The MIE Racing Althea Honda team is out on track at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain for round 2 of the 2020 Superbike World Championship. Riders Takumi Takahashi and rookie Lorenzo Gabellini, who competes with the squad for the first time this weekend, have completed the day’s two free practice sessions, which ran in hot and sunny conditions.t

During the day’s sessions, the first WorldSBK action since round 1 concluded at Phillip Island on March 1, pre-covid19 lockdown, the MIE Racing Althea Honda riders worked with their respective technicians to adapt their CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP to both their riding style and the track conditions. Considering that both riders need time to build confidence and better understand their new bikes, the squad is taking a methodical, ‘step by step’ approach in its work. There was also the heat to content with, track temperatures rising to 40°-plus during the day’s second session. 

By the end of day one, Takahashi had achieved a fastest time of 1’42.583, set in the final stages of the afternoon, with which he positioned twenty-first overall. Gabellini recorded his best performance towards the start of the afternoon’s second practice, a best of 1’42.951 seeing him round out day one just behind his team-mate in twenty-second position.

 

Takumi Takahashi 13

21st 1'42.583

“I’ve ridden in some very hot conditions before, but I must say today was extreme and tomorrow’s forecast is similar if not even tougher. Anyway, it’s the same for everyone and I have to say that, despite the high temperatures, I had slightly better feeling on the bike compared to how I felt during the test we completed at Aragon. We have taken a little step forward with the setup and although we are still far from where we want to be, it’s good to see some gradual progress being made.”

Lorenzo Gabellini 63

22nd 1'42.951

“It’s been a useful day in terms of getting to grips with everything - the pace of the category, the bike’s setup and the track, which although I have ridden once in the past now seems like a completely new circuit. When I came here last it was winter, and only about 20 degrees. Today I was able to take a few references from the others but to be honest, I have a lot of things to get used to. I like the fact I was able to shave off about six tenths between the first and second session, with much more difficult conditions in FP2. I'm basically learning step by step and have to adapt to many things".