Press releases from the organizers and teams after the first day of practice at Motorland Aragon:
MotorLand Aragon Day One
Rea ends FP2 as Friday’s fastest
World Champion leads FP2 and FP1, ahead of Melandri and Sykes at MotorLand Aragon
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) put in a 1’50.062 lap late in FP2 at MotorLand Aragon on Friday afternoon to complete the day as the quickest man on track, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) also in the top three on the timesheet.
Rea earlier carried out a 19-lap run at the beginning of the session, gathering plenty of information ahead of Saturday’s Race 1, the fifth race of the season. The year has started with four consecutive wins for the defending World Champion already.
A good lap by Melandri towards the end of FP2, as he went round just 0.099s behind Rea, saw him finish the session second, with Sykes in third (+0.243).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) recovered from a difficult FP1 to finish fourth best in FP2, with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) completing the top five.
Spaniards Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) were sixth and seventh fastest respectively, ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) in the top ten.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) were both inside the top 12 but will have to try their luck in Tissot Superpole 1 on Saturday.
Just under 15 minutes before the end of the session the safety stewards around the track raised their white flags to advise the riders that spots of rain were beginning to fall, but a number of FP2 participants were still able to improve their lap times in the final minutes.
Rea was also the fastest rider in FP1 on Friday morning at the Pirelli Aragón Round, his 1’50.570 putting him ahead of his rivals at the head of the timesheet in front of Lowes and Fores.
Davies was hindered by a technical issue in FP1, only riding for a short time and ending up at the foot of the timesheet with a 1'53.896 best lap, +3.326s off the pace, with smoke pouring from his Ducati Panigale R at one stage.
On Saturday morning the riders will return to the track for FP3 at 8.45am local time (GMT +2) at the #AragonWorldSBK round, with Tissot Superpole 1 at 10.30am, Tissot Superpole 2 at 10.55am and Race 1 at 1pm.
Rea First And Sykes Third On Motorland Opening Day
Practice for the third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship kicked off at Motorland Aragon this morning and ended up this afternoon with Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes in first and third places respectively.
Ninja ZX-10RR riders Rea and Sykes have both automatically qualified for Superpole 2; the results of which will determine where they will start on the grid for race one, which gets underway on Saturday at 13.00 local time.
With four wins from four starts in 2017 Rea was in confident form as he approached the second free practice session, having led the first. A late fall of rain, in two short-lived showers, meant not every rider was able to improve their previous best times in the vital final few minutes of FP2, but Rea and Sykes both managed to jump up as the session drew to a close.
The official KRT riders will seek even greater levels of machine performance, over both a single lap and full race distance, in the 25-minute long FP3 session on Saturday. Each feels that despite their already strong showings there is more to come from their respective technical packages.
Both Tom and Jonathan have won races for Kawasaki at Motorland in the recent past and now aim to add to their totals - on Saturday in race one and then on Sunday in race two – over 18 laps in each case.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “Today we did set-up and tyre checks this morning and then a long run and a fast lap this afternoon. That’s how it worked out. We got up to speed quite fast, honestly, and pretty much reached the limit of what we needed for the bike set-up. During the long run we went with the base setting we had in Phillip Island and Thailand, but during that run I realised it is may be not the very best for this particular track. We had a completely different front setting at the test here in November; one I was more comfortable with. It is just some chassis balance items. I don’t think we can see the full picture of everybody’s potential just from today and I think the race can spring a few surprises. But I am not thinking about the others; I am just trying to make things as good for me as possible.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “Tomorrow we will make two or three relatively small changes but at this level anything small can become a big gain on track. We finished strongly in FP1 with used tyres, which was a good confidence boost. In FP2 the initial lap time was fantastic and felt really good with the bike. I could see the rain was coming so we decided to come into the pits and make a couple of changes to the bike to give us information for Saturday. The good thing is that we have this information now, so tomorrow should be clearer and more straightforward. The rain at the end was not ideal but I stayed out on track and got some more information. In the last four minutes the rain became too heavy but we were lucky not to miss too much of the session. We have some good information for tomorrow.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team back in action at Aragon: Melandri is 2nd, Davies 4th after Friday’s free-practice sessions
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took it back to the track at Aragon (Spain), home of the first European round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship, with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies. At the end of the first two free-practice sessions, the Italian and the Welshman sit in second and fourth position in the time sheets, respectively 0.099 and 0.321 seconds slower than the best provisional lap (1:50.062).
