2014 Aragon World Superbike Sunday Post-Race Press Releases
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after Sunday's races at Aragon:
Sykes wins his first race of the season
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 13 April 2014 - The opening race at MotorLand Aragon has been won by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) after a masterful of performance the reigning World Champion.
Sykes, who led from turn one was never headed, coming home seconds ahead of Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) completing the podium. Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) crashed during the final lap whilst in second place, but the Italian rider was able to rejoin, eventually crossing the line in eighth place.
Other factory Ducati rider Chaz Davies was fourth ahead of Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia).
Twelfth place Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) was the EVO Category best classified after a thrilling 17 lap race left the crowd enthralled in the Spanish sun, just ahead of local rider and other EVO entrant David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Guintoli still leads the standings, but he is now tied up in points with Baz, whilst Sykes is just one point shy of the French duo.
Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 17 Laps/90.848 km in 33'38.583 average 162.021 kph; 2. Baz (Kawasaki) 4.275; 3. Rea (Honda) 8.418; 4. Davies (Ducati) 15.715; 5. Laverty (Suzuki) 19.305; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 21.998; 7. Elias (Aprilia) 24.018; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 27.894; 9. Haslam (Honda) 29.077; 10. Lowes (Suzuki) 29.863; 11. Melandri (Aprilia) 34.820; 12. Camier (BMW) 35.255; 13. Salom (Kawasaki) 43.975; 14. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 46.721; 15. Morais (Kawasaki) 56.619; 16. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'16.469; 17. Yates (EBR) 1'35.047; 18. Toth (BMW) 1'48.427; 19. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'51.222; 20. Sebestyen (BMW) 2'01.152; RT. Fabrizio (Kawasaki); RT. Canepa (Ducati); RT. May (EBR); RT. Corti (MV Agusta); RT. Foret (Kawasaki); EX. Badovini (Bimota) 43.934; EX. Iddon (Bimota) 58.222.
Sykes leaves Spain with Championship lead
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 13 April 2014 - The second race of the day at MotorLand Aragon was a carbon copy of race 1, with Kawasaki Racing Team riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz dominating in the Spanish sun.
Baz who had been unable to stick with his team mate in the opening race looked a lot more comfortable this afternoon as did Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) who was incredibly fast at the end of the race, closing down the two green machines rapidly to put himself in the hunt for the victory.
In a spectacular final three laps the three riders exchanged places a number of times with the deciding move coming at the final hairpin at the Aprilia of Melandri went wide allowing Sykes and Baz to claim a 1-2 finish for the second time today. Melandri finished 3rd .
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was 4th, with race one podium finisher Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) completing the top 6.
Race 1 EVO best classified Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was involved in a race long dual with Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa and local rider David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team). In the end Salom took the EVO honours after a last lap mistake from the BMW rider dropped him to 12th overall, handing the category victory to the local rider ahead of Canepa.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), Claudio Corti (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) all fell without injury.
AFTER A FIRST RACE CONDITIONED ENTIRELY BY TYRE PERFORMANCE, MELANDRI IS PROTAGONIST IN RACE 2.
COMING BACK PLACE BY PLACE, HE FIGHTS FOR THE WIN DOWN TO THE LAST LAP AND IN THE FINAL RUN FOR IT FINISHES THIRD.
TWO PLACINGS (6th IN RACE 1 AND 4th IN RACE 2) KEEP GUINTOLI IN THE TOP PART OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS.
Alcaniz (Spain), 13 April 2014 – Race Sunday did not get off to the best of starts for Aprilia Racing in the second World SBK round on the Spanish Aragon track.
In the first race, hindered by a sudden drop in tyre performance, Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli progressively lost contact with the leading pack and were forced to run a brave, albeit defensive race. After a good start the Aprilia standard bearers gradually lost positions and although Guintoli managed to finish in 6th place, Melandri dropped down to 11th.
The change in race times (10:30 AM for the first race), introduced for the first time during this championship round, had a profound impact on the performance of the tyres mounted on the RSV4 (the reigning Manufacturer World champion bike).
