Press releases from the teams and organizer after the first European round of the series at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Davies wins superb lap battle over Rea
Fantastic ride by Davies from tenth on the grid sees Welshman overcome Rea in Race 2 at Aragon, with Melandri third
A highly determined ride from Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) at the Pirelli Aragón Round on Sunday saw the Welshman get his first win of 2017, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) also on the podium.
WorldSBK Race 2 - in sunny but windy conditions at MotorLand Aragon - went down to the last lap, with Davies making amends for his Race 1 crash as he got the better of World Champion Rea over the last two corners.
The pair dueled for the lead in the final stages, with Davies ultimately crossing the line half a second ahead of Rea, to end the Northern Irishman’s five race winning streak. Melandri continued his solid comeback season in third place, around 2.5s back on his victorious teammate.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finished in fourth place, the former World Champion suffering from sickness this weekend in Spain. Sykes finished eight down on the podium positions but got the better of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) on the final lap.
Dutchman Van der Mark equaled his best result of the season so far in fifth. There was frustration for his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleague Alex Lowes on lap 11, as a mistake saw him run off track and drop out of podium contention as he resumed way down the field, having been in fourth before his off-track excursion.
Lowes had started Race 2 at the front of the grid and he had held the lead for several laps. The Englishman eventually finished 13th.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) recovered from the drama of his Saturday DNF, which saw his race end with his Ducati in flames, finishing Sunday’s contest as the top Spanish rider in sixth – just under two seconds ahead of compatriot Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team).
Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completed the top ten.
Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) suffered a DNF due to a technical problem, whilst Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project) crashed out at the end of lap 15.
The WorldSBK grid will be back in action at the Acerbis Dutch Round over the
28th-30th April weekend.
Top Three Reactions:
1st: Chaz Davies - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati "Yesterday was a disaster, the whole weekend was a disaster until the last lap of the second race. The only moment of joy is bringing home the win, and it's good to bring it home like that. We know the bike is good here, although we still need to work in a lot of different areas, but for now we are really going to enjoy this and it was a great battle."
2nd: Jonathan Rea - Kawasaki Racing Team "I'm really pleased and its been a really good weekend for us. We have come to a track that's not strong for me on the bike, we put a good Friday in and felt confident. To put in a 18 full laps with Chaz yesterday, bar to bar in both races at one of his strongest tracks was no mean feat. And today we had a good battle, so are really happy to get a podium."
3rd: Marco Melandri - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati "It was a great race, but very tough because of the windy conditions but my bike was working pretty good. It was not that easy to come back from the third row. I struggled with the front again and when Chaz arrived it was difficult. He is always difficult to try and force more in the breaks. I was able to get closer to the front guys but I am missing something.
A day to remember at Aragon for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team: Davies wins Race 2, Melandri is 3rd
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took its first win of the season in Race 2 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Aragon (Spain) thanks to a brilliant performance by Chaz Davies. The Welshman thus bounced back from yesterday’s DNF, claiming his sixth victory at the Spanish track and 21st of his career. After finishing second yesterday, Marco Melandri took third place at the end of particularly close race, in which he fought for the win until a couple of laps to go.
Starting in tenth and eighth position respectively, Davies and Melandri quickly stormed back through the field, already joining the leading group on lap 3. The two teammates then closely followed Rea until lap 12, when Davies took the lead. The final laps resulted in a spectacular series of passes. Melandri climbed to second position but eventually had to drop his pace to avoid taking too many risks. Davies on the other hand crossed lines with Rea several times, only to make the decisive move at the last chicane.
