2018 Brno WorldSBK Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after the action at Brno on Friday:

#CzechWorldSBK Day 1: Rea takes first strike ending day one on top

KRT lock out the top two in disrupted final free practice of the day

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is used to sitting in the number one spot.... will we see this again?

After a winless round at Donington Park, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was back in full form on Friday as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship made its return to Automotodrom Brno, with Rea securing the best time in Free Practice 3 and the overall Friday sessions. Making his mark as the man to beat over the weekend, the reigning world champion finished ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who completed a Kawasaki lock out, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in third.

With the first free practice throwing out unusual results due to the damp track conditions, it was the FP2 times that set the bar for the WorldSBK riders in the final afternoon session. Running again on a dry track, only eight riders managed to improve their earlier times – one of those the championship leader - cutting 0.045 seconds off his best lap.

With Sykes running half a second off his previous best and Melandri – the last WorldSBK winner at Brno – not quite able to better his marks, it was Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) who ended the day in fourth overall. The Italian therefore makes it into the Superpole 2 once again, confirming that he is extracting more out of the Aprilia each passing round.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) managed to take the fifth best time of the day, with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in sixth, over half a second behind Rea out in front. Donington double marvel Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) did improve his best lap time in FP3, rising up to seventh by the end of the day.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) created more headlines in the final session of the day – although perhaps not how he intended to. The Italian, who led the timesheets in FP1, was running seventh overall and second in the final session’s timesheets when an engine issue left him out of action and the track filled with smoke and oil, forcing a red flag with nine minutes to go. His final time of 2’00.191 was enough to keep him in eighth position, and his slot in tomorrow’s Superpole 2.

The final two riders to make it directly into the Superpole 2 tomorrow were Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) in ninth and Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) just behind in tenth. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) couldn’t follow up his maiden WorldSBK podium with a good start at Brno, crashing early into FP3 and only recording the 18th best lap time.

An intriguing qualifying lies ahead! The WorldSBK Superpole 1 starts tomorrow from 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT), with lights out in Race 1 at 13:00 (11:00).

#CzechWorldSBK at Automotodrom Brno: Friday

1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 1:59:403

2. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) +0.427

3. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) +0.477

Opening Day 1-2 For KRT Riders

KRT WorldSBK riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes used their recent testing experiences at the Automotodrom Brno to help them achieve a 1-2 standing in the timesheets after the opening day of track action, with Rea fastest and Sykes just behind.

Three free practice sessions on Friday brought three different sets of track conditions, from a wet start in the morning to a warm and sunny finish. Each KRT rider felt that general track conditions were not as ideal as they had been during their recent tests at Brno, even in the dry conditions of FP2 and FP3.

Two red flag incidents interfered with all the riders’ set-up plans, but despite these interruptions Kawasaki’s official team members finished on top - after good work in the pit garage and strong showings on track from each rider.

Jonathan and Tom will now lead the top ten riders from Friday’s sessions into Superpole 2 tomorrow to determine their final grid positions for Race 1 later that day.

Rea approached the first WorldSBK race weekend at Brno since 2012 with the firm intention of prevailing in both races. Should he win again this weekend it would be his 60th career victory, making him the stand-alone all-time race winner in WorldSBK’s 31 year history. Jonathan has won five races from the 12 held so far in 2018.

Sykes is looking for what would be his second win of the 2018 season this weekend, having become the best ever rider in terms of Superpole starts last time out at Donington. He is yet to win a race at Brno, but came close on two occasions in 2012 while riding for Kawasaki.

Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 12th today, with Spanish rider Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) 14th. Donington podium finisher Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 18th after free practice, with Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 16th.

