Former Red Bull Rookies champion and Moto3 rider Karel Hanika made his WorldSBK debut in free practice one at Lagna Seca, riding for the Guandalini Yamaha team after Ondrej Jezek and the team parted ways after Brno.
Hanika’s Superbike experiences have come in World Endurance, making the sudden adoption of a full WorldSBK bike at the tricky Laguna Seca circuit a baptism of fire.
“I think it is less than tens days since I found out I would be coming here, not so much,” the Czech rider told bikesportnews.com. “It was quite exciting because to ride World Superbike was always, I think, a championship I can be good at in the future, so that’s why I am really pleased to ride here.
“Obviously it is difficult because it is my first time with the Yamaha, with the team and with this difficult track. Not easy. I have been in Austin in Texas before, but never here. This track is pretty special.”
Being inducted into a new world championship is difficult enough at the best of times but starting off at the tricky and undulating Laguna Seca brings another level of immediate challenge. “I enjoyed the first session, it was good and I did quite a lot of laps. I started to like it every lap more. It is so different from TV. I played it in the PlayStation quite a lot, but you cannot compare.”
The Yamaha is a very different bike from his most recent four-stroke experiences. “The engine is different because I normally ride a BMW,” said Hanika. “Definitely the bottom power is higher here, which is obviously good, but I need to adjust the riding style still, because you need to put the power on the tyre so you actually get good drive.
“I need to still learn this and I need to do more laps. The bike is quite nice to ride in the corners, it is much lighter and easier in the corners, so this is good. It has good potential. If everything is OK, and both sides are happy then I will finish the season.”