After three rounds, Davies (95 points) and Melandri (81 points) are respectively second and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for a one-day, official test ahead of the fourth round of the season, scheduled for April 28-30 in Assen (Holland).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1st
“The whole weekend has been difficult, from start to finish, so it was really important to cap it with a win, especially after yesterday’s disappointment. We were confident our bike would be fast at Aragon, but it wasn’t easy at all out there today and our main rivals seem relatively comfortable so we know there’s still work to do in many areas. Today we suffered a bit with grip early on. Also, the wind was really strong. It kept pushing me away from corners and in the last lap I got caught by a gust going into turn 5 and I missed a backshift, going a bit wide, but we still managed to finish in front. We’re competitive but it’s still not enough, so we need to keep working to improve. Tomorrow’s test will be very important for us but, for now, we’re going to enjoy this victory.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd
“Today our bike was more competitive than in Race 1 and we were in contention for the win almost until the very end. I wanted to try to pull away with about 8 laps to go, but unfortunately I almost crashed a couple of times and after that it would have been difficult to pass Rea and Davies, so in the end I couldn’t ask for more. Each race I learn something new and I’m getting acquainted with the head-to-head battles, but we lacked the necessary grip to push with the front. Anyway, we’re happy with our performance. We’re constantly fighting for podiums and we're not far from winning. We just need to improve the setup to be a bit more consistent throughout the race, and tomorrow’s tests will be very important to this end.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A CEO and Team Principal:
“We came to Aragon with great expectations but we struggled more than what we expected. At any rate, both Chaz and Marco showed great competitiveness and put on a show. We have good reasons to believe this is but the first win of the year, and we’ll keep working hard from tomorrow’s tests onward to allow our riders to be protagonists also in Assen. The season is still long.”
Second And Fourth For KRT Riders In Race Two
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes finished second and fourth respectively after the second 18-lap WorldSBK race at Motorland Aragon. Rea was in the hunt for a win right until the final corners, despite suffering from the effects of a head and chest cold. Sykes, still fighting off an infection, ended up in a lonely ride to fourth after starting the race from the third row, like his team-mate Rea.
For the first time in 2017 the combination of the Ninja ZX-10RR and Jonathan Rea did not win a WorldSBK race but they came within 0.483 seconds of making it six in a row, after a thrilling fight with eventual winner Chaz Davies.
Under the new rules that govern the starting positions for race two, race one podium finishers Rea and Sykes went back to the third row today. Rea was nonetheless in the lead by lap four and held that position until Davies passed on lap 13.
From then on Rea only had to win a short-lived battle with eventual third place rider Marco Melandri before attacking Davies again on the final lap, passing but running wide as Davies held a better line heading onto the back straight.
For Sykes, a fever meant he had nothing to eat since Saturday. Even though he started well and made up places from seventh to fourth on lap one, he was unable to go with the leading group of five that developed shortly afterwards, a group which was whittled down to just two at the end.
In the championship Rea has 145 points, just five from a perfect score, Davies has 95 and Sykes 91 after three rounds and six races.
Now the KRT squad will go testing on Monday 3rd April at Motorland, as part of the organisers’ official test programme. The next round will take place at Assen in the Netherlands, with racedays on Saturday April 29th and Sunday April 30th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I got to the front quite early but I could not make a break because it was so windy on the straight that the group stayed together. When Chaz came past he had a little bit more pace and I upped my own pace to try and go with him. He made a few mistakes but none that meant I could really go through clean on him and make it stick. On the last lap I just fought - fought for a win. I tried in a few places but it did not work out in the end. We can’t complain too much because on one side of the circuit we were really strong. Congratulations to Chaz because to come back from a big crash yesterday and win today was really impressive. I am really happy with the way I rode today and I got 45 points this weekend, even though I was not feeling my best. But the bike was working really well so I am looking forward to rolling to Assen now.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I thought I would feel better today but I am worse in my physical condition than yesterday because I have not eaten anything. We got close to the front but I am just not comfortable on the bike in windy conditions. It looks like we are sensitive on the front set-up anyway, but the wind was terrible today! And for whatever reason I am not able to keep a nice constant load on the front, which is something to consider for testing tomorrow. I just wasn’t able to keep the pace of the leaders here. We finished third and fourth on a tough weekend, and this has been the first time in a long time I have been sick on a race weekend. I have not been working at full capacity and, on the bike, you can feel how your mind does not even run at the same speed as normal. It has been a very surreal and strange feeling this weekend. I gave everything I had but I am obviously not running at full capacity.”
Van der Mark Rides to Confident Fifth in Aragon Race 2, Lowes Recovers to Score Points
Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark repeated yesterday's promising results with another fifth place finish in today's second race for the FIM Superbike World Championship Motorland Aragon round. Teammate Alex Lowes initially led the race before an issue saw him drop to 13th.