But the rider from Ravenna demonstrated the stuff of a champion and with support from the entire team he proved his character. In Race 2, with more normal temperature conditions, Melandri and his Aprilia came back into the best pace. Starting from the seventh spot on the grid, Marco began a series of battles with the riders ahead of him, leaving Guintoli, Davies, Giugliano and Rea in his exhaust, taking position after position until, four laps from the end, catching up Sykes and Baz, the pair of which had led the entire race, keeping all their adversaries at bay. With a spectacular move Melandri overtook for second place with just over 2 laps to go. But for a rider of Melandri's calibre, and after such a spectacular comeback, setting his sights on the win is a must. Marco mounted his attack in the last lap. Trying to stay glued to Sykes' wheel and at the end of the last straight stretch he carried out a braking move as spectacular as it was impossible but he went too wide and wound up in third place, finishing the race in that order.
He rode a brilliant race, truly the performance of a key player in a world championship which has only just begun and promises to be exceptionally uncertain. The test of character that Melandri and his RSV4 demonstrated on the track christens this all-Italian duo as definite hopefuls for the title.
Guintoli takes home 21 points from the first European round, reconfirming his extreme consistency and the fact that anyone who wants one of the top spots in the championship standings will have to reckon with the strong French rider.
Marco Melandri: “It's a shame that we basically wasted Race 1. From the very first laps I was struggling and wasn't able to keep my pace. In the second race we made some changes with the team and the bike was working much better. I only lost a bit of time in the first part of the race. I had a little trouble braking going into turns but lap by lap I gained confidence until catching up the front runners. I overtook Baz and at that point, with the win within a shout, my DNA pushed me to make a go of it even if maybe I was a little too far behind Sykes. Unfortunately I went wide and finished third, but I had to prove that I could win and I will take that confidence with me to Assen to get my first win of the season.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “Race 2 definitely went a lot better. Besides the result I was able to ride more confidently whereas in Race 1 we were just trying to take home as many points as we could manage. In Race 2 when Marco overtook me I tried to follow him and catch up the front runners but I lost the front end twice, so I decided just to maintain my pace. The improvements between the two races were clear. At one point my times were in line with the leaders but I was too far back by then to be able to catch them up. We need to figure out how the low temperatures in the first race had such an impact on our performance. With the new race times making the RSV4 perform as best as possible even with low temperatures will be important.”
A bittersweet day for the Ducati Superbike Team at Motorland Aragon
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 13 April 2014 – A rather bittersweet day for the Ducati Superbike Team that just missed out on a podium finish in race 1 at Motorland Aragon in Spain today. In this second round of the 2014 Superbike World championship, rider Chaz Davies finished fourth in today’s first Superbike race while his teammate Davide Giugliano closed the day’s races in seventh and eighth position.
Race 1 – In accordance with the new race day schedule, the first action-packed SBK race of the day kicked off at the earlier time of 10.30am in dry conditions but on a cool track (16°C). Starting from fourth on the grid, Giugliano made a fast start and was into third by the end of the opening lap, right behind the two Kawasakis of Sykes and Baz. Davide got past Baz on lap 3 but then continued to battle with the Frenchman over the subsequent laps. He held third position for the best part of the race right until the final lap when he was caught, and ultimately passed by Rea along the long straight. In his attempt to regain third position through the final corners, there was contact between Giugliano and the British rider and unfortunately it was the Italian who came off worse, crashing in the process. By immediately climbing back on his 1199 Panigale, the Ducati Superbike rider was able to cross the line, in final eighth position. Davies, sixth on the grid, was lying seventh through the opening stages. Giving chase to the two Aprilias (Melandri and Guintoli), he managed to pass both at the mid-race point. Up into fifth by lap thirteen, Chaz concluded the race in final fourth position.
Race 2 – considering the hotter track conditions, both Ducati riders, along with most of the other Superbike riders, changed tyre for the second race. Giugliano once again made a strong start and was in fourth place at the end of lap one. Davies, seventh through the first corners, overtook the two Aprilias to position himself fifth just behind his teammate. On lap two Chaz recorded the fastest lap of the race, earning his second Pirelli ‘best lap’ award of the season (1’57.982). Unfortunately only a couple of laps later he was the victim of a crash and was unable to continue the race. Giugliano was lying sixth by the mid-race point, with several seconds separating him from the riders immediately ahead of him. In the final phase of the race a drop in grip limited his ability to exit the corners and the Italian rider this closed in seventh position.
After the first two of fourteen scheduled rounds, Giugliano is in seventh position in the general standings, with 43 points, while Davies is eighth with 30 points. Ducati lies fifth in the manufacturer’s classification with 48 points.
