Press releases from the WSBK and WSS teams after the first day of practice at Aragon:
Provisional second for Cluzel in Spain
PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel is second on the provisional grid for Sunday's seventh round of the World Supersport Championship at Aragon in Spain - just behind his Bogdanka PTR Honda stable mate Sam Lowes.
Ronan Quarmby on his PTR Honda crashed unhurt and in 14th place is not showing his real potential. Riders PTR Honda's Martin Jessopp recorded his fastest lap right at the end of the day and is 23rd on his first visit to the track.
There is another practice and then qualifying session tomorrow before the race takes place on Sunday, July 1st at 1330 CET.
Jules: "In the morning I had some problems getting a good pace and we tried different things. We needed to understand where we lose and improve our speed and we achieved that in the morning. That allowed us to make a big improvement with my PTR Honda for the afternoon. I think also I was riding better than in the morning. We worked a lot in the afternoon and did not focus on a qualifying lap; we have a lot of soft tyres for tomorrow. I am happy, I feel can go much faster. "
Ronan: "I crashed in qualifying which was a disappointment. Sam let me try to follow him for a bit but when I came just before the back straight, the tyre let go and drifted for a bit and then flung me in the air. Luckily I am fine with a swollen elbow and looking forward to working on the set up for tomorrow and climbing up the grid."
Martin: "Aragon is a hard track to learn, one of the hardest in my opinion. It has not gone as well as I wanted it to; I'd like to be in the 2min 5secs bracket but it didn't go our way. I suffer from mild asthma and I've been struggling with my breathing a bit. We have a few things to try to close the gap tomorrow so we are OK. My collarbone is nothing like last round and there are only a couple of places I really feel it. It is warm - it is lying down on the beach weather!"
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "It's been a good first day for Jules. He made a step up between sessions and there are more improvements from him and the bike to come. Ronan was going well and then had a crash and lost a lot of the session - he'll be OK and we will sort the bike for him. Martin is learning the track and we expect him to improve - it is good he is going faster each session."
Chaz Davies and ParkinGO: First day in Aragon, already on the heat.
Aragon 29th June 2012
Hot day as for temperatures and lap times, already very low from first qualifying.
After looking for the right set up during the morning free practice, Chaz Davies has finished on a provisional 8th position on the grid. The ParkinGO MTC Racing rider, with his Aprilia RSV4, has been able to get in top ten having still space to improve.
Tomorrow is scheduled to do a long run that will give some answers to the setting chosen by team and rider.
Alberto Colombo "Il Moro" chief mechanic Chaz Davies.
We are quite satisfied for one of the best fridays we had so far. From one side the heat has been annoying us but from the other side we are getting the answers of the test done here last week. Two complete days better than one would have been better but we are happy anyway.
Tomorrow we will try to verify, with a long run, if we have the right pace for Superpole.
Nevertheless feeling and confidence are really high and Chaz feels he can still improve; top 5 is quite close.
Tough day in Spanish sun
Jonathan Rea finished 14th fastest in today’s opening qualifying session for round eight of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Motorland Aragon in Spain. His Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, was 18th quickest as Italian Marco Melandri led the way to provisional pole position.
With the track surface nudging 60°C and air temperatures close to 40, it was hot work for all riders as Rea, who missed the inaugural race here last season, set about learning the undulating 5.344km Aragon circuit.
The 25-year-old was happy enough with progress in this morning’s free practice session but a technical problem limited his qualifying this afternoon to just eight laps. With the new-for-2012 one-bike rule in force, Rea spent much of the session able to do nothing more than watch his rivals.
For Aoyama, a combination of set-up issues restricted his progress, but the 30-year-old Japanese is confident of an improvement in tomorrow morning’s second qualifying session, which will determine the top 16 riders who progress to Superpole.