Dutchman van der Mark enjoyed a front row start today after yesterday's fifth place finish and was clearly enjoying the early laps in the front group, tucked in to second behind his teammate Lowes. Despite being passed by a couple of the fastest riders, van der Mark was able to keep the group in sight and maintain an impressive pace. As the race developed, front tyre grip dropped dramatically due to the colder temperatures and high winds, however this didn't stop him from bringing his R1 home in fifth position to match yesterday's race result.
Teammate Lowes had a less fortunate race experience. The young Brit made a brilliant start from pole, taking the holeshot into turn one and leading the race into the first corners with his teammate tucked in behind. As the key protagonists joined the fray Lowes was able to maintain the pace and keep the podium fight within his sights. Disaster struck when a missed gear going in to the last chicane caused him to lock up and run off track at turn 14, requiring 22 seconds to get back and re-join the race. Unshaken, he was immediately back up to podium pace to the end, unfortunately too far back to make up any places, and finished in 13th.
Michael van der Mark - 5th
"I'm really happy, we had a good start in second behind Alex, then Johnny Rea passed me and then Marco Melandri passed me on the straight. I was a little bit slower than the guys in front of me but I could hold on to them so I was happy with that. For sure we've made another step forward; that is really good. In the end I struggled with the front tyre, we were on the softer front option and I think today with the wind it made it worse. I'm happy finishing fifth, and it was good to fight in the front group. I want to thank the team for all their hard work. Everybody is working really very hard and we can see the potential is developing well. We are making progress and I'm happy."
Alex Lowes - 13th
"I'm annoyed but it's my first small mistake in a race this year. It wasn't all my fault, I haven't been 100% happy with the shifting on the bike and just at that point I didn't get the shift quite right and missed the gear. I ran off and that was it, 20 seconds gone right there to get back in to the race. The team have done a fantastic job, my bike was great and I would have liked to be on the podium so overall I've got to be happy with the potential. When I got back on track my pace was similar to Marco Melandri's but I was a long way behind. I'm upset that we had an opportunity to fight for the podium and we didn't take it. I feel good and I really feel we have made a good step forward on the bike. I need to improve in the first few laps but my race pace the second half of the race is good and I fully believe I could have been battling with the guys for the podium today. That's my goal for Assen, keep consistent, keep working hard and keep having fun."
"Michael rode a really strong race today from the front row, putting the R1 in the podium fight. Unfortunately, due to a combination of front tyre choice and the extremely cold and strong wind, the tyre degradation compared to race one was considerably worse and we didn't have anything left to fight with in the last five or six laps. Two fifth places is a strong and positive result for Michael. His understanding and riding style is moving forward to match the R1's characteristics, so we move on to his home track of Assen with positive aspirations!
A disappointing race two result today for Alex, yet on reflection there are still many positives for the Pata Yamaha World Superbike project and Alex to take away. He looked very comfortable in fourth position, hadn't been dropped by the podium fight and was right on Melandri's rear wheel when he suffered a small problem that caused him to run off the track. Nonetheless, I'm sure on reflection Alex will balance his disappointment with the fact that we were competitive and potentially in the fight for the podium, at a track we didn't perform well at in 2016. Its another signal that we and the R1 have moved forward and we will do our best to take the next step."
Torres and Althea BMW 7th in SBK at Aragón; Faccani 5th in the STK1000 race
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 2 April 2017
The second and final race of this third World Superbike round took place today at Motorland Aragón in Spain. The Althea BMW Racing Team obtained a good seventh place finish with Jordi Torre, sixteenth position with Markus Reiterberger, while, in the Superstock 1000 category, Marco Faccani brought the BMW home in fifth position.
Superbike - Race 2 – lining up for today’s race in third position, Torres unfortunately wasn’t able to exploit the front row start, finding himself thirteenth through the opening stages, followed by Reiti (who started 13th) in fifteenth place. Quickly settling into a good rhythm, Jordi was able to make up many positions during the first half of the race and was up into eighth with his S 1000 RR by lap eight. Maintaining his rapid pace right to the line, Torres gained one more position later in the race to cross the line seventh today. Markus, unable to find the right feeling with his BMW, oscillated between 15th and 16th place for the entire duration of the race, finally closing in sixteenth position.
STK1000 - Race – third on the grid, Faccani was lying sixth through the first corners. Still sixth at the mid-race point, the Italian was lapping with a similar pace to the frontrunners but the gap that had already opened up early on prevented him from reaching them, meaning that he closed the race in final fifth place.
