Team HRC had difficulty making a mark in the first of the races at San Juan Villicum, Leon Haslam crossing the line a valiant tenth, Alvaro Bautista’s recovery unfortunately interrupted by a fall in the early stages.
Both Bautista and Haslam made a step forward during the third and final free practice, setting their best times of the weekend so far as they made final preparations for the subsequent Superpole. Team HRC then tackled what turned out to be a challenging qualifying session today, Haslam setting a 1’38.456 to finish tenth, while a 1’38.860 for Bautista put him in fifteenth place at the session’s end, after his second flying lap had to be aborted when the yellow flag came out. This meant that the pair qualified on the fourth and fifth row of the starting grid for the afternoon’s first race.
At 3.00pm local time, the Superbike riders lined up for the first 21-lap race of the South American race weekend. Haslam got away well from tenth and was lying eighth through the first turns. He held this position for a few laps but dropped down to tenth by lap six. The Englishman briefly moved up to ninth place, but despite his best efforts and considering the gap that had opened up between him and the rider immediately ahead, Haslam ultimately crossed the line tenth today. Bautista gained some ground off the line, making up five places to position tenth by the end of lap one. Unfortunately, his race proved to be a short one, a small crash on lap three putting a premature end to his afternoon. Team HRC will now focus on preparing for tomorrow’s races.