The Most circuit in the Czech Republic is hosting round six of the 2022 Superbike World Championship, today’s mixed weather conditions making things more challenging for the WorldSBK riders who competed in both qualifying and the first race of the weekend.
The morning’s final free practice ran in wet conditions, which naturally prevented all riders from improving on their best times of yesterday. Having been passed fit to ride following a heavy crash in yesterday’s FP2, Lecuona completed seven laps on the wet asphalt to have a better understanding of his own physical condition and of his bike’s behaviour in these altered conditions. Vierge, keen to make as many laps of this new track as possible, also completed seven laps, the two Spaniards placing third and eleventh respectively in this session.
The track was dry again by 11.10 am local time as the Superpole got underway. The 15-minute phase therefore proved to be as hard-fought as ever, the entire field battling it out to secure the best possible grid positions for the weekend’s first races. Lecuona and Vierge were no exception, though both struggled to complete a totally clean lap. The factory duo rounded out the session in twelfth (1’32.359) and thirteenth place (1’32.367), meaning a fourth- and fifth-row start for the afternoon’s first race.
The weekend’s first full length Superbike race got underway as scheduled at 2pm local time in cloudy conditions. Lecuona got away well to place eleventh through the first turns, while team-mate Vierge lost a lot of ground in traffic, dropping back to twentieth off the line when another rider hit him. Xavi was quick to react, gaining five positions over the first three laps, while Lecuona’s strong pace allowed to him move in on, and pass, Baz on lap nine to place ninth. Having reached fifteenth in the early stages, Vierge struggled to maintain a strong pace and was therefore unable to gain further ground. By around lap ten, drops of rain began to fall in various sectors, causing the lap times of all riders to rise somewhat. Lecuona, comfortable and very fast in the tricky conditions, was able to pick up the pace again, lapping quicker than those immediately ahead of him and even slightly quicker than his own qualifying pace. Gaining one more position on the very last lap, the Spaniard crossed the line eighth, while team-mate Vierge finished fifteenth, just inside the points zone.
Team HRC will return to the track tomorrow for the 10-lap Superpole race followed, in the afternoon, by the second 22-lap Superbike race.