Press releases from the organizers and teams after qualifying and race 1 at Aragon:
Five from five for brilliant Rea at Aragon
Rea wins Saturday race after duel with Davies who crashed out late, as Melandri and Sykes complete the podium
Following a brilliant 18 lap contest at the Pirelli Aragón Round Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) maintained his 100% record so far in 2017, taking full advantage of a late crash for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati), whilst Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the podium.
Rea made it five wins from five this year after putting pressure on provisional race leader Davies for most of the race, with Ducati’s Welsh rider crashing out at the penultimate turn of the penultimate lap. The victory puts Rea 47 points clear of Sykes at the head of the championship.
Melandri was another beneficiary of Davies’ unfortunate crash as he crossed the line in second, the Italian outpacing Sykes as the pair battled for prominence. Sykes’ third place in the race moves him up to second in the general standings.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) secured an excellent fourth place finish, ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who completed the top five.
Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) was the best Spanish finisher in sixth, with Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) all in the top ten. Bradl did well for ninth after technical problems earlier in Tissot Superpole 2.
Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) retired early in the race due to a technical problem with his Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was forced to stop in the final stages due to a technical problem which caused his Ducati Panigale R to catch fire. It was an disappointing end to Fores’ race after he had remounted and battled on having crashed early on when fighting for fourth with Sykes at turn 1.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was 11th and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) did well for 12th after starting from pit lane due to an issue before the race.
Sunday’s WorldSBK Race 2 at the Pirelli Aragón Round will commence at 1pm local time (GMT +2).
1st - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) “I rode the strongest race I could; Chaz was strong in areas where I was not, and I was strong in areas where he was not, so it was a case of me learning a lot in the race. The only thing I could do in that race was ride shotgun and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake. The door opened up a few times because Chaz missed a few apexes but finally he went down in the penultimate lap. I hope Chaz is OK but for me it was a perfect opportunity to win another race”
2nd - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) "I was a very tough race because everyone expected to have warmer temperatures to use the softer rear tyre but this was impossible, everyone's bike were completely different to the practice and for me it was not easy. I couldn't have the speed that I would like to have and to be second is a big result for me."
3rd - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) “Sometimes you get gifted things in racing but we were working hard. The start of my day was very bad because I woke up about 04.00 this morning with some kind of sickness and suffered in the race. In the wind I just suffered a little bit with the turning of the bike, so the rear traction was critical. Because the bike would not turn I was over-stressing the rear tyre. From that point of view, tomorrow we will have another go.”
Fifth Win For Rea As Sykes Also Podiums
After an often-tough fight for the lead in the opening 18-lap FIM Superbike World Championship race at Motorland Aragon Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) ended up out front on the final lap after his rival Chaz Davies fell on the last corner of the penultimate lap. This was Jonathan’s fifth win from five starts in 2017. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) put a second official Ninja ZX-10RR on the podium, in third place.
After qualifying second and third in Superpole 2 earlier in the day, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes raced to a win and third place respectively in the first race of the Motorland weekend. Rea scored what was the 200th WorldSBK win for a British rider.
Rea’s perfect start to the season looked like it may be halted by Davies’ as they battled it out up front but when Rea’s race-long companion fell while leading, with just one lap to go, Jonathan was able to relax and take a four second margin of victory.
For Sykes the relatively strong wind was a factor in not being able to stay in contention to the end, despite his front row start. He was lapping as fast as any other riders at one point but he was forced to slow his pace near the end. He continued to look for strong points and eventually took 16 for his third place.
Rea has scored a maximum 125 points and leads the championship - now from his Sykes - by 47 points. One more 18-lap race will take place this weekend, on Sunday 2nd April. Under the new rules for 2017, Rea will now start the second race in ninth position, Sykes in seventh.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I made the strongest race I could do. Chaz was strong in areas where I was not, and I was strong in areas where he was not, so it was a case of me learning a lot in the race. The stopping performance, direction change and grip conservation of the bike was really good today and I felt I still had a tyre to fight with at the end, but in the middle section of the track, where Chaz was just in the front, I could not maximise any time to try to go away out front. The only thing I could do in that race was ride shotgun and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake. The door opened up a few times because Chaz missed a few apexes but finally he went down in the penultimate lap. First of all I hope Chaz is OK but for me it was a perfect opportunity to win another race. It was going to be very difficult to win a last lap battle with him in that last sector where he was so strong. It is a crash-gifted win but I will take it because I felt I rode well.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “Sometimes you get gifted things in racing but we were working hard. The start of my day was very bad because I woke up about 04.00 this morning with some kind of sickness and suffered in the race. I could not fuel the body for today, I could not eat and was almost not be able to drink anything. But in the race you always find a way around these physical things. In the wind I just suffered a little bit with the turning of the bike, so the rear traction was critical. Because the bike would not turn I was overstressing the rear tyre. From that point of view, tomorrow we will have another go. Hopefully my physical condition will be much stronger and the plan right now is to improve the set-up of the bike some more.”
