Press releases after the first day of practice for the World Superbike series at Motorland Aragon:
Rea edges team mate Sykes on Day 1
Times improve at MotorLand Aragon as WorldSBK riders get up to speed.
Friday’s WorldSBK activity drew to a close with the Kawasaki Racing Team leading the way. 2013 World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes topped the standings until the final minute of today's second session, when he was displaced by current championship leader Jonathan Rea. Rea goes into FP3 tomorrow with a margin of 0.145s over his team-mate, who managed to hang on to second overall.
Chaz Davies, fastest this morning on his Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team machine, improved to remain third in the combined standings ahead of his team mate – and new substitute rider for the injured Davide Giugliano - Xavi Fores, who finished an impressive fourth on his 2015 debut (+0.766s).
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) made the biggest improvement, moving up to fifth place (+0.862s) as he edged Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), sixth with a second gap to the top.
The final places inside the top ten were taken by Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was 1.324s behind Rea, Althea Racing’s Nico Terol, reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), who also improved late in the session and local rider Jordi Torres, who powered his Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils RSV4 RF to tenth position overall.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) elevated himself to 12th place in his last quick-lap attempt before the chequered flag and finished behind fellow Italian rider Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Team Ducati).
Free Practice 3 is scheduled to take place at 9:55am local time tomorrow and is the last chance for the riders to make it into the afternoon’s Tissot-Superpole, courtesy of being inside the top-20 at the end of the next 45 minutes. The first ten riders will be seeded directly in the second session.
Friday's Words & Pictures
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 1st
"This is the first event that we have to all use the new electronics so we had a few things to sort out. We have made a good step and surely we will try something more in the third free practice session. We are looking quite good and I think that if we have a good feeling in the Tissot-Superpole then for sure I will push for the best placement on the grid. It would be nice to get three pole positions in a row but our focus has to be the two races, which I still expect to be really close."
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 2nd
Facebook page: Tom-Sykes-66
"Today was not my best day to be honest. I woke up this morning at 5am and I immediately realised something was not right. Despite this we worked really hard and we knew we could have been fast given our previous tests here. We are definitely heading in the right direction with the bike. I wasn't able to get down to business properly but the results are encouraging anyway. All I wish now is to drink a good cup of tea and an early night. Hopefully I'm feeling better tomorrow."
Chaz Davies #7 - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK Team
Combined Free Practice 1 and 2 - 3rd
“This morning went well and I felt that I could lap fast but then this afternoon the conditions changed and I didn’t really get the feedback that I want from the bike here at Aragón. I know I can go faster, it’s just a case of finding the right setting, we’re not there yet although it’s doesn’t look bad on paper. We still have work to do, but overall it’s been a positive day. We’ll take a good look at the data this evening and then tomorrow try to develop some of the ideas we’ve got. I’m confident that we can do more.”
WSBK - FIRST DAY OF TESTS ON THE SPANISH ARAGON CIRCUIT
LEON HASLAM AND JORDI TORRES SEARCH FOR THE BEST FEELING WITH THE RSV4 RF ON THE DIFFICULT SPANISH TRACK
Alcaniz (Spain), 10 April 2015 - The first European weekend of World Superbike began with a lot of work in the Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils garage. With two riders in their first year on the RSV4 RF, which has also been substantially revamped compared to the 2014 version, the Friday practice sessions at Motorland de Aragon had the Italian team's mechanics working hard on comparative tests in search of the best solution for Sunday's races.
After a morning session that can only be defined as exploratory, with Leon Haslam lying tenth just behind team mate Jordi Torres, in the afternoon FP2 sessions the English rider took a decisive step forward from the first laps, improving his performance by almost two seconds and jumping up to fifth place. In any case Haslam acknowledges that there is plenty of room for improvement and is determined to test some drastically different solutions tomorrow in order to explore the potential of his RSV4 RF on the fast and technical Spanish tarmac. There are two goals: to find speed for Superpole to get a good spot on the starting grid and to work as much as possible on race pace.