Seventh in the morning, Melandri progressively climbed the rankings while also evaluating different tyre options. The Italian took one second off his best times in FP2, finishing with a 1:50.161. Davies, forced to stay in the pits for most of FP1 due to a technical problem, immediately showed good chemistry on a track where he has won the last three races consecutively, climbing up to fourth at the end of FP2. Both riders thus gained direct access to Superpole 2.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 08:45 (CET) for the third and final free-practice session ahead of Superpole and Race 1 (scheduled for 13:00).
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 1:50.161 (2nd)
“Track conditions changed throughout the day. In the morning, the wind hindered our performance a bit, but the team has done a great job and the competitiveness of our package improved progressively. In the afternoon, we made a step forward both in terms of lap times and feeling on the bike. I haven’t done a race simulation but I think we know exactly what we need in order to improve our pace, especially in the second half of the races, compared with the first two rounds. Tomorrow the wind could be stronger, but I’m happy with where we're at right now. I hope to ride a strong race and step on the podium, hopefully in a different fashion compared with Thailand.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:50.383 (4th)
“Unfortunately we suffered a technical problem in FP1, which resulted in basically one hour less of track time for us. Thankfully my mechanics are very prepared and were capable of substituting the engine in very little time, but we basically had to play catch-up. In the afternoon I simply tried to find my rhythm and start working on the setup, but we couldn’t do a long run to better understand tyre wear. Honestly, I still don’t feel at 100 percent. We climbed back and ended up not far from the top, but we still need to improve, especially in changes of direction and mid-corner handling. We’ll try to make the most of FP3 to be ready come race time.”
Pata Yamaha Make Confident Start in Aragon
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team were back on track today for round three of the 2017 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain. Enjoying their first championship practice sessions on European soil of the 2017 season, riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark were straight down to business, taking fifth and eighth respectively in the combined times.
British rider Lowes wasted no time in getting onto a comfortable pace in the morning session and was clearly enjoying his revised for '17 WorldSBK spec YZF-R1 on the Aragon circuit. He was comfortably able to match the pace of the fastest riders, finishing the first hour of practice just 0.071 seconds from the top. The afternoon saw track temperatures rise considerably, which combined with a different setting direction provided a more challenging practice. A sudden change in weather in the final minutes with rain beginning to fall ensured no further dropping of the lap times the final result placing Lowes fifth in the combined times to complete the day.
Teammate van der Mark echoed Lowes' confidence in the morning session, making consistent progress and delivering a comfortable pace from the off. The young Dutchman was able to wrap up his first European practice session as an official Yamaha rider with a promising pace, slotting into sixth with a 1'50.956s lap, 0.386 from the top. The afternoon saw him facing the same challenge as his teammate with rising temperatures taking their toll. A long run and various set up changes were tested before the weather turned, leaving him at the end of the session happy to sit in eighth overall on combined times and ready to look for another step tomorrow morning.
Alex Lowes - 5th, 1'50.641
Honestly I'm quite happy with the bike today. In the afternoon session we went backwards a little bit and that setting didn't feel so good, but that's no problem as we know we can go the other way now for tomorrow in the next practice. I enjoyed riding these sessions; I enjoyed the bike on the track apart from the end of the second session that was a bit dodgy with the weather. I'm looking forward to tomorrow; I think I can do a good qualifying and a good race. I'm really loving my R1 now so let's see what happens! I need to improve my position on the bike a little so we'll work on that in the morning practice and confirm it in Superpole to be ready for the race.
