Press releases from the teams and organizers after the first day of practice for the French WorldSBK round at Magny-Cours:
#FRAWorldSBK– Day 1
Van den Mark top overall as the FP1 benchmark remains unbeaten
The Dutchman leads the way in rainy Magny Cours ahead of Haslam and Melandri
The inclement weather continued to wreak havoc with the WorldSBK class as the second session at the Pirelli French Round began in torrential rain. As a result, the lap times were significantly slower as the riders searched for grip. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) left it late to finish fastest in the morning session but the Dutchman deemed the conditions too wet for any meaningful running and chose to sit FP2 out.
In van der Mark’s absence, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) proved the man to beat during FP2 but it wasn’t without a scare. Rounding the Estoril corner, the world champion suffered a huge moment as the rear of his Kawasaki stepped out. The Ulsterman maintained control and went on to top the session ahead of former team-mate Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), current team-mate Leon Haslam and surprise package Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) in fourth, although all riders were slower than they had gone in FP1.
Overall, van der Mark closes Free Practice Friday as the fastest man as he looks to chase down his team-mate Alex Lowes in the battle for third in the standings. Van der Mark has finished on the podium at Magny-Cours in each of the last three years and will fancy his chances of doing so again, whatever the weather. Lowes ended the day in eighth overall, and much like his team-mate, took a safety-first approach during the afternoon downpour.
Leading the Kawasaki challenge overall was Leon Haslam after a consistent day for the 36-year-old. Haslam was just two tenths shy of the outright fastest time before backing up his team-mate in the afternoon, showing that both Kawasaki riders will be competitive if the heavens open tomorrow. Rea’s day underlined the exceptional pace the Ulsterman clearly possesses, although a crash during FP1, followed by his near-highside in FP2, prove that nothing is certain in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.
Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) earned the honour of top Independent rider with third spot, although four figured inside the top six as the heavy rain presented an opportunity for less fancied names. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) held onto fourth with home favourite Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) demonstrating his wet-weather credentials, finishing fifth in both sessions. Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team) is another rider to watch if the weather takes a turn for the worse, with the Italian an impressive sixth today on the leading Honda.
With Rea and Lowes completing the combined top eight, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) ends Friday as the fastest Ducati rider, narrowly ahead of Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven). Ducati’s championship hopes still rest on the shoulders of Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and the Spaniard wound up in 13th, one spot ahead of team-mate Chaz Davies with neither venturing out this afternoon.
Moriwaki Althea Honda Team are boosted this weekend by the return of Leon Camier and the Briton showed promising pace in both sessions, ending up 11th overall. By contrast, Sandro Cortese found the going tough with 19th in FP1, followed by a heavy fall at the Adelaide hairpin later in the day which left him with a left shoulder contusion, plus a left elbow contusion and abrasion. The German rider has been declared fit to continue though.
Van der Mark Finishes on Top at a Dismal Magny-Cours
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Michael van der Mark, finished what was a damp and dismal opening day in France at the top of the timesheet, despite completing just 10 laps of the Magny-Cours circuit in FP1 and then sitting out a fully wet FP2. The same approach was adopted by teammate Alex Lowes, who ended the day eighth fastest.
The opening free practice this morning started on a fully wet track, although the rain had eased shortly before pit lane opened. With 15 minutes of the session remaining dry patches had started to appear around the 4.411km track, but not a continuous dry line. Van der Mark made the most of the slightly improved conditions to set the fastest time on his first run and then improving further on his second and final run.
With continuous rain and a fully wet track for this afternoon's 50-minute free practice, van der Mark and Lowes knew that nobody was going to improve on their times from the morning and, with grip at the Magny-Cours track notoriously unpredictable, the two Pata Yamaha riders opted to err on the side of caution and sit out the session.
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Marco Melandri, was third fastest today, again with his time in the mixed conditions of this morning's free practice. The veteran Italian did participate in the second session but limited himself to just five laps to get a feel for the track in the wet.
Sandro Cortese, making his debut aboard a Superbike here in Magny-Cours was hoping for dry weather in which to learn the track, but he was left disappointed. The reigning Supersport World Champion was caught out by the unpredictability of the Magny-Cours circuit in the wet this afternoon, losing the front on the brakes into Turn 8 and sliding off the bike. Cortese landed heavily on the shoulder injured in his Donington Park qualifying crash but was passed fit to continue after a precautionary check-up in the circuit medical centre.