Jonathan Rea – P14 2m00.617s
It’s been quite a difficult day and, to be honest, I didn’t really have a clue where I was going this morning, so I felt a bit like a novice. I was up to speed this afternoon, though, and was comfortable hovering inside the top ten when I felt something not quite right with the bike and came straight back to the box. The one-bike rule really hurt us today – just when I needed to be doing some laps. There was about half an hour of the session left, so I used the time to go and watch some of the other guys out on track. I need all the information I can get because the guys really got no useful data from last year’s visit here – even the gearing was out. Two seconds is a lot to find but you can get half a second just through a bit of confidence, so it’s not all gloom and doom. There’s light at the end of this particular tunnel and we’ve got all day tomorrow to learn some more and try to improve our position for Sunday.< /p>
Hiroshi Aoyama – P18, 2m01.827s
I had quite a good feeling in the first session and I was quite confident that I could improve this afternoon. But in that qualifying session it was very strange that many things didn’t work. I could not stop the bike, I could not turn the bike and also I could not open the throttle when I wanted. So it wasn’t good. It seemed like the electronics were upsetting the braking a little, so maybe we need to adjust. I don’t know whether the higher temperatures this afternoon had an effect but it was definitely a little bit too much. It’s clear where the problem is and I think the guys can adjust for tomorrow.
Melandri the top man on the opening day
Motorland Aragon (Spain), June 29, 2012 - Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took the fastest time in the first qualifying session of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship weekend at MotorLand Aragon in Spain. He overtook this morning’s free practice fastest man Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) who finished up second, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) third. Eugene Laverty, Biaggi’s team-mate, was fourth quickest with an improving Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) fifth.
A good day for the German manufacturer saw BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet riders Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio go sixth and seventh respectively. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) completed the provisional second row in eighth.
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) rode his way to ninth in a hot qualifying session, with Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) the first Ducati rider home on day one, tenth. Checa’s team-mate Davide Giugliano secured 11th place, with Camier’s team-mate John Hopkins 12th. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was 14th in his first visit to the MotorLand Aragon racetrack for a race weekend.
One more qualifying session and then Tissot-Superpole will take place tomorrow to determine the final grid places for Sunday’s races.
Times: 1. Melandri (BMW) 1'58.608 average 162.202 kph; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'58.973; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'59.123; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'59.263; 5. Haslam (BMW) 1'59.396; 6. Badovini (BMW) 1'59.751; 7. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'59.770; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 2'00.146; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 2'00.147; 10. Checa (Ducati) 2'00.401; 11. Giugliano (Ducati) 2'00.514; 12. Hopkins (Suzuki) 2'00.570; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 2'00.615; 14. Rea (Honda) 2'00.617; 15. Guintoli (Ducati) 2'00.640; 16. Baz (Kawasaki) 2'00.690; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) secured the provisional pole starting spot by putting over half a second between himself and second place rider Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) in the first qualifying session at Aragon. The Kawasaki Intermoto Step machine of former champion Fabien Foret was a late third in the rankings at the end of day one, with Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Parts Honda) fourth.
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) and Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) completed the top six with a great effort from Jed Metcher (Rivamoto Junior Team Yamaha) taking him seventh ahead of another 2012 WSS rookie, Joshua Day (Team GO ELEVEN Kawasaki).
Times: 1. Lowes (Honda) 2'03.067 average 156.325 kph; 2. Cluzel (Honda) 2'03.635; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'03.771; 4. Parkes (Honda) 2'03.955; 5. Morais (Kawasaki) 2'04.385; 6. Tamburini (Honda) 2'04.411; 7. Metcher (Yamaha) 2'04.516; 8. Day (Kawasaki) 2'04.838; etc.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) set the fastest time of the first day, just ahead of his own team-mate Lorenzo Baroni in second. Markus Reiterberger (Team Alpha Racing BMW) posted third, making it a clean sweep for S 1000 RR machines in the early exchanges.
Two Kawasaki riders followed closely behind today, Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS) and Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini). Fabio Massei (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) secured sixth place, with the top ranked Ducati Panigale rider Lorenzo Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia) in seventh. One more qualifying session remains, on Saturday.
Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 2'02.741 average 156.740 kph; 2. Baroni (BMW) 2'02.833; 3. Reiterberger (BMW) 2'03.230; 4. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2'03.508; 5. Staring (Kawasaki) 2'03.870; 6. Massei (Honda) 2'03.984; 7. Savadori (Ducati) 2'04.492; 8. Coghlan (Ducati) 2'04.533; etc.
Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) took the provisional pole position in the Superstock 600 European Championship class today, followed by another top championship contender, Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda). Gauthier Duwelz (Team MTM Racing Yamaha) and his team-mate Adrian Nestorovic were third and fourth fastest.
Another pair of team-mates, Tony Covena and Christian Gamarino, from the GO ELEVEN Kawasaki team, finished fifth and sixth in the heat at Motorland, with one more qualifying session left to run tomorrow before the race itself takes place on Saturday afternoon.
Times: 1. Russo (Yamaha) 2'06.129 average 152.530 kph; 2. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'06.492; 3. Duwelz (Yamaha) 2'06.635; 4. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 2'06.782; 5. Coveña (Kawasaki) 2'07.189; 6. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 2'07.605; 7. Suchet (Honda) 2'07.790; 8. Ponsson (Kawasaki) 2'07.812; etc.
KTM European Junior Cup
Lukas Wimmer was clearly the fastest man in the first practice session for the European Junior Cup, the Austrian heading up local Spanish riders Christian Vidal and Javier Orellana.
Giuseppe Scarcella, from Australia, was fourth. Gaston Garcia rode to fifth and Federico Fazzini from Italy rounded out the top six in a session with 23 competing riders.
Times: 1. Wimmer (KTM) 2'19.907 average 137.508 kph; 2. Vidal (KTM) 2'20.475; 3. Orellana (KTM) 2'20.555; 4. Scarcella (KTM) 2'20.840; 5. Garcia (KTM) 2'21.272; 6. Fazzina (KTM) 2'21.313; 7. Lewis (KTM) 2'22.924; 8. Demoulin (KTM) 2'23.139; etc.
CHECA AND GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) BATTLE THE HEAT TODAY AT MOTORLAND ARAGON
Aragon (Spain), Friday 29th June 2012: The Althea Racing team today concluded the first qualifying session of the eighth round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship, taking place this weekend at the Spanish track of MotorLand Aragon. Riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano closed first qualifying in tenth and eleventh position respectively.
In the first practice session, Checa, competing at what is his home track this weekend, got straight to work on what was already a hot track (49˚C) but, perhaps due to the high temperatures, or a change in track conditions since last year’s event, he had difficulty finding the right sensation with the front of the bike. His fastest lap was a 2m00.0, recorded in the early stages of the session which put him in ninth position at the end of the session. The session of his team-mate, Davide Giugliano was conditioned by a lack of rear grip which prevented him from pushing as he wanted to. He made a fastest time of 1m02.3 which positioned him 20th at the end of the session.
Later in the afternoon, in even warmer conditions (air temperature 39˚C, track 60˚C), Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano returned to the track, ready for first official qualifying. In the first phase of the session it looked like the problems of the morning were set to continue, with both riders experiencing a lack of grip that was causing problems especially thought the corners. Carlos’ session was also briefly interrupted when a bee flew into his leathers and stung him. Despite these issues, both riders were able to make some improvement in the final minutes, closing the session with the tenth (Carlos) and eleventh (Davide) fastest times.
Today was nevertheless a special day for Carlos Checa, as the management of the MotorLand circuit of Aragon has decided to dedicate Turn 3 of the track to the Catalan rider, meaning that from now on Turn 3 will be officially known as the “Carlos Checa corner”. A great honour for the Althea rider who goes down in the motorcycle history books once more.
“Today we had some difficulty and the times didn’t come. Losing so much on the straightway means that we need to make up as much as possible in the corners but this is difficult in these conditions where I didn’t have the necessary rear grip. It seems strange that we are losing so much to the others. I know we didn’t test here as many others have done but we have the same bike as last year and those references. Maybe today it’s hotter than last year or maybe the track has changed, I don’t know but I hope we can find something tomorrow.”