Ups and downs for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati in Race 1 at Aragon: Melandri is 2nd, determined Davies crashes out while leading
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took its sixth podium of the year in Race 1 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Aragon (Spain) thanks to Marco Melandri’s second-place finish. The Italian, twice third in the first two rounds, thus sealed his best result of the season so far. Chaz Davies, on the other hand, crashed out in turn 16 while he was leading the race, in the final stages of a spectacular fight with Rea.
Starting from fourth position, Melandri suffered some difficulties early on with fresh tyres but eventually found his rhythm, posting similar lap times to those of the leading duo and maintaining third position quite effortlessly. Davies, who secured pole position with the new track record in 1:49.319, took the lead at the start and quickly pulled away with Rea. The Welshman showed his determination once again, fiercely responding to his fellow countryman’s attacks, but eventually crashed out at the end of lap 16 without sustaining injuries.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow at 09:30 (CET) for WUP. Race 2 is scheduled to start at 13:00. Due to the new grid regulations for Race 2, Melandri and Davies will start in 8th and 10th position respectively.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 2nd
“It was a tough race, for sure. We expected warmer temperatures, which would have allowed us to use the softer rear tyre, but the grip level was much lower today and we all had to adapt, both with the electronics and riding style. Personally, I struggled with the front. I opted for the new development SC1 solution because I really liked it during practice, but I expected it to drop in a different way. I lacked grip at maximum lean angle, and early on it was really difficult for me to close the line in the fast corners. Still, a second place is a good result for us today. Of course, we’ll try to improve tomorrow as each race is a different story.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – DNF
“After having missed FP1, we knew we were a bit behind in figuring things out so today I just wanted to do my race. I was trying to keep Rea at bay, passing him each time I had the opportunity to do so, but with five laps to go I started to feel that the bike was a bit more nervous and harder to manage in corner entry, and the weight was coming on and off the front. That’s what happened in the last corner, it locked without much warning and I lost the front. I was lucky to escape without injuries. Tomorrow we’ll try to get a good start and see if we can make our way to the front again. We want to win races”.
Ernesto Marinelli, Superbike Project Director
“After such a close, thrilling race, certainly we didn’t get the result we were hoping for. It’s a pity that Chaz crashed, it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths after such a generous performance on his behalf. On the other hand, we’re happy with Marco’s race, which confirms the positive trend. If it weren’t from some small front-end issues, we’re sure he could have fought for the win as well. We’re not giving up for sure, and we’ll work hard to score the best possible results with both our riders in Race 2.”
Lowes Makes Masterful Comeback in Aragon as van der Mark Impresses
Pata Yamaha World Superbike Team's Alex Lowes defied a challenging start to today to rise up and make a strong comeback, taking a fine fourth position in the first of the two FIM Motul World Superbike Championship races this weekend at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain. Teammate Michael van der Mark was also on point, building on his seventh place grid start to cross the line in fifth behind Lowes.
After experiencing an unfortunate bike wrecking crash in FP3 on a cold and windy track, Superpole 2 also proved a disappointing experience for Lowes. A technical issue on the opening lap meant the session came to a premature end and delivered no qualifying time. As a result, the young Brit squared up from 12th on the grid for race one of the Aragon weekend on a freshly rebuilt, but untested bike.
If the morning's adversities achieved anything, it was to raise the Pata Yamaha rider's race game even further. A consistent few opening laps were passed to find confidence before an impressive charge began, Lowes gradually picking off one competitor after another until reaching his teammate in fifth. With less than 0.2 seconds between them, the duel ran until Lowes made a successful pass on the brakes going in to turn one with five laps remaining. With fifth secured, a late crash by frontrunner Chaz Davies then promoted Lowes to fourth, which he held to the line.