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider, Loris Baz, was also one of the few to venture onto the circuit this afternoon, with the Frenchman completing nine laps in front of those spectators who'd braved the weather, before returning to the pit box. Baz ended the day fifth fastest overall with his time from this morning's opening free practice.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P1 - 1'51.852
"It's been a bit of a strange day. This morning the track was wet at the start but already starting to dry up a little, so we waited quite a long time before going out. At the end it wasn't dry, it wasn't wet, and the track conditions were less than perfect, but I had a good feeling with the bike straight away. I didn't really push for a time, but ended up quickest, so it was a good start to the day. This afternoon it started to rain a lot before the session, and it continued throughout. We waited to see if the conditions would improve, but they didn't so we decided to sit out the session as I have a good feeling with the bike already and, anyway, the forecast is for dry conditions from tomorrow onwards."
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK - P8 - 1'52.945
"Magny-Cours is one of those places where it's sometimes a bit hit and miss with the weather, so the conditions today weren't unexpected. It was good to get out on the track again this morning, even if the mixed conditions meant we weren't able to learn much. But the feeling with the bike was good, which is one of the reasons why we opted to sit out the second session this afternoon, the other being that the weather looks set to improve ahead of FP3. Despite the limited track time today, we'll be ready for qualifying and the first race tomorrow."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P3 - 1'52.647
"Very difficult weather here today at Magny-Cours, a track that is already very tricky in the wet because the grip is so unpredictable. This morning it was starting to dry a bit towards the end of the session and the track wasn't so bad. This afternoon, with the onset of the rain, it was difficult to see and the bike was aquaplaning a lot, even in places where there didn't look to be a lot of water. Luckily it looks like we're going to have better weather tomorrow and Sunday and I hope we'll get three dry races. It's never easy here but this afternoon I wasn't fast, but I felt better on the bike and this morning the feeling was even a bit better. But while I'm still not completely confident when it's fully wet, the feeling is definitely better than it was in Misano."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P19 - 1'56.616
"It's not been the best of days. The weather hasn't really helped because it's my first time here on the Superbike and I was hoping for dry conditions in which to learn the track today. A big crash this afternoon in the second session meant the day pretty much finished as badly as it started, but the forecast is for better weather tomorrow and I hope to improve everything ahead of qualifying and the first race."
Ten Kate Yamaha Supported WorldSBK - P5 - 1'52.820
"The rain seems to be following me around at the moment! The grip here at Magny-Cours has always been limited in the wet, but it seems to get worse every year. We did a pretty good job this morning. Maybe as the track dried towards the end a slick may have been an option, but it would have also been a risk, which we preferred not to take as it will be dry from tomorrow onwards. This afternoon I didn't do so many laps but we tried a few things in the fully wet conditions that could stand us in good stead if the weather forecast proves to be wrong, which is a distinct possibility here. It was good to finish the opening day in the top five, but we have a lot to do if we're going to prepare the bike for dry qualifying tomorrow morning in the final 20-minute practice session, which we hope will be run in good conditions."
Haslam Second Quickest At A Damp Magny Cours
KRT rider Leon Haslam was second in the timesheets after two weather affected free practice sessions at Magny Cours, while his team-mate Jonathan Rea was seventh overall. In the fully wet FP2 session this afternoon Rea was the fastest rider and Haslam third, but both had set their best times lap times of the day in the slightly drier FP1.
In two tricky free practice sessions at Magny Cours both Haslam and Rea worked on finding their best possible wet weather set-ups and each made great progress on a track surface that started out damp and became fully wet in the afternoon.
The 4.411km long circuit at Magny Cours presents several tricky sections, particularly in the wet, but in his first race at Magny Cours since 2015 Haslam remembered both his racing lines and which parts of the track would be most challenging in the rain. His overall second place, earned in the less wet FP1 session, was followed up by being third quickest in the wetter afternoon practice session.
After experiencing an early and slow speed fall in FP1, Rea and his crew quickly got back to work in evaluating different set-up ideas and then started fine-tuning their full wet-set-up in the afternoon session.
