Reale Avintia Racing riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera finished 20th and 21st on the first day of practice at the Twin Ring Motegi. The opening day was difficult because of the rain that came down on the Japanese venue during the whole day, and the forecast for the rest of the weekend is no different. That’s why it was especially important today to get the best feeling with the bike and the Michelin wet tyres.
This morning, Hector Barbera set the pace in the first few minutes, but then he dropped back in the standings as he was not able to improve his lap times. Things went the opposite way for Loris Baz, with the French rider struggling to get a good feeling during the morning session, but improving his pace in the afternoon. Only when he put fresh tyres in, the feeling took a turn to the worse again.
Tomorrow, both riders from Reale Avintia will be back on track with just one goal: the top ten in FP3. It will be tough, but both riders are confident about their Ducati’s performance in wet conditions.
“It was a difficult first day because although we like to ride in these rainy conditions, everything has been more difficult than normal. This morning, we haven’t found the right direction with the set up of the bike. Then in the FP2, I decided to go out with the same set of tyres from this morning and I felt it quite well, I had almost the same rhythm as the others with new rubber. But when I came in to get a new set of tyres, nothing worked the way it did before. We have to thoroughly check the bike and also check the tyres together with Michelin, because there simply was no grip. Coming in again for another tyre change was no option, because I knew that the number of tyres for the whole weekend is limited. Tomorrow we will try to enter Q2. We don’t have the same feeling as in Misano, but we will fight”.
“The first day has been quite difficult, but in the morning the feeling was not bad, we got through the whole session with the same tyres. This afternoon we decided to make the bike harder, trying to improve my feeling, but the result was much worse. I was stiffer on the bike and I had a hard time making it turn. We tried to make it a little softer with the preload, but it wasn’t any better. We’ll go back to the base set up tomorrow and we will try to fight for a good position on the grid for Sunday’s race. The good thing is that we will have rain for the whole weekend and we can work more on the wet set-up for the race.”