Long five months have passed since the opening round of the 2020 World Supersport campaign in Australia before Steven Odendaal and his team EAB Ten Kate Racing were able to rev up their engines and see the red lights go off again on the circuit of Jerez de la Frontera this weekend for round 2 of the championship. Two races for the WorldSSP class due to the exceptional circumstances and a reduced calendar meant a jam-packed weekend for all protagonists of the world championship.
Steven Odendaal (Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 – 8th): “After a strict lockdown in South Africa where I was only able to train at home for several weeks, I was really looking forward to being back on the bike! I’ve never had such a long break! We managed to do a test in Barcelona and Assen before to get our feeling back. The test was really positive. We started off really well on Friday in Jerez, we were the second fastest which was encouraging. The scorching hot conditions were challenging (almost 65 degrees track temperature!) but I was able to prove myself that I was physically ready for the comeback because it did not affect my performance at all. We did not have the best qualifying on Saturday, which is something my team and I now have to work on so we don’t have to make up for this in the race every time. In the first race, I was up to 5th from 12th on the grid quite quickly and was able to go with the front group but then I run a bit wide and another rider pushed me off track. I dropped back to 12th position and had to fight my way back through the field once again to finish in 6th position. It was a positive race for us, we had a good pace and were able to recover twice. If I didn’t make the mistake, we could have challenged for the podium. The second race was more difficult. We realised that we battle to get up to speed at the beginning of the race. We need more grip with a new tyre and get a bit more out of the tyres in general. We are always much stronger at the end of the race and the second race was shortened to an 11-lap sprint race due to a red flag, which did not work in our favour. We have analysed our data and we know the direction we need to go in Portugal next week. It is one of my favourite tracks where I have great memories, winning the European Moto2 championship here in 2016 with a double victory, I can’t wait to be back on my Yamaha again and try to get closer to the podium. Thanks to my team for all their hard work this weekend.”