Fast in the morning, struggling in the afternoon on Friday for Team Go Eleven
Day 1 in Mandalika turned out to be more complicated than expected for Go Eleven and the rider Philipp Oettl; coming from the excellent weekend in Australia, they expected to start again from a placement within the Top Ten. In the morning, everything worked fine, then in the afternoon the difficulties increased.
FP 1 saw many riders waiting in the pits for a long time; the track had no tyre and the times remained quite high throughout the session, if compared to the best laptimes on the track. However, Philipp was able to find an excellent feeling, riding his Ducati V4-R fluidly. After the first pit stop, the front tyre was particularly damaged, so much so as it was impossible to improve the the best lap. A good session, in any case, to pick up the rhythm and get back to having confidence with the Mandalika International Circuit after last year’s crash.
Free Practice 1:
P 1 M. Rinaldi 1.34.613
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.056
P 3 A. Bautista + 0.170
P 9 P. Oettl + 0.958
The afternoon session was held in much hotter asphalt conditions, over 53°C, with decidedly more tyre on the line, so much so that the references improved by almost two seconds. Philipp and the Go Eleven Team tried to set a race pace, so as to have an idea of what could happen in tomorrow’s race, but due to some traffic in the first laps, the lap time turned out to be less fast than the expected. Towards the end of the session, with the new tyre, he was able to lower the personal best lap, but the German rider was still unable to ride as he would like. The main problem is the loss of line, especially in acceleration, loosing a lot in the fourth sector, where most of the gap is accumulated.
Free Practice 2:
P 1 M. Rinaldi 1.32.468
P 2 A. Bautista + 0.029
P 3 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.157
P 16 P. Oettl + 1.892
For tomorrow, the technicians are already evaluating some solutions in terms of bike set-up and balance, trying to get close to Philipp’s requests. There’s no need to be alarmed yet, there is time to improve and tyre management, especially on the front, will play a fundamental role in the race, here in Mandalika, too. The race pace shown today by the others is not that great and the Top Ten is not far off. Tomorrow is another day and it will be necessary to find the right way to improve especially the final part of the track.
Philipp Oettl (Rider):
“We started well in the morning, we were in Top Ten at the end of the FP 1, but during the second session track conditions changed a lot and we had to adapt to it. We struggled a bit, so we have a lot of work to do. We are a bit further behind than I expected to be here, but it’s not so easy to have a good confidence in the line after last year’s crash, even if in the line the grip is really good. I am quite confident that tomorrow we can do a good step forward analyzing datas collected today. We will find our way, this track is completely different compared to Australia, tyres here are different, too, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow. As the track will improve day by day I expect that the feeling with the front, even after some laps, will improve, too!”
Points earned on Saturday, but a lot to improve on in the second part of the race
Saturday in Mandalika proved to be tough and difficult for Team Go Eleven; in Superpole a rider closed the throttle in the line, impeding Philipp who was just behind. Then in the first part of Race 1 the Italian team defended itself well, after a good start, only to suffer a clear drop in the second part. Got points, but it’s certainly not Go Eleven’s goal after what was achieved just a few days ago.
FP 3 was a particular session; few riders have improved compared to yesterday, Philipp entered with used tyres, trying to test the changes compared done, immediately finding a good feeling. Switching to the soft tyres, he managed to improve a few tenths, which however allowed him to enter the top ten of the session. Unfortunately, a large part of the gap is accumulated in the last sector, where the difficulties for the Ducati led by the Go Eleven rider are the same since last year.
Free Practice 3:
P 1 A. Bautista 1.32.981
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.045
P 3 A. Bautista + 0.079
P 10 P. Oettl + 1.270
In Superpole, unfortunately, Philipp Oettl saw himself as the protagonist of a controversial episode during the fastest lap, which essentially made him throw the result away. After good first three sectors, in line with the Top Ten, in the fourth sector Rea completely closed the throttle on the line, in a fast point, forcing Philipp to avoid him. In addition to risking a huge collision, the German rider lost several tenths. These are episodes that happen on the track, Rea was penalized and also went to the Go Eleven garage to apologize in person. Fifteenth position and an even more uphill weekend than what already was.
P 1 T. Razgatlioglu 1.32.037
P 2 A. Locatelli + 0.069
P 3 A. Bautista + 0.165
P 15 P. Oettl + 1.350
For Race 1, the choice of rear tyre was a puzzle, which was only solved on the grid; SC0, the “hardest” compound so Philipp could push from the first lap without problems. He has an excellent start, he manages to immediately comeback a couple of positions, and thanks also to the impact between Rinaldi and Bassani at the first corner, he crosses the finish line around eleventh position. The first twelve-thirteen laps of the race are good, the German rider manages to keep pace for the Top Ten, staying close to Lecuona. In the last laps, however, he suffers a lot, he picks up the pace, defending the thirteenth position until the checkered flag. A difficult race, in which the number 5 suffered several overtakings in the last sector, unable to defend himself in any way. The important thing is to score points, and there was a step forward compared to yesterday, but it’s still not enough to fight in the leading positions.
P 1 A. Bautista 32’44.093
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 4.809
P 3 A. Locatelli + 6.589
P 13 P. Oettl + 26.167
For tomorrow it will be necessary to find another step forward; the gap is not high, but this year the riders are all really close and nothing is enough to enter or leave the Top Ten. Unfortunately here in Mandalika things haven’t worked since Friday, little by little all the staff is working to get out of the problems, to close the gap, but it is not that easy, and often by making changes, further difficulties come out. Two races to go and there are still many points to earn; never give up!