Michael van der Mark's first European Superpole session of the 2017 season showed a further display of his consistent weekend pace, the Dutchman gradually chipping away at the lap times to deliver a 1'50.422 and secure seventh on the grid. He then made an impressively aggressive start to the race, holding his own in the pack and pushing on to chase Xavi Forés and secure fifth position. Van der Marks pace was good enough to be uncatchable by all of the following pack with the exception of his teammate Lowes, who had to work hard over several laps to make the pass. Davies crash in the final lap meant van der Mark crossed the finish line in fifth.
The race results deliver a double front row start for tomorrow's second Aragon WorldSBK race; Lowes takes pole position with van der Mark in second spot.
Alex Lowes - 4th +9.962s
"I'm happy with the first race. Its always hard starting from 12th position, the first few corners are quite tight here and I wasn't very confident after a little crash this morning because of the cold and the wind, so it took me a little bit to get going. We were a bit unlucky with Superpole so my first proper lap of the day was actually the first lap of the race. Once I got going I think I made a solid race, the bike was great and if we'd started from the front I think we would have had a chance to fight for the podium today. Anyway it was a good finish, my team did a really amazing job for me and well try again tomorrow."
Michael van der Mark - 5th, +12.302s
"I think of course you want to beat your teammate but it's really positive that we are close together again. It was a nice race, we found a couple of tenths compared to yesterday which is good and finishing fifth and fourth is something really good for the team, it shows progress. Of course I'm not happy finishing fifth but I'm happy we are making good progress with the R1 and as I said yesterday I'm feeling so much better on the bike since the first time I came here to test. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, we are both on the front row so it's going to be really interesting."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"Fourth and fifth position in today's first race mirrors our best finish of the year so far, but especially for Alex it was achieved in a very complicated way which makes the result even more pleasing. Alex will fully admit he made a small mistake on the first lap of free practice this morning a simple crash resulted in a destroyed Pata Yamaha R1 that couldn't be repaired in time for qualifying. Then unfortunately on the first lap of qualifying a technical fault with his spare machine meant that coming in to the race today we had not a single timed lap under our belts. To approach the race on a rebuilt machine in such a calm manner and to come through the field with such good pace establishes Alexs credentials and that of the 2017 R1 World Superbike. All credit is due also to the fantastic job his crew did deliver a race ready bike in such a short space of time.
Michael has not quite had the natural feeling or pace that he was able to generate in Thailand but he and his crew have worked consistently and relentlessly to find a solution and he repaid them with an aggressive start and a very strong race performance. The result gives us pole position and second on the grid for tomorrows race - looking at the pace today we're hoping we can get involved with our best competitors!"
Solid sixth for Torres and Althea BMW in SBK race 1 at Aragón
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 1 April 2017
A very busy day for the Althea BMW Racing team today at Motorland Aragón, in which the squad finished the first SBK race of the weekend in sixth place with Torres and in 12th position with Reiterberger. Faccano has qualified third for tomorrow’s STK1000 race.
Superpole 1: Reiterberger completed a couple of laps with the race tyre before going back out with the qualifier. Unfortunately, a crash two minutes from the session’s end prevented him from completing a fast lap, meaning that he closed third, which translated into thirteenth place on the race grid.
Superpole 2: Torres positioned fifth with the race tyre before returning to the track with the qualifying session. Thanks to a best time of 1’50.397, the Spaniard earned himself a sixth place start on the grid for today's race.
SBK - Race 1: Torres lost some positions off the line and was lying 11th after one lap. Getting past Hayden on lap seven, and then Laverty, the Spaniard was up to eighth by mid-race. Able to make up a further two place in the later stages, Jordi crossed the line sixth.
Reiti, forced to start from the back of the grid following last minute bike repairs after the Superpole crash, he soon moved up to thirteenth place, a position he held until the penultimate lap where he advanced one more place to finish twelfth.