Now the Kawasaki runners will face a short FP4 session, then Superpole 2, before lining up for the first 18-lap race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon, scheduled for 13.00 local time in the Czech Republic. Race two will take place at 13.00 on Sunday the 10th of June.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Not the perfect day to set-up for race weekend but it is the same for everyone. We were lucky that we had a test here last month. After Assen we came directly here and had two good days in different conditions. It looks like today the grip level was a little bit down compared to the test because we were much faster then. I don’t know if it was overnight rain just washing some rubber off, or there has not been a lot of track activity between then and now. The set-up of the bike is quite good and I expect that the track will get better and better.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “The track conditions this afternoon were different and we tried out some tyre combinations. This obviously did not improve our lap times, but it was necessary for our preparations for the first race on Saturday. I feel ready now. It was definitely worth having the test here recently because today has been a mixed bag of conditions. The circuit is different now in the hotter conditions so if the sun stays out tomorrow it could be an interesting race.”

Melandri 3rd and Davies 6th in Friday's free-practice at Brno with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed action today at Brno (Czech Republic) for Round 7 of the WorldSBK Championship, taking it to the track for three free-practice sessions. Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, who tested at the circuit about a month ago, found wet conditions in the morning and then were able to focus on their dry setup in FP2 and FP3, closing in third and sixth position respectively, not far from the top both in terms of a single lap and overall pace.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi, on track with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, posted the 8th provisional time overall and first among "Independent" riders despite a technical issue that cut his work short towards the end of FP3. Both Melandri and Davies, as well as Rinaldi, gained direct access to Superpole 2.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will return to the track Saturday, June 9th, at 08:45 local time (CET) for the fourth and final free-practice session before Superpole and Race 1, scheduled to start at 13:00.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:59.795 (3rd)

"Today really demanded our utmost focus as track conditions changed quite a lot between the morning and the afternoon, and the grip was much lower than during the tests here. We had to study and utilize different setups, but fortunately we managed to do a solid job and the team found a good compromise to make me feel quite comfortable on the bike. We can be fairly optimistic for the race, regardless of weather conditions. Rea seems to have a small edge at the moment, but I'm really determined to close the gap."

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:59.970 (6th)

"After a wet FP1, we started working on a 'dry' setup for FP2 and on our race pace. We got down to good lap times quite quickly, but then we sort of hit an obstacle, and on this track you can't really force it, the lap time has to come to you. So, we immediately started analyzing our setup and what changes to make. I feel like we're getting closer and closer to the mark. In terms of pace, we're quite competitive, but so far we've been struggling to make a hot lap. We're not actually that far away, we just need to make small improvements for tomorrow."

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 2:00.191 (8th)

"All in all, it's been a positive first day, because we've been competitive in all conditions. We still need to improve a bit, both in terms of a single lap and race pace, but we're fairly optimistic despite the fact that track conditions during FP1 slowed down our program a bit. Tomorrow's weather is still a question mark, so we need to be ready to adapt to all conditions and, most of all, avoid making mistakes."

Strong Start for Pata Yamaha on Friday in Brno

Free practice

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team got off to a positive start on Friday at Round 7 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship in Brno despite a number of red flags and a wet FP1. Alex Lowes showed good pace throughout the day and ended up fifth on the combined timesheets after FP3 with a 1:59.917, 0.514s off the top. There was hardly anything to separate him from his teammate Michael van der Mark, who was just 0.061s further back in seventh after setting a 1:59.978 to finish Friday in seventh, with both riders securing their places automatically in Saturday's SP2.

The forecast for the day was 28°C and thunderstorms at the Automotodrom Brno and heavy rain before FP1 saw the session declared wet before the circuit dried and the sun returned for the rest of the day with track temperatures rising to 40°C. WorldSBK returns to the Brno track for the first time since 2012 and to prepare, the Pata Yamaha team conducted a private two-day test at the circuit after Assen, although with the circuit conditions vastly different today, further adjustments were required to find the best performance for the R1's.

