Garrett Gerloff finished the opening WorldSBK race of 2021 ninth, while team-mate Kohta Nozane scored his first points. 

Gerloff looked on course for a top five early on as he was part of a four rider battle for third with Scott Redding, Toprak Razgatlioglu and Chaz Davies. 

But after applying pressure to Redding, Gerloff was quickly passed by Razgatlioglu and Davies before a late race struggle saw him eventually slide down to ninth. 

The American was happy with the session prior to the race, but as the temperatures went up, Gerloff cited a loss of grip as a reason for the dip in performance.

"This morning we started off really well. We went back to our base setting and immediately had a good feeling, also thanks to the much cooler weather which really helps the R1," said Gerloff. 

"I felt good in the Superpole, and I was happy about the second row, since I have never been particularly good at qualifying and this track has never been the best for us. 

"The bike felt great, so I was really looking forward to exploiting that in the race, but then the sun came out and the track lost some grip. 

"It was a bit difficult for me to ride consistently, but we think we now know what we need to change for tomorrow. It is frustrating because we know we can do more, and I don’t want to be ninth, but we will surely be stronger on Sunday."

Team-mate Nozane finished 14th in his first WorldSBK race which is the sort of position we’ve seen the Japanese rider for much of the weekend. 

Nozane was as high as 11th during race one, but like Gerloff struggled to sustain his pace in the final stages.

Nozane added: "In the Superpole I achieved my best lap time so far here. I tried to push for a 1’49 and wasn’t able to make it happen, but I’m still happy with my performance in qualifying. 

"In the race, the start was really good. I managed to get up to 11th, but I couldn’t hold on as my pace was dropping which was a bit disappointing. 

"I was able to manage the race to the finish, though, and I am very satisfied with this. I discovered a lot of areas that I need to work on and improve. 

"The fact that there are three races is very advantageous for me, I learned several things that will help me for tomorrow."

 

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