Weather conditions are expected to improve in time for the resumption of track action on Saturday morning, and reach their warmest on Sunday. Tomorrow the KRT riders face a short FP3 session, Tissot-Superpole qualifying and then a 21-lap Race One.
Leon Haslam, stated: “It was slippery out there but it was OK in the end. This morning you just pushed as hard as you needed to. It was one of those sessions where if someone went fast, you went out and pushed a little bit harder. I think everyone was in the same boat. It was also just trying to gather information in case it is a wet race tomorrow. This morning was not fully wet in the end but this afternoon obviously was, so it was quite important for me to understand what the bike felt like in proper rain conditions. We also got to try the new rain tyre, which is very different. I feel we have had a positive day of collecting data and finishing inside the top three in each session.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Overall I am happy with the day because normally with the forecast to be clear tomorrow, and Sunday being even hotter, it is hard to be fully focused on building a set-up. We changed some things with the engine brake settings and we just needed to confirm them in the wet. This morning I was not so happy and this afternoon we worked to confirm something a bit better in the set-up. The bike is behaving a little bit different to how it has in the past in the wet, especially in how I am loading the front. If we should face any more wet weather over the weekend we need to work on stopping the bike in the last part of braking. But I was happy to be fast in full wet conditions. This morning there was a dry line coming up near the end so a lot of people went fast right at the end. It was a positive day.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed 12th overall and was eighth fastest in the full wet this afternoon. He hopes for improved weather conditions on Saturday to keep up his consistent run of podium finishes.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) used his well-proven wet weather capabilities to take the fourth fastest lap of all on day one. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) set some laps in each session to build confidence on day one but was 16th overall.
Sixth for Delbianco in wet practice at Magny-Cours
Magny-Cours (France), Friday 27 September 2019
The eleventh round of the 2019 Superbike world championship is underway at the French circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours. The Althea MIE Racing team, on track with rider Alessandro Delbianco, worked hard during free practice, rounding out day one of action in solid sixth position.
The opening session took place on a damp track with certain sections still wet after overnight rain. Delbianco made the most of these conditions, proving to be comfortable in the wet and completing a total of 18 laps with consistently fast times. The Italian set a best time of 1’52.905 to close in sixth place.
Heavy rain characterised the afternoon’s second session, preventing all the riders from improving on their earlier times. The Italian therefore retained sixth position in the day’s combined standings.
"I was looking forward to coming to Magny-Cours and I’m pleased to have found the kind of conditions that suit me best. I finished today in sixth place, thanks to an excellent set-up identified by the team and my feeling on the wet asphalt. A great result, in that it is the first time I’ve finished day one in the top ten. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t improve further in the second session but I wasn’t totally comfortable and so it wasn’t possible. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if the bad weather were to continue tomorrow…"
Heavy rain on the opening day at Magny – Cours for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours
Rain loomed on the opening day of Round 11 in Magny – Cours, which inevitably resulted in a wet FP1. Both Markus and Tom spent majority of the session adjusting the set-up of their BMW S 1000 RR’s which left both riders out of the top 15 due to missing crucial dry spells of the session.
In typical French fashion the weather did not improve and in FP2 we endured heavier rain. Despite the weather, the BMW duo of Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger used the FP1 session to it advantage as the changes made from the earlier session reaped its benefits in FP2 as both riders found themselves into the top 7 - although no times were improved due to the weather conditions.
Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger will again battle it out tomorrow as they head into FP3, Qualifying and the first race of the weekend where they will be pushing for podium positions – whatever the conditions.
The first session was really a lottery, Tom was posting top 3 / 4 times when he was out on track but with the unpredictable weather it meant both Markus and Tom missed a dry spell in the session which resulted in the final position.
Second session both riders did really well, Tom got into a good rhythm and posted some competitive times which landed him in P2. Markus equally tried a different rear shock setting which helped his confidence a lot, he stayed out through the session and chipped away at his time and ended FP2 in P7 which was a much more telling time for the day.
Overall we are pretty happy, we can head into tomorrow with a lot of confidence in Tom and Markus and hope for some better weather.
