Today’s racing at the Barcelona-Catalunya track in Spain brought Team HRC its first podium of the 2021 Superbike World Championship season when Alvaro Bautista went from sixteenth on the initial race grid to a third-place finish in a (two-part) Superpole race in front of his home crowd! The Spaniard then rounded out his weekend with a strong fourth-place finish in the afternoon’s second Superbike race, missing out on another podium by a mere two tenths of a second.
First up today was the short Tissot Superpole race, which Haslam and Bautista started from seventh and sixteenth position respectively, based on yesterday’s qualifying results. Unlike yesterday’s action, the race took place in dry and sunny conditions. From seventh, Leon was straight into sixth through turn one. Meanwhile, Bautista immediately made up six positions through the first turns, placing tenth by the end of lap one. The Spaniard soon found himself battling, and passing, team-mate Haslam for seventh place, but on lap three, the race was brought to a halt with a red flag following an incident involving two other riders.
The race was restarted a short time later, the distance reduced to just five laps. The quick start procedure was implemented, with Bautista and Haslam lining up in seventh and eighth place based on their positions at the end of the previous ‘heat’. Haslam ran a consistent race, essentially holding seventh place from start to finish, despite closing in on sixth position in the final stages. Team-mate Bautista made a lightning start on the other hand, exploiting the rather chaotic situation through the first turns to position second. Two laps later, he found himself battling with Lowes for a podium finish, the Spaniard ultimately getting the better of the Brit to score third place. This excellent performance by Alvaro brought Team HRC its first podium of the 2021 season.
The second of the day’s races also ran in dry conditions. Third on the grid thanks to his earlier race result, Bautista lay fourth through the initial stages, Haslam eleventh, but an accident towards the end of the opening lap again saw the race halted with a red flag. The race was subsequently restarted, reduced by one lap to a distance of 19 laps. Bautista again placed fourth in the early stages, team-mate Haslam ninth. The Spaniard soon found himself battling for fifth with Redding, using all his experience to ward off the Brit’s attacks. By the mid-race point Alvaro was caught up in a thrilling three-way battle with Redding and Rea, passing the current world champion to take fifth on lap eleven. Over the final five laps, the Spaniard moved in on Locatelli immediately ahead of him, ultimately crossing the line in a close fourth place to score another 13 important championship points.
Unfortunately, team-mate Leon had a tougher time of it in today’s second race. Holding eleventh position for almost the entire duration of the race, Haslam crossed the line in this same position, scoring a handful of precious championship points.
In the championship standings, Bautista is tenth with 142 points, and Haslam thirteenth with 95 points. Team HRC will now travel straight to Jerez de la Frontera where round ten is taking place already next weekend.