Exciting races against a sad background
It was not easy for either the drivers or the teams to get back to business on Sunday. But as Johnny Rea noted after the first run on Sunday morning, he and his competitors had to put the sad thoughts aside during the race and try to concentrate on their task. This was only useful for him in the morning when it was a little less hot, while in the afternoon when the temperature was higher, as has so often been the case recently, he had no chance. After finishing second in the first run, the Northern Irishman only made it to fifth place. Because his Kawasaki team-mate Alex Lowes also had serious problems and was losing out with his hand not yet healed, it was the second-worst weekend of the season for the Greens after Most. Fortunately for Rea and his team, it will continue in Portugal in a week. There, the record world champion won all three races last year after a similar debacle in Jerez.
Some driver voices after Sunday
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team): It was pretty hard work today, especially in race two, but I think I can be pretty happy with our work of the day. I didn’t expect to be so strong here at Jerez in the first race. From the first session on Friday I felt pretty good with the bike and the tires and was able to fight Toprak in the first race until the last lap; it was very tight. That was positive for me. In race two the temperature had risen and of course it was like Barcelona and I had about the same problems with the soft tire. There was little grip, and it was very difficult to stop the bike and go into the corner, and that was the difference. Normally we would put on a soft tire at the weekend and the difference in lap time would be much more positive. But today we didn’t have that. We have yet to see why this was so.“
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team): „It was of course disappointing not to be able to show a better performance in the first race. In practice, I have ridden and adapted my style to the lack of strength I have in my hand. In the first race, when I was at the start with the other bikes, I just couldn’t brake as late as I wanted. It was easy for people to attack and overtake me. In the middle of the race, when I was alone and only taking the lines I wanted to take, the pace was okay. But pushing hard and fighting hard at the front was not possible. Today there was a short turnaround for the second race and with some information from the first race we decided that it would be best to give my hand a week’s rest before the next race in Portimao.“
Leon Haslam (HRC Honda): „Today’s two races were disappointing in the end. Our pace at the beginning of the weekend meant that we should have competed here for a top five finish. We had worked hard on the tires and looked more consistent. But in Race 1 I was really struggling and had issues with both traction control and engine braking. For the second race we had made a big change and while this had both positives and negatives, the result was more or less the same as the first race. So I’m frustrated because I really thought we were stronger. We need to understand how we can improve this, and now we hope for Portugal.“
Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda): „Given yesterday, it was difficult to stay focused today. Even if we are professionals, it is not easy. I did my best to concentrate on my bike and the action on the track. I got off to a good start in race 1, but on the first few laps I couldn’t make full use of the tires, which we’ve been struggling with for some time. This opened a gap between me and the drivers in front of it, and I couldn’t catch up with them. It was a physically demanding race as the bike was a bit aggressive with a lot of grip and I had to struggle to control it. However, our pace was very similar to the leaders and another top five was excellent on a completely different track after Catalonia. I was expecting to fight even more in Race 2, but the much higher temperatures made the bike easier and smoother to ride right from the start. Especially from the middle of the race on, I was able to do laps quickly and consistently. I started catching up with the drivers in front of me and then overtaking them. I enjoyed overtaking the other drivers on the brakes and fighting with them. In the end, we took another podium, and I’m happy because I felt so much better on the bike. We all work very hard on the bike, we never give up, and so these advances and results are a reward for all of us.“
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha mit BRIXX): „This day would normally be great, but it’s too difficult to feel happy about yesterday’s day. I am only sad when I think about it. We’re improving the bike for Race 1, and I’m fighting a little with Johnny. We’re trying to improve the bike again for the second race, but I didn’t have a good feeling because of the hot conditions. I think it was the same for every rider, and the bike slipped a lot. I’m fighting with Scott this time, and he was also very strong in the last few laps, but I did my best and won again. I would like to emphasize once again that I don’t look at the championship at every race. I just concentrate on every race and try to win, and I’ll try to win in Portimão too. But maybe I’ll start looking at the championship on the last race weekend in Indonesia. I know Johnny is very strong, and he’s quick in Portugal too, but I hope we will fight for victory again. I usually like Portimão and also the new tarmac now, the Yamaha is also much better this year, we’ll see.“
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha mit BRIXX): „In the end, it was another good weekend for us. Still, I’m a little frustrated because we lost our chance of two podiums today. But in the end we can be happy because when we got here on Friday it wasn’t that easy for me to get a good feeling on the bike. Then yesterday we lost the opportunity to race, but it was the right decision to cancel the race. We narrowly missed the podium today, but we improved to get stronger and faster in the race. I want to try to stay in the first group, and we didn’t do too badly in Race 1. In Race 2 I lost the feeling a bit and couldn’t stay in the front group, but it’s definitely a positive achievement, and we will definitely continue like this. Now my experience is getting better, and we will see it in Portimão, but I want to thank the guys because we work very well, and they are doing a great job. Most importantly, I feel so sorry about the friends and family of Dean Berta Viñales.“
The Circuito de Jerez
The place where Dean Berta Viñales had an accident is between turns one and two. The crash was not the most serious problem, but the fact that the young Catalan was hit by several subsequent pilots afterwards. In turn three, the career of “Quick Mick” Doohan came to an end, who had already been victorious in the Superbike World Championship before the 500cc World Championship. It is also the fate of the Repsol Honda ace Marc Marquez, who became a rider in MotoGP. Because he risked a comeback prematurely after his injury, the Catalan lost the entire 2020 season and since then has been constantly suffering from various problems that have handicapped him for a long time. Michael Ruben Rinaldi also finished his race in the gravel trap at this point on Sunday morning.
The current World Championship stand in WorldSBK
Due to the cancellation of the first race on Saturday, there was a race over the full distance instead of the sprint race on Sunday morning. This meant that only two races were held in Jerez de la Frontera instead of three. In the World Championship, the Turk Razgatlioglu increased his lead from one to 20 points, with absolutely nothing being decided in the fight for the World Championship crown in 9 races still to be driven. This season, however, Kawasaki not only threatens to lose the drivers ‘title for the first time since 2015, but also to miss the defence of their world championship from last year in the manufacturers’ championship. It looks much worse for BMW, however. Tom Sykes fell from P8 to 10th in the interim standings due to his injury in Barcelona. Team-mate Michael van der Mark is seventh, but the Dutchman only finished seventh and ninth in Andalusia. The man from Gouda was devastated by Alvaro Bautista on the HRC Honda, and even Loris Baz scored no fewer points on the private GoEleven Ducati. The Frenchman had stepped in as Chaz Davies replacement at short notice because the Welshman like Sykes could not compete due to injury.
Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).