Too many falls shaped the Catalan event
With the first of three racing weekends in a row, it was particularly important this time not to fall and even injure yourself in the process. Unfortunately, this did not work out as desired for many riders, especially Lucas Mahias. The fast Frenchman was involved in a double crash twice in a row on Sunday, in which unfortunately the other rider involved did not get away with injury. In the morning’s Superpole Race, this was Chaz Davies, who was then transported to Catalunya hospital with a bruised pelvis for further examination. In the afternoon, Tom Sykes was involved, who also had to be hospitalized with a concussion. With a little luck, the two of them will be there again next weekend in Jerez de la Frontera, before continuing to nearby Portimão just a week later.
Honda on the up – BMW stumbled on Sunday
While the blue-whites can currently impress more with their sumptuous hospitality, the drivers and their team owe a lot on the track. HRC Honda had already scored as many points as BMW in France, and in Barcelona the alleged underdogs were significantly more successful than the German-English team. Without his many falls, Alvaro Bautista would have long been on a par with Sykes and van der Mark. But at least the Spaniard, who is returning to Ducati for the next season, was completely convincing in his home country. Despite missing a lot of points, the Honda rider is clearly on the up and his teammate Leon Haslam also showed himself to be on the better side with 16 points despite a disappointing second race on Sunday. Michael van der Mark scored only one point more than the longest-serving driver in the field from England at the Circuito de Cataluña. In the fight for the brand classification, it should be close to the end of the season. Below is the manufacturers’ rating, which shows how much Honda has improved since Nevers.
The World Championship situation after 9 of 13 planned rounds
Some rider voices after Sunday
Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda): „To be honest, I had a very different feeling today than yesterday. With a lot more grip, I felt that I could push, and the bike helped me. I got off to a good start in the Superpole race and was able to make up a few positions. When I saw the red flag, I was frustrated because I felt so strong. After the second start, I just tried to stay focused and not make any mistakes. Third place was a fantastic result and a well-deserved reward for the uninterrupted work of the team and engineers. In Race 2, the higher temperatures made the conditions worse and the feeling too. There was less grip, and it was also harder to stop the bike. I just tried to understand the track and do my best. Towards the end I had a few minor problems with the brakes, maybe because of the temperature. I ran a bit far in turn one and lost contact with the podium group. I recovered, but couldn’t get close enough to her. In any case, I’m happy because it was a solid weekend. It seems that we worked out some details together in the last few races in order to find a good basic set-up and more consistency in terms of reducing the gap to the front. I hope we can continue this trend until the end of the season.“
Leon Haslam (HRC Honda): „The Superpole race was a bit frustrating. We had a bit of a traction control issue on the first run, but were able to make some useful changes in time for the race to restart. I got off to a strong start, but unfortunately got into trouble when Rinaldi got off the track and the two Yamaha’s crashed. The pace wasn’t bad, and I finished P7, but it was frustrating for the incidents I was involved in. And that really applied to the long superbike race. I met Lowes when he crashed early in the first part of the race, but then another red flag came along. When the race restarted I didn’t get off too well and even though the race went well, I didn’t feel perfect with the front tire from the start. So I don’t have the feeling that we have exhausted our potential in the races after we had a good feeling in practice.“
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team): „In the Superpole race, I had an excellent bike setup. My boys changed the bike all weekend. It was a lot of fun fighting Toprak and the rhythm was very fast in a five-lap race. It was more about who wanted it than who was the smartest with the setup. Overall, it was a difficult weekend because we didn’t exhaust our potential in both the first and second races. In the last race today, I had a really hard time stopping the bike in the braking area right from the start. On Friday we did a long race simulation on the bike, and it felt OK, but I still had a loss of speed on lap 14. But today, my pace in the middle of the race was terrible. I was just pushed into every corner. I couldn’t ride the bike smoothly. It was a real surprise and disappointment because I think we could have been a lot more competitive.“
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team): „It’s a shame to be taken out of the last race. We worked very hard on our used tires all weekend, so I think we could have finished the weekend well. The Superpole race was good for us, so it was a shame that Bautista overtook me on the last lap and snatched my podium away from me. We tried the SC1 up front and I didn’t have that much confidence in the brakes with this tire, so it was difficult to overtake it again on the last lap. In the second race, I didn’t have the best start. Sometimes the clutch engages differently than I expected and that made me end up back in the pack a little. I was then jostled by someone behind me. My bike hit me badly in the face and my right hand and wrist were also pinched, so now we’re going to the hospital in Barcelona to have it checked out. A big thank you to all Catalan fans. It’s the team’s home race and I really wanted to be on the podium for them this weekend. Due to a bit of bad luck, it wasn’t the weekend we wanted.“
Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing Ducati): “This result makes me happy because we had so many difficulties on this track last year. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of positions on the second start of the Superpole race to avoid a crash, and that made race 2 very complicated somehow. Anyway, I stayed focused and tried to keep my pace, even though I lost touch with the leading group while trying to overtake Bautista. It was a good weekend overall, and we will try to do it again in Jerez.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing Ducati): “I am really happy with this result because we are coming out of a difficult phase. I said yesterday that I wanted to race in dry conditions because I had the feeling that I had a great race pace, and I am very happy to have confirmed that feeling on the track. I would like to thank the team that has always worked hard even in the most difficult times. So I’m all the happier today after Pecco Bagnaia also won MotoGP at Misano.”
The combined calendar of MotoGP and WorldSBK
After the third scheduling collision between the two World Championships with Barcelona and Misano, the WorldSBK event in Portugal is followed by the fourth overlap. This is thanks to fans, teams, drivers and sponsors of FIM and Dorna. With a completely unrealistic planning, the season turned into a real patchwork, and luckily the USA has at least a significant time difference compared to Portugal. Nevertheless, the Prototype World Championship cannibalizes the near-series World Championship, which has already suffered enough from the pandemic, with which the teams have lost a lot of sponsorship money. With this in mind, WorldSBK races in Argentina and Indonesia are sheer madness, but the officials don’t seem to care. At the same time, however, the financially strong MotoGP takes place almost exclusively in Europe, with a few exceptions.
Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).