STK1000 Qualifying: having concluded this morning’s practice in sixth (a wet track prevented almost all rider from improving on times set yesterday), Faccani was ready for qualifying. Unfortunately though, a technical issue kept him in the garage for most of the session, before the young Italian made the last five minutes count, setting a 1’52.626 that projected him into final third place, meaning a front row start for tomorrow’s race.
“All in all, we finished the race well. After a less than impressive start, due to the electronics, I was left with a lot of work to do. I pushed from the start to make up some positions and was gradually able to move forward. It was a great race for us, considering how it began. Having said that, I really want to do better tomorrow, something that is very possible if I can just make a better start than I did today!”
“We started the day positively in FP3 and I also had good feeling in SP1, until the highside put paid to my plans – I’m sure I could have entered SP2 and started the race top ten if it hadn’t been for that. As for the race, we were forced to start from last place as the bike wasn’t quite fixed in time. Thanks to the team’s hard work, I was actually able to race though - thankfully. I finished twelfth, which wasn’t bad from last place but I hope we can do more tomorrow of course, if we can get the bike back to how it was in SP1.”
“Qualifying went well today. We were able to set a good time and I’m pleased that we’ll be starting the race from the front row. I thank the team for the work done up until now, we have a good setting and I feel well prepared. Tomorrow we hope to be able to fight for the positions that count…”
MERCADO ENDS RACE1 IN SEVENTH PLACE, PONTONE WILL START HIS RACE FROM THE FOURTH ROW
Aragon, April 1, 2017 – The first race of the season for Team Iodaracing and Leandro Mercado ended with an excellent seventh place. The Argentine rider, who crossed the finish line as the best rider on an Aprilia machine on track, he got before the eighth lap time in SP2 1.50.514, ahead of Eugene Laverty and behind Michael Van Der Mark.
LEANDRO MERCADO # 36 – ROUND ARAGON – SEVENTH IN RACE 1 – “Just a month ago I was at home watching at the start of the season on tv, because of my injury in training, and today I finally got my season start, ending Race 1 in the Top 10. For me this was a very tough race, especially for two factors: the wind and the behavior of the bike with a full tank. I made a good start and I tried to stay with the leaders, but they had something more, then in the second half of the race laps the grip dropped a lot and I could not take over Jordi Torres that had passed me before. Despite this I managed to make my race and I am really happy to have finished as the first among the Aprilia riders on the track. I want to thank the team Iodaracing for the opportunity and the work they’re doing at the track and Aprilia off course. Tomorrow we will try to make the most of the starting position on the grid (due to the new Race2 starting rules Mercado will start fourth, second row) to make a good race. ”
Good performance by Armando Pontone SP2 in the new category WSSP300. The Italian rider scored the eleventh chrono on the Yamaha R3 Iodaracing Team bike with 2.15.473 as a best lap time.
ARMANDO PONTONE # 80 - ROUND ARAGON - FOURTH ROW - 11th - 2.15.473 - "Getting into SP2 for me was already an achievement, but today I could do better. Unfortunately I rode alone and this has affected me as well as the strong wind . If I had had access to the other riders slip streams, I would certainly have done better eleventh time. I'm still happy with how things are going the weekend, but they are a bit 'disappointed today, I had to be a bit' smarter and stay in group, I'll just make it next time. "
Bradl and Hayden round out top-10 in opening race at Aragon
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has contested the opening race of the weekend at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in north-eastern Spain, with Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden crossing the line in ninth and tenth positions, respectively, at the end of the 18-lap encounter.
The two Honda WorldSBK combatants got a good start from tenth and eleventh on the grid on board their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines and gained one position each during the opening lap. Bradl spent most of the race ahead of his teammate as he swapped positions several times with Eugene Laverty. However, on the last lap, Hayden successfully overtook Bradl for ninth place, but the German retook the place before the chequered flag.
The starting grid for race two (13:00 GMT +2) will see Stefan Bradl lining up on row two in sixth slot, while Nicky Hayden will launch himself from twelfth place on the fourth row.
Stefan Bradl 6
It was not an easy Saturday for us. For the first time this year I found myself battling out on track and I did have some fun with Laverty, but I was suffering a bit on the back straight as we had to use an old engine after a problem in Superpole 2. The setup still needs to be improved and there were several minor issues rather than one big one, but we can still work on them ahead of race two. The key areas are rear grip but we also need to find some more stability at the front. Starting from sixth place will be interesting for me as it’ll be a little bit closer to the front, with an opportunity to learn some more from the guys ahead.
