The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team is back in action at a hot and sunny Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, the stage for this weekend’s fourth Superbike World Championship round.
During the day’s first free practice session, riders Hafizh Syahrin, who turned 29 today, and Eric Granado made gradual progress, the pair now feeling increasingly confident aboard their CBR1000RR-R machines. Keen to do well at his home round, Granado (who lives in Barcelona) made a good step in the final minutes of the session, a fastest time of 1’43.423 moving him up into sixteenth place. Making changes to the setup throughout the course of the first practice, Syahrin set a best of 1’43.576 to close a little over a tenth from his team-mate in eighteenth place.
Back out for free practice 2 a little later in the day and on hotter asphalt, both riders continued to work hard, focusing largely on the tyres considering that tyre wear is a particular issue at this track, and even more so in high temperatures. Although neither was able to improve on their earlier FP1 references, due largely to the higher track temperatures, both Granado (17th) and Syahrin (19th) feel prepared for the weekend’s races, the first of which will play out tomorrow afternoon after the Superpole qualifying session.
Eric Granado P17
“We’ve worked to prepare for the races, testing the different tyre options that we have available because Barcelona is a very unique track in terms of tyre wear. it’s also very hot this weekend so we’re focusing a lot on this aspect in order to have a good setting for the races. I’m pleased so far and tomorrow we have another practice in which to continue to work so that we have a good bike for race 1. The track is 50°C this afternoon, hotter than we expected, and races in conditions like this are always tough, not just physically but also on the tyres so it’s really important to prepare in this area so that we can get to the end of the race in decent shape.”
Hafizh Syahrin P19
“We’ve made a good start, but I feel like there are still some points where we can improve and find another few tenths. With the feeling I have right now, I believe we can be in the points zone this weekend. I’ve been quite consistent despite the hot conditions, so if we can take another small step technically in tomorrow’s FP3 and in qualifying, then hopefully we can run a good race. The conditions are unexpectedly hot, but it is the same for everyone of course, so we’ll do our best. It’s my birthday today so it’s nice to be racing here on my birthday weekend.”