2012 Aragon World Superbike and World Supersport Press Release Previews

Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's eighth round of WSBK at Aragon:


High speed hopes for PTR at Aragon

PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel is hoping to use the top speed advantage of his CBR600RR to challenge for the podium at the seventh round of the World Supersport Championship at Aragon in Spain this Sunday, July 1st.

As the season enters its second half Jules is second in the standings and focused on scoring as many points as possible and maintaining his title challenge. His teammate Ronan Quarmby is on top form and raring to score another podium finish and improve on his 9th in the standings overall. Martin Jessopp on the Riders PTR Honda is looking for a return to the points after suffering a broken collarbone in May.

There are practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday before the race starts at 1330 CET on Sunday July 1st. To buy GBRacing engine case covers and bullet sliders from PTR visit www.performancetechnicalracing.co.uk.

Jules: "I raced at Aragon in Moto2 for two years and I think the circuit is long with fast corners, big downs and big up-hills. I really like it. The last three corners are different from the Moto2 circuit but I will learn quickly. I want to continue my recent form and stay on the podium - that would be good for the Championship. I also want to try to improve a little bit and catch Sofuoglu. At the Silverstone test we learnt more about tyres and it was good to be riding my bike, that always helps."

Ronan: "I had a really positive event at Misano right up until the race and then crashed out while challenging inside the top 10. My PTR Honda is brilliant, I feel absolutely great and I cannot wait to get to Aragon and racing again. I want to get a good haul of points this weekend and think the circuit will suit my bike and riding style well."

Martin: "My collarbone is getting there but it is not as far along as I had hoped. I have an old MX injury that is confusing matters with a bit of nerve damage so we are not sure where the problem is. The good news is that I am in much better shape than I was at Misano and not anticipating issues riding the bike. I have only raced Aragon on the Playstation before but it is due to be a hot, hard, long race and I think that will favour my fitness over some of the other riders. I'm looking forward to it."

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Jules just missed out on the win at Misano but it was another good podium for him. He's getting better every round and we are confident he will be challenging again at Aragon. Ronan qualified on the second row for the first time at Misano but unfortunately made a mistake and crashed. Ronan is getting stronger as well and we look forward to a strong race from him at Aragon. Martin rode through the pain barrier at Misano and we are proud he was able to finish and is much fitter now. He should be in a position to score best result of the season."


BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Aragón - Preview

Munich/Stephanskirchen, 25th June 2012. The second half of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship gets underway this weekend. The eighth of 14 race weekends this year will be held from 29th June to 1st July at “Motorland Aragón”, near the Spanish town of Alcañiz. Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport spent two days testing at “Motorland Aragón” last week.

The seven race weekends that made up the first half of the season saw the team, with factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR), score two victories, claim nine podium finishes and set one fastest race lap. In the Rider’s Championship, Marco currently lies fourth with 155.5 points, while Leon is sixth with 123. Together, the pair has already scored 278.5 points for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport this season. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW is third with 197 points. Only the best result from each race counts towards this championship.

At last week’s test, the team worked on the chassis, brake system and electronic set-up, in order to prepare Marco’s and Leon’s BMW S 1000 RRs for the race at the technically demanding “Motorland Aragón”. The Spanish circuit made its debut on the FIM Superbike World Championship calendar last year. Marco has good memories of the venue: he started from pole position, won one race and finished runner-up in the other.

Aragón from the rider’s point of view:

Marco Melandri:

“For me, Aragón is one of the best tracks on the calendar, I really like it. It is very fast and smooth and we can use the power of our BMW engine on the long straight. The circuit is very technical, because it is a combination of everything. You have very slow corners, half corners, long bends, changes of direction and a long straight. And I think it is also a good track to overtake. So it has everything to produce good racing. We tested there last week and it went very well. I am looking forward to race there now. It will certainly not be an easy race for the tyres and the riders because it is going to be quite hot. But anyway: I like it.

Our target now is to get back onto the podium. For the rest of the season, we have to think race by race. We need to be as close to the podium as possible and to try to get some more wins.”

Leon Haslam:

“Aragón is a new racetrack; last year was the first time for everyone. A lot of teams are now finding what they need on the bike and from the set up. Many teams have tested there. So did we last week and we also found good settings for this circuit, so I am looking forward again to the race. Last year it was not the best of weekends for us, Troy broke his arm and I had pretty average results. But for this time I am actually looking forward to going there. The track is very demanding; it has a lot of corners that hang on to you. It is not a circuit that suits an aggressive riding style; it is more fast and flowing. You have to be very precise with your lines and your set-up, but with these facts you have good racing.