In the tricky conditions of FP1, with a wet but drying track, Lowes got off to a solid start, ending the 40-minute session in eighth with a 2:11.054. The track was completely dry by the time FP2 came around and Lowes wasted no time in getting down to work with slick tyres to set a 1.59.7 - discounted due to touching the green run-off onto the finish straight - and then a 1:59.917 and move up to fourth overall. In FP3, the 27-year-old British rider worked hard on his race pace before a red flag towards the end of the session saw most riders fit fresh rubber to set a flying lap. Lowes maturely instead decided to focus on his feeling with used tyres in an effort to improve his performance towards the end of the race, showing excellent consistency although he did not improve his time. His best lap from FP2 was good enough to see him end the day in fifth overall and the 2013 British Superbike Champion heads into Saturday confident in his pace and knowing there is more to come.

Fresh from his historic double victory last time out at Donington, his teammate van der Mark eased himself into proceedings in FP1 with not much to be learnt in the mixed conditions - the 25-year-old Dutch rider ended the session in 16th with a 2:13.704. Conditions were almost perfect for FP2 and the 2014 WorldSSP Champion improved to a 2:00.243 to end the session in tenth, despite not having the best confidence in the front end of his Pata Yamaha R1. The team made some setup changes during FP3 that saw van der Mark's feeling improve towards the end of the session, leaving it late to set a 1:59.978 to finish Friday in seventh on the combined timesheets, 0.575s off the top and securing his place alongside his teammate in Saturday's SP2.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action on Saturday at 8:45 am local time (CEST) for Free Practice 4, with SP2 due to start at 10:30 am and the 18-lap Race 1 scheduled for 1:00 pm.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th - 1:59.917

"I felt pretty good today! We tried a lot of setting options on the bike, even if the sessions were quite interrupted by some red flags and a few small issues. We didn't use new tyres in FP3, so I think we are in a stronger position than it looks on the timesheets, which is nice. I feel good on the bike, the R1 flows well around here - I really enjoy this track and I am looking forward to tomorrow!"

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th - 1:59.978

"FP1 was in mixed conditions, so it was good to go out but there was nothing we could really learn. I struggled with the feeling with the front end in FP2 and I did not have a lot of confidence. This carried into the start of FP3 but we made a big change to the bike and I finally got my confidence back with the front and when stopping the bike. I was happy with that and we now just need to focus on trying to find some more rear grip on corner entry and exit. I am happy to have made it into SP2 but feel we still have some work to do!"

Paul Denning

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal

"It is great that WorldSBK is back in Brno, it's a beautiful circuit and a very nice part of the world. Even on Friday, there have been some enthusiastic fans around so, hopefully, it is going to be an exciting return for WorldSBK to the circuit. Today was a little bit compromised by the weather and also the dry conditions were quite different to the recent test in terms of temperature and humidity, so it has been quite difficult to transfer the information we previously learnt. The top riders are all very close on rhythm but at this moment, Jonathan looks like he has something in his pocket compared to everyone else. The plan for tomorrow is to consolidate everything that has been learnt today, close the gap to him, and look forward to a big fight for the podium on Saturday afternoon!"

Camier ninth quickest and straight to Superpole 2 in Brno Friday practice

Czech Round

Automotodrom Brno, Czech Republic

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Leon Camier got up to speed quickly on his Fireblade at the Automotodrom Brno today to finish P9 on combined times and secure his first Superpole 2 appearance since the Aragon round.

In what has become a regular occurence in this year’s championship, Friday practice was subjected to temperamental weather as Free Practice 1 was declared wet due to early morning rain, with the remaining two sessions taking place in dry conditions. The variable conditions hurt the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team more than most as they missed the Brno test earlier in the year, however the team and riders put in extra effort and to make up for lost time.

Despite the challenges and still feeling sore from his broken ribs, Camier showed competitive pace in the dry conditions and his personal best lap time of 2’00.227 set in Free Practice 2 ensured the #2 CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will take part in tomorrow’s Superpole 2 session. Camier was among the top five riders in the first three sectors, with the final sector the focus for improvement tomorrow.

