The second and final day of testing at MotorLand Aragon concluded on Tuesday afternoon in Spain as nine WorldSBK riders took to the track to refine their machines ahead of the 2021 season kicking off at the same venue in just over a month. It was Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) who topped Tuesday’s times after a flurry of late laps in the afternoon session.
Track and ambient conditions were slightly warmer than yesterday with track temperatures reaching above 40 degrees Celsius throughout the afternoon, with the majority of the fastest laps of the day coming in the last hour of the test as riders left it until late to chase lap times rather than focus on race pace.
Redding’s lap time of 1’48.780s was only 0.013s outside the Superpole record set by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at last year’s Teruel Round. He finished half-a-second clear of team-mate Michael Ruben Rinaldi as the duo battled it out for top spot; Redding laying down an impressive marker as preparations for the season gear up. Redding had wanted to focus on improving grip from his Ducati Panigale V4 R while Rinaldi had been trying to improve his machine on the exit of corners.
Scott Redding – P1
“I’m very satisfied with the improvements we were able to make with the bike, especially during the middle part of today. I felt comfortable with the race tyre and I have to say that I had a good feeling also with the soft one, which I struggled with last year here in Aragon. With the qualifying tyre, I made a good time and this makes me very happy because I consider this circuit one of the most difficult for me. It hasn’t been an easy couple of days but the team, as always, has done a great job to find solutions to the problems that have arisen”.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi – P2
“They have been two very productive days because we have improved the bike and also the feeling. If I have to be honest I think I have improved my riding style and I am very satisfied with the work we have done. The race pace isn’t bad but we need to improve with the new tyre because I can’t get the best out of it in the first few laps. I can’t wait to be at Navarra for the next test: a new track that I don’t know. We will have intense work to do “.
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished third for the second day in a row as he continues to impress heading into his second WorldSBK campaign. The three-time podium finisher spent yesterday working on race pace and had a couple of new shocks to try out throughout today as he finished the test as the fastest Yamaha rider and added 73 laps to his tally for testing.
Garrett Gerloff – P3
“I am so happy with the amount of information that we now have. We have sorted out a lot of things which allowed us to improve with different temperatures and wind conditions. The wind affects the feeling you have around the whole track, because it completely changes the braking points, as well as how fast the bike can turn into the corners, making some of them feel horrible because you cannot turn at all. That’s why the experience of these two days is so valuable. I know I have a strong bike and I’m happy with how we are working as a team.”
Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) continued his impressive form throughout the two-day MotorLand Aragon test with fourth place for his new team as he tried out two new components on his Ducati: new calipers from Brembo and a new shock from Öhlins. Rinaldi, Redding, Gerloff and Davies were the only riders to lap under 1’50s at MotorLand Aragon on the second day of testing. The British rider also was working on the balance of his chassis throughout the day as well as improving the rear grip through long corners as he completed 75 laps for the day.
Reigning WorldSSP Champion Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) set the fifth best lap time on day two after a late run as he was looking to take another step forward while also working on the balance of his Yamaha YZF R1 as well as looking to extract the most from his machine. The Italian rookie did have a small crash at Turn 15 in the morning session but was able to take his bike back to the pitlane.
Andrea Locatelli – P5
“It’s a very strange feeling, because yesterday and today I had crashes – but they were so crazy strange crashes! I felt sorry for the guys and the whole team, because we were unable to continue to work on track with these disruptions – having to stop and repair the bike or use alternative parts from the test plan. In the end, we were able to ride a little bit and improve, it was not so bad in the end. A very strange test here for me, but now we will see for the next test. We can analyse everything and the goal is to stay focused and to return here with a plan to improve again.”
Tito Rabat’s (Barni Racing Team) day came to a slightly premature halt when he suffered from some technical issues on his Ducati Panigale V4 R, but the 2014 Moto2 World Champion finished with the sixth best lap time after completing a mammoth 97 laps. The Spanish rider completed more laps than anyone else on day one of the test and repeated that on day two as he continued to adjust to new surroundings following his switch from MotoGP to WorldSBK.
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) finished in seventh place on his Ducati Panigale V4 R as the youngest rider on the 2021 grid continues to prepare for his rookie WorldSBK campaign, finishing around half-a-second from Rabat’s best time of the day although Bassani was faster in the afternoon session as he completed 80 laps for the day.
Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished the day in eighth place, just a tenth away from Bassani, as the reigning Japanese superbike champion continued to adjust to a brand-new circuit and completed 58 laps.
Kohta Nozane – P8
“As I expected, it was very difficult for me to adapt to this track. This morning, though, I started off with a very good feeling, but then I messed up and crashed in Turn 2, damaging the bike. The team worked hard to fix it, but the crash affected my feeling negatively. Overall, I did not have a good pace, I expected more. But, fortunately, next week we will test here again, so I will immediately have another chance to improve.”
The WorldSBK field was rounded out by Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) with the French rider completing only 20 laps in the four-hour afternoon session, with 57 laps in total.
WorldSBK Unofficial Results from Day 2
Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) 1’48.780, 80 laps
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) 1’49.205s, 85 laps
Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’49.439s, 73 laps
Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) 1’49.775s, 75 laps
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) 1’50.257s, 66 laps
Tito Rabat (Barni Racing Team) 1’50.518s, 97 laps
Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) 1’51.146s, 80 laps
Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’51.277s, 58 laps
Christophe Ponsson (Alstare Yamaha) 1’52.269s, 57 laps
The nine riders from WorldSBK were joined by WorldSSP duo Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) and teammate Federico Caricasulo as the pair geared up for their 2021 season.
Cluzel was fastest with a time of 1’53.673 after completing 90 laps, while Caricasulo added another 73 laps to the team’s total with a best lap of 1’53.777.
Caricasulo’s day was not without incident as he had a crash in the latter stages of the morning session but was able to return his Yamaha YZF R6 back to the pitlane.
“The first day was not easy for me, we wanted to try an evolution of the ECU which I did not like. We lost some time, but that didn’t handicap us for the second day which went perfectly. We will arrive at the Aragon race with a bike that is ready. I’m really looking forward to it!”
“Despite my two crashes, I’m still satisfied with my two days because I didn’t lose confidence on the bike and I was able to get excellent 1’54 lap times. I think I can still gain a little bit on my first lap, but overall I am confident for the beginning of the season. I would like to thank the team who did an incredible job yesterday and today after my crashes. They fixed the bike perfectly and in record time!”
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