Nicky Hayden 69
We made a good change for Superpole 1 and I immediately felt much happier with the bike. A 50.9s lap-time with race tyres was definitely not bad but unfortunately I wasn’t able to lap much faster with the qualifier. I got a good start in the race but I found myself baulked entering turn one, so I lost some positions. The bike was working OK in some areas but I was struggling a little with turning. I caught up there with Eugene and Stefan and I thought I could have won that battle, so that I could start closer to the front tomorrow. I went back and forth with the Stefan on the last lap: I did get in front of him, then I thought I had a chance at Eugene but Stefan passed me again on the back straight. Obviously, we’re not too happy with tenth place but we’ll keep working and see what we can do tomorrow.
We couldn’t make the most of free practice 3 today as the temperatures were too low to do some important work needed. It did get warmer for Superpole 1 which helped the bike find its sweet spot and we set some competitive lap-times, especially with race tyres. In the race, Stefan struggled a bit more on the straight as he was using an old engine, while after a few laps Nicky was already experiencing some issues in getting the bike to turn the way he wanted. Both riders did a great job, though, and now we have some more time to have a look at the data for race 2.
WorldSSP: Determined Jacobsen grabs pole ahead of Sofuoglu
American rider secures pole at Aragon in front of returning World Champion Sofuoglu, with Morais in third
A focused performance in Tissot Superpole 2 from PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) gave the American rider his second pole position of 2017, with World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) returning to action to qualify second. The front row of the grid was completed by South African rider Sheridan Morais of the Kallio Racing team.
Jacobsen put in an excellent 1’54.948 lap on his MV Agusta F3 675 machine, to repeat his pole triumph from Australia at Round One. However Sofuoglu will be aiming to prevent Jacobsen from taking more poles as the season progresses and he steps up his title defence, having returned to action from his pre-season hand injury to qualify in a highly respectable second place - by a +0.061s deficit from P1.
It was a story of fine margins for Morais too, as he slotted in behind the front two on his Yamaha YZF-6R, trailing Jacobsen by just +0.09s.
Heading row two and +0.257s off pole was Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), who will have Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) lining up alongside him in fifth.
SP1 saw Mahias and Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) take the top two slots to move through to SP2. Rolfo suffered a light crash at the end of SP2 but had already secured sixth place on the grid.
There were also crashes late in the SP2 session for Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) at turn 2 and Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) at turn 14, with the Finnish and Japanese riders ending up seventh and eighth respectively. Behind that pair is Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in ninth, just over a second off pole pace.
On the fourth row are Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), his fellow Italian Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Englishman Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven).
In SP1 a crash for Anthony West following a technical issue at turn 13 brought out the red flag after oil was left on track. The incident saw West slide into the gravel, with his Yamaha YZF R6 catching fire, the Australian ending up at the back of the grid as a result. The session resumed after the oil spill was dealt with by the Aragon marshals.
The WorldSSP race at MotorLand Aragon round takes place at 11.30am local time on Sunday.
Pole Position - PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) "I am absolutely happy with this second pole position. All the MV Agusta team did a very good job today and I can’t thank them enough. The only little problems today were the wind as is was too strong, and the tyres, but in the end I had a very positive feeling on by bike and I was able to close in pole position. The main target for tomorrow is win the race or at least get the podium, so I can bridge the gap with the top riders and get back in the fight for the championship."
Second Grid Spot For Sofuoglu In Motorland
FIM Supersport World Championship Superpole qualifying put returning world champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) into second place ahead of Sunday’s 16-lap race. His team-mate Kyle Ryde battled hard and qualified 18th, despite not finding his ideal race set-up yet.
Sofuoglu, a five-time champion in this class, was unsure of his recently recovered right thumb would handle the stresses of WorldSSP competition but it was a case of so far/so good for Sofuoglu who came back at almost full pace straight away.
His second position in Superpole 2 means Kenan starts from the middle of the front row, after calling on all the performance of his Ninja ZX-6R and all his years of experience to overcome his recent lack of track time.
For 19-year-old Ryde, who is fourth in the championship standings after two rounds, the familiar surroundings of Motorland Aragon - where he has ridden several times - did not translate into an optimum qualifying performance. He starts from the sixth row, but is confident of his ability to pass other riders as the race gets underway.