For Jake Gagne it was a more steady start to the race weekend, the American rider like his team mate set his best time in Free Practice 2 and although he pushed hard, was unable to find more pace in the final session of the day. Gagne finished P19 overall with a personal best lap time of 2’01.324 and will participate in Superpole 1 tomorrow with the aim of finishing in the top two to join his team mate in SP2.

The next session is Free Practice 4 tomorrow at 0845 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow with Race 1 scheduled to commence at 1300.

Leon Camier 2

I'm pretty happy with how today went, we weren't here for the test which meant we had no base setting to start but we managed to catch up quickly. If we can get the feeling on the bike I need, I think we can be even more competitive. Looking at the sector times I'm in the top 5 in sectors one to three, it's just the last sector we need to work on, so we'll work on the bike's setting and geometry and try and make a good step tomorrow. Physically, I'm still not 100% which is impacting my riding in some areas, but if we can improve my body and the bike for tomorrow we could get a good result.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

Today was my first time at Brno in a few years and the first time on the Fireblade, it's a fun and flowing track but we didn't quite have the speed we wanted. I got to try the bike in the wet and dry today and we tried a few different settings on the bike but didn't make that much progress. Mainly I think I need to work out how to ride the bike a bit better around this track, focus on getting drive out of some corners and join up the sectors better. Tonight we'll check out some data, work out what I need to improve on and where we can improve the bike, then we'll get out there and try again tomorrow.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

We had a good start to the weekend, especially considering we missed the two day test here. Leon showed quick and consistent pace, and in some sectors was very impressive and if you look at the lap times in the top 10 they are really close, so we will work on some things with Leon to hopefully extract more pace from the Fireblade so he can challenge for a good position in the race. We also have some work to do on Jake's side as although he got up to a decent pace in FP2 he was unable to improve further as they day progressed, so we'll work with him over night to try and get him more comfortable on the bike for Superpole and Race 1.

Gulf Althea BMW on the right path at Brno

Brno (Czech Republic), Friday 8 June 2018

The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team is on track at Brno in the Czech Republic for round seven of the Superbike World Championship. Riders Loris Baz and Alessandro Delbianco have completed the first timed practice sessions, obtaining encouraging results in both wet and dry conditions.

SBK: in the morning’s first session, and on a wet track, Loris wasted no time, immediately positioning among the frontrunners thanks to good sensations with both the track and his BMW. His best time, a 2’09.812 set in the final minutes, ensured him of second place. Session two took place in dry conditions, the times of all riders dropping accordingly. The Frenchman continued to work with his technicians to set-up his bike, closing eighth with a best of 2’00.232. During the third and final session, and despite his best efforts, Baz was unable to improve further on his earlier time, thus closing in tenth place, which nevertheless means direct access to tomorrow’s Superpole2.

STK1000: Delbianco quickly got to grips with the new track, working well throughout the two sessions. During the morning, the Italian proved at ease on the wet surface, setting a series of fast laps. His best, set in 2’13.062, put him into third place, an excellent start. In the afternoon, things were a little trickier in dry conditions; Alessandro dropped his time by ten seconds though (2’03.688), bringing his BMW home in eighth place today.

Loris Baz

"A strange day. This morning went well in the damp conditions, I could have been quicker but chose not to come in and change tyre, instead continuing on the intermediate. In the dry, the level of grip is not good, but this is the same for everyone I guess. P8 in the second session was OK but in the final session, the grip was worse. We’re through to SP2 anyway, but I’m not particularly happy with the feeling, we have work to do tomorrow in FP4 to see what we can do to combat the lack of grip ahead of the race.”

Alessandro Delbianco

"This first day has gone very well. The track is great. In the wet we were once again competitive, third this morning, while on the dry track we’re having a little more difficulty but seeing as we’ve only completed one session in those conditions, I’m sure we’ll be able to solve the little problems tomorrow.”

