The Most circuit in the Czech Republic is the stage for round eight of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, in which the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team is competing with riders Eric Granado and replacement rider Hannes Soomer.
After using the third and final practice to make final adjustments to their respective setups, Granado and Soomer took on the Superpole qualifying session. With just fifteen minutes in which to earn the best possible starting position for the afternoon’s race, the Brazilian did his best despite still suffering some pain following a crash yesterday and finished the session in seventeenth place with a solid 1’32.953, while Soomer set a time of 1’33.313 to place twenty-second. The duo therefore qualified on row six and seven of the grid respectively for the first 22-lap race.
Race 1 began on a wet track, in stark contrast to the conditions seen so far this weekend. Granado has had little experience of wet racing so far this season, while Soomer, as a substitute rider, had no references at all. The duo was lying twenty-second and twenty-fourth as the race began but the ever-changing conditions soon had an effect. While many of the riders who had elected to mount rain tyres came into the pits to switch to slicks early on in the race, Granado remained on track and climbed to fourteenth place by lap six. The Brazilian elected to return to the pits soon afterwards, to switch out the tyres, but was unfortunately unable to rejoin the race after a small technical problem was identified. Having started the race on wet tyres, Soomer was among the first group of riders to pit and switch over to slicks. On returning to the track, he gradually gained ground, moving up into seventeenth place by the mid-race point. But unfortunately the Estonian rider was unable to reach the finish line, a crash on lap eighteen ruling him out of the proceedings.
Tomorrow the riders will be back at the Most Circuit for the Superpole sprint race followed, later in the day, by the second 22-lap Superbike race.
“We did a good job in FP3 and Superpole. I don’t feel 100% after yesterday’s crash and am in some pain but I was quite happy with how we did in qualifying, improving significantly on yesterday’s performance. In the race we unfortunately made the wrong tyre choice, going for a rain tyre at the front and an intermediate at the rear. The strategy didn’t pay off, neither in the wet early on, or as the track dried. I came in to change my tyres but then experienced a technical issue so my race ended there. The positive is that we worked well in Superpole and so we’ll see what we can do in tomorrow’s races. Hopefully I’ll feel a little better physically too, as today was tough.”
“We were only ever going to be able to do so much with the time available this weekend of course. It was a good race until the crash I’d say, an interesting race. It was a pity about the crash, but I felt comfortable up until that point, so now we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”