Michael van der Mark - 8th, 1'50.956
"I think this morning we started really strongly and did good lap times - we tried quite a few things in the first session that felt really good. I feel I made some good lap times at the end and I felt good with the bike. We ended the morning in sixth, and that is the closest I think we've been to the front this season in practice, so that is really positive. For the afternoon we struggled a little more as the temperature of the track went up. I made a kind of 10-lap race simulation to see how it felt. We need to try to find a couple of tenths per lap when the temperature is higher so that's one of our challenges. For tomorrow we have to try a few more settings to improve under braking but overall I'm happy and we were consistent. We need to go a bit faster but its a positive start to the weekend.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"The Friday free practice sessions are so critical as we enter the European part of the 2017 championship, especially as FP3 is so early in the Saturday morning and is immediately followed by qualifying and the first race. In the cooler conditions of FP1 this morning both riders gave very strong performances, with Alex in particular showing very strong pace and finishing the session only seven hundredths from P1. With significantly increased track temperature this afternoon the riders weren't able to get the same level of performance with similar settings, but over the course of the session we recovered and were able to get a lot closer to the fastest competitors. FP3, despite the early start, will be important tomorrow morning to try a couple of changes with the race in mind, all dependent on the changeable weather and what the Aragon circuit gives us for Saturday."
Milwaukee Aprilia are into Superpole 2 at Aragon on Saturday following a strong performance in Free Practice
Eugene Laverty had a busy day verifying a number of upgrades to the RSV4 RF, including a new engine specification and exhaust. Aftershowing solid progress in pace over the day's two practice sessions, the team were able to finish Free Practice 2 in P9 and reach the pole position shootout for the third consecutive round.
Stand-in rider Julián Simón, riding a 1000cc bike competitively for the first time, produced an impressive performance to finish within 3 seconds of the frontrunners. He will take part in Superpole 1 after finishing P18, but is hopeful of further progress in Saturday morning's Free Practice 3 session.
The action continues at #AragonWorldSBK on Saturday with Free Practice 3 at 08:45 local time (07:45 GMT), ahead of Superpole 1 & 2 at 10:30 (09:30 GMT) and Race 1 at 13:00 (12:00 GMT)
Shaun Muir, Team Principal
First of all it was a good job by Julián today. It's his first time on a Superbike and the RSV4 RF, so to get within a couple of seconds from the front is promising and what we expected.
Eugene has had a lot of things to test today. We're happy we got through to Superpole 2 with him, and there's still a few things to work on for him. He still doesn't have a bike he feels comfortable on over a race distance, but we're certainly moving in the right direction.
We'll work hard tonight on both bikes and come out fighting tomorrow morning. We'll try to get a good base setting in Free Practice 3 ahead of qualifying, and hopefully make the top two rows.
Eugene Laverty #50
FP1 - 1'51.535 FP2 - 1'51.054
It's nice to make it through to Superpole 2 again, especially when the rain started at the end of FP2 and things got quite close. It's easy to get caught out in mixed conditions but we timed the tyre change right.
In the morning we didn't make as much progress with the bike as I expected, but we made some changes in the afternoon and it improved quite a lot.
We've still got work to do, but there is reason to be optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We've got hopes for a top 5 finish this weekend and I think that's achievable if we have a good Superpole session tomorrow.
Julián Simón #3
FP1 - 1'53.326 FP2 - 1'53.875
I am amazed at the power the Aprilia RSV4 RF has compared to the 600cc I usually ride. It is my first time with these Pirelli tyres also, which I really like.
The first practice session was not so bad, and it was important that I learnt the bike and how to get the best from it. The second session had some difficult weather, but I think we made some useful steps.
We have Free Practice 3 in the morning to do more work, and I hope can get a good Superpole result. For the race it would be really great to get some points, and I am going to make sure I enjoy it.