Ryde’s best lap time was relatively close to the leaders, just a second away on a long 5.077km track with a lap record of 1’54.605, but such is the competition in 2017 he was 18th of the 35 riders who attempted to qualify.
Like all the riders, having only one dry Friday practice session compromised Kyle’s time. This did not help him to eradicate the tendency of the back wheel to break traction under braking, and come around towards the front, but he is confident he will be ready for the single lap challenge of Superpole and the race itself.
Now the WorldSSP pack will prepare for the race, after a morning warm-up of 15 minutes. The race itself will take place at 11.30 local time on Sunday 2nd April.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am very happy to be back. I did not do the final winter testing or the first two rounds. When I arrived here it was very difficult, yesterday and this morning. I did not expect to be on the first row, but of course I am happy. For the race – I have no idea! I did not get to do a long run because of the wet session on Friday but I am relaxed and that is the most important thing. I’m happy.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “It is strange to be where I am on the grid because I feel better here than in either Australia or Thailand. My confidence and everything in better but it is just not translating into a lap time. The big problem is ‘backing-in’ and I think that is because the temperature is lower than in Australia and Thailand. It is grippy here but it is still backing-in, so I cannot stop the bike. I think my riding style is not helping as I hang off so much. I think I will adjust the bike settings to be able to go down the gears and push it into the corners. If we can do that I think we will be OK.”
Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was 12th on the grid for Sunday’s race, while Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI Kawasaki) placed himself 15th.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki), Ryde and Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) filled the grid spaces from 17th to 19th.
ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) was 23rd, Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki)
25th, Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) 27th and ESS rider Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary by Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 29th. One-event runner Nasser Al Malki (Qatar National Team Kawasaki) ended up 33rd on the grid.
Mulhauser claims first top ten start in Spain
Posted on 1st April 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Robin Mulhauser will start tomorrow’s race from the 3rd row of the grid in 9th position, his best qualifying in World Supersport so far. Robin is joined on the third row by teammate Hikari Okubo who, despite sliding off in Superpole 2 qualified in 8th position at the cool and windy Motorland Aragon circuit.
Jules Cluzel narrowly missed out on entry to SP2 qualifying in 14th position and the Frenchman confronts the difficult task of starting from the 5th row of the grid in tomorrow’s race.
Newcomer Hiromichi Kunikawa improved his lap time again in Superpole 1 and will be looking for a strong first World Supersport race with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda tomorrow.
Robin said: “This is my first top ten qualifying in World Supersport so it’s not bad but I still feel a little disappointed. I felt good in the first run and then in the second run I made some mistakes and couldn’t improve as I feel I can but it is my best qualifying in WSS and I think from the 3rd row I can make a good race.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “It’s not the result for Jules we were looking for. We need to improve in warm up tomorrow and get a good start to challenge for the podium in the race. Both Robin and Hikari did a good job, an especially good result for Robin to be in SP2 and on the 3rd row of the grid. They are both in a strong position to challenge for a top 6 finish in the race. Hiromichi is improving all the time and we will work with him to achieve the best possible result tomorrow. In the first two rounds of the Championship we were fastest and we didn’t win, now we are not the fastest here and we need to look at why. Of course it will be difficult for Jules from the 5th row but we just have to do the best we can to challenge for the podium.”
WorldSSP300: Deroue secures inaugural WorldSSP300 pole
Dutch rider on pole at MotorLand Aragon in new class, ahead of Perez and Kalinin in top three
Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) will be the rider on pole for the first race of the new World Supersport 300 series on Sunday, after the Dutchman headed Tissot Superpole 2 at MotorLand Aragon. Deroue made it through from SP1 to take pole with a 2’12.712 best time, with Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) and Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) also qualifying on the front row.
Spaniard Perez lapped +0.219 behind Deroue, with Ukrainian rider Kalinin also going through from SP1 to register a best time +0.696 off P1.
The second row will feature two more Spaniards Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) and Borja Sánchez (Halcourier Racing) who qualified fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching Dutchman Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) in fifth.
Meanwhile wild card Marc Garcia made it four Spanish riders in the top seven to head row three, in front of two Italians - Giuseppe De Gruttola (SK Racing) and Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV), who were eighth and ninth.