“Today’s conditions were really extreme and as a result I unfortunately wasn’t able to ride as I wanted to. I had trouble braking and the bike was moving around a lot, I don’t have a good feeling, especially at the front of the bike. Towards the end of the session I was able to make a small step forward but I hope to get back on the right path tomorrow, it would be useful if the temperatures came down a little too.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Aragón - Qualifying Practice 1
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport secured provisional pole position for the eighth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) set the fastest time in today’s first qualifying practice at Motorland Aragòn (ESP). His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) qualified fifth which puts him on the provisional second row. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team’s Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio (both ITA) finished the session in sixth and seventh, thus four BMW S 1000 RRs are on the first two rows. It was a hot start to the second half of the 2012 season with air temperatures near 40 degrees Celsius and track temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius making the day a challenge for riders, crews and bikes.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:59.576 min (P5)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:58.608 min (P1)
“Every day is a new day but it is always important to start with a good pace. The bike is working very well here and we can focus on our target which is to get a good race rhythm so I am confident. Today it was very hot and we have never ridden in these conditions. We struggled with the consistency at the front of the bike. The lap times were really good, but after two laps the front tyre had already become unstable so I think that it will be difficult for everybody, because on this track with long braking in a leaning position the front is under a lot of stress. With these temperatures the race is going to be tough physically. Maybe it is going to be little bit cooler on Sunday, but it is okay. It is the same for everybody and I have trained very well on my fitness.”
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:59.718 min (P8)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:59.369 min (P5)
“Today we were just doing our normal work. The pace is not too bad. We started off here as we finished at the test last week and the lap times were okay, even in the hotter conditions. We are getting closer but we just need to keep working. Today we were focusing on race set-up and the race tyre which I think is going to be the key for Sunday, especially in conditions like this. We had a few issues in the afternoon when we were struggling with the rear. Today was certainly very hot which changes the bike quite a lot. Obviously the tyres are a big factor in the heat. The tyre we would normally use doesn’t seem to be ideal for hotter conditions so we have to try to make the softer tyres work and last.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“For sure we are happy with today’s result. It was a good start to the weekend but we must remember that it is only the first day. We could see that all the guys who tested here last week were in the top ten so we expect the others to come further up the grid tomorrow. Marco started this morning with a slightly different set-up to last week’s test. He and his crew have made some adjustments and Marco improved in the afternoon, but there is room for improvement at the front end. Leon’s lap time was not so far away from Marco’s, but he was not yet happy with how the bike feels. There are a few areas on the chassis and electronics set-up we have to work on but we are confident that tomorrow both of our riders can take a step forward.”
Parkes confident at hot Aragon
Broc Parkes took a provisional front row position in this afternoon’s opening qualifying session for round eight of the 2012 World Supersport championship at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
The Australian rider had earlier dominated the first free practice session at the 5.344km Aragon circuit, finishing more than half a second ahead of fellow Honda CBR600RR rider Sam Lowes.
It was Lowes who topped the timing sheets in the afternoon session, conducted in temperatures approaching 40°C, followed by Jules Cluzel on another CBR and Fabien Foret, with Parkes rounding out the front row.
Broc Parkes – P4, 2m03.955s
Everything felt really good in the first practice this morning so we continued with the tyres that we finished on. We change the bike and little and, to be honest, I went into turn seven a little bit too fast and lost the front. I held it on my knee for quite a while but ended up going down. It took quite a while to get the bike fixed so I went back out we didn’t bother putting in softer tyres, so just stayed on the harder ones. We’re pretty happy to be fourth, really, and the bike changed quite a bit in the hotter conditions this afternoon. We’ll be aware of that tomorrow and try to keep it better for the heat. We were still a second and a half off our best time from this morning so for sure there’s some room to improve and get back up there or thereabouts.
Lowes fastest in Aragon scorcher
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes started the seventh round of the World Supersport Championship by taking provisional pole position in Friday's opening qualifying session in the scorching heat at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.
Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda also had an impressive start to the weekend, eventually going 11th fastest in the first qualifying practice and targeting more progress on one of the few tracks he's familiar with during his World Supersport rookie season.
Bogdanka Honda PTR's Pawel Szkopek made a welcome return to action following his early season leg injury. The Polish rider finished the opening day at Aragon in 25th with the second qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday at 13:30 CET.