Bradl and Hayden get things started at MotorLand Aragón
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has completed the opening day of WorldSBK action at the MotorLand Aragón circuit, with team standard bearers Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden eleventh and twelfth, respectively, in the combined times of the first two free practice sessions at the Spanish venue. Both riders will therefore be out on track for Superpole 1 tomorrow to battle for the two remaining slots for the second qualifying session.
The day started positively for Bradl, who was ninth at the end of the first free practice session, just ahead of his team mate and 0.6secs off the quickest time of the morning.
The afternoon’s track conditions proved to be less favourable for most riders, with some late drops of rain turning into a heavy shower by the end of the session. Despite being unable to improve his FP1 lap-time, Bradl was a mere 0.003secs from a top-10 finish, which would have guaranteed the German direct access to Superpole 2. Nicky Hayden kept working on the setup of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine but could finish no higher than twelfth.
The third-round Superpole 1 session will get underway tomorrow at 10:30 local time (GMT +2).
Stefan Bradl 6
11th / 1'51.177
We started off well this morning: we were closer to the front guys and I had a good feeling with the bike, which is the kind of progress I was expecting. Unfortunately, in the afternoon we were unable to improve further, which is obviously the disappointing side for today. The weather did not help, but also the choice of concentrating on the softer tyre option didn’t pay off. And then finishing 0.003secs away from the top-10 was frustrating as well! But it is what it is: we have an idea for direction for tomorrow, especially with the tyre choice, but overall I can say we’ve made a step forward. We’ll have to go through Superpole 1 and hopefully we’ll make it to the second session for the first time this year.
Nicky Hayden 69
12th / 1'51.507
It has not been an easy day for us. We came here with some ideas on how to improve and we actually have made a big step with engine braking, which is now much more consistent. I definitely felt more comfortable with that. We also tried to use last year’s gearing and electronics of the old bike we found in testing last November as a reference with our current machine, but they didn’t really work with this package and that kind of threw us off a bit. I’m not happy with my pace and the lack of improvement in the afternoon was a bummer, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow!
Stefan had a great last lap in FP1 this morning with the fresh SC1 tyre on and his 1min 51.1secs lap was competitive and a good base from which to improve further. Plus, he felt comfortable with the bike. In the afternoon we tried the SC0 but the feeling was not quite there: the cooler conditions and the wind didn’t help, but also when we decided to go back to the morning tyre choice it started raining. It is a bit of a shame, but we still have some things to try tomorrow morning before Superpole 1. Nicky had a more difficult time in finding the right feeling with the bike at this track and could not improve during FP2 either. We tried some radical changes to the setup, including shortening the wheelbase, but that didn’t really work. We will come up with a plan for tomorrow after looking through the data.
Althea BMW on track at Aragón for WorldSBK round 3
Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 31 March 2017
The third round of the 2017 Superbike World Championship got underway today at Motorland Aragón in Spain, and for the Althea BMW Racing team, on track in SBK with Jordi Torres and Markus Reiterberger, and in STK1000, with Marco Faccani, it proved to be a positive first day.
SBK: In the first of the weekend’s practice session, held this morning in dry and sunny conditions, local rider Torres got off to a good start. Fast from the outset, Jordi recorded a series of interesting lap times, the best of which was a 1’50.798, which put him in fourth place at the end of the session. His team-mate Reiterberger struggled a little more in the opening session, closing in twelfth place with a fastest time of 1’51.753.
The afternoon session was conditioned by some light rain. As a result, the two Althea BMW riders were unable to improve on the times set in the morning, therefore ending day one seventh (Torres) and thirteenth (Reiterberger).
STK1000: Faccani, on track with the BMW S 1000 RR for the first time today, made good progress throughout the day, using the sessions to improve his feeling with the bike while also working to adapt it to the Spanish track. The Althea BMW man set a best of 1’55.242 in the morning, positioning eighth, before improving by almost two seconds in the afternoon session, closing the day in sixth place thanks to a time of 1’53.552.
