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Yamaha Teams Show Strong Pace at Barcelona WorldSBK Test

Yamaha Teams Show Strong Pace at Barcelona WorldSBK Test

After unveiling their new 2021 liveries, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK and the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team hit the ground running at the FIM Superbike World Championship test in Barcelona, as the riders got some important running with their 2021-spec Yamaha R1 bikes, while the Alstare Yamaha WorldSBK Team also geared up their preparations for their return to the championship.

The three teams collectively completed 713 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya across the two days, with Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Andrea Locatelli racking up the most mileage, 179 laps, and GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff going quickest of the Yamaha R1 riders, setting a time of 1’40.497 that was good enough for third on combined times.

Returning to the track he took his maiden WorldSBK podium at, American rider Gerloff was quickly up to speed and spent most of the opening day focused on long-run pace, while also trialling the new Brembo front brake calipers. He traded fastest times throughout the session and eventually ended the day in third with 82 laps. 

The 25-year-old continued to make progress on the second day and once again featured at the top of the timings throughout the session. Gerloff’s best lap came towards the end of the test, with the GRT Yamaha rider leaving Barcelona having completed 151 laps.

In only his third outing since joining Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK, Andrea Locatelli focused on gaining more confidence on the Yamaha R1 bike and the new parts. The Italian, who has settled well into the team and with crew chief Andrew Pitt, completed a number of long runs and ended day one with 93 laps completed and the 10th fastest time.

On day two, the 24-year-old quickly improved his time in the opening stages and made no mistakes across the two days, ending the Barcelona test ninth on combined times with a fastest lap of 1’41.258. 

Teammate Toprak Razgatlıoğlu enjoyed a solid first day and looked to be well in the mix, with his time of 1’41.334 good enough for sixth. On day two, the Turkish rider was placed into isolation and withdrawn from the test after a positive result for COVID-19 in a mandatory pre-travel polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

GRT Yamaha’s 2021 newcomer Kohta Nozane was in Barcelona for the first time and steadily upped his pace throughout the opening day. The Japanese rider was 15th fastest by the end of the first session, having managed 84 laps.

On the second day, after continuing to learn the Pirelli rubber and Spanish circuit, 25-year-old Nozane made his first run of the test on the qualifying tyres, and improved to a 1’41.628. This was good enough for 12th on combined times, putting him well in the mix against seasoned WorldSBK opposition, with the MFJ All-Japan Road Race JSB1000 Champion completing 163 laps in total.

Alstare Yamaha, who will receive technical support from Yamaha in 2021, also enjoyed a productive two days in Barcelona, with rider Christophe Ponsson managing 141 laps and going 18th on combined times, with a fastest lap of 1’42.423.

Garrett Gerloff: P3 – 1’40.497 (151 laps)

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

I really like this track, the new layout of Turn 10 - modified this past winter – gives it a nice flow. I feel very good with my Yamaha R1 and we have collected a lot of data that will be useful for us in the future. I am very happy because I feel strong both on the single lap and when it comes to the race pace. See you in Aragon.

Andrea Locatelli: P9 – 1’41.258 (179 laps)

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

I’m really happy about the second day here, we improved a little bit more in respect to day one and also now the feeling is a bit better on my Yamaha R1. We were able to try some things but in the end, we understand a lot more and I’m confident that we can make another step in Aragon during the next test. Barcelona is not an easy track and at the start we had too much spinning on the rear tire, together with the guys we worked to improve this and they did an excellent job over the two days. Now, we will see, but the position is not so bad for the start! For sure we can still improve a lot before the first race.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P11 – 1’41.334 (79 laps)

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

The first day of the test was not bad, not a perfect day for me but still I feel the new R1 has good potential for this season. After working with my team and looking at the data that night, I think day two would have been very good for us because where to improve was easy to understand. I feel great, but unfortunately, the PCR test was positive. This is outside of my control and now I only focus on being ready for the next test.

Kohta Nozane: P12 – 1’41.628 (163 laps)

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

As usual, this was my first time on this track. I didn't expect the circuit to have so many ups and downs, and on the first day I struggled to improve my lap time.  On day two, we had an issue in the morning which slowed our work down, but things got better in the afternoon. My target was to get below the 1'42.000 mark and I managed to do so thanks to my first ever run with the qualifying tyre, with which I still need to gain experience. This track proved to be a difficult one for me, but I ran more than 160 laps in total, and I am very pleased with the work done.

Andrea Dosoli

Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager

Overall, we are happy with the progress made over the Barcelona test. All four Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha riders showed they will be in the mix this season. Firstly, we all hope that Toprak’s condition remains good following his positive Covid-19 test. He will remain in isolation and the team has made sure he is as comfortable as possible for this period. Garrett was very quick across both days, he gave us a lot of good data and information both on the race simulations and one-lap runs, we’re looking forward to seeing him fight again at the front this year. Andrea was also very impressive, considering this is only his third outing with the Yamaha R1. He was clean and consistent and made the most laps of the Yamaha riders, so we’re really grateful for all the data he’s been able to provide. Kohta made another big step forward and he’s really taking on board all the information we’ve given him. It was also good to welcome the Alstare Yamaha squad to the family and they did a great job in preparing the Yamaha R1 for Christophe. We look forward to continuing our pre-season preparations and find further areas that we can develop and improve on.