Substitute Tetsuta Nagashima (player 6) surprised Friday in Australia

Tetsuta Nagashima | Photo © Honda Racing

Jonathan Rea was the fastest WorldSBK driver on Friday during day one at Phillip Island, but the surprise of the day was undoubtedly Tetsuta Nagashima. The Japanese, this weekend in Australia as a replacement for the injured Iker Lecona within the HRC team, immediately recorded the sixth lap time of the day during his WorldSBK debut.

First practice for Australia’s Grand Ridge Brewery round, the final round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship season, began Friday morning at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit on a completely dry track. For HRC test driver Tetsuta Nagashima – who has been called up by the HRC team to replace the injured Iker Lecuona – an excellent opportunity to get to know the all-new Pirelli tyres.

The former Moto2 rider and current HRC test rider quickly emerged to be a fast learner when he set the fastest time of 1’32.964 in the first free practice session, a time that put him ninth in the standings thereafter. time list. Later in the day during the second free practice, the Japanese managed to improve again and finally finished the first day on the Australian circuit with the fastest lap time of 1’31.869 to their name, a lap time that eventually put them sixth on the combined time list after two free practice sessions. .

A great achievement with which the Japanese made the necessary impression.

Tetsuta Nagashima: “I felt good today; P6 in FP2 isn’t bad. I expected to suffer a bit more because it’s my first time here at WorldSBK and pretty much my first time on Pirelli tyres. Of course I raced here in MotoGP a few weeks ago – the Japanese have replaced Injured fellow countryman Takaaki Nakagami – and that helped me a bit because I was immediately able to pick up the pace of the CBR, a bike I already know from my test work very well.
Most important was adjusting and preparing the tires for this package. There are still a few things we can work on, because I only did one fast lap. I also need to improve the pace of the race, because the race is over 22 laps, so we need a good, consistent pace. I honestly don’t know what to expect for the rest of the weekend in terms of results, but you can be sure I’ll do my best. The team is working hard and everything has been going smoothly so far. I’ve known some of the guys from my time in Moto2, so the team is like family and I felt good right away. I am really enjoying the weekend and this WorldSBK experience.”

Nagashima’s teammate and HRC team driver Xavi Vierge set the fastest lap of 1’32.780 at Phillip Island on Friday, a time that moved the Spaniard back to 14th in the combined timesheets at the end of the day.

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