Quotes after the races:
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 4th, DNF
“Race 1 didn’t go as I’d hoped, despite my final position. I made a bad start and then was stuck behind the two Aprilias for a long while. I finally managed to get past them and got into something of a rhythm but then a drop in the tyre performance meant I couldn’t do more. We made some changes for the second race but the front of the bike seemed a little nervous right from the start. I was trying to save the tyre for the later stages of the race but then I lost grip at the front and crashed. For some reason the marshals wouldn’t let me continue even though my bike was still running. It’s been a disappointing day because I think Davide and I were capable of reaching the podium today. We’ve taken some important data anyway and now we move on to tracks that should be more favourable for the Ducati.”
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 8th, 7th
“It’s been a tricky weekend for us. This morning we had a good chance to do well, we couldn’t have beaten the Kawasakis as they have been really strong here but the podium was definitely within our reach. Unfortunately the contact with Rea put me out of the running for the podium but we came extremely close. In race 2 I really struggled; conditions were hotter and the different rear tyre didn’t make things easier for us. But we knew this was one of the hardest tracks for us and so we have to be fairly satisfied – if the bike has improved so much that we can be that close to the front here then we should be happy. My team has worked really well, the bike is riding well and so I thank my whole team and everyone in Ducati for their hard work."
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“Of course we are a little disappointed because we only just missed out on the podium. We knew this would be a difficult track for us but compared to last year we have almost halved the gap along the straight and we are also satisfied to come away with important points. Davide aand Chaz have shown that they can fight for the positions that count and so we will make good use of the data collated here and immediately turn our attention to the next races.”
Rea climbs to Aragon podium
Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea visited the Motorland Aragon podium for the first time after finishing third in today’s opening second-round race of the 2014 World Superbike championship in Spain.
It was the 34th World Superbike podium of the 27-year-old British rider’s career after he battled throughout the 17-lap opener to finish behind the Kawasaki machines of Tom Sykes and Loris Baz.
Rea was unable to repeat his podium performance in race two, crossing the line in fifth place after a softer front tyre option left him with a loss of feeling from the front end of his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
His compatriot and team-mate, Leon Haslam, took two top ten placings today, finishing race one in ninth place and coming home eighth in the second 17-lapper, which was also won by Tom Sykes.
Both Pata Honda riders have moved up in the points standings ahead of the team’s home race at Assen in two weeks’ time. Rea holds fifth position with Haslam moving into the top ten in ninth.
Honda's CBR1000RR Fireblade SP enjoyed a double podium celebration at Aragon today when Agro-On WIL Racedays Honda rider Kyle Smith finished third in the opening round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup championship.
Jonathan Rea - 3rd 5th
It’s been a really positive weekend for us to go back on the podium this early in the season. It hasn’t really been a trend for us recently so it’s given everyone a bit of a boost. We just really need to build on this. I really enjoy riding the bike at this circuit and we’ve made a lot of improvements since Phillip Island. In race one I ran into some rear tyre problems in the latter stages of the race, but in race two we went with the softer option, which most of the grid changed to. It was working OK but unfortunately we also used the softer front for the higher temperature. I had a few engine brake problems which pushed me into the slower corners and, with the lack of feeling from the front, I felt a bit like a passenger. I had a warning or two around mid-race, so I was kind of nursing it a bit. But we deserved two solid top fives today and I feel we can now take some momentum to Assen where we know the bike is good and build on this at a circuit I really enjoy.
Leon Haslam - 9th 8th
We definitely started here on the back foot and lost a lot of the first session on Friday. From that point we worked really well and I was feeling confident. Just before Superpole yesterday I posted the fourth fastest time and knocked time off in every session, but then I had the crash in Superpole, which wasn’t so good. I struggle in both races though – battling with throttle opening and engine braking. We had a couple of good top ten finishes but, in FP4 yesterday, I really felt I could be challenging for top five today. I’m glad this one is out of the way and we can start to focus on Assen. We’ve made big leaps with the bike in recent testing and, in my opinion, the results don’t show that and we struggled. But Jonathan had a fantastic first race and he was up there in race two. We’ re coming across a few more problems at the moment but we know we’ll get on top of it.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
It was a great result for Jonathan in race one, overtaking Giugliano on the last lap to get on the podium. That’s what we’ve been working for all winter so well done to him and the team for that. The track conditions changed for race two and we had some front tyre and other issues, which meant him dropping back to fifth. But overall, it’s been a good weekend for him and we look forward to taking this on to Assen. Leon had a mixed weekend, starting off with some problems but looking good yesterday before his crash. Warm-up didn’t go smoothly for him either. We’re not completely satisfied with ninth and eighth and we still have some things to sort out to get a setting that will get him nearer the front, which we know is where he can be.
MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport
11 - 13 April 2014 г.
The second stage of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship ended for riders of the Supersport class. The race was full of struggles, incredible overtakings and speed corners. During the race all the attention was focused on first five riders – VD Mark, Sofuoglu, Marino and Russian teams legionnaires Coghlan and Cluzel.
Jules tried not to miss the opportunity to compete points and got on the podium. Before three laps to the end Jules tried to regain the lead on the back straight. But the problem with the gearbox didn't let to make the overtaking and French rider run to DMC-Panavto rider. Both rider fell down but Kev Coghlan could lift the bike and continue the race.
On the 9th lap Jules showed the time 2’01.708 and it became the fastest lap of the race.
Vladimir Leonov started from the 8th position and made also very intense race. After a mistake during the start Leonov went down on the 14th position. During 10 laps he struggle with Italian riders on Kawasaki – Tamburini and Gamarino. On the 15th lap Vladimir could break through rivals and got into TOP-10. In the end he finished on the 8th position and got his first points this year.
Jules Cluzel: «It was bad start. Step by step I tried to regain positions without any risk. I could get into the leading group. Lap after lap Kev Coghlan blocked me on the straight every time while Vd Mark pushed. I’ve made a little mistake and Kev overtook me. It seemed to me the gap was not so big so I decided to attack. But as soon as I turned the first gear, I realized that the error with the gearbox we have found yesterday had its effect. The bike lost its stability. I tried to rectify the situation but it hasn’t been already possible to avoid the contact with Kev. I’m very disappointed with lost points. We could improve our position in the championship. I’ve already apologized to Coghlan and made it one more time. We’ll solve this problem till Assen and repair the omission next stage”.
Vladimir Leonov: “I’ve lost the start as it’s not the strong side of our bike. As a result I’ve stuck in a large group of riders and it was quite difficult to get out from there. We have some problems with power control. We’re losing in exits from corners because of excessive sliding. Thereafter competitives can attack me in the end of straights as their speed is higher. I had to brake aggressively and regain in turns. During all race I was in the group, there was struggle in each corner. Toward the end of the race I understood could finish in TOP-6. On the last lap I had a problem with the gearbox and had to pass Tamburini. I’m glad getting my first points this season. Thanks my team for a good job”.
Pata Honda's season back on track at Aragon
Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark put right his no-score at the opening World Supersport championship round in Australia by finishing second in today's second-round race at Aragon in Spain.
The race was won by Kenan Sofuoglu, with van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti also getting his season started with a fourth place finish after injury prevented his own participation in the opening race at Phillip Island six weeks ago.
Van der Mark got a great start to today’s 15-lap race at the 5.344km Motorland circuit two hours west of Barcelona and led for six of the early laps before out-braking himself at the circuit’s infamous hairpin. The Dutch rider composed himself after the two leading riders crashed out on the penultimate lap to cross the line just 0.8s behind Sofuoglu.
Zanetti aso benefitted from the crash further up the field but the Italian had battled throughout the race to stay on terms with the leading group after an early mistake looked to have left him out of touch.
The Pata Honda team now moves to round three at its and van der Mark’s home round at Assen in the Netherlands in two weeks.
Michael van der Mark - 2nd
I’m really happy with this result. We’ve been working all weekend to fix some strange problems and then this morning we found that our race pace was quite good. My start wasn’t great but I could see I was faster than the guys in front so I caught them step-by-step and tried to pull away after I got past. I felt the gap wasn’t that big and I tried to keep pushing. I made a small mistake at the hairpin and they passed me and I lost some contact after a couple of other mistakes. After Jules [Cluzel] and Kev [Coghlan] crashed, there was just me and Kenan [Sofuoglu] left. I couldn’t get any closer to him but I’m really happy after zero points in the first race.