The first half of the season has been ups and downs. I already had many podiums and I should have had at least two or three wins. But it has been a very tough first half of the season, with breaking my leg, crashing in the lead, being taken whilst leading and some other little issues. We missed out on a lot of points but are still very close. So we are very confident building up to the second part of the season. We know we can win and we know we can fight for the podium every weekend. We just need to concentrate on this target.”

Aragón from a technical point of view:

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):

“With Aragón we are entering the second part of a season, which has seen BMW Motorrad Motorsport as one of the most competitive teams. We’ve already achieved nine podiums, including two wins, thanks to the great performances shown by both of our talented riders and the improved technical package. But it’s only now that the difficulties start. We still have a significant amount work in front of us and we must all stay very concentrated and motivated in order to be able to fight for the podium everywhere in any conditions. We’ve chosen Aragon as our selected test track mainly for its unique characteristic: it’s a bit of everything, tight corners, fast and flowing sections, a long straight, extreme weather conditions and high tyre wear. It’s very demanding for the riders especially when the tarmac temperature is over 50 degrees Celsius. After the last test we’re confident that we’ve already achieved a good base setting so we’re looking forward to Sunday’s races.

Leon is very motivated after the important podium in Misano and the last test, so we all expect that he will perform well in Aragón too. Marco likes the Spanish track where he has got important results in the past. It will be the right place for him to banish the memory of the Misano races, which were not perfect.”

Aragón from Pirelli’s point of view:

For the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship the riders will have at their disposal as always several slick solutions, as well as intermediate and wet tyres. As regards the slick solutions, they will be able to choose among three different front and four different rear tyres. On the front there will be two SC1s and an SC2, more precisely the specifications P1280, N1159 and P773, already widely used in 2012. For the rear instead, Pirelli will take both the SC1 (P1060) and the SC2 (N1157) of reference, which will be accompanied by two further solutions: the SC1 R302, tested for the first time at Imola and used in racing both at Donington and at Miller, being well received by most riders, and the R549, a solution taken for the first time to Misano Adriatico, which is in the middle between a SC0 and a SC1.

This is why Pirelli has decided to take it also to Aragón, a track that tends to have high temperatures but which, unlike Misano, has also more trying asphalt for tyres because it is more abrasive. For this reason at Aragón very soft compounds are not ideal and the aim for the tyre manufacturers is to try and find the right balance between stability and rigidity of compounds and the grip that they can express when hot. With high temperatures at Misano the R549 performed well, showing that it can be more solid and have more grip than the SC1 of reference.

Background:

One of the most modern motorsport centres in the world – “Motorland Aragón” – is situated in a sparsely populated region in the northeast of Spain, surrounded by a vast, hilly and picturesque landscape. The facility, “Ciudad del Motor de Aragón” in Spanish, was opened in 2009 and rapidly became a popular venue for international racing series. The circuit has been on the MotoGP calendar since 2010, while the FIM Superbike World Championship made its debut there last year. The track is also used all year round for testing by many motorsport teams, on two and four wheels.

“Motorland Aragón” is located almost three hours by car to the west of Barcelona, near Alcañiz – a city of 16,000 residents in the autonomous province of Aragón. Alcañiz enjoys a long motorsport tradition: races were regularly held on a street circuit there, the “Circuito Guadalope”, between 1965 and 2003. However, this era came to an end with the building of “Motorland Aragón”. The new facility was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, in cooperation with British architect office Foster and Partners. As well as the racetrack itself, the complex also includes a kart circuit, a technology centre and a leisure centre.

Several circuit variants and two paddocks make “Motorland Aragón” a very versatile facility. The Superbike World Championship races are held on the 5.344-kilometre variant. The track is between 12 and 15 metres wide and the longest straight is almost 1.8 kilometres long. The layout is regarded as being technically extremely demanding. Ultra-quick sections lead into fast, narrow corners, while the circuit also features combinations of turns that demand a flowing riding style. The asphalt offers a lot of grip and is very rough, which can result in tyres wearing faster in high temperatures. The challenge facing the teams is to find the right set-up to cope with all these factors.