WorldSSP: Cluzel beats title rivals in opening day at Brno

Top two in the championship dominate proceedings in Friday's Free Practice

Jules Cluzel (NRT) is hungry for his first victory around Brno

Jules Cluzel (NRT) pipped ahead of Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) with six minutes left on the clock, to lead the FIM Supersport World Championship riders into qualifying at the Acerbis Czech Round. Reversing their roles from FP1, Cluzel took advantage of Cortese’s crash halfway through the afternoon session to set the fastest time of the day.

Ending the day in third at Brno, was Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), sneaking ahead in the closing stages. Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag), the best non Yamaha rider on Friday, has previously won twice at Brno in the STK1000 class, and the Italian put his talent on display here with the fourth fastest time in FP2.

Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) beat teammate and championship challenger Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) to score the fifth fastest time, with the reigning champion in sixth. Behind them, Thomas Gradinger (NRT) took seventh, with Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) in eighth on the ZX-6R.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag), in search of his fourth consecutive WorldSSP podium, managed the ninth best time on Friday, with Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounding out the top ten and taking the last automatic place in tomorrow’s Superpole 2.

The Supersport bikes are back on track tomorrow morning for FP3, with the Superpole 1 and 2 qualifying sessions starting at 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT).

#CzechWorldSBK WorldSSP at Automotodrom Brno: Friday

1. Jules Cluzel (NRT) 2.03.502

2. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.220

3. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.533

GRT Yamaha Work Hard on Friday in Brno

Free practice

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team gave it everything on Friday in Brno for the opening day of Round 7 of the 2018 WorldSSP Championship. Federico Caricasulo was fourth fastest on the overall timesheets with a 2:04.035 set in FP2, 0.533s off the top. His teammate Lucas Mahias did not get a chance to set a hot lap in the afternoon session but his 2:004.143 from FP1 was good enough for him to finish in sixth overall, with both riders making it through automatically to Saturday's SP2. ESC rider Alfonso Coppola enjoyed his best Friday so far in WorldSSP, setting a 2:05.783 to end the day in 16th overall.

After heavy rain in the morning, the Automotodrom Brno track had dried for FP1 and conditions improved even more in the afternoon's FP2 with the sun coming out and track temperatures reaching 40°C. A recent private test by the GRT Yamaha team at the circuit meant all three riders had had a chance to sample the Czech track although, because conditions were completely different on Friday in comparison, it was a case of having to pretty much start from zero regarding setup.

Caricasulo ended the morning's FP1 session in fifth place after setting a 2:04.364 despite struggling slightly with grip levels. The team tweaked the settings on his GRT Yamaha R6 and the 22-year-old Italian managed to improve by over three-tenths of a second to a 2:04.035 towards the end of FP2, to finish Friday in fifth overall on the combined timesheets, 0.108s ahead of his teammate. Caricasulo will now work with his team overnight to try and improve the feeling with his R6 even more, to allow him to qualify in the best possible position for Sunday's race.

Reigning WorldSSP Champion Mahias started off strongly in FP1, immediately getting to grips with the Brno circuit to set a 2:04.143, which was good enough to end the session in fifth. In FP2, the 28-year-old French rider focused on his race pace, with the plan to set a flying lap at the end of the session. Unfortunately, as he left the pits with 5 mins left on the clock, there was a slight issue with his rear wheel that meant he had to return to the pits and missed his chance to improve his time from the morning. Despite this, his time from FP1 saw him end the opening day in sixth on the combined timesheets, 0.641s off the top, and confident he can improve in SP2.

European Supersport Cup rider Coppola enjoyed his best Friday since the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner made the step up to WorldSSP in 2018. The 20-year-old Italian ended FP1 in 27th after setting a 2:07.711. The WorldSSP rookie then made a huge step in FP2, improving by almost two seconds to set a 2:05.783, which was good enough to see him in 16th overall on the combined timesheets, just 2.249s off the top.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are back in action at Brno at 9:15 am local time (CEST) on Saturday morning for FP3, with SP2 due to kick off at 2:25 pm.