“It hasn’t gone badly. We did well during the morning and towards the end of the session, I was able to set a very fast time. This afternoon, however, we tested the two different tyre solutions but this really changed the bike and I lost my way a little. I also had a small crash but nothing serious luckily. I went back out on the tyre I’d used this morning but then it started to rain and so I couldn’t improve on my lap time.”
“First practice went well and I spent most of the session inside the top ten. I feel I have a good understanding of the bike after our work today. I’ve been working on my riding style and am happy with the setting but this afternoon we suffered from a lack of rear grip and so I lost a couple of positions towards the end. If we can find a solution that gives us more grip, I think we can improve and do well tomorrow.”
“As a first approach, with the bike, the track and my rivals, I think it’s gone well. I was able to make constant improvement throughout the day and the bike is behaving well. We still have some work to do on the electronics and a few other things but in general I’m very pleased. Tomorrow we’ll aim to do well in qualifying so that we’re in the best possible position for the race. I think, come Sunday, we can fight for the positions that count.”
Both Iodaracing riders tenth after the first FP day in Aragon
Aragon, March 31, 2017 - Positive first day of free practice for the Iodaracing riders for the WSSP300 and Superbike classes.
Leandro Mercado at his seasonal debut in a race weekend in Superbike class, after the injury in training that kept him out of the first two Rounds of 2017, he got at the end of the FP the tenth time in 1.51.549, which guarantees the direct access to SuperPole2 with the Iodaracing Team Aprilia Team RSV4RF.
LEANDRO MERCADO # 36 - WSBK RIDER - 1.51.549 - 10 ° IN THE FP - "Today was a very positive day, we managed to close the day with the tenth time. We were able to make a good first practice session of the morning, while in FP2 I managed to do a long run, for the first time this season, but I only used the hard tire and the temperature lowered the grip I have a little 'struggled, but I still managed to understand how it behaves the bike for the race. Then I managed to do a good lap time, with a different tire, but I did not improve his time from this morning. The rain then concluded in advance for my session. Tomorrow we will see, I will try to take a step forward and do also a good qualifying. for me it will be the first time with the qualifying tire, I will try to do the utmost to forward as much as possible. "
Good debut day also for Armando Pontone in the new class WSSP 300 on the Iodaracing’s Yamaha R3, tenth at the end of the first day of practice in 2.14.247.
ARMANDO PONTONE # 80 – WSSP 300 RIDER – 2.14.247 – 10 ° IN THE FP – “Today we did a good job with the team, which allows me to access directly in SP2, I am very happy for that. My category is not easy, we are 37 riders and partir forward is a nice benefit. Unfortunately in the afternoon it came to rain so the team decided to try even in the wet, to start getting comfortable with the bike even in this condition, managing to stay in the first 10 even with the rain. Tomorrow I will try to do the best you can to get a favorable position on the starting grid. “
WorldSSP: Jacobsen fastest at end of wet day one
American rider top of the combined Friday timesheets ahead of Smith and Okubo after wet FP2
PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) ended the first day at the Pirelli Aragon Round at the head of the combined timesheet courtesy of his best time of 1’54.751 in FP1, with Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) also in the top three. The fastest times of the day came in FP1 as rain began to fall at the beginning of FP2.
South African rider Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Italy’s Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) were also in the top five. On his return to action World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) ended the day sixth, having missed the first two rounds of the year due to a pre-season hand injury.
Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing), Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven), Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) all made it straight through to Tissot Superpole 2, with top ten times in FP1 and overall.
In FP2 only two riders in the day’s top ten went out on track, namely Okubo and Tuuli, as the majority of the WorldSSP grid took a cautionary approach to the wet conditions in the afternoon at MotorLand Aragon.
Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) set the best time in FP2 (2'12.944) at the beginning of the session but he ended the day at the bottom of the combined timesheet, having not registered a time in the dry in FP1.
On Saturday the WorldSSP riders return to the track at 9.20am local time (GMT +2) for FP3, with SP1 at 2pm and SP2 at 2.25pm.