There are undulating sections, blind crests and downhill corners, which are reminiscent of Portimão in Portugal. The combination of corners seven and eight is based on the famous “Corkscrew” at Laguna Seca (USA). The key in the flowing sections is to find the right line on which to enter the next corner whilst still exiting the previous turn. Another important spot on the circuit is the final corner: the riders must accelerate early in order to take enough momentum uphill into the start/finish straight, at the end of which awaits one of many overtaking opportunities in the form of a 90-degree left-hander.

At last year’s Superbike World Championship event in Aragón, current BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) claimed pole position, from which he went on to win race one. In the second race he set the fastest lap and finished runner-up behind winner Max Biaggi (ITA).


Lowes aims high at Aragon

BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes is looking to challenge on the podium in this weekend's round seven of the World Supersport Championship at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain. The Briton is third in the overall standings and is looking forward to racing at a circuit where he finished a close second in his rookie season last year.

His teammate, the rookie South African, Mathew Scholtz aims to turn his fortunes around after showing great promise onboard the Bogdanka PTR Honda in his first World Supersport season but failing to finish the last few races.

Bogdanka Honda PTR's Pawel Szkopek will be making his return to action following an early season leg injury with the Pole hoping for a strong weekend after a good race at Aragon last year. The Sunday's race will start at 13:30 CET.

Sam Lowes: "I'm really looking forward to the weekend at a track I love. I have a good feeling after last season at Aragon, where we took a front row start and a close second in the race, so I can't wait to get the weekend started. Misano was upsetting but I take many positives from there and look forward to the weekend."

Mathew Scholtz: "I've been training hard recently and can't wait to get out on track. The last few races haven't gone quite according to the plan so I hope to make up for it this weekend and get a good result on Sunday. Aragon is a circuit that I've rode on a 600 before. I really like it and think it should suit us well, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend."

Pawel Szkopek: "I'm feeling a lot better than three weeks ago at Misano and I can't wait to get back on my Bogdanka Honda PTR bike. I'm still not a 100% but fit enough to ride and on track my leg won't be a problem. Aragon is a circuit that I really like and where I had a very good race last year so I hope to come back with style this weekend."

Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sam has been consistently the fastest rider all year and I am sure he will be at the sharp end challenging for the podium again at Aragon. I know I keep saying this but Mathew does have the speed and ability but needs to maintain focus and finish races to score points and then we will see his true potential shine through."


Honda aims to turn up the heat at Aragon

The Honda World Superbike Team heads for the heat of Spain this weekend (29 June – 1 July) for round eight of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Motorland Aragon.

The 5.344km Aragon circuit lies 300km west of Barcelona and 130km south east of Zaragoza in northern Spain and was used for the first time on the World Superbike calendar in 2011.

Jonathan Rea has enjoyed an unbroken string of eight top six results since race two at Assen in the Netherlands in April – a run which has netted the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland two wins and a further two podiums and propelled him to second place in the championship standings.

However, Rea missed last year’s visit to Aragon and completed just five low-speed laps during an abortive test in January 2011, held in sub-zero conditions. The weather is likely to be dramatically different this weekend, however, with temperatures expected to be in the high 30s.

Rea's Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, visited Aragon during his spell in MotoGP and the Japanese ace is looking forward to combining that knowledge with recent improvements to his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to gain two improved results this weekend.

Jonathan Rea

I’m really excited about Aragon this weekend because it’s new for me and I love the challenge of riding new circuits. I just did a few laps for some photos in really unpleasant conditions in January last year but the layout is really cool and, although I’ve done no laps at race speed, there are a lot of different characteristics and the track is quite fun. We’ll need to make the most of each practice session and gather as much data as we can to build a bike for the hot conditions that we’re expecting on Sunday. As usual, I’ll be trying my hardest to get some good results, and I hope that the improvements we’ve made over the last few weeks will allow us to challenge at the front again.

Hiroshi Aoyama

I had a very fast crash at the Assen test but we felt that we found some development and got a good feeling with the bike, especially with the stability on entering the corner. I hope that we can continue this progress in Spain this weekend. Aragon is a bit like my home race because it is quite close to Barcelona where I live. I have raced there before so I will try my best with my team to make some good races this weekend.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

It’s the first time for Jonathan at this track so we will need a slightly different approach to this weekend at Aragon. We know he can learn a circuit quickly though, so we’re not expecting that to be the story of the weekend. We’re looking forward to it because our recent test at Assen gave us some more improvements and we’re excited about bringing them into a race weekend. For Hiroshi, the Aragon circuit will be a little more familiar, although the GP layout is slightly different. We’ll look to combine his knowledge with some steps forward that we found at the Assen test and get two solid results.