Lorenzo Zanetti - 4th
I’m happy to come back to racing with this result. I started not too bad and was immediately with the leading group. My strategy was to stay with them, not to fight and get into a good rhythm and that was going OK until I made a mistake. It changed the rhythm a bit and when Cluzel and Coghlan crashed I tried to pressurise Marino but he pushed a bit more. Fourth place is not so bad for my condition but I need to work now on podium finishes. I finished too many times in fourth place last year so it’s necessary to go to the next step. The target is the podium!
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Both riders got a good start and Mikey went to the front after a few laps. He managed to open a gap but a small mistake dropped him back. We were a bit lucky because the two front riders crashed and he came in behind Sofuoglu. But second place after Phillip Island is really good. He takes a good feeling to Assen, too. Lorenzo was also aggressive from the start, with the leading group, in a battle for fourth. He got gapped after a small mistake and spent the rest of the race on his own. But it was a good day for Supersport and now we look forward to a busy home round for the team.
Smith puts Fireblade SP on Spanish podium
The Agro-On WIL Racedays Honda team embarked on its 2014 European Superstock championship campaign this weekend with the opening round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and the FIM European Superstock 600 series.
On Sunday, British rider Kyle Smith took a superb third place behind winner Leandro Mercado on his Racedays Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, having started in seventh place on the grid.
His Agro-On WIL Racedays Honda team-mate, Josh Day, had a good start from the third row of the grid but ran wide on the opening lap, and rejoined in last place before battling back to take 11th at the flag
Earlier, in Saturday’s Superstock 600 race, 2013 European Junior Cup champion, Jake Lewis, finished just outside the top ten on his Honda CBR600RR machine, while team-mate Kevin Manfredi – another EJC graduate from last season – took ninth place. The team’s third rider, Harry Stafford, finished 28th.
Kyle Smith – FIM Superstock 1000 Cup:
It was a bit a lonely race because I wasn’t catching the guy in front and no-one was catching me. But I managed to match the pace of the leaders and turn in some consistent laps. It’s turned out really good after we worked on the bike all weekend, concentrating on the front end mainly. There’s some more to do because I like the front end to be loaded a bit but it seems to be working. We made a big change for warm-up but probably went too far but, we’ve only had a couple of days with the CBR. The others out there have had a couple of seasons already!
Josh Day – FIM Superstock 1000 Cup:
I had to work for that. I was running with the front five but they seemed to brake a little early and I had to run off on the back section of the track. It’s upsetting because I felt good at the start and on the first part of that opening lap. I think for Assen we can definitely be up there where Kyle ended up finishing. I’m pretty happy to come back from last place to get some points – we’ll move on from here and try to improve the bike for Assen.
Kevin Manfredi – FIM European Superstock 600
It was a pretty good race but it was important to stay in the top ten and stay within the limits, taking some points for the championship. We haven’t really tested but for Assen we will be more competitive to stay closer to the front three.
Jake Lewis – FIM European Superstock 600:
It was a great race to start the season with Racedays Honda. We kept progressing throughout the weekend and we’ll just keep working with a target of getting to the podium later in the season. I’ve ridden 600s back home in New Zealand but the Superstock 600 is definitely step up from the European Junior Cup. The bike the team is great but the racing is even more fierce and you’re going twice as fast! I’m really looking forward to Assen.
MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport
11 - 13 April 2014 г.
The team MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport hoped to continue its success in Aragon after earning points in the Superbike class in Australia. Throughout the weekend Russian-Italian team showed the right vector in developing F4RR. From session to session, Claudio Corti reduce the gap from leaders . Work was carried out in all directions. Engineers have tried various solutions to regulate electronics, suspension, tires and collected datas. Collected the necessary information. However, the problem with the gearbox, that was found on Sunday morning almost made it impossible to take part in the first Superbike race.To the second race the solution was found. Lap by lap Claudio showed more confident ride increasing the pace in corners and removing braking points. But fall on the 6th lap did not allow the team to get points.
Claudio Corti: "Even in the morning warm-up we found problems with electronics. Unfortunately, we couldn't solve them before the first race so I had to return into box after the first lap. During the second race I pushed as hard as I could. The goal for the week-end was to overtake EVO. And we were close to it. The bike is not yet in good condition as we don’t have enough acceleration so I had to indemn it in corners. On the 6th lap I fell. Today it was my fault . I'm sorry and I apologize to the team, they worked hard . Will reduce the gap in Assen".