Leon Haslam: "I spent the morning trying to adapt, especially because I am riding the RSV4 here at Aragon for the first time, whereas many of my rivals already have some test sessions under their belts on this track. The guys did a great job before the FP2 sessions where I was able to improve by a second and a half straight away. We're moving in the right direction and we aren't far off, but we need to improve more in order to do our best tomorrow and especially on Sunday."
After demonstrating method and focus in his first Aprilia outings, rookie Jordi Torres arrived at Aragon defining it as a crucial "final exam" to assess is level of competitiveness. For this purpose Jordi and his team focused on gathering references on the bike and track in the first session, leaving the afternoon to search for the right setup and the best adjustments on the RSV4. Although the many tests conducted on one hand prevented working on a "time attack", on the other hand they represent a good starting place for better work in view of the races.
Jordi Torres: "Today was one of those days where there is a lot to do. We're still looking for a better feeling with the bike, especially in the braking sections. I used the first session to scope out some reference points on the track and on the RSV4, whereas in the afternoon I felt much more at ease. We did a lot of testing with various results, so now we'll use the information we've gathered to set up our work tomorrow and Sunday."
The RSV4 RF made an excellent début in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup. With the Aragon race the V4 from Noale will be making its first appearance in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, expanding Aprilia's commitments in factory derivative bike racing. On the first day of tests the 2014 runner-up, Lorenzo Savadori, with Team Nuova M2 Racing, rode his Aprilia to the top spot in the combined standings of the two sessions, leaving his closest rival more than 7 tenths behind and setting himself up to be a key player straight away in the first race of the season.
A positive first day for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team at Motorland Aragón; Davies third and Forés fourth in the opening practices
Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 10 April 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team, on track at Motorland Aragón in Spain with riders Chaz Davies and Javier Forés, substituting for the injured Davide Giugliano, showed great determination in today’s first timed practice sessions.
In the weekend’s first timed practice session, which took place in sunny but cool conditions (air temperature 14°C, track 23°C), the two Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team riders were putting in some fast times right from their first exit, immediately moving to the top of the timesheets. Both riders continued to improve their lap times throughout the 45-minute session. Davies, thanks to a fastest time of 1’52.009 obtained during his final exit, led the way, closing in first position. His team-mate Forés concluded second, with a time of 1’52.365, proving that he is immediately comfortable on the 2015 Superbike version of the Panigale R.
The second session brought further improvement for Chaz in terms of lap times, although he still feels that his overall feeling with his Panigale R could be better. The factory rider set an impressive best time of 1’51.582 , half a second quicker than his fastest lap in the first practice. This impressive lap time positioned the factory rider third at the end of day one, right behind the Kawasaki pairing of Rea and Sykes. Javier continued to work with his technicians to identify the best set-up for his Ducati Panigale R at this track, and he too was able to lower his time by a few tenths to place overall fourth thanks to a best of 1’52.000.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd (1’51.582)
“This morning went well and I felt that I could lap fast but then this afternoon the grip dropped off and I didn’t really get the feedback that I want from the bike here at Aragón. I know I can go faster, it’s just a case of finding the right setting, we’re not there yet although it’s doesn’t look bad on paper. We still have work to do, but overall it’s been a positive day. We’ll take a good look at the data this evening and then tomorrow try to develop some of the ideas we’ve got. I’m confident that we can do more...”
Javier Forés - (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #112) – 4th (1’52.000)
“We’re going quite well, considering it’s only the first day – I hope we can continue in this direction. I haven’t ridden the Ducati for a few months, since the IDM concluded last season, and so I’m pleased with how these first sessions have gone. This morning I already found good pace and the work we completed at Misano helped me find a good feeling that I’ve had again here today at Aragón. I like to remain optimistic; we need to continue to work calmly, as the level here is very high, but I would of course like to thank the team by completing a good weekend’s work and two good races on Sunday...”
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki progresses with new electronics at Aragon
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet concluded a promising World Superbike practice at Motorland Aragon today after their first 90 minutes of track action utilising the team’s newly homologated electronics package – this first European event of 2015 being the deadline for implementation of the system under this season’s new regulations.
