After setting the benchmark in Friday’s combined times, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Razgatlıoğlu had initially qualified in sixth during the Superpole, but had his best time deleted due to track limits. It meant the Turkish rider started Race 1 from 10th on the grid, but he wasted no time in making his way through the field, moving up to the podium places in just five laps. He went on to have a thrilling scrap with Alex Lowes’ Kawasaki, but narrowly lost out, seeing Razgatlıoğlu finish third, his first podium at MotorLand Aragón.
In the Superpole Race, the 24-year-old made positions once again, climbing from 10th to sixth at the finish and as the lead rider on the full rain tyres. In Race 2, Razgatlıoğlu battled amongst the lead group for much of the 18 laps, but eventually finished sixth on the intermediate Pirelli tyres as the track dried.
In the GRT Yamaha camp, Garrett Gerloff qualified as the highest placed Yamaha R1, starting sixth for the opening race of the season. The American endured a difficult opener, struggling for grip as track temperatures continued to rise and eventually finished ninth.
Resetting for the Superpole Race, Gerloff showed what he could do in tricky wet conditions and, despite dropping to 14th on the opening lap, battled his way back through to put his Yamaha R1 onto the podium, finishing third. In Race 2, the 25-year-old showed race-winning pace, but fell while making a move on Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki for the lead. The Texan resumed the race outside the top 10, but fought back to finish seventh, picking up important championship points.
Andrea Locatelli, taking part in his maiden WorldSBK weekend with the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team, showed good progress throughout the weekend. The Italian qualified 14th in the Superpole, but made up places in all three races. In the opener, the reigning WorldSSP champion climbed to 10th by the finish, just behind Gerloff, and he again moved forward to 12th in the Superpole Race.
The Italian youngster’s best performance came in the final race of the weekend, where he finished just five seconds behind teammate Razgatlıoğlu in ninth place.
GRT Yamaha’s rookie, Kohta Nozane, also enjoyed a strong first WorldSBK round. The Japanese rider lined up 16th on the grid for Race 1 and went on to take his first points in 14th. In the Superpole Race, despite his lack of experience on the Yamaha R1 with the intermediate and rain tyres, Nozane produced a superb ride through the field, passing seasoned opposition, including last year’s race-winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Honda’s Alvaro Bautista, and eventually finished ninth, just behind Ducati’s Scott Redding.
In Race 2, although he dropped back, mainly due to his cautious approach on the opening lap, Nozane gained vital experience and still came home a strong 12th, meaning he left Aragón having scored points in each race.
For Alstare Yamaha’s return to the WorldSBK championship, Christophe Ponsson made steps forward to kickstart his 2021 campaign. After qualifying 17th, the French rider battled with Jonas Folger’s BMW just outside the points-paying places in Race 1, and came home 17th. In the SPRC, Ponsson was 19th but his first point of the season came in Race 2, as the 25-year-old produced an error-free run to 15th.
In the FIM Supersport World Championship, two thrilling contests saw Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team newcomer Steven Odendaal take home a pair of victories, with the one on Saturday being his first in the series.
On both occasions, the South African made his move to the lead on the final corner of the last lap – in the first, beating WorldSSP rookie Dominique Aegerter, riding for the Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team. The Swiss rider also claimed a podium on debut in second, while GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel fought back from last on the grid, due to a tyre pressure infringement, to finish third in the second race. The French rider had been leading Saturday’s opener, but was hit on the way into Turn 12 and was forced out of the race.
bLU cRU rider Unai Orradre got his FIM Supersport 300 World Championship campaign underway with a second-place finish in Race 2 from Aragon, although he had initially crossed the line in first, but was penalised a position for track limits on the final lap. The Yamaha MS Racing WorldSSP300 Supported Team rider had finished fourth in the red-flagged opener. Biblion Motoxracing Yamaha WorldSSP300 Supported Team’s Bahattin Sofuoğlu recorded a DNF in both races, having been fighting inside the top 10 on Saturday and Sunday.
The WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders now look ahead to Estoril this weekend for round two of the 2021 season. Last year, Yamaha took its first-ever all-Yamaha podium at the Portuguese venue during the Superpole Race, with the Yamaha R1 working well at the undulating 4.182 km circuit.