Laverty fights back at Aragon
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki's Eugene Laverty laid last year's demons to rest at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain today with an impressive comeback ride to fifth in race one.
Laverty initially suffered a poor start to the morning race, dropping to 12th at the end of the first lap. Running wide in the early stages to relegate himself further, the Irishman dug deep on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R to regain his pace, closing the gap to the front group to hold eighth by lap 11. The latter third of the race saw Laverty reignite the charge further, swapping positions with both Aprilias to take fifth on the final revolution. Race two initially saw more potential, before a clash with another rider resulted in a drop to 11th. Regrouping again, the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer took just four laps to improve on his qualifying position, holding seventh for the majority of the race before setting his fastest time of the race on lap 15 to cross the line in a well-deserved sixth.
Alex Lowes continued his progression on the world stage with a debut top ten at the Spanish circuit. A steady start allowed Lowes to circulate in eighth for the opening half of the race, before being taken by a battling group, demoting him to 11th. The British rider held his own for the closing stages, taking the dwindling Aprilia of Marco Melandri on the penultimate lap to finish 10th. A high-side at turn 13 on the second lap of the afternoon’s race denied the rookie a chance to progress his world championship education aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000, but Lowes remains confident that he will come back fighting as the next round restores him to more familiar soil.
The new-look 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s early schedule saw the races held in bright and pleasant conditions at the Alcaniz circuit, with the afternoon race reaching a high of just 19°C. Reigning champion Tom Sykes continued his dominant form adding both race wins to his Superpole achievement the previous day.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s championship contention continues in a fortnight’s time when track action returns to the iconic ‘Cathedral’ of Assen in Holland on 27th April.
“We salvaged two decent results today. Worst-case scenario we need to be top six in any race this year, it was a difficult weekend and we achieved that! In the first race we had the potential to fight for third, but unfortunately I ran off the track twice because we are having problems with a full tank of fuel and the engine braking control at the beginning. I had the same problem in the second race but I just had to be more careful. At the end of race one, we were really strong; race two I had a good pace but on lap one Toni Elias hit me and I moved from eighth back to twelfth position. That hurt my race a lot so I had to fight back to finish sixth, but I can at least have a smile at that.”
“I have struggled with the bike and the track all weekend. The first eight laps of the morning race I felt pretty good but then the tyre dropped off quite a lot so I just made sure I finished. We made some improvements to the bike in the break and I actually felt better in the first lap of the second race, until the crash, and the rest is history. I scored three points in my first race, I scored five here so at least I’m getting better! We go to a track that I know next, which is really good for me. Obviously it’s going to be easier for me to improve when I know the track and hopefully it will be easier to get the bike set up as well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Two difficult races today for the team, but a fifth and a sixth for Eugene were not such bad results in terms of points, and it could have been a lot worse based on the early race positions. Eugene did very well to claw his way back into contention, and what he scored today will hopefully be very important to us as the season progresses. Alex’s learning curve at world championship level continues - the Aragon track is particularly tricky and to come here with no testing and go head-to-head with the best Superbike riders in the world was never going to be easy. He made good progress across the course of the weekend and it was a shame that the crash in the second race didn’t let him continue that learning curve. We move on to Assen, Imola and Donington for the next three races, and as a team we are confident that those circuits will suit the Suzuki better and that we will be able to challenge for the podiums.”
TEAM BIMOTA ALSTARE DELIGHTED WITH RACE DEBUT
Team Bimota Alstare’s baptism of fire at Motorland Aragon ended on a happy note, with Ayrton Badovini finishing in the top 13th overall and 3rd in the EVO class, in Race 1 and 12th overall and 3rd in the EVO class in Race 2. Team mate Christian Iddon rode solidly in Race 1, ending 17th overall and 7th in the EVO class, before enduring a DNF in Race 2. Apart from that, both riders were able to put in a substantial number of laps in the two 17 lap races today and give a lot of valuable feedback to the team. This is the first race weekend and although there is a lot of work to be done, the whole team now know much more about the BB3’s possibilities and are more than excited about the prospects ahead.