Having planned to use the first free practice as an exploratory session for the new Magneti Marelli electronics, Lowes completed 11 laps of the Spanish circuit, re-entering the pits twice and spending half of the 45-minute session working in the garage with his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team. Returning to the track for the closing minutes, the British racer seemed much more comfortable with his GSX-R1000, setting a 1’52.638 on his final revolution to finish the morning in third position.
The team’s development and investigation continued in a similar vein for the afternoon as Lowes completed the day’s 22 laps, improving on his earlier time to finish sixth with a 1’52.309 and positive of more to come as the weekend progresses.
De Puniet also used the day’s two sessions to evaluate his Suzuki’s new controls, initially conducting 10 laps, he completed the morning practice in 15th with a 1’55.560 and a solid understanding for the machine’s future progression. The afternoon saw the Frenchman reduce his time by two seconds, 1’53.178 his best lap of the day, leaving him 14th heading in to Saturday’s final timed-for-qualifying free practice.
A cold and windy start gave way to beautifully clear and sunny conditions as the Motorland Aragon circuit hosted the opening World Superbike practices of the European season. The ambient 20°C temperatures heated the track to a high of 39°C as Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea topped the times and claimed the provisional pole position.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s third and final timed-for-qualifying practice will take place at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) tomorrow with 30 minutes of free practice scheduled for 12:30hrs (11:30BST). The afternoon’s Superpole action gets underway at 15:00hrs (14:00BST).
“We always knew it was going to be a difficult weekend with the brand-new electronics and we ran the whole day without the traction control but it’s been good. I’m very optimistic that if everything works we are going to be competitive again it’s just a case of when, whether it’s tomorrow, the next day or the next round we don’t know. We have a lot of work to do and we’ve hardly done any laps today so we’re feeling very much on the back foot and it’s testing really for us but we’ll do what we can and keep moving forward to achieve the results.”
Randy de Puniet:
“Today was not easy but we knew that before we started, and this morning we had a few problems with the throttle connection so I finished 3.5 seconds off the pace. This afternoon began with a struggle but from the middle of the session we had a good improvement, it was not enough but they are only 45 minute sessions so it is very short! I know I can improve my suspension and chassis feeling and we have good information for tomorrow, currently I am 1.9 seconds off - and 1 second to the top five - so we will see where we can reduce the gap. I really want to be inside the top ten tomorrow morning so I will push and I think it’s possible. We have a lot of work to do, we knew this race was not going to be easy but I need a good result after my first two rounds. Everyone is working really hard and I think if we continue the improvement seen from the beginning until today, we can be close to the top five and this is a good target for me.”
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“We anticipated a tough day here in Aragon, our first event with the complete new Championship-homologated electronics system. The deadline was this event so it had to be on the bike a little earlier than the development process would have liked! The team has been working tirelessly to get the settings as race ready as they could possibly be but we suffered a little bit of bad luck today with some components not talking to each other in the way we would have liked. The riders have kept their heads down and to be relatively competitive, given the issues we faced, demonstrates that there is a lot of potential to move forward and we hope to do that starting tomorrow.”
A positive start for Pata Honda duo in Spain
Michael van der Mark set the overall seventh fastest time in the two practice sessions today at Aragon, Spain for the third round of the World Superbike Championship.
The Dutch SBK rookie is confident in the changes made today and feels that him and the team can make further improvements in tomorrow’s practice session ahead of the afternoon Superpole, where final grid places for Sunday’s race will be set.
Meanwhile van der Mark’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli set the ninth fastest time over the two sessions on-board the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP. The Frenchman has been trying different engine braking strategies and feels they are close with getting the right one ahead of tomorrow’s final free practice and Superpole.
Michael van der Mark - P7, 1m52.558s
I’m quite positive for today, in the first session I felt happy but for the second session we made some good changes and I improved my lap time. We have much to improve on but for today I’m happy. Tomorrow I think we will try a few more different options and hopefully again improve the lap times, and we will have a long run for a race simulation.
