Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has officially started the Catalunya WorldSBK Round in 2021. Today was the first day with track activity at the world championship circuit and with a frenetic pace. Both the premier class, WorldSBK, and the two smaller classes, WorldSSP and WorldSSP 300 performed two free practice sessions to get the first feelings before putting themselves to the test tomorrow.
Considering that for many teams and riders, this will be the first time that they will challenge each other in Barcelona, at the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship, it is no surprise, that they have a considerable amount of work ahead. Moreover, the weather conditions did also play a role, forcing the riders to lap under the rain from noon onwards.
Razgatlioglu, fastest in WorldSBK
Hence, the fastest lap times were set in the morning, during Free Practice 1. Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) was the fastest rider under dry conditions, with a lap time of 1:42.140. Time-mate Michael Van der Mark, trailed him, while another Yamaha clocked the third fastest time, namely Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team). Álvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea completed the top 5.
In the afternoon, leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) regained control. The current champion has shown that he can be fast under any condition. Moreover, he was one of the riders to lap less, as he waited for the rain to give a break. His lap time was 1:55.669. Good news for the team that is experience a true home race, as the managing structure, Provec Racing, has its headquarters only a few metres away from the Circuit. Michael Van der Mark clocked again the second fastest time, followed by Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Álvaro Bautista.
With changing asphalt conditions, this first day has not provided for many clues. Tomorrow, the premier class could also be facing a wet practice session, and even the Tissot Superpole may be staged in rainy conditions. We will have to wait to see if today’s results will be a faithful representation of the real situation or if the weather conditions will turn the World Superbike Championship upside down.
The WorldSSP follow Mahias’ pace
In the Supersport class, Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) wrote his name on top of the time sheets, setting a reference time of 1:45.682. Only a few hundredths of a second behind, local rider Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) was second fastest and may become one of the men to take into account in the fight for the victory.
In fact, Viñales was the fastest rider in the afternoon session, while the track was starting to dry, clocking 1:47.711. This time he swapped positions with Mahias, who was second fastest. For the moment, Viñales is making the most of his role as a local participant.
Andrea Locatelli seems to be the third contender, after clocking the fourth and third fastest times in the two practice sessions. The leader of the championship is aware that his competitors are not going to make things easy for him this weekend, and that he will have to give his very best to regain control.
Utmost equality in WorldSSP 300
With a total of 62 participants split into Group A and B, standing out in the Supersport 300 class is not an easy task. Under dry conditions, the fastest clocks were set by Group A, led by Bruno Ieraci, Koen Meuffels and Jeffrey Buis. One of the local riders, Íñigo Iglesias, was fastest in Group B.
Fastest in the second practice session, under the rain, were Eunan Mcglinchey, Filippo Rovelli and Spaniard Álvaro Díaz, all of them from Group B, during a much faster session than the other Group, which was more than one second slower.
The Acerbis Catalunya Round trophy: a tribute to the roots of Catalan motorcycle racing
The Acerbis Catalunya Round 2020 entails the debut of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship on Catalan grounds. On the occasion of this milestone, Gemocat – promoter of the round – wanted to create a special trophy as a tribute to Catalan motorcycling tradition, which was inherited by Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The trophy features Ionic columns on a staircase. It is a depiction of the columns that can be found on the Montjuïc mountain, which were created by architect Puig i Cadafalch for the Universal Exhibition in 1929, and represent the four stripes of the Catalan flag.
These columns on a staircase do also recall the former Montjuïc Circuit. This urban racetrack was host to great international motorcycling races staged in Catalonia between 1932 and 1986, and it was the predecessor of the current Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and of a whole motor racing culture for many generations.
The set rests on a base made of green marble, which is also part of another icon that is found in Montjuïc: the Mies Van der Rohe Pavillion. A symbol of modernity and innovation, a field in which Barcelona has always wanted to be in the lead.