Difficult weather conditions awaited all protagonists of the WorldSBK Championship for the penultimate round of the 2020 campaign. Having never been around this French circuit before, Steven Odendaal was amongst the Top-4 from FP1 and in the overall combined practice classification, which all took place in wet conditions. As the track way drying for qualifying, the EAB Ten Kate Racing representative was finding it more difficult to get into a rhythm with the intermediate tyre, having never ridden in Magny-Cours in the dry. Despite the difficult conditions throughout the whole weekend, the South African managed to bounce back on Sunday to finish fourth from fifteenth on the grid.
Steven Odendaal: (Race 1:12th, Race 2: 4th): “We were so strong in the wet on Friday and I felt really confident that we could qualify on the first two rows. We were unlucky because the track was wet all weekend and it started drying up just before qualifying. I did not feel comfortable first time with the intermediate tyre around here which gave me a difficult job for the race to recover from 15th on the grid. However, we knew that both races should be wet again and that we can be very competitive in those conditions. I had a great start in race 1 but I immediately realised that something was not right. I was sliding everywhere and it was very difficult to control the bike. I managed to finish the race just to salvage some points for the championship, which is not where we expected to be, however, we analysed the problem after the race and found out that there was a problem with the tyre. I knew that if it wasn’t for that, the bike and I would have been competitive enough to fight in the front, which is what we were able to prove on Sunday. I had a great start once again and managed to get into a third position from 15th on the grid after only a few laps. My pace was really good in the first part of the race and I was able to pull a small gap, however, it then became more difficult to do the same lap times, although we still finished fourth which equals our best result from Portugal. After the tyre issue we had on Saturday, we decided to use the tyre we had for Sunday’s race in warm-up just to test it out, which might have been the reason why I was not able to hold onto the third position in the race but overall I am happy with the work the team and I did this weekend, we learned a new track and a lot of new information and we are only 7 points from being in the Top-5 in the World Championship standings – this is now our objective for the final round in Estoril in two weeks’ time.”