Challenging Day One in Aragon for GRT Yamaha
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team faced a challenging start to their FIM Supersport World Championship weekend in Aragon today. Riders Lucas Mahias and Federico Caricasulo ended the day in 13th and 18th respectively, putting them into Superpole One for tomorrow.
French rider Mahias started his morning showing the same strong pace already on show from the first two rounds and was quickly up into the top three on the timesheets. A lengthy pit stop to make a set up change then unfortunately left him with little time remaining to ride with what was to be a less desirable setting. By the time the afternoon had arrived, any chance of making up the lost time was washed away by the rain covering the Motorland Aragon circuit, leaving a frustrated Mahias in Superpole 1 for Saturday with a best time of 1'56.239.
Teammate Caricasulos first European session of the year was a similarly frustrating experience denying him the opportunity to show his true pace in the morning. The eagerly awaited afternoon session brought with it the same wet track that held back his teammate Mahias, leaving him with a best time of 1'56.923 and no choice but to fight through Superpole 1 tomorrow as well.
Lucas Mahias - 13th, 1'56.239
"I'm not very happy today. I started this morning with a very good feeling in the beginning of the session, I wasn't pushing and the lap times were good. I had a very good feeling in the front, but then we decided to test a different front fork. It took some time to make the change and we then had very little time left to ride. The feeling was not great and the lap times were not the same. It was frustrating, and then this afternoon it rained so it was impossible to improve. Tomorrow will be difficult as there are a lot of riders in Superpole One, but I will try my hardest of course and see what we can do."
"The first session was not great for us, we had some problems that in the end cost a lot of time. We were ready to work hard in the afternoon to catch up time but then unfortunately the weather was not good so I was unable to qualify for Superpole 1. Tomorrow will be better! Apart from the issue, the bike is good."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"This morning on Federico's side we experienced a problem which gave us a small set back and lost us some valuable time in session. With Lucas we spent the morning working on a different set up to test a different component that didn't prove to be the right direction to go in. we were prepared for the afternoon with a plan to update the settings but unfortunately the weather didn't help us improve on the mornings session. As a result we have to wait until tomorrow now to be ready to be our best in Superpole."
Okubo and Mulhauser continue to impress at Aragon
Posted on 31st March 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Hikari Okubo ended Free Practice One at Motorland Aragon in a career best third position. Hikari was one of only a handful of riders who braved the wet Free Practice Two in the afternoon and, with no improvement in lap times due to the conditions he remains third on the time sheet going into Superpole 2 tomorrow. Hikari said: “I am happy with 3rd place in FP1, this is my best position. I want to try some changes to the bike for FP3 tomorrow because I want to be in the top 6 in the race again. I am so happy today.”
Teammate Robin Mulhauser also achieved a World Supersport career best ending the first day of practice in tenth place with automatic entry to SP2 tomorrow afternoon. He said: “I feel happy about SP2 but I am disappointed as I wanted to fight a bit more, it is the easiest way to get to SP2 and I am sure I can go much faster. Top ten is good for tomorrow, we will see but I want to do even better than this.”
Jules Cluzel also did not go out in the wet afternoon FP2 and will challenge for top two in Superpole 1 tomorrow to ensure he makes the best qualifying position for the race on Sunday.
Hiromichi Kunikawa sat out the deluged afternoon session of his debut with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda ending the day in 30th place.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “A superb job by Hikari and his crew in FP1. Third is his best in any session so far and he continues to improve in his second WSS season. He is stronger now from his injury and is in great shape going into SP2 tomorrow. Credit also to Robin and his team in his third race with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda, great job. Jules was right there all session and with 13 minutes to go we made a setting change without changing tyres to confirm it. He went out and he didn’t see the board to pit for a new tyre so we got caught out and he’s 12th fastest. It’s not ideal but he has the pace to challenge for the win. We need to look at Jules being fastest in SP1 and getting 3 riders in SP2. Hiromichi improved throughout the session and he is working well with the team. It is a shame he lost a session for the weather but we need to look at getting him as far up the grid as possible for the race on Sunday.”