Ayrton Badovini - Race 1: 13th overall (2nd EVO class), Race 2: 12th overall (3rd EVO class)
“Considering that this is our first race weekend, I am happy and I think we’ve done a good job and maybe surprised a few people. I’m happy because I finished both races without any problems and I improved my feeling with the bike - especially in the second race. I’m sorry about my little problem at the start of the second race and I’m sure if I had made a better start, I would’ve finished higher up. After the problem, which caused me to lose some places, I settled down into a good rhythm and began to push much harder. We’ve a lot of work to do for the next race, but I am happy with our debut today and confident about our future.”
Christian Iddon - Race 1: 17th overall (7th EVO class), Race 2: DNF
“The first race was a great experience and a real milestone in my career. My debut in World Superbikes - and doing it with such a famous brand and with such a great team. I had a few (electronic) issues in Race 1, but I the team sorted them out for Race 2 and I was really looking forward to pushing much harder and exploring the bike’s potential. Everything was going well and Ayrton and I were having a good battle with a group of riders, but then I started to have a problem with my seat - it fell off! I carried on for about another four laps, but then the bike stopped. The seat has a sensor, which is activated when you crash, so I guess (because the seat fell off) the sensor thought I’d fallen off and cut the bike out. But, apart from that, I feel that it has been a very productive weekend for all of us in the team. We’ve learned a lot in such a short space of time and we’ll use that information to improve their bike next time out. As this was not one of my favourite circuits, I’m pretty happy with how things went this weekend.”
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
“I am very happy, because all the problems we had this weekend were just small details - ones that we know we can sort out. If Ayrton had started better, I think his results would’ve been much better, but once he settled down, his race pace was good and he was able to close the gap to the leaders in the EVO class. Christian made a good start to his World Superbike career. He approached his work in a professional manner and worked well with the team. I think he has a good future ahead.
The BB3 needs work for sure, but we’re talking about small things, not major action. There’s a lot of hard work ahead but this kind of challenge suits the ‘Alstare style’. I think we expected some big problems, so we’re delighted that, so far, we’ve only encountered small ones. We’re all excited about the bike’s prospects and we’ll be working flat out to realise its potential as soon as we can.
“Our objective is build 20 EVO bikes for clients, and they will have the same specification as our bike. We aim to sell these at 40,000 euros, but the final price will depend on what options the customer chooses. The first one will be the result of the development of our own bike - we want to make sure the EVO bike our client buys is perfect. These bikes will be built in our own workshops, in Belgium, and we hope to have the first one ready for sale from 1st September this year.”
Wilcard Miralles takes opening EJC victory
Marc Miralles took the opening win of the 2014 European Junior Cup, powered by Honda Racing, at Aragon in Spain today after eight typical laps of frantic racing on Honda’s CBR500R machines.
The Spaniard has been racing in the Catalunyan 250 championship and raced at the 5.344km Motorland Aragon circuit as a wildcard but, immediately after the podium, stated his desire to continue for the rest of the 2014 campaign.
He was followed across the finish line by another Spaniard, Javier Orellana - the winning margin just 0.166s - while pole sitter Mika Perez made it an all-Spanish podium, crossing the line just one thousandth of a second behind Orellana.
Fourth and fifth places were also taken by Spanish riders – Augusto Fernandez and Ilan Fernandez (no relation) respectively – with Belgium’s Angelo Licciardi rounding out the top six.
“I’m really happy to take this win,” said Miralles after the race. “I had no idea that the standard would be so high and the CBR500R is really great fun to ride. I will do everything I can to compete in the rest of the championship.”
2014 European Junior Cup, powered by Honda Racing
Round 1 – Motorland Aragon, Spain (5.344km – 8 laps), race result:
1 Marc Miralles (ESP)
2 Javier Orellana (ESP)
3 Mika Perez (ESP)
4 Augusto Fernandez (ESP)
5 Ilan Fernandez (ESP)
6 Angelo Licciardi (BEL)
7 Hannes Soomer (EST)
8 Paolo Grassia (ITA)
9 Jesper Hubner (SWE)
10 Josh Harland (GBR)
Championship points after one of eight rounds:
Miralles 25, Orellana 20, Perez 16, A Fernandez 13, I Fernandez 11, Licciardi 10, Soomer 9, Grassia 8, Hubner 7, Harland 6.
Next round: Assen, The Netherlands – 25-27 April