Today’s opening WorldSBK race at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit saw Team HRC rider Leon Haslam cross the line seventh and Alvaro Bautista ninth in what was a wet and action-packed race.
After making some final set-up adjustments during the third practice session, the two Team HRC riders headed out for the Tissot Superpole, which ran in dry conditions. It all came down to the final frenetic two minutes of the session, during which almost every rider set their quickest lap times. Haslam completed a fast lap early on, but his time was subsequently cancelled for exceeding the track limits, which only made him more determined to score a strong result. In the final seconds, Leon recorded an impressive 1’41.253 with which he concluded the qualifying in seventh place. Struggling with the rear grip, Bautista set a fastest time of 1’42.055 in the final stages to place sixteenth.
The weekend’s first 20-lap race got underway at 3:15pm local time in full wet conditions. From the third row of the grid, Haslam was lying eleventh by the end of the opening lap and moved into ninth on lap two. He continued to gain ground in the early stages, lapping with a consistently fast pace and placing seventh by lap four. Part of a group of British riders, Haslam was lying eighth at the mid-race point but was able to regain his earlier position in the final laps to finish today’s race in seventh place. Bautista got off the line well and was in fourteenth place through the first laps before progressing to eleventh by lap six. Placing tenth by the mid-race point, he made up one position in the latter stages to cross the line ninth.