After a long offseason, the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship got underway with the first Free Practice session at MotorLand Aragon for the Pirelli Aragon Round. It was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) who topped the session after a flurry of late laps from the entire field, with Razgatlioglu the only rider to dip below the 1’50s bracket.
The Turkish star had been in the top four for the majority of the session but a late lap from Razgatlioglu meant he jumped up the order as he posted a 1’49. 952, topping the session by around three tenths ahead of Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven); the British rider the lead Ducati rider in the opening session. American Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) continued his fine form with third as he looks to make a strong start to the 2021 campaign; while Yamaha appear to have made a step forward at Aragon following testing throughout at the winter at the Alcañiz venue.
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was the lead Kawasaki rider in Free Practice 1, onboard the new ZX-10RR. Lowes had gone top of the session after around 15 minutes and stayed there right until the very end when he was usurped by Razgatlioglu, Davies and Gerloff. Michal Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) was fifth on his first outing for the factory Ducati outfit with a 1’50.741s, fending off the challenge from Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) on his new BMW M 1000 RR by around one tenth.
Scott Redding (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) finished the session in 11th, just behind Team HRC’s Alvaro Bautista who recorded the highest top speed in the session; while Bautista’s teammate Leon Haslam was eighth. Tito Rabat’s (Barni Racing Team) first competitive session for his new team saw him classified in 12th place, the highest placed rookie finisher in FP1.