Team HRC have again hit the ground running in Portimão, continuing the recent positive trend with Alvaro Bautista ninth, less than four tenths from his teammate.
Team HRC is in action at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, competing in round eleven of the Superbike World Championship, which follows immediately on the back of last weekend’s tenth round at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and represents the final European event of the 2021 WorldSBK season.
Alvaro was out on a sunny track for the morning’s first free practice. Bautista made gradual progress throughout the 45-minute session as he and his technicians made adjustments to the race set-up of his CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE, adapting it to suit the hard rear tyre specification that Alvaro will use in the races, his favourite softer solution not available at this round. Finishing with a fastest time of 1’42.246, he lay a positive seventh at the session’s end.
During the afternoon’s second free practice Alvaro was also able to lower his lap time by a fraction of a second to set a best of 1’42.115 during the second of the day’s sessions. This meant he closed in ninth position overall, just over six tenths off the provisional pole position time.
“Today was a bit of a challenging day for us because, as always, we struggle with the rear hard tyre specification, so we’re trying to optimise the set-up in order to get the best we can from our package in these circumstances. This morning we tried to improve tyre shoulder grip, working a lot with the electronics and the power delivery and we did in fact make some progress. In the afternoon, when the asphalt was a little more slippery due to the higher temperatures, it was more difficult, but we were still among those who improved on their time, even if it was by just a fraction. We used the new front tyre that Pirelli introduced at Jerez and I felt good, especially in braking. Towards the end we fitted a fresh rear, but I couldn’t complete a single fast lap because it was just spinning too much. Anyway, we are not far off in terms of lap times, so we hope to find a little more tomorrow”.