Sylvain Guintoli - P9, 1m52.617s
We have been working very hard to try and improve our pace this morning, this afternoon we found a new way with engine braking, which is positive so we’re trying to make this more efficient. Tomorrow we will try and improve again our performance and try to close the gap at the front. I’m confident we’re getting there and tomorrow we’ll work on race distances.
In the end Michael finished seventh and Sylvain was ninth, so they’re really close with about two tenths between them. We’re looking at the problems from today, which aren’t huge things but it’s not just in one area. It’s mainly with both bike set-ups and we’re working through things. We are a little bit behind where we want to be but after trying different solutions today we have a clearer picture building of tomorrow and where to go. It’s all working progress and we have to keep pushing to try and close the gap.
Althea Racing Friday Practice Motorland de Aragon
Aragon (Spain), 10 April 2015 – The third round of the Superbike World Championship, and the first European round, is taking place this weekend at the Spanish circuit of 'Motorland de Aragon' , where Team Althea and its riders Nico Terol and Matteo Baiocco have closed the first day of qualifying with positive results.
The day brought sunny conditions with temperatures of around 18°C and the riders headed out on track with the aim to fight for prestigious results.
Nico Terol, riding at his home track, in front of his fans and on a track that he really enjoys, was immediately able to record some fast times in this morning’s opening session, positioning among the frontrunners. Having tested various set-up solutions for the Ducati Panigale R, he concluded first qualifying in sixth position. On his final lap, Nico was showing strong pace but unfortunately traffic on track prevented him from improving on his previous best. In the second session however he was able to do just that, concluding this first day of practice in eighth position (1'52.607).
Matteo Baiocco last rode here two years ago, when he took part in a Ducati test at this track but in a different configuration. The Italian rider concluded both of today’s sessions in eleventh position. During first qualifying, many tests were carried out by the squad in order to collate as many references as possible in terms of the track, tyre grip and the behaviour of the bike at this circuit, while during the afternoon’s session the team focused more on improving lap times. Matteo was able to improve lap after lap and, having tried various set-up solutions for his Panigale R, lowered his time significantly to conclude with a solid 1'52.893, with further room for improvement.
Nico and Matteo will return to the track tomorrow at 9.45am for the third qualifying session, valid for establishing entry to the Superpole, and during which further tests will be carried out ahead of Sunday’s races.
Superstock 1000: The two Althea Racing riders, Raffaele De Rosa and Luca Salvadori, were on track at Motorland de Aragon for the first day of practice of this opening round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup.
The day began with a great deal of work in the pit garage, considering that this weekend marks the Ducati Panigale R bike’s debut in the 2015 Superstock championship.
Raffaele De Rosa immediately put in some strong lap times, obtaining fifth position in the second session thanks to a time of 1'54.671. The rider will of course be striving to improve further in tomorrow’s practice to try to earn a place on the front row of the grid, a result that is within his reach.
Luca Salvadori, riding in the Stock 1000 series for the first time, was able to complete two sessions that served as both a learning exercise and good experience ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying in which he will try to improve his position, currently 23rd having recorded a best of 1'57.553. He has not yet been able to show his full potential also due a suspension issue that held him in the garage for a length of time.
We remind you that Sunday’s race will be broadcast live on the Italian Mediaset network at 14.10.
PJ Jacobsen leaves it late to take top spot on first day of action
After two 45-minute practice sessions under the Spanish sunshine, PJ Jacobsen (Intermoto Ponyxpres Kawasaki) heads the World Supersport field into tomorrow at the head of the times, courtesy of his MotorLandAragon lap of 1.54.413s. The 21-year-old from Montgomery, New York, left it until the final two minutes to displace Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who was the quickest in the morning’s session.
Jacobsen, who improved his FP1 time by 1.5s, heads into tomorrow’s last free practice session with a slender advantage over Sofuoglu (+0.272s) and Jules Cluzel, (+0.302s) third aboard his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine.
Current World Championship leader Ratthapark Wilairot powered his CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda to fourth overall on the combined classification (+0.701s) ahead of Gino Rea (CIA Insurance Landlords Honda) and Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), who overcame a technical issue mid-session to move into sixth with his last flying lap of the session (+1.205s).