I’m happy with how todays gone, we made a few changes at the end of FP1 which meant we sat out the remaining few minutes, resulting in us falling down the pecking order. This afternoon in the wet conditions we carried on working and found a good set-up for the BMW S 1000 RR, in the cold and greasy track conditions I felt comfortable with the feedback of the chassis and in the end found some good pace. The boys have worked hard in last few weeks and I’m certainly happy with the modifications we have made, so overall satisfied with the progress made here on day 1 at Magny – Cours.
The first session we had a few issues which meant we couldn’t set a fast time, however in the second session we made some changes and I felt comfortable on the bike despite the rain being a lot heavier than this morning. We finished P7 in FP2 and for a while we were running at the front, all be it with only a few riders on track but still we could gauge how fast we were with these guys. Tomorrow we still need to find some pace as 4 seconds to the top is too much, but at least we found the right direction to work in for tomorrow.
Camier eleventh and Kiyonari fifteenth on a wet day 1 at Magny Cours
Leon Camier recorded the eleventh fastest time during the opening day of the Pirelli French WorldSBK round on what was a wet Magny Cours track.
The Brit placed eleventh in the day’s combined classification, which was based on results from the morning session, held on a damp track. During the afternoon session, which played out in heavy rain, Leon set a strong fifth fastest time.
A similar path was followed by teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari, fifteenth in the morning’s first free practice session (and so fifteenth also in the combined standings) and the author of a good fourth-place finish at the end of the afternoon stint.
Leon Camier 2
11th 1'53.509 (Combined)
“This morning we rode on a drying track, this afternoon on a wet track, with conditions changing dramatically between the two sessions. In the rain the bike is quite friendly to ride, everything is nice and easy to use so we were able to be quite consistent in FP2. All in all, it was an “ok” day. I tried not to risk too much and worked to regain my feeling with the bike after four and a half months with no riding. My shoulder felt good and didn’t bother me at all, but only by riding in the dry will we see how it really is, because this track is quite physical with a lot of brusque changes of direction.”
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
15th 1'54.141 (Combined)
“It’s the first time I’ve ridden in the wet at this track and my feeling in these conditions was fairly good, despite the surface being quite slippery. This morning we spent the session working on improving our bike’s wet setting and we actually made some promising progress, so that in the afternoon we were able to be quite fast on what was an even wetter track”.
World Superbike at Magny-Cours: rain hampers the opening day of free practice at the French circuit. Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) finish 13th and 14th respectively
Poor weather conditions disturbed the first two free practice sessions at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, making the surface very slippery and considerably reducing the running time for the riders out on track.
Due to the rain, both Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders, Álvaro Bautista and Chaz Davies, completed very few laps during the opening free practice session this morning. Unfortunately, the Spanish rider crashed unexpectedly at Turn 1 on his first lap but, after a lengthy stop in the pits to repair the bike, he did in any case manage to conclude the session. In the afternoon, during FP2, the rain came down even more, making the track conditions even worse and, in view of the fact that the weather is expected to improve tomorrow, both of our riders opted to sit out the session in the garage.
Tomorrow the third and final free practice session will be held at 09:00 CET, followed two hours later at 11:00 by Superpole qualifying for the starting-grid line-up for Race 1, which gets underway at 14:00.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing Ducati #19) – 1’54.091 (13th)
“For sure it wasn’t the best day to make my debut on this track! This morning, on the wet track surface, I crashed after losing the rear at Turn 1 on the opening lap, but luckily I suffered no physical consequences. I quite like the Magny-Cours track and it doesn’t seem as difficult as Imola or Portimão. I could also see that in case of rain it doesn’t have much grip but it’s the same for everyone. In the second session the heavy rain made the situation even more difficult and because of my shoulder, which is still not at 100%, I preferred not to take any more risks and stayed in the box. Let’s hope that the weather improves for tomorrow and gives me a chance to increase my confidence with the track for the race.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1’54.133 (14th)
“I can consider myself relatively satisfied after the first FP1 session, even though I just did a few laps to get some confidence in the wet track conditions. In view of the better weather conditions expected tomorrow and Sunday, I preferred not to take too many risks today so I can hit the track better when it’s dry. I think we have a base now with the Panigale V4 R which is working OK but we are trying to optimize and improve that base at every circuit.”
RAIN INFLUENCES FRIDAY!
The eleventh round of the WorldSBK, which takes place on the Magny-Cours circuit, opens with a day of bad weather. The rain, which had fallen since the morning, prevented the rider from expressing themselves at their best; many protagonists crashed, too. The asphalt of this famous French track is always really slippery in wet conditions.
