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Productive Friday for GRT Yamaha Ahead of Estoril Finale

Productive Friday for GRT Yamaha Ahead of Estoril Finale

The final round of the 2020 FIM Superbike World Championship season began with two free practice sessions, as GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team’s rider pairing found the limits of the Estoril circuit, which is back on the calendar for the first time since 1993, and searched for the best set-up ahead of Saturday and Sunday.

The GRT Yamaha riders started the Portuguese weekend with a promising FP1 session, in which Garrett Gerloff set the second-fastest time, while Federico Caricasulo was ninth.

In FP2, with rising temperatures and a strong wind, the American managed sixth overall despite a fall, while his Italian teammate struggled more and set the 16th fastest time. The team remains confident about making another step forwards on Saturday.

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team’s Loris Baz consistently threatened the top of the times in both the morning and afternoon sessions. In FP1, the French rider went third fastest on his final lap and despite a fall limiting his running in FP2, Baz still managed to improve his time by 0.596s to end the day third overall.

Jonas Folger, taking part in his second wildcard appearance with the Bonovo Action by MGM Racing team and fresh from winning the IDM Superbike title, was also impressive, going seventh in the morning and eighth in FP2, and looks to be in the mix for a solid haul of points.

Saturday’s on-track action will begin with the FP3 at 09:00 (UTC+1), followed by Superpole at 11:00 and Race 1 at 14:00.

For Friday's combined times, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P6 – 1'37.606

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

It went pretty well today. This is a new track for everybody, so it’s nice to all start from somewhat the same level. From the beginning, the Yamaha R1 worked really well, and my crew only made few tweaks to the set-up. I felt a little bit stronger in the first session, whereas in the second session, with higher temperatures and stronger winds it was not as easy. But I really like the track and I am excited to go racing. This track reminds me a lot of Barcelona, it has a similar configuration even as you look at it from above, and the style of the corners is similar too, so I feel like it suits the Yamaha very well just because it has a really nice kind of flow to it that we can take advantage of. The goal for tomorrow would be to try and repeat what we did in Catalunya; there are still a few things I need to understand better and a few improvements to make, but we are in a good place and I am happy to be close to the front. I definitely need to qualify well, which is something I sometimes struggle with, but if we do that I think we’ll have a solid race. Good start so far, hopefully we can keep improving.

Federico Caircasulo: P16 - 1'38.515

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

It was not an easy day, as we had to learn this new track. We got off to a pretty good start this morning, but then we stalled a little bit in the afternoon session. We ran a race simulation in which we weren't very fast and even on the single lap we couldn't achieve the performance we were looking for. For tomorrow we'll try to make the right adjustments to fix today's problems and hopefully, we will be more competitive from FP3 onwards.

Loris Baz: P3 - 1'37.084

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team

I think we can look back on a very strong and successful first day here at Estoril. It was not too difficult to learn the track, the layout is a lot slower than I initially expected. We started the day strong, in the first session I was constantly quick and the Yamaha is working very well here. The second free practice session also went well and I was fastest during almost the entire session, despite crashing and losing a lot of track time. The third-fastest time after the first day is definitely good and I am very happy. We will trial a couple of things tomorrow and then try our best for a strong Superpole. A good starting position for the race is very important here because the track is not that wide and there are not a lot of opportunities to overtake.