Sam Lowes: "It was a really good day for us. The team has made quite a few changes from this morning to the afternoon and with the track being a lot hotter in the qualifying, everyone's laptimes were a bit down, but I managed to match my time from this morning. I think this shows that we've made big progress with the bike and I think we'll be alright this weekend. I'll be doing some longer runs tomorrow morning, checking our race pace and then I want to go a bit faster in the second qualifying to keep pole position. I'm enjoying the track and looking forward to going out there again."
Mathew Scholtz: "I've finished the opening day in eleventh position which I'm very happy with. Aragon is one of the tracks that I've been to before so I was pretty confident that we could come here and have a good race. So far things seem to be going well and hopefully tomorrow we can push to get inside the top ten in the second qualifying."
Pawel Szkopek: "I took it steady today making one step at a time and getting more comfortable on the bike with each lap. It's been three months since my injury which was a longer period without riding than in the off-season, so I need some time to get back in the groove, but on the bike I feel fine. I'm losing some time in three corners and I need to improve my riding, which we'll be working on tomorrow, but I'm confident we can sort that out and have a good race."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Even though the track temperature was significantly higher than this morning, Sam had a good run of fast laps and his Bogdanka PTR Honda is working well. Sam is happy and looking to improve tomorrow. Mathew had a great first day and keeps getting better - 11th is an excellent position. I believe he can improve from there and has the potential to be higher in second qualifying tomorrow."
SOLID 1ST DAY FOR FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office - June 29.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Leon Camier and John Hopkins had a profitable first day at the eighth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Aragon in Spain today.
Camier and Hopkins are comfortably within the provisional top-16 for tomorrow's Superpole after they recorded the ninth and 12th quickest times respectively during this afternoon's first qualifying session. Camier recorded a best time of 2'00.147 from his 12-laps around the 5,344m Motorland Aragon circuit. Hopkins (2'00.570) saved his best till last as he posted his quickest time on his 11th - and final - lap of the afternoon onboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000. Camier and Hopkins produced one of their strongest joint first days of the season so far today. This is especially encouraging for the team as it's the first visit Hopkins has made to Aragon for a race weekend and also that both riders are confident there is more to come as the weekend progresses.
Today's practice and qualifying were held in very hot conditions as air temperatures reached 37°C and the track surface hit 60°C at its peak during this afternoon's session. Marco Melandri took provisional Pole Position this afternoon on a BMW with current World Championship leader Max Biaggi on an Aprilia in second.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will have a final qualifying session of 45-minutes tomorrow morning when Camier and Hopkins will be aiming to cement their positions in the final-16 shoot-out for the afternoon Superpole. Their goal will be to secure the best grid places for Sunday's two races, the first of which gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).
"I would've been higher up the grid if it wasn't for a little mistake on my fast lap. Coming out of the last turn, I ran a bit wide and went onto the grass and lost time. I'm sure I would've easily got my FIXI Crescent Suzuki into the 1:59s otherwise. This is the kind of track where you need to be smooth and flowing, but sometimes I was a bit too aggressive and so the lap times didn't come. We tried quite a few different settings today and I'm confident that there's room for improvement tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that."
"The high track temperatures affected us adversely, because normally we can make up time on the others on our speed into the turns and in the turns themselves. But when the track is so hot, the tyres limit what can be done and make it the same for everybody and so the advantage is lost. I had a little fall this morning, at the slowest corner on the circuit, but picked the bike up and rode it back to the pits undamaged. I only saw this track for the first time last week and although it is a bit of a challenge, I really like it. There's more to come from me and the GSX-R tomorrow and the cooler it is, the better we'll go."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I think that today was not a bad day for us. Both riders finished comfortably in the top 12 and I'm sure they'll be quicker tomorrow. This morning Leon showed good pace and was only 0.8 seconds off the fastest time. He was also quicker than he was in last week's tests. John was also running very well in the morning free practice and was fourth fastest for a while, but a small fall cost him time. Otherwise he probably would've finished in the top six. We're ahead of all the Ducatis and the factory Hondas and hopefully tomorrow we'll see more improvement and a decent and positive qualifying."