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 2:04.035

"My feeling today was not bad! We know that this is not an easy track for us but we are trying to do our best and find a good setting for the race. Today was pretty good and now we are focusing on qualifying tomorrow. My aim is to work with the team to try and improve in sector 1, as I am losing out a bit in the first sector to my rivals, so if I can fix this, we should improve quite a bit!"

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 2:04.143

"It was a tricky day but we knew this weekend could be tough for us. Today I tried to understand and improve the bike a bit more and the feeling was really good, especially with used tyres. Unfortunately, I did not have the best of luck at the end of FP2. We had a small technical problem with the rear wheel, which stopped me going back out on a fresh tyre as I had spent the whole session on used tyres. Therefore, I am bit sad to have finished sixth but the good news is I am feeling confident tomorrow for SP2 as we know we have more pace to come. I think it will be tough to get pole position here but I we will try and secure the best possible starting position for the race!"

Alfonso Coppola

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 16th - 2:05.783

"Yes I am very happy for today...but it could have been even better as I didn't quite have the tyre left to set a flying lap and I think I could have made it through to SP2. We have made a big step since Donington, this is thanks to Federico who showed me around the circuit today. When you are learning a new track, it can really help to follow a teammate to unlock its secrets. It is also thanks to the great work done my team, they have been working really hard to give me the best package possible. I am now focused on SP1 and will do my best to get through to SP2 for the first time!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager

"It was quite a tough opening day for the guys. We had a slight issue with grip levels for Federico this morning but we managed to find a solution and he improved. Lucas tried some different setups and in the end, we had a very small issue that denied him the chance to make a hot lap but we are confident that he has more pace. Alfonso really impressed, he improved a lot and that was his best finish on a Friday and we are confident he will continue to learn and progress. Thank you to the whole team for the effort they put in and Yamaha for providing us with such good support."

Smith makes strong return on CIA Landlord Insurance Honda at Brno

Posted on 8th June 2018

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Kyle Smith ended day one of Round Seven of the World Supersport Championship at the Automotodrom Brno eleventh on the combined timesheets, narrowly missing out on automatic entry to Superpole 2 by just nine hundredths of a second. Smith improved his time by over a second in the afternoon Free Practice 2 and was safe in ninth spot when he dropped out of the top ten on the final lap.

Smith said: “Positive day, just out of SP2 which is a little bit frustrating but it’s a new track for me. I think a lot of the teams have been testing here before and there’s a few riders that have come from Moto2 who know it pretty well. But all in all we’ve done work on the bike, progressed throughout the day and finished with improving a fair bit on the times from this morning. I can still see room for improvement so hopefully tomorrow I’ll go a little bit better.”

Teammate Andrew Irwin started the day at the Czech circuit looking comfortable in twelfth place but after a disappointing session in the afternoon was unable to improve on his time of 2’06.056 set in the morning Free Practice 1 and ended the day 22nd on the combined timesheets.

Andrew: “Today started off good we were pretty close to the top ten straight away this morning. This afternoon it feels like we hit the pause button a little bit, my riding wasn’t as good and we didn’t take a step forward but I’m confident we can find that step in FP3 tomorrow.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Kyle just missed out on going to SP2 but it’s his first time back with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda and although he was riding a Honda for Lorini that was on Bitubo suspension and obviously there is an adaption back to Ohlins. Both are good but it is a different feel. We made a big step up from this morning and we can find a bit more for him with the bike and he can find a bit more in himself. I’m sure he will be challenging well tomorrow and we can look forward to a positive result in qualifying and achieve our best result so far this season in the race.”

“Andrew did a really good job this morning, his best ever qualifying at a circuit new to him but this afternoon he just didn’t quite get into it and when he didn’t have someone to follow he couldn’t match the time. He needs to learn from that and learn to absorb stuff when he is behind people so he can do it on his own. He feels he can make a big step up and for sure he can so let’s get him as high as possible and in the race challenging in the points and towards the top ten to continue his upward curve with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.”

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