Biaggi aiming for MotorLand Aragon breakaway

Rome (Italy), 26 June 2012 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship came away from its mid-season point at Misano Adriatico with a double win for Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) and now arrives in Spain for the start of the second half: seven rounds and 14 races still remain in the run-in for the 2012 world title battle.

The MotorLand Aragon circuit, 140 kms east of Zaragoza, is the venue for the production-based championship for the second time and the only previous edition last year saw Italians Marco Melandri, at the time on a Yamaha, and Max Biaggi share the glory. For Biaggi it was his first win of the year, but this time the five-time world champion comes to Aragon as points leader and with three wins to his name. The Aprilia rider has led the championship since the opening round in Australia and his double win at Misano, together with some errors by his chief rivals, have given the Roman Emperor a chance to increase his points lead. The RSV4 has already shown it can adapt well to the characteristics of the MotorLand circuit, and the Noale-based team has already tested twice here, once pre-season and then two weeks ago, perfecting the bike set-up for the race.

Biaggi, who celebrates his 41st birthday today, is not yet in a position to break away from the pack because with 350 points still up for grabs anything can happen from here onwards. That is the main objective of 25-year-old Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team), who has moved into the second place slot, 38.5 points behind Biaggi. The talented young Northern Irishman did not take part in 2011 due to an injury he picked up at the previous round but following Misano Rea has also had the chance to further develop his CBR1000RR in two days of testing at Assen.

The Spanish-based Kawasaki Racing Team is gearing up for its home round, with Tom Sykes having carried out three testing sessions in Spain. The Tissot-Superpole specialist (five wins out of seven so far) is 46 points behind Biaggi and will be aiming to repeat his win at Monza, the only one for the ZX-10R this season.

BMW Motorrad Motorsport are looking for a good result again after Misano, where Marco Melandri could only score a DNF and a fourth place, the Italian currently lying 55 points behind his rival Biaggi. The German squad also opted for Aragon as its test-track, and Melandri and team-mate Leon Haslam both put in a lot of laps there last week.

It’s home territory for Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) who has to make up for two crashes at Miller and Misano, which have set him back some 60 points from the top. The reigning world champion knows that he cannot make any errors from this point onwards if he wishes to take a second title for the Ducati team. Last year Checa crashed here while attempting to keep the pace of Melandri and Biaggi, but luckily it had no effect on his triumphant season. A few days ago at Misano, Checa tested the new Ducati 1199 Panigale for the first time, a bike he might end up by racing in the 2013 championship. All eyes will also be on his team-mate Davide Giugliano, who following a podium at Misano returns to the track where he dominated the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup round last year on his way to the title.

In the Manufacturers battle reigning champions Ducati have just a 1.5 point lead over Aprilia, with BMW 25.5 points off the top.

Points (after 7 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 210.5; 2. Rea 172; 3. Sykes 164.5; 4. Melandri 155.5; 5. Checa 150.5; 6. Haslam 123; 7. Guintoli 103; 8. Laverty 95; 9. Giugliano 80; 10. Smrz 75.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 222.5; 2. Aprilia 221; 3. BMW 197; 4. Honda 176; 5. Kawasaki 170.5; 6. Suzuki 56.5.

World Supersport

Misano has also given a definitive shape to the World Supersport mid-sized category with a second win of the year for Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini), who now has a 22-point lead over his closest rival Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda). The Aragon round, which for Supersport is the seventh of 13, could be a decisive one for Sam Lowes, the 22-year-old Brit from the PTR Bogdanka Honda team who is always quick in races but who slipped 30 points down due to a crash at Misano that ruined his third pole position of the year. Sofuoglu, who has already won the title twice, is back on perfect form again following his early season mishaps: his rivals will now have to give twice as much, without making any mistakes, if they want to catch the Turkish champion. It’s a positive moment also for Alex Baldolini, the former Moto2 rider who at Misano gave the Power Team by Suriano its maiden podium and Triumph its first in a couple of years.

Points (after 6 of 13 rounds): 1.Sofuoglu 106; 2. Cluzel 84; 3. Lowes 76; 4. Foret 63; 5. Baldolini 54; 6. Parkes 53; 7. Tamburini 38; 8. Morais 37; 9. Quarmby 34; 10. Iannuzzo 32; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 131; 2. Honda 131; 3. Triumph 67; 4. Yamaha 52; 5. Suzuki 6.