FP 1 was under mixed conditions. A light rain a few minutes before the green light forced the teams to put on the Rain tyres. During the practice the track went to dry, leaving a wet asphalt, not very useful also to collect data and information.
Eugene made a few laps, without taking risks, but he proved to be quick from the first passages, showing great sensitivity. The Ducati V4-R Go Eleven gave him great confidence; at the end he also turned on red sectors, ending then in tenth position.
Free Practice 1: P 10 1.53.227 +1.372
At 15.00, Pit Lane opening time for the second free practice session, a real deluge broke out at Magny-Cours. Lots of water on the track, impossible to improve the laptimes of the morning and many riders who preferred to stay in the pits.
Laverty seemed intent on getting on the track, but the many risks and crashes of the protagonists on track, led him not to ride.
Tomorrow, in which nice weather is expected, will be fundamental: the teams and the riders will have only the FP 3 to find a good set-up both for Superpole and race pace.
The WorldSSP 300 rode two free practice sessions in very wet conditions. Our rider Stefano Raineri showed a good feeling on a wet track, concluding his debut day in P 22. For him also a slow speed crash at the Adelaide in the morning; no consequences neither for Stefano nor for the bike.
Saturday will also be crucial for the "entry level" category; in the Superpole the young promises will have to do their best to get back into the top 30 and qualify for the race on Sunday.
A Saturday of intense work and race against time is expected, in order to find the right set-up solution in the few minutes available!
Eugene Laverty (WorldSBK Rider):
"The rain prevented us from doing many laps today. With dry weather forecast for both races I opted not to take so many risks and just circulated to check the feeling of the V4 R in wet conditions. These were my first laps on this bike in the wet because I missed the wet races earlier in the season due to injury. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bike works quite well. There was very little feedback from the rear but nevertheless the rear grip was still good. Let's see how it feels tomorrow in dry conditions!"
Stefano Raineri (WorldSSP 300 Rider):
"Today, all considered, it went well despite the bad weather conditions! In the first round I was fifteenth, I was improving, but I crashed; no consequence neither for me nor for the bike. In practice two the track was still very wet. I improved, lowering my best lap by almost 4 seconds. Today was fundamental to understand this track, on which I had never raced and to become familiar with the bike. Working with The Go Eleven Team is fantastic, I immediately found myself in harmony. Tomorrow I hope it doesn't rain, because I hate the wet!"
WorldSSP: Perolari stays on top, Smith shines in rain-soaked FP2
British rider leads a Kawasaki 1-2 as weather conditions take a turn for the worse in WorldSSP
The final WorldSSP session of the day was dominated by the weather with heavy rain ensuring that this morning’s lap times remained unbeaten. Given the risk attached with running in such conditions, FP1 pacesetter Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA) chose to watch the second session from the garage, safe in the knowledge that he would finish the day fastest overall at his and the team’s home round.
FP2 was largely dominated by Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) who gradually improved his pace throughout the afternoon, despite the conditions showing know sign of significant improvement. The Briton was the only rider to drop underneath the two-minute barrier with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 1.191s adrift in second. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) was the man to fly the French flag this afternoon, edging out compatriot Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) ensured four Kawasaki riders broke into the top five in FP2.
Overall, Perolari’s late dash in FP1 proved to be fastest of the day, with Mahias second overall ahead of Isaac Vinales (Kallio Racing) who restricted his running to just three laps in FP2. Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing) was fourth with Jules Cluzel gearing up for a must-win weekend with the fifth fastest time, proving he will a rider to watch whatever the weather has in store this weekend. Peter Sebestyen (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) rounded out the top six and will have high hopes of consolidating a top ten place in the championship standings.
Jules Danilo followed closely behind his team-mate in seventh ahead of Hikari Okubo who finishes the day in eighth overall, despite his impressive showing in FP2. Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was a cautious ninth, a position he matched in FP2 as the Italian completed 16 laps, a total only bettered by wildcard Maximilien Bau (GMT94 YAMAHA). Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) completed the top ten, although he was one of seven riders to spend the whole afternoon under shelter in the garage.
