The Friday of free practice for the UK Round in Donington is likely to be remembered as a day of limited track activity, with the fewest laps completed by WorldSBK riders.
Shortly after the start of FP1, light rain made the circuit slippery, forcing Bautista and Rinaldi (who completed 16 and 15 laps respectively under challenging conditions) to return to the pit early.
The situation worsened during FP2, with even lighter rain preventing the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Team riders from setting any lap times, as they were unable to ride in both dry and wet conditions.
At the end of the first day of activities at Donington Park, Bautista and Rinaldi finished eighth and ninth respectively in a combined classification that does not give reliable indications.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #1)
“There is little to say. We couldn’t do much work. We have only been able to confirm the excellent quality of the new asphalt, which no longer has any bumps. At the same time, though, we didn’t get a chance to see what the tyre consumption might be on this new surface. The hope is to be able to use FP3 for this kind of evaluation as well”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“It’s truly unfortunate. It was practically a futile day. We needed to familiarize ourselves with the new asphalt, but we only had a few laps in FP1; therefore, it was very difficult to push and gain a proper understanding of the new surface. We have a considerable amount of work ahead of us tomorrow, but it’s clear that this condition affects all riders equally.”
Niccolò Bulega and the Ducati Paginale V2 of the Aruba.it Racing WSSP team managed to complete 22 laps in FP1, recording the third fastest time (1’30.430) 253 milliseconds behind the quickest crono of the day set by Manzi (Yamaha). In FP2, Bulega got on track in the latter half of the session to complete a few laps in wet conditions.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP #11)
“All in all things didn’t go badly in FP1 during which we were able to ride with continuity. The feeling with the bike is good and the sensations on the new asphalt were very positive. Unfortunately in FP2 we couldn’t continue our work due to the weather. We still have to fix a few more details to be in the best condition. We’ll try tomorrow morning.”