World Supersport 300 kicks off in style
MotorLand Aragon hosts #WorldSSP300 series launch
Anticipation builds around MotorLand Aragon as the FIM World Supersport 300 Series was officially launched at the famous paddock show, following an exciting opening day of on track action.
37 riders will line up on the grid for the all important opening race of the season this weekend at the Pirelli Aragon Round, and all riders are full of anticipation and excitement - with some making their debut on a world championship stage.
WorldSSP300 riders will race alongside the WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes around Europe, getting a taste of what racing is like on a world championship scale, surrounded by the bustling MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock. Taking on the Superpole format, it is truly a taste of what is to come as they head further up the ladder on their hunt for World Championship glory.
Gregorio Lavilla, WorldSBK Sporting Director was present and explained his delight that the series is now underway: “We are really happy give this opportunity for riders to become professional racers. To become this you need to learn many things and it is important that they are racing with us, as well as racing around these prestigious tracks. It is also important as it gives teams and team managers the chance to see the races and highlight the true talents coming through the field. It is a very affordable way to start out racing, and for the rider who wins to become a World Champion is something special. As this is our first race weekend, everything went great today; I think it makes sense for us to have the same format as World Superbike and World Supersport, and it is great to have the series underway.”
Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV) was fastest on the opening day of WorldSSP300 action, as the riders start their journey on the #RoadToWorldSBK. Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) and Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) rounded out the top three, and all three manufactures were in the top ten, proving the depth of the field in WorldSSP300.
Ninja power ignites new FIM 300 Championship
MotorLand, Aragon will host the first round of the much anticipated FIM Supersport 300 World Championship. The new series will serve as an introduction to world class competition for many riders and it features a high calibre rider line-up visiting nine European circuits over the 2017 season.
Round Two of the championship will take place at Assen, Holland and will be a race to keep an eye on, with the iconic Gert Timmer chicane a common final-lap hotspot.
British circuit Donington Park always provides thrilling and close racing, with the fast and flowing opening section popular for over-taking. As a fitting closure, the Spanish circuit of Jerez is to host the ninth race and season finale.
Kawasaki riders make up nearly one third of the grid with ten Ninja 300's and their riders taking part in a grid of some 35 machines. The gutsy twin-cylinder design has proved its worth already in racing via both the racing series for its predecessor, the Ninja 250R and now the latest in line, the water-cooled six speed Ninja 300.
As a racing platform for young riders to learn their craft on, the robust Ninja has all the right attributes, a lithe and predictable chassis, strong brakes and a seemingly un-burstable engine. Relying on the little Ninja beneath them much is expected of Kawasaki riders in the series both male and female.
With a variety of experience across the field - and the youngest competitor is only 15 years old - there will be plenty of learning to do in the series, of which an integral part is starting riders on their Journey to WorldSBK.
There are two female entries in WorldSSP300, both will be at the helm of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 machines; Avalon Biddle (Sourz Foods – Benjan Racing) who topped the Female FIM EJC Cup and Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) who has been racing in a wealth of different championships, some on the world stage. Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) is at the helm of David Salom’s effort in the new class, as the former EJC rider will take on the favoured Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Harun Cabuk (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) continues to be supported by Turkish WorldSSP champion Kenan Sofuoglu as the young rider will have the backing of a world championship winning team in the new series, and with some wins from the European Junior Cup behind him, he has experience in close racing. Dutch rider Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) brings his understanding from the world stage, set to take on the new championship with a Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Cabuk in particular is the focus of much attention. Not only a protégé of multiple world champion, Sofuoglu, he completes a line up for the Italian team that means they are represented in every single championship in SBK!
As team principle Manuel Puccetti says:
“Harun is 19 years old and he will ride our Ninja 300; fittingly with race number 54!
He’s a fast guy from Kenan’s school and we hope will be one of the fastest of this new grid. It’s an interesting year with Harun as the final part of a complex jig-saw.
It’s first time ever that the Puccetti team participate in all categories of world championship. From 300 to Superbike, we hope to put on a show to be proud of”.