The morning’s 10-lap sprint race brought differing results for the Team HRC pair largely owing to their tyre selection. Haslam got away very well from seventh on the grid, having opted for intermediate tyres front and rear. Positioning fifth on lap one, the local rider moved into fourth on the very next lap. Maintaining a strong pace that saw him lapping just a couple of tenths from the podium sitters, Haslam was not quite able to take third, crossing the line a very close fourth. Bautista meanwhile had a tougher time keeping pace with his rivals, the decision to opt for rain tyres not paying off on a drying track. The Spaniard crossed the line fifteenth.
Thanks to his earlier Superpole race result, Haslam lined up in fourth position for the weekend’s final 23-lap Superbike race, which ran in dry albeit very cloudy conditions. Haslam again made a strong start, holding fourth in the early stages, but then lost several positions through subsequent laps. Eighth at the mid-race point, the Brit found it increasingly difficult to maintain a strong rhythm through the final phase of the race, crossing the line in eventual ninth position. Sixteenth on the grid, Bautista made up several positions through the first turns, eleventh by the end of lap one. Holding twelfth for the best part of the race, the Spaniard was able to up the pace slightly in the final stages, pushing to make up two positions and round out the top ten.
After this fourth round, Bautista places tenth in the championship standings with 57 points, Haslam thirteenth with 41 points. Team HRC will be back in action over the weekend of 23-25 July for round five at the Assen TT circuit in The Netherlands.
“Overall, it has been a tough weekend. On Friday we tried something different with the set-up just to verify a few things and collect some information, but it didn’t work as we’d expected so we went back to a more base set-up. Then yesterday, mixed weather conditions limited the time we had available to define the best set-up. In the end our best day in terms of feeling with the bike was today, but our gamble with rain tyres in the sprint race didn’t pay off. In Race 2 we actually improved our pace over the course of the 23 laps and were able to achieve a top ten finish, but honestly this isn’t what we are aiming for. We need to improve from here on in, because we really want to be doing better of course.”
“It felt good to get fourth today. I felt we were in the mix for the podium in both yesterday’s race 1 and the Superpole race, which was definitely a positive. We then had some issues in today’s second race, but overall we can say that we’ve taken some steps over the weekend and are clear as to where we need to work. My pace was quite strong in the sprint race, which we ran on intermediate tyres, and my set-up wasn’t bad in the last race either, it was just a pity that we had an issue that ultimately saw me go backwards rather than forwards. All in all, a better weekend for us, and we hope to build on this next time out at Assen.”