Roberto Rolfo (Team Lorini Honda), Riccardo Russo (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lucas Mahias (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) completed the top-10.
step in the right direction for Smith in Spain
Pata Honda’s Kyle Smith set the sixth fastest overall time in today’s two free practice sessions for the third round of the 2015 World Supersport Championship at Aragon in Spain.
The two sessions proved tricky for the team who struggled with finding the right set-up for the Honda CBR600RR, but after a modification made towards the end of the last session Smith improved his lap time by a second.
The 23 year-old will return to the track tomorrow morning for Free Practice 3 before the afternoon qualifying session, where final grid positions for Sunday’s 16-lap race will be determined.
Kyle Smith - P6, 1m55.618s
Today’s been difficult with getting the right set-up for the bike, at the end of the second session we made some changes, which made a real improvement and in one lap I was a second faster so that’s really good. Before the change I hit a bit of a brick wall as I didn’t know if it was me or the bike, but I’m happy with the changes and feel we're making progress. We have tons of room to improve tomorrow and have just got to keep up the hard work.
It’s not been an easy day today; we struggled a little bit with finding the right direction with the set-up of the bike. Just before the last outing we made a modification and this was a step in the right direction and Kyle improved his lap time and moved up to sixth place. We are happy at the end of the day that we could give him a better set-up, which will be the base setting for tomorrow and we hope to progress further towards the front.
Superstock 600 - San Carlo Team Italia is already protagonist in Aragon
Micheal Ruben Rinaldi got the 2nd place in free practice, Andrea Tucci is 10th
With the first two sessions of free practice, the 2015 season of the European Superstock 600 Championship has officially started and San Carlo Team Italia is already in the highest positions of the standing. Michael Ruben Rinaldi 2nd and Andrea Tucci 10th in the combined timesheet, highlighted a good race-pace in line with the time of the leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki, 1'57''007).
As he already demonstrated in the private tests on this track of the last few weeks, Michael Ruben Rinaldi confirmed his moment of good shape, getting the time of 1'57''260, just 2/10 from the top. Champion in 2011 with Team Italia in the Coppa Italia 125 2 stroke, "Mike" affirmed to be satisfied with the feeling with his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #21 and ready to be protagonist in the two races.
Some good results also for Andrea Tucci, who is 10th in the combined timesheet thanks to a lap time of 1'57''957 that he got during the second session (9th). At his second year with San Carlo Team Italia, the rider from Milan only missed the "qualifying" lap, but he achieved some good results for the constancy of performance of the race pace. These elements are a good omen for the continuation of the weekend, in which two races have been exceptionally scheduled on Saturday 11th (start at 17:50) and on Sunday 12th (start at 16:00).
Michael Rinaldi (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #21) 2nd, 1'57"260
"I am very happy. The team and I worked very well and we are following the right direction for the set up. The lap time, as well as the second place, are not bad, and they're a good omen for the qualifying: it will be important to get a place in the front row for the two races. We only have to fix some little details in the setting, but, on the whole, it was a positive day."
Andrea Tucci (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #44) 10th, 1'57"957
"We only failed the lap time for the time attack, but it wasn't our prerogative for today. We focused on the constancy of performance of the race pace and we found the solutions that we needed. Our rhythm is in line with the best , so we can be satisfied. Tomorrow we will try to perfect some little details, in order to find more feeling on the front, but we already succeeded in finding a good compromise that makes us confident for the qualifying and the two races."
Stefano Cruciani (Sports Manager - San Carlo Team Italia STK600)
"We can be satisfied with the start of the weekend. We focused on the general set up of the bikes and the lap times were reassuring. Michael was immediately at ease, getting a great second time and tomorrow we are going to make just some "roughing" tests before the time attack in the qualifying. Andrea finished in the top-10 with a setting that is still not perfect, but it's all about some little details: we have already found the direction to follow. In the last 10 minutes of the session, we went out on track with new tyres, as the most of the riders. In this track the wear of the tyres is particularly important and it will be one of the main elements to work well in the two races, but we are already quite advanced about it."