Matthieu Lagrive marked his World Superbike Championship debut with Althea Honda in style by claiming a fine tenth place finish at Misano.
After eight-years competing in the World Supersport Championship, Lagrive made his first WSBK appearance in Italy as a replacement for Tommy Hill, qualifying just outside the top twenty having had no prior experience of the Honda CBR1000RR.
However, the Frenchman was on fine form during the wet-to-dry opening race, finding confidence with the machine to climb his way up to 15th position when he decided to pit.
Back out on track, Lagrive, a successful endurance racer, was able to find further speed, overtaking Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa on the way to securing his top ten result. The six points he achieves for that sole result already matches the amount Hill managed in the seven rounds he competed with Althea Honda.
”I'm very happy for my first race. It was tough because in the first curve I went out on the gravel and I rejoined the race in the last position. Starting from the first few laps I pushed very hard and I found a very good pace. I was able to overtake a lot of riders and only when the track became dry I decided to re-enter the box to change the bike and to use the second one where my team decided to use intermediate tyres.
“I took a few laps to understand how my second bike was working but I gained a lot of confidence very quickly and it was very nice to overtake riders like Biaggi & Checa, where I was able to reach the final tenth position in my first Superbike race.
“Unfortunately my second race was difficult because my bike setting was not perfect for a race on a completely dry track. I preferred not to risk too much and not to push too hard because it was very important to finish the race and to understand how my CBR1000RR is working. Of course I'm not satisfied with my 21st position but for sure I'll reach a better result in my next races in Donington.”