Race 1
WorldSBK 2021
Round 6

Seventh and eight for Bautista and Haslam in race 1 at Most

cz Autodrom Most
Seventh and eight for Bautista and Haslam in race 1 at Most

A day that could have brought more for Team HRC in both qualifying and in Race1. The team will harness its experience to try to fight up front in Sunday’s races.

The Most circuit in the Czech Republic today staged the first of the races making up this sixth Superbike World Championship round. In what was an action-packed race characterised by a lot of close fighting and crashes, Team HRC riders Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam finished seventh and eighth.

The day’s first task was to make the most of the morning’s final practice, having lost a good part of Friday’s FP2 due to rain. The dry conditions meant that both Haslam and Bautista were able to work hard and improve significantly on their FP1 times, setting a best of 1’33.515 and 1’33.541 respectively to place eleventh and twelfth in the overall practice standings.

A short while later, in the Superpole qualifying phase, the two Team HRC riders did their best to make the most of the 15 minutes available to them, but both fell a little short of their potential. With a rear brake issue Alvaro set a 1’32.928 which put him in eleventh place. Leon was in the running for a possible second or even front row spot with his second qualifying tyre, but a small mistake through the final sector meant that he closed seventh (1’32.352), still a solid result and one that earned him a third-row start.

Race 1 got underway at 2pm local time and ran over a distance of 22 laps in dry conditions. Bautista made a flying start, moving straight up from twelfth to seventh, while Haslam positioned ninth through the first turns. On lap four the Spaniard moved up to sixth, followed by his team-mate, eighth. Bautista subsequently lost ground on lap ten after running wide through turn 15 and dropping back to eleventh as a result. Pushing hard, he quickly made up the lost ground and was back into seventh, a position he then held to the line, followed closely by team-mate Haslam, eighth.

Team HRC will return to the track tomorrow for the 10-lap Tissot Superpole race followed, in the afternoon, by the second 22-lap Superbike race.

Álvaro Bautista
Álvaro Bautista 19
Team HRC
Mixed feelings today because we could have done more, both in the Superpole and the race. During the qualifying session I had a problem with the rear brake which prevented us from making at least a top-six lap time. It was a shame that happened in qualifying but at least it wasn’t during the race! I was able to make a good start in the race anyway, and entered the first chicane in seventh position, I think. During the first part of the race, I was lacking traction and the rear was sliding around a lot. This is something of a recurring issue for us, and we struggle with turning, which means we’re forced to keep a line through the corners that’s not ideal. Having said that, I was still able to maintain sufficient pace, close to the top five. Unfortunately, maybe midway through the race, I missed a gear at turn 15 and ran off track, dropping back to eleventh or twelfth. I recovered again, lapping not too badly but I’d lost too much time. I’m sorry about that, because with one thing and another today, we missed the opportunity to finish further ahead. Tomorrow we'll try to do our best, as always, but to really take a step forward we need to improve our package.

Leon Haslam
Leon Haslam 91
Team HRC
For the first time this year, we made a big improvement on the qualifying tyre during Superpole. I was up nearly three tenths which would have put me in around third place, but then we had a small problem in the final corners. I was a little frustrated because that could perhaps have been our first front row of the season, but we finished just one tenth from the front row anyway, so not bad anyway. The race was tough though, and I honestly felt like I was just managing the situation. The good news is that in running the race together more or less together, me and Alvaro were able to compare and contrast what we were doing and can hopefully learn from this as we prepare for tomorrow’s races

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