the grid to get accustomed to their Yamaha R7 machines and Pirelli tyres even with wet conditions impacting Day 1.

DRY RUNNING ORDER: Carrasco leads Michel and Ourednickova

The best times of the day were set in the morning as rain fell and thunder blared at around 14:00 Local Time (UTC+2), forcing everyone to swap from Pirelli’s slick tyres to the wet tyres. It meant Carrasco, the 2018 WorldSSP300 Champion, was fastest on Day 1 with a 1’45.949s, four tenths clear of 19-year-old Lucy Michel (TSL-Racing) in second. Third place belonged to Adela Ourednickova (DafitMotoracing), who set a 1’47.250s to round out the top three. However, the Czech rider was the first crasher of the test, coming down at the end of the straight in the fourth session.

CARRASCO SAYS: “Happy with how I felt with the bike and my team… I think we’re going to do a good job!”

Looking back on her day when she claimed top spot, Carrasco said: “I'm happy with the first day, especially because it feels like the start of the season is getting closer. Last year I couldn't be competitive at the end of the season because of the leg injury so after almost 6 months without racing I'm looking forward to being back on the grid. Overall, I am satisfied with today, although we could not ride much because of the rain, so I took the day to get to know the circuit, which was new to me, and also to work on the new bike with the team. I'm happy with how I felt with the bike and also with my team Evan Bros, I think we are going to do a good job together and I'm looking forward to being back on track tomorrow. I hope the weather will be better and we can have more time to ride and keep improving the feeling.”

NOT FAR BEHIND: impressing on debut…

Ran Yochay (511 Terra&Vita Racing Team) just missed out on a place in the top three when she set a 1’47.455s, just two tenths away from Czech rider Ourednickova ahead. It was closely-contested in the 20-minute Free Practice 1 session – the final dry session of the day – with the USA’s Mallory Dobbs (Sekhmet Motorcycle Racing Team) in fifth, a tenth behind Yochay, and Australia’s Tayla Relph (TAYCO Motorsport) in sixth. The Brisbane-born competitor was fastest in the 10-minute Warm Up session that started the day to start her campaign strongly at a circuit she was riding at for the first time.

NINE COUNTRIES IN THE TOP NINE: quick riders from all over the world

Chun Mei Liu (WT Racing Team Taiwan) secured a seventh-place finish on Day 1 after setting a 1’48.545s, finishing almost two tenths ahead of Jessica Howden (Team Trasimeno) in eighth. Just half a tenth separated Howden in P8 and Roberta Ponziani (Yamaha Motoxracing WCR Team) in ninth, with the Italian setting a 1’48.712s. Nine different nationalities were represented in the top nine on Day 1, showcasing the diversity of the inaugural WorldWCR field. Nicole Van Aswegen (Andalaft Racing) completed the top ten with a 1’50.086s, around 1.4 seconds slower than Ponziani ahead.

THE RAIN FALLS: times don’t improve in the afternoon

Despite rain falling, the WorldWCR field took advantage to test the Yamaha R7 in wet conditions. Michel was the first rider to head out in the third session, followed quickly by Ornella Ongaro (Yamaha Motoxracing WCR Team) and Nicole Van Aswegen (Andalaft Racing). The fastest time came from Chun Mei Liu (WT Racing Team Taiwan) in the fourth session as she posted a 1’54.139s, only 0.138s clear of Dobbs in second after she set a 1’54.277s. Third place went to Relph, who was a second away from Mei Liu’s time, but also almost 1.5 seconds faster than Astrid Madrigal (ITALIKA Racing FIMLA) in fourth.

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