Team HRC has dived into round eight of the 2021 Superbike World Championship at the French circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours, completing the weekend’s first free practice sessions with promising results.
Factory rider Alvaro Bautista was out on track this morning for the first of three practice sessions.
The mixed conditions (air temp. 20°C, track temp. 23°C), and a damp track that dried as the session went on, meant that times only began to tumble in the final minutes. Like most of the field, Alvaro set his fastest time in the final throws, a 1’39.373, seeing him place sixth at the session’s end.
Dry conditions for the afternoon’s second session allowed the entire Superbike field to significantly improve on their earlier references. Bautista finished just three tenths from his team-mate with a fastest time of 1’37.842. With these results, the Team HRC rider rounded out day one of this eighth round in fifth position.
“Finally we had a dry session here at Magny Cours this afternoon, a first one for us with Honda, because last year it rained the whole time and this morning the track was wet. We did a little bit of tyre testing to get some feeling in the dry and I have to say that the new asphalt is quite good, there are not many dips, especially considering that we’re coming from Navarra. We tried to improve our grip at maximum lean angle and our traction, the two areas where we suffer the most really. In the end, we are a little behind in the classification, but the times are very close and the gap is not too great. Tomorrow we will try to improve as much as we can because even a few tenths will make the difference in terms of our position. It’s important to complete a good qualifying lap to secure a good grid position. We are usually stronger in the second half of the race so starting as far ahead as possible will be important.”