Gabriel Noderer (Scuderia Maranga Racing) and Armando Pontone (IODARacing) were ten and eleventh respectively, whilst Harun Cabuk (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) crashed and ended up at the bottom of the Tissot Superpole 2 timesheet, therefore qualifying 12th.
Troy Bezuidenhout (Team Toth) was an early crasher in SP1, with Avalon Biddle (Sourz Foods - Benjan Racing) and Ruben Doorakkers (MVR Racing) also suffering accidents in the session, though without significant consequences.
The first race of the new World Supersport 300 class takes place at 2.20pm local time (GMT +2) on Sunday at the MotorLand Aragon track.
Pole Position - Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki)
"It feels good, the first Superpole was quite difficult there was a bit of rain so it was quite difficult so we didn't know how much to push but the second one had no rain and the Kawasaki feels really good. I had a good slip stream and it as an amazing lap so I'm really happy to have the first pole position in the new class so it feels really good."
MF84 Althea and Puffe qualify on row six for the STK1000 race at Aragón
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 1 April 2017
Newly formed team MF84 Althea in on track at Motorland Aragon in Spain this weekend, participating in the opening round of the Superstock 1000 championship. The Italian team, in attendance with German rider Julian Puffe, has made an encouraging start to the season on its debut appearance in this difficult and competitive category.
In yesterday’s two practice sessions, Puffe worked with his technicians to start to adapt his BMW S 1000 RR to the Spanish track. Throughout the day, the young rider improved on his times by almost two seconds, closing day one in 16th position, with a time of 1’55.064.
The track was wet for this morning’s final practice, meaning that barely any riders, Puffe included, were able to improve further as far as lap times were concerned.
Back on what was a dry track for this afternoon’s qualifying, Puffe did well, continuing to make progress and qualifying in final 18th position, with a time of 1’54.755, for tomorrow’s race.
“Yesterday’s practice didn’t go too badly but we had to make some changes which improved things for second practice. In this morning’s session, we made a big jump, thanks to more modifications, and I was in eleventh place. Unfortunately, qualifying was not so easy, as the strong winds made things tough for me. I only had two laps in which to make a good lap but I made too many mistakes, pushing too hard perhaps, and I only finished eighteenth, so we have work to do for tomorrow.”
Pata Yamaha Official STK100 Team Prepare for Season Opener in Aragon
The Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team got down to business today in qualifying to prepare for the first race of the 2017 FIM Superstock1000 European Championship tomorrow. Riders Roberto Tamburini and Florian Marino qualified in fifth and sixth respectively on their YZF-R1Ms.
Marino has been fast through all practices yesterday and looking very comfortable in is first race weekend since recovering from previous injury. Instead of focus on a hot lap, the Frenchman spent qualifying improving race set up and pace, to be ready for tomorrow's race. Marino rode a bets lap of 1'53.151 to secure sixth on the grid.
Teammate Tamburini has been similarly quick all weekend, and usually found within one position of Marino on the timesheets. Today's qualifying was no exception, despite a lowside crash caused by a cooling fresh front tyre on a cooler track temperature, the Italian had no problem slotting his YZF-R1M into fifth position, just 0.339 secs ahead of Marino.
Roberto Tamburini - 5th, 1'52.812
"Today the feeling was not so bad, there are still some things to improve on the set up, especially on the front to be ready for the race. I think it's going to be a tough race but also we are in a strong position to fight for the podium. I need to work a little on brake set up for corner entry and we will be ready."
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team
"Everything is ok, sixth in qualifying is actually not too bad. I was expecting better but I wasn't able to manage a fats lap for the front row. My pace is really good for the race and I think tonight we will analyse the data to see where we can find some extra tenths. I've been working towards this race all winter, Im excited as it's my first race back since my injury so I'm happy about the situation and where I am now."
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team Manager
"It was a tough qualifying session because Roberto crashed immediately with new tyres, the track temperatures had dropped a little and the tyre wasn't warm enough on the side so he lost the front. Florian was very much concentrating on his race pace for the race tomorrow so he wasn't focused on one hot lap at all. I am fully confident with the pace both Roberto and Florian have and after the successful testing we have done here that they will be fighting at the front together tomorrow in the race."