Philipp Oettl (Rider):
“This morning we started quite well, the feeling was a little bit better than on Friday, in the Superpole i felt ok, too. In the fastest lap Rea decided to close the gas in a really bad place, and I was behind him, I had to roll off the gas, otherwise I could have been inside the Top Ten. He came to apologise, I accepted it, it was just the correct thing to do, I think I would have done the same. He is a six time World Champion, so I appreciated it even more. I had a really good start of the Race, then it was difficult for me to have a clear idea of my pace, cause every time i went out on track, the conditions were much different. I struggled a lot in the second part of the Race. I think we worked in the correct way, there is potential to improve, we took some points, but still I don’t have a really good feeling here. I try again tomorrow!”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“We’re suffering a lot here in Mandalika, we’re not as far away as it seems, but with the level of this year’s category, losing a few tenths means a lot of positions. In Superpole, unfortunately, we didn’t express our potential due to the near contact with Rea, but he came to apologize and we accept it, it can happen to everyone to make mistakes. The Race was important in identifying the points where we and Philipp can work, and tomorrow we will try to take a step forward. Here we must try to resolve the fourth sector, by losing so much at that point we are too vulnerable to be overtaken by other riders. Tomorrow we will have to defend ourselves and try to score more points!”
Phillip involved in Race 2 crash on Sunday
This track, this place, just doesn’t want to be kind to Team Go Eleven. When the Piedmontese team seemed to have found the right way, and Philipp was ready to fight in the Top Ten, a rider in front crashed and the number 5 was unable to avoid his bike! Zero points, but we have to take advantage of this Sunday, where the German rider showed aggressive overtaking and with a pace in line to fight for the important positions.
Today’s Warm Up was a particular session; the track had still wet patches due to the rain that fell during the night, but the lap times were still fast and competitive. Many crashes broke up the session, Philipp Oettl tested the SCQ with a view to the Superpole Race, but after two laps it was completely destroyed, without providing an extra advantage in the first laps. Mandatory choice on the SCX-evolution for the short race.
P 1 A. Bautista 1.32.368
P 2 J. Rea + 0.081
P 3 A. Locatelli + 0.279
P 16 P. Oettl + 2.372
The real switch of Go Eleven’s weekend was in the Superpole Race. Philipp immediately felt good, at the start he found himself close to tenth position thanks also to various contacts. The red flag stopped the race, allowing several riders who had crashed to return to the garage and restart. Restarting from 15th position, he didn’t find an excellent start, so much so that he ended up eighteenth. With only eight laps available it was difficult to comeback, but with an excellent pace he moved up to thirteenth, chasing the group made up of Gerloff, Petrucci and Aegerter. Several laps on 33, a much better race pace than yesterday, which created higher expectations for Race 2.
P 1 T. Razgatlioglu 12’26.052
P 2 A. Locatelli + 1.110
P 3 A. Lowes + 1.372
P 13 P. Oettl + 10.592
In Race 2 Philipp got off to a good start, defended his position and got into Aegerter’s slipstream. He tries to attack in Turn 10, goes wide, but the feeling is there. As the laps go by, in front, the fight ignites, and the number 5 is in the group fighting for the Top 9, with many riders inside. He overtook Lowes and Aegerter, but on lap seven, turn eleven, Van Der Mark was the protagonist of a scary highside. Philipp, who is chasing him from very close, finds the motorbike bouncing in front of him, but he cannot avoid it. Luckily the impact was at low speed, but in any case the German rider hit his bike hard and, also given the damage sustained to the Ducati, was unable to restart. It’s a shame because the pace was there, he was really competitive and ready to attack the group in front which was slightly slower at that time. The rider is fine, everything is ok, but unfortunately he goes home with zero points from this Sunday.
P 1 A. Bautista 21’43.781
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 1.218
P 3 X. Vierge + 3.050
DNF P. Oettl
Now the Superbike stops for about a month and a half, it will be back in Assen, Holland, when the European season begins. The Go Eleven Team must carry the excellent Phillip Island Round in its luggage and this Sunday in Mandalika, where it was able to regain speed, however, following a difficult weekend. Obviously the expected results have not arrived here, but the important thing is to demonstrate growth and improvement. In today’s two races, Philipp clearly improved the fourth sector, thus managing to be more competitive throughout the track!
Philipp Oettl (Rider):
“We had just short races today! In the Superpole Race my feeling became good, way better than the two days before, I improved the last sector compared to the previous days, I realised I could have had a really strong pace for Race 2. Then in Race 2 Van Der Mark crashed just in front of me, his bike flipped everywhere and it fast slowed down, I was in his group and I couldn’t avoid his BMW. I am fine, but I am a bit disappointed. It’s a pity cause I was in a good position. We come from two race weekends; one was great, in the other we struggled a bit, but we found our way. We continue working and we can’t wait to be back in Assen!”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“Today, despite the final result not rewarding us, I’m happy with how the Team and Philipp reacted. We took an important step forward, but we weren’t lucky. In the Superpole Race, the red flag and the restart penalized us, because Philipp had a good start, and was fighting to conquer the first three rows of race 2, while in the second race Van Der Mark crashed right in front of us, and we couldn’t avoid his bike. Luckily Philipp is fine and hasn’t suffered any trauma. Now let’s look ahead, we go back to Europe and I think there is everything to have a good championship”