Superstock 1000

Aragon will be the fifth of 10 rounds in the calendar for the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup contenders. Frenchman Sylvain Barrier has taken control at the top again by winning at Misano and thus allowing the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet team to regain ground on Barni Racing Team Italia, which runs the new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Lorenzo Savadori and Eddi La Marra, two youngsters backed by the Italian Federation have not been able to capitalize on home advantage in the three Italian rounds so far and are 11 and 14 points respectively behind the Frenchman. This Italo-German battle could also include the young 18-year-old Markus Reiterberger of the BMW Alpha Racing team, who is yet to get onto the podium.

Points (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Barrier 75; 2. Savadori 64; 3. La Marra 61; 4. Reiterberger 41; 5. Baroni 40; 6. Bergman 33; 7. Baz 30; 8. Massei 30; 9. Guarnoni 26; 10. Coghlan 22; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 84; 2. Ducati 74; 3. Kawasaki 60; 4. Honda 30; 5. Aprilia 15.

Superstock 600

In the Superstock category reserved for under-22s the battle is raging at the top between the 19-year-old Italian Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) and his Dutch rival of the same age Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda Team) who closed the gap with a win at Misano. With six rounds still to go Russo and van der Mark are separated by just two points and it’s all to play for between the two of them. Russo has been limbering up by winning round 4 of the Italian CIV domestic series and is now close to the title, but he’ll have his work cut out to hold off the flying Dutchman. The other podium finishers, Nacho Calero Perez, Gaulthier Duwelz, Bastien Chesaux and Christian Gamarino have all shown potential on occasions, but have failed to string together a series of positive results.

Points (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 81; 2. Vd Mark 79; 3. Calero Perez 50; 4. Duwelz 42; 5. Vitali 33; 6. Gamarino 27; 7. Chesaux 26; 8. Egea 24; 9. Coveña 23; 10. Schacht 18; etc.

KTM European Junior Cup

The Aragon programme will be completed with the fourth round of the European Junior Cup, the one-make trophy reserved for under-19s racing with KTM 690 machines provided directly by the Mattighofen-based manufacturer. Christian Vidal arrives at his home round as leader with 26 points to his name, but not far behind are the two race winners so far, Austrian Lukas Wimmer (Misano) and Poland’s Adrian Pasek who won the opening encounter at Assen. The race at Monza was cancelled due to appalling weather conditions.

Points (after 3 of 8 rounds): 1. Vidal 26; 2. Wimmer 25; 3. Pasek 25; 4. Demoulin 24; 5. Orellana 21; 6. Hartog 20; 7. Wielebski 20; 8. Lewis 19; etc.


ASSEN TESTS PREPARE REA AND AOYAMA FOR SPANISH ROUND

After the previous round of the FIM Superbike World Championship at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) headed to their team's home track of Assen to try out new settings and strategies on their Honda CBR1000RR machinery.

For Rea, now a ten time race winner and 27-time podium finisher in this class, the tests at the classic Dutch circuit were a useful guide to how his overall race package has improved in recent times. Even more useful may have been the advances in the electronics and potential new pathways of overall development the team also tried out without the pressure of a race weekend around them. Rea did not race at Aragon last year because of injury, but he has been around the circuit a few times, in wintry and cold conditions, a couple of years ago.

Rea has won two races this year already and is second overall, 38.5 points behind championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia) at the halfway stage of the season. Aragon begins the second half of the 14-round campaign, which will culminate in France in early October.

Aoyama was unlucky to fall at high speed in the recent Assen test, but declared himself to be much more comfortable on his machine by the end of the test after making changes in set-up. Hiroshi, the 2009 season 250cc Grand Prix World Champion, is expecting to be at full fitness and back to full pace for the Aragon round of the championship, which takes place close to his European base in Barcelona.

The Motorland Aragon circuit is an impressive design, already popular with riders in all classes. It features a wide variety of corners and several elevation changes along its 5.344Km length. It has a slightly different layout of hairpin and final chicane trajectory in SBK guise when compared to that used in the MotoGP championship race. Weather conditions are predicted to be hot for the two 20-lap races on Sunday July 1, with the possibility of temperatures over 40 degrees C to start off race weekend.

Following the Aragon race the next round is at Brno, in the Czech Republic, on Sunday July 22.