Of the riders that did brave the conditions in FP2, championship leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) was seventh, although that wasn’t enough to lift him from 18th in the combined standings. Elsewhere, Jaimie Van Sikkelerus (MPM WILSport Racedays) suffered his second crash of the day while ESS class runner Gaetan Matern fell at Estoril corner, an accident which left the Frenchman with a left humerus fracture, bringing an end to his weekend.
Perolari Leads the Way at Home in Magny-Cours
It was GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Corentin Perolari, who best mastered the tricky conditions on the opening day at Magny-Cours to finish on provisional pole position.
The Frenchman topped the timesheet with a 1'44.802 in the mixed conditions of opening free practice this morning and, with the intensity of the rain increasing ahead of the second session this afternoon, Perolari's time would not be bettered.
Third on the provisional grid after two free practice sessions is Kallio Racing Yamaha's Supported WorldSSP rider, Isaac Viñales, who ended the day just 0.385s off the top spot. Jules Cluzel was happy enough to end the first day in fifth position on the timesheet aboard his GMT94 Yamaha YZF-R6, knowing that the tricky weather conditions experienced today will be much improved ahead of the third and final free practice session tomorrow.
Federico Caricasulo was the fastest of the two Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha riders today, with the Italian ninth on the timesheet, one place ahead of Kallio Racing Yamaha's Loris Cresson in tenth. Cresson's teammate, Thomas Gradinger, ended the day 12th on his return from injury.
Championship leader Randy Krummenacher was an uncharacteristic 18th at the end of the day, but the Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha rider will be back at the sharp end when the weather improves tomorrow at Magny-Cours, a track with notoriously unpredictable grip in the wet.
GMT94 Yamaha wildcard rider, Maximilien Bau, endured a baptism of fire today, having to contend with adapting to racing in a World Championship on top of mastering what were incredibly tricky conditions in both practice sessions. The French youngster ended his first day 23rd on the timesheet.
Top Six for Sebestyen at rain hit Magny-Cours
Posted on 27th September 2019
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Peter Sebestyen ended day one of the Pirelli French Round of the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship at Magny-Cours, sixth on the combined timesheets closely followed by teammate Jules Danilo in seventh.
After setting their lap times on a relatively dry track in Free Practice One, the weather conditions took a turn for the worse and the decision was taken for Sebestyen & Danilo to sit out the extremely wet second session of the day, confident that the morning’s lap times would remain unbeaten.
Sebestyen said: “It was a usual day at Magny-Cours I think. The morning was good, I’m happy with the bike because the basics seem good. We had a small problem with the settings but we can solve this easily. The second session we didn’t ride so we didn’t do any more kilometres because the track was very wet and it seemed crazy to go out. I’m happy because I felt good on the bike so we will push hard tomorrow and I think we can make a good day and a good weekend also.”
Danilo said: “Luckily we got some dry track time in the morning which was important because I haven’t been here in a while and I needed to get familiar with the lines again so that will be a positive because tomorrow and Sunday should be dry. First contact with the bike was good, so same feeling as Portimao. We are still a way off the lap times but I’m sure tomorrow we can have a solid day, that’s the plan.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “By the end of the first session this morning the track was just about dry as you can tell by the lap times. There’s a lot to do still but it looks like it will be dry tomorrow and dry & warm on Sunday so we can only say it’s been an encouraging start for us and a great job by the boys. We are looking in good shape going into qualifying. Tomorrow morning’s FP3 will be very important providing it is dry because no-one has had a lot of dry running time. I discussed with the crew chiefs and we all agreed that there was no point going out this afternoon. It was very wet so there was absolutely no chance to improve lap times. With a dry forecast for tomorrow and almost certainly a dry race, there was absolutely nothing to be gained. We will keep our rhythm going into tomorrow and our aim has to be to look for our best qualifying performance and our best race result here at Magny-Cours.”
WorldSSP300: Otten on top in WorldSSP300 after rain-hit Friday
16-year-old rookie shines as Group A enjoy the best of the conditions at Magny-Cours
Wet weather dominated day one for the WorldSSP300 class at the Pirelli French Round, with Group A enjoying a window of drier conditions earlier this morning. With heavier rain falling during the opening session, Dion Otten (MTM Racing Team) saw his FP1 time remain unbeaten with many of the big hitters faced with tougher conditions in Group B.
