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High temperatures Hamper GRT Yamaha’s Progress on Day 1 at Misano

High temperatures Hamper GRT Yamaha’s Progress on Day 1 at Misano

The third round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship began today with the first two free practice sessions of the Misano weekend. For both GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team riders, it will be the first competitive outing at the Italian circuit, which was eventually removed from last season’s calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane can at least rely on valuable laps here from pre-season testing.

GRT Yamaha’s first day in Italy started off well, with both Gerloff and rookie teammate Nozane pleased with their performances in Free Practice 1. However, the intense heat of the afternoon saw the track temperature rise to 46 °C, and both riders struggled to match their potential from the morning session. 

For Gerloff, this weekend brings an additional obstacle to overcome, with the American penalised for his Race 2 incident at Estoril, meaning he will have to start Race 1 from the pit lane. He began Friday on the right foot, going third fastest in FP1 on a 1’34.923, before being unable to replicate the same performance in the heat of the afternoon. He ended the second free practice session in 11th, but was still fifth on combined times. 

Nozane, instead, continues to gain experience and was happy with the behaviour of his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK on the Italian track during the morning session, in which his 1’36.288 was good enough for 15th. The hot afternoon, though, turned out to be more difficult than expected for him too, but he still managed to improve his best lap, clocking a 1’36.044. His objective for FP3 is to run as many laps as possible in order to be best prepared for the races.

For Friday's combined times, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P5 - 1’34.923

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

We were lucky to be able to run laps here in March, because this track is not super intuitive. I felt really good this morning, but when the temperature rose in the afternoon, I lost the feeling with the bike a little bit. We are not too far off the morning’s lap time, but a lot of other guys went faster in the afternoon and that’s what we should have done too. I tested the new Pirelli tyre in the afternoon: it was definitely interesting and it’s great to have more options, but it will make the tyre choice more difficult because the time to test all the compounds remains the same. Both the new and the old tyre struggled in the higher temperatures, with the front getting a little greasy and making it more difficult to keep the momentum up, so the choice ahead of the races will not be easy. Starting from the pit lane, my goal for tomorrow’s race is to do my best and try to catch as many of the other riders as possible. We may just use the race as a long session to collect some information ahead of Sunday. The Superpole remains super important, and it’s cool to have two sets of qualifying tyres because it allows us to get used to the different feel they have in a less abrupt way. This should be an advantage for me, we will see if it really helps me get a better starting position for Sunday’s Superpole Race.

Kohta Nozane: P17 - 1’36.044

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

I already had some experience here so I had a good feeling with the track from the start and, in comparison to the Estoril weekend, I had a pretty solid pace since the beginning. But unfortunately, throughout both FP1 and FP2 I could not improve my pace as much as I hoped. As a result, both my position and the lap time did not match my expectations, but, at least, I feel like I can maintain this pace consistently without losing precious tenths, which is a large improvement. I like this track and tomorrow I want to reward my team with a good result at their home race.