THE CLUZEL AND LOWES CHALLENGE HEADS TOWARDS SPAIN

Since the start of the 2012 FIM Supersport World Championship Honda riders have been to the fore as usual and in the most recent rounds the Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) and Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) pairing have been the biggest threat to championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki).

Both Cluzel (at Monza) and Lowes (at Donington) have won races in 2012, but after a no-score from Lowes at the previous San Marino round and a second place for Cluzel, the French rider has moved into second place. Sofuoglu is 22 points ahead of Cluzel, and 30 points ahead of Lowes. With only six rounds of the championship gone and seven remaining, there is very much all to play for, and not only for the current top Honda duo.

Perennial WSS force Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) is sixth in the rankings, but only ten points from a top four placing. A podium at his home race in Australia has been Broc's highlight this season, but his goal from now on is to make more regular podium appearances and move up the championship table.

Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) has impressed so far, having come close to the podium more than once on his way to a seventh place in the championship rankings at mid-season point. Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) has reached the podium step in 2012, in round two at Imola, and now that he knows it is more than possible he is out to finish every race and get into the top five positions more often.

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) and his team-mate Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) sit 16th and 17th in the current rankings, with Imre three points ahead. Toth travelled with the team to test at Aragon last week, to find a solution to some chassis set-up issues that had been affecting the results. The Hungarian rider was happy with the outcome and hopes he and his team-mate will benefit from the test, from the first session of practice until the last corner of the scheduled 18-lap race in Spain.

Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda) has made a speedy transition to the Supersport class, taking two good points scores already and moving himself to 20th place, despite only riding in half the races held so far. Another rider who has not done all the season's events, Valentine Debise (SMS Honda), has slotted into 22nd place after only four rounds.

Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) and Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) hope to make up ground they have lost in recent rounds, with Jessopp still suffering from the lingering effects of a collarbone injury. Polish rider Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka Honda PTR) hopes to be fit enough to race for real at Aragon on Sunday, having tried bravely but unsuccessfully to do so at the previous round.

HONDA RIDER COMMENTS

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):

"I have never raced at Aragon before, but I was fortunate enough to get only a few laps of testing in at the start of the 2011 season. But the weather was not good enough to even make a half-day test. While it is exciting to go to a new track and my motivation is high, we have to be realistic. In the first sessions we will have to will be gathering a lot of information and working towards the race. I know the track looks pretty fun to ride and it seems a good layout. I am looking forward to the challenge. It is supposed to be very hot at the start of the weekend and that will be crucial to tyres over race distance. I will be back in the sauna tonight to get myself ready!"

Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team):

"This track is very close to my house in Barcelona so it is like a home race. I am happy to go there. I know the track, but in Superbike they use a slightly different layout, a little bit different, but most of it I know. Also I had a positive test recently in Assen. I felt a bit more comfortable on the bike and we found the way to work. I had a little crash, but physically I am OK. I went back to Barcelona and I have been training and preparing to the race so I am very much looking forward to doing my first laps there on the CBR1000RR. It will be hot at Aragon, but I am used to it now, so I am looking forward to this weekend."

Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda):

"I raced at Aragon in Moto2 for two years and I think the circuit is long with fast corners, big downhill and big uphill sections. I really like it. The last three corners are different from the Moto2 circuit, but I will learn quickly. I want to continue my recent form and stay on the podium - that would be good for the Championship. I also want to try to improve a little bit and catch Sofuoglu. At the Silverstone test we did recently we learnt more about tyres and it was good to be riding my bike, that always helps."

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda):

"I'm really looking forward to the weekend at a track I love. I have a good feeling after last season at Aragon, where we took a front row start and a close second in the race, so I can't wait to get the weekend started. Misano's result was upsetting, but I take many positives from there and look forward to the weekend."

Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda):

"I was a little bit sick in Misano and at our recent test at Assen and it took me about a week to get better, but now I am back on track. I think at the test we improved a lot, and we tried things at the test that we have not been able to on race weekends. I am confident we have improved the bike as a package, especially on the electronics side. I hope we have a strong enough engine for Aragon as it is such a big open track, but I am confident we have made some big improvements on suspension and electronics side on the bike. I am not where I am in the championship but we are going to keep going and keep going for podiums to the end of the championship."

Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda):

"I was enjoying a really positive event at Misano right up until the race and then I crashed out while challenging inside the top ten. My PTR Honda is brilliant, I feel absolutely great and I cannot wait to get to Aragon and racing again. I want to get a good haul of points this weekend and think the circuit will suit my bike and riding style well."

Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda):

"We had some problems with the chassis set-up this year and especially during races, so it was good to go and test at Aragon recently. We lost one day because of the rain, but on the second day it was good and we made progress. For the second half of the season we hope to finish inside the top ten in all the races. That was our plan from the beginning of the year, but we have had some technical problems in some events. Maybe at certain circuits, or if there is rain or other difficult conditions, we can do better than that."

Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda):

"I've been training hard recently and can't wait to get out on track. The last few races haven't gone quite according to the plan so I hope to make up for it this weekend and get a good result on Sunday. Aragon is a circuit that I've ridden on a 600 before. I really like it and think it should suit us well, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend."

Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda):

"My collarbone is getting there, but it is not as far along as I had hoped. I have an old MX injury that is confusing matters with a bit of nerve damage so we are not sure where the problem is. The good news is that I am in much better shape than I was at Misano and not anticipating issues riding the bike. I have only raced Aragon on the Playstation before, but it is due to be a hot, hard, long race and I think that will favour my fitness over some of the other riders."

Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka Honda PTR)

"I'm feeling a lot better than three weeks ago at Misano and I can't wait to get back on my Bogdanka Honda PTR bike. I'm still not 100%, but fit enough to ride and on track my leg won't be a problem. Aragon is a circuit that I really like and where I had a very good race last year so I hope to come back with style this weekend."


FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI READY FOR ARAGON WSB

Team Suzuki Press Office - June 27.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki is heading to the Motorland Aragon circuit for the eighth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship with renewed vigour following positive tests at the Spanish circuit last week.

Leon Camier and John Hopkins completed a day of thorough testing on their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000s - after the first day was hampered by inclement weather. The whole team will now be looking to kick-start the season, as the second-half of the calendar gets underway following a mid-season break. Camier already has plans on new ideas for the weekend, after he and his crew assessed the data from the test and found some important pointers. While team-mate Hopkins will be racing at Aragon for the first time, the test gave him an insight into what to expect at the 5,344m circuit and is keen to get back on track with an increased confidence and an improved state of fitness.

The Motorland Aragon circuit is situated approximately 120kms from Zaragoza and is one of the newest tracks on any race calendar. It is an ultra-modern facility which has its roots firmly established in a solid history of street racing in the nearest town of Alcaniz - which hosted road-race events between 1963 and 2003. The eni FIM World Superbike Championship uses the 5,344m variant of the circuit, which has a very long straight of almost 1.8 kilometres. The layout is technically demanding with 17 turns throughout its anti-clockwise rotation, with ultra-quick sections leading into fast, narrow corners and a combination of turns that suit a flowing riding style. The circuit features undulating sections, blind crests and downhill corners. The Motorland Aragon circuit is certainly a very challenging track for riders, machines and tyres alike, but also one that looks like providing plenty of entertainment for the fans.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki takes to the track on Friday morning for the first free practice session, before qualifying gets underway in the afternoon, when both Camier and Hopkins will be aiming to secure their positions in Saturday's Superpole. Sunday's two races make up round eight of this season's Championship, with the first event getting underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"We definitely left Aragon last week with a lot of info and data and we'll start the race weekend trying some ideas based on what we found. I don't think we're far from where we want to be at all, but the competition is so tough these days and the smallest of differences can be crucial. Firstly we have to qualify well and if we can do that, I feel that we can run with the leaders. Aragon is a tough circuit, but enjoyable to ride as long as you have a good bike set-up. So far, our FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R's base setting has been pretty good, so we'll start working from that position, hopefully be more competitive in Superpole and get a good grid position."

John Hopkins:

"After the tests in Aragon last week, I stayed in Spain and spent some time near Barcelona. It was great to finally catch up with some good weather, have some rest and do some training. I swam every day and find it one of the best forms of training for me. At the Aragon tests, we found a much better base setting for my FIXI Crescent Suzuki and, most importantly, made some big steps rebuilding my confidence. I really enjoyed riding the Aragon circuit and I'm looking forward to going there again, with the mindset of turning my poor first half of the season into a strong and positive second half."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"Losing a day to the weather in the tests last week was a bit of a shame, but I'm very happy with all the hard work Leon, John and the team put in. It was good to see John getting more and more confident and I think he'll be back to his old self again this weekend. Our main focus this weekend is for our riders to qualify in the positions where they should be - on the front two rows of the grid. If they can do that, I am confident they can compete with the front runners."