Otten, who finished a strong sixth at Donington Park earlier this year, finished three hundredths of a second clear of Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) with Nick Kalinin (Nutec - RT Motorsports by SKM - Kawasaki) third as he goes in search of three consecutive top-six results this weekend. Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300), who must win this weekend to have any chance of retaining her title, was fourth with Jan-Ole Jahnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) rounding out the top five.
With Group B running exclusively in wet conditions, precious few conclusions can be drawn by comparing lap times between the two groups. Tom Bramich (Carl Cox- RT Motorsports by SKM - Kawasaki) suffered a crash in FP1, sustaining a concussion and fractured left elbow, and has been declared unfit. This has opened the door for Mika Perez to step in, and the 2018 championship runner-up topped the overall times in Group B ahead of Adrien Quinet (TGP Racing) and Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) who suffered a crash in FP1. Hugo De Cancellis (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) was fourth in Group B with Jose Luis Perez Gonzalez (DS Junior Team) next up.
This weekend could see Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) crowned the 2019 WorldSSP300 champion and the Spaniard made a bright start, topping FP1 in Group B, closely followed by his nearest rival Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT). However limited running in FP2 for the championship leader saw him drop to 8th within his group, while Deroue sat out the second session completely.
800th WorldSBK takes centre stage on Saturday at Magny-Cours
>From humble beginnings to becoming an iconic championship, WorldSBK hits a big number in France as Race 800 beckons!
It is a historic race weekend at the Pirelli French Round in the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, as Race 1 will mean the 800th race in the championship’s existence. Having visited some 49 different circuits in 26 countries, spanning six continents and producing 75 different winners, WorldSBK continues to expand and bring the fiercest production-based motorcycle racing. As race number 800 approaches, it is only right to look back at the rich history of a championship that has provided symbolic sporting moments the world over.
Back on the 3rd April 1988, a new, alternative motorcycle racing championship was born and took to the famous Donington Park circuit. The FIM Superbike World Championship kicked-off on a cold Sunday in the East Midlands in the UK, not knowing that soon, it would become a cultural icon for British sporting success in the decade that followed; a legacy and pattern still current to this moment. Davide Tardozzi took the first ever win of the championship and went on to win the round – the first and only time in WorldSBK’s decorated history that races were combined to determine an overall round winner.
Plenty of landmarks have come since however and the championship has gone from strength to strength, discovering new destinations and broadening accessibility across the globe. During the 100th race in 1992, Rob Phillis took his last ever race win at Jarama whilst 100 races later, John Kocinski won at home at Laguna Seca in an epic duel between himself and Troy Corser in 1996. Halfway to the current number of races, at 400, Chris Vermeulen took his first WorldSBK race win in front of a packed crowd at Silverstone, having missed out by just 0.150s in Race 1.
And since that moment, WorldSBK has continued to provide extremely memorable moments for some of motorcycle racing’s biggest names, from Troy Corser’s second title in 2005, James Toseland’s first career double at a festival-like Brands Hatch in 2007 and Troy Bayliss’ final championship victory in 2008. Millions of fans and endless memories; WorldSBK has been a part of great sporting stories.
And even after the giants of WorldSBK left, youngblood soon took over and made their own history. From the closest finish a WorldSBK race has ever had in 2010 between Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio at Phillip Island, to extraordinarily close championship finishes: Max Biaggi pipping Tom Sykes to the 2012 title by just half-a-point. Sensational comebacks, rampant rookies and determined underdogs have made the World Superbike paddock witness thrilling finishes and have created stories of their own – something that, in 2019, all three have contributed to.
So, as the 800th race beckons, World Superbike will only continue to be at the forefront of truly great motorcycle racing, whether that is witnessing sensational solo performances or edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting final lap action. History beckons in 2019, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) gunning for a fifth consecutive world title – something that has never been done before – up against rookie Alvaro Bautista, who won his first eleven races in the class.
The future continues to look even brighter for the championship, as an official HRC team comes back into the paddock, featuring Alvaro Bautista in 2020 – whilst former MotoGP™ podium finisher Scott Redding will arrive as a rookie, in a bid to challenge Jonathan Rea at the top of the WorldSBK standings. Add to that the numerous rider switches and team expansions, the championship will sparkle even more at some of the most prestigious venues.