|The thirteenth and final round of the 2021 Superbike World Championship is underway at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia, with Team HRC getting its first taste of this brand-new track during the day’s first practice sessions.|
In the hot and humid conditions (air 35°C, track 62°) typical of south-east Asian racetracks, factory rider Alvaro Bautista eventually got going during the first of the day’s timed practices after a short delay, a knock-on effect of a delayed start to the earlier IATC practice.
While the rider started to get to grips with this new layout, the technicians began to adapt the set-up of the CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADES to the Indonesian track.
Bautista made a good start, setting a 1’37.084 to place sixth at the end of this first session.
Although black clouds threatened rain prior to the second session, conditions remained dry for the duration, with lap times tumbling right across the board and the frontrunners from session one improving on their references by more than a second.
Team HRC continued its work to equip both bike and rider with the necessary tools to perform at this new circuit, and significant progress was made on both sides of the garage, particularly in the final stages.
Alvaro took a big step forward in the final minutes, improving on his FP1 times by more than 2.5 seconds and projecting himselfe into a very promising fourth place, with a 1’34.460.
“Riding at Mandalika is a lot of fun, the track offering a bit of everything, with strong braking and fast corners. There are still a couple of places where I don’t have a clear idea of the best reference points, but generally it’s a fun track. This morning we lacked a little grip, especially through turn one and another couple of corners, but the conditions gradually improved and we were able to set some good times in the afternoon. We worked on the gearbox and the feeling was positive, and we have two rear tyres for the race but choosing is difficult right now because the track will definitely change again tomorrow. It’s just a shame I didn’t digest my food well between sessions, as this left me with stomachache both during FP2 and afterwards when I got off the bike. Stomachache and a headache that I hope will disappear quickly after some rest so that I can be one hundred percent tomorrow and ready to take full advantage of this enjoyable track with our bike“.