WSBK Aragon – Team Italia FMI heads to Spain to resume its title chase in the Stock

The Stock championship reaches its fifth meeting of the season: La Marra and Savadori chase Barrier in the Stk1000, Russo wants to defend his leadership with the help of Vitali in the European Stk600.

Aragon marks the midway point for both championships: until now, Team Italia FMI showed its capacity to fight for both titles but the tough competition calls for great effort and concentration in each race.

In the Superstock1000 FIM Cup, Eddi La Marra and Lorenzo Savadori want to redeem theMisano race where they both fell off the podium despite good qualifiers and an early lead: yet another red flag mixed things around and the ITalian riders closed in fourth (La Marra) and fifth (Savadori) position.

The Barni Racing Team Italia duo, riding a Ducati 1199 Panigale, head to Spain eager to cut the gap with Barrier. Savadori, the Monza winner, trails by 11 points while La Marra seized the podium three times (third in Imola, Assen and Monza) before Misano, and is third in the standings, three points behind his teammate and 14 behind Barrier.

In the UEM European Championship Superstock600, Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#84) wants his payback against Van der Mark, who pipped him during the last lap in Misano for the victory. The Dutchman now trails by only two points (Russo 81, V. d. Mark 79).

Russo, who dominated the CIV round in Mugello last week-end, wants to pull away from his rival. To this end, he can count on his teammate Luca Vitali (Team Italia FMI Yamaha#70), who came back to top form after a hesitant start and showed he can fight at the top.

"We head to Spain with confidence – said Cristiano Migliorati (FMI Technical Coordinator) – We want to redeem Misano, where we couldn't achieve a victory. We still collected important points at home: now there will be a few races that are more favorable to our opponents, but our riders showed they can challenge anyone, anywhere. We are just half-way through the championship, but we can't afford to make any mistakes from now on."


THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM SET FOR CARLOS CHECA’S HOME SBK RACES AT MOTORLAND ARAGON

Aragon (Spain), Wednesday 27th June 2012: Having just participated in World Ducati Week at the Misano World Circuit, a four-day event which came to a close on Sunday, the Althea Racing team and riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano now turns its attention to round eight of the 2012 World Superbike Championship, taking place at Checa’s home track of MotorLand Aragon in Spain.

At the latest Misano round, which took place over two weeks ago, the team celebrated a double podium in race 1 when Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano crossed the line in second and third place respectively, both having put on an impressive show in front of the Italian crowds; unfortunately the success was not to continue, with both riders crashing out of the second race.

The MotorLand Aragon circuit, new to the SBK calendar last season, has already proved to be a happy hunting ground for Giugliano who won his Stock 1000 race in 2011. That same weekend saw Checa score a podium finish in SBK race 2, third, after crashing out as a result of a highside in race 1.

After seven of fourteen rounds, Carlos Checa lies in fifth position in the general standings with 150.5 points, while Davide is ninth with 80 points. Ducati leads the manufacturer’s championship with 222.5 points to Aprilia’s 221.

Carlos Checa:

“We had chance during WDW to work a little on the settings of my 1198 to be as prepared for this weekend’s Aragon races as possible. It’s always good to race at home and I hope that the fans’ enthusiasm help me to make two great results. Last year didn’t go to plan here and so, although it won’t be at all easy, I hope to make up for that now at this important point of the championship.”

Checa’s Superbike form at Aragon:

2011: Race 1- DNF, Race 2 – 3rd

Davide Giugliano:

“I enjoyed racing at Aragon last year when I won the Stock 1000 race, and I hope to make two more solid races this weekend with the Superbike. I like the track, though there’s a long straight that will penalize us. We carried out some testing during WDW, in hot conditions similar to what we’ll probably see in Aragon, and so I think I’m pretty prepared for the race.”


Honda SBK - Aragon video preview

Following the last round at Misano, the 2012 World Superbike championship has reached the halfway stage and regroups for round eight at a blisteringly hot Motorland Aragon in Spain.

Honda World Superbike Team riders, Hiroshi Aoyama and Jonathan Rea, approach the weekend's racing from two slightly different points of view.

For Aoyama, it's a return to a circuit he raced at during his spell in MotoGP. For Jonathan Rea, however, it's a new circuit, the Northern Irishman having missed last year's visit through injury.

Both riders talk from the Aragon paddock in temperatures above 40°C and describe their feelings ahead of free practice on Friday morning.

2012

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