As the ink dried on Razgatlıoğlu’s new two-year contract with Yamaha Motor Europe, the team’s Turkish ace set about the business of preparing for the immediate challenge ahead: to fight for the podium – and race wins – again this weekend.
While today’s conditions were relatively warm and dry for the Derby region, heavy rain over the past fortnight meant the racing line on track was “dirty” in the first Free Practice session this morning. Thanks to a full roster of supporting classes from the FIM Sidecar World Championship through to the new Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup for young riders running throughout the day, the WorldSBK field found a much cleaner surface available for Free Practice 2 this afternoon.
Both Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders completed long runs, simulating their potential race pace in the second practice in order to provide invaluable data for the team to evaluate and find improvements ahead of Race 1.
Razgatlıoğlu found a small improvement in outright pace, but still had difficulty in generating rear grip in the afternoon while Locatelli, in just his fourth WorldSBK round, took a big step forward improving his best lap time by nearly 1.2 seconds to record the 10th fastest time in Free Practice 2 and with race pace much closer to the front runners.
The first real test will come tomorrow morning with Superpole qualifying at 11:10 (BST) after one final Free Practice session at 09:00 of 30 minutes, with “lights out” for Race 1 at 14:00.
For Friday's combined times, click here.