After this third championship round, Torres lies seventh in the standings with 48 points while Reiterberger is 13th with 19 points. After the opening Stock1000 race, Faccani positions fifth with 11 points. BMW continues to hold fourth in the SBK manufacturer's classification with 51 points, while Althea BMW also lies fourth in the team rankings (67 points).
“To be honest, we’re left with a bit of a bittersweet taste after today’s race. The aim was to start well but unfortunately, I risked a crash at the first turn when another rider made contact and I lost many positions as a result. Once I’d got my confidence back, I did all I could to catch those ahead of me. I was able to recover quite well, but, without that aggressiveness needed at the start, we couldn’t do more than seventh today. Tomorrow we’ll make the most of the test to see how we can improve for the next races…”
“I started the race OK and felt good through the first laps, I thought maybe I could stick with Jordi but then after about 5 laps I lost the sensation and was only able to finish 16th. We need to analyse what we can do to give me the feeling I need. We don’t have any one particular problem and are losing a little everywhere. We will continue to work and try to come up with some clearer ideas…”
"I can be pleased with today’s result, we came home in fifth and have scored some points, which was important considering I still have some shoulder pain after a previous injury. I’ve got to know the bike better and think we’ve done a good job, improving session by session. In the race, we perhaps didn’t have the pace that we had in practice but I’m nevertheless pleased with fifth, and will be doing my best to improve on this during the next rounds.”
“Today we finally had everything we needed to score an important result, seeing as Jordi was starting from the front row. The technical improvements we saw during the practice sessions also boded well for the race. Unfortunately, Jordi showed indecision at the start, as has happened fairly often already and I’m sorry about this because it compromised a race that could have had a more positive outcome. The bike, overall, has improved greatly, the technicians are working well together but we’re still missing something. I hope that Jordi can find some confidence off the line; as soon as he is able to do that I'm sure we’ll be able to score the kind of results that a squad like team Althea expects.”
Eighth place for Mercado in Race2,
Pontone gains a point in the first ever WSSP300 Race
Aragon, April 2, 2017 - The Argentine rider of Iodaracing Team, Leandro Mercado, finished eighth in Race 2 at WSBK Round of Aragon. Mercado today earned his second top ten position in just two races held so far in the season 2017, and once again came out on top among the Aprilia riders on the track.
LEANDRO MERCADO # 36 - ROUND ARAGON - EIGHTH IN RACE 2 - "I'm very happy with the race today which was better than you were. In general I would say this was a nice weekend, is very positive start my season , I want to thank the team for the great job they have done. During the race I tried to stay with the leading group and until the eighth lap I managed to keep up with Sykes. I did not let him escape but in the second half I still struggling because the grip begins to drop very quickly. On this area we have to improve and for that we will have to work harder to solve this. I am convinced that everything can be solved because we have done only a few tests. Our goal will be to improve in the second part of the race from now on, however, I am happy with today's result because I have been more with the top riders, we have to continue like this. "
Armando Pontone in the first race of the history of the WSSP300 got a Championship point finishing fifteenth on the Team Iodaracing Yamaha R3 machine.
ARMANDO PONTONE # 80 - ROUND ARAGON - FIFTEENTH IN RACE - "Unfortunately I haven't got a great start and I rump hampered several times with other riders. It 'was a shame because I could have fought for eighth place, because my group was from sixteenth down. We still have some n 'working on the set up of the bike, I'm sure I can do a good race at Assen next time. "
It was another double points finish for Milwaukee Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Julián Simón in a tough Race 2 at Aragon on Sunday
After both scored well on Saturday, they lined up in Race 2 aiming to build on their results. Eugene, starting 5th via the reversed grid rules, made a good getaway and ran as high as second as he diced with Alex Lowes and Michael Van Der Mark. He again used the Aprilia RSV4 RF horsepower to full effect, but as he struggled with his braking he was unable to maintain his pace consistently. After a tense battle with Jordi Torres and Xavi Fores, Eugene eventually settled into his final position of 9th.
Julián built on his first Superbike race experience from Saturday to deliver a strong performance in Race 2. After a slow start and high winds at the track initially held his progress back, he soon found his rhythm and began his march towards the points. Running just outside the points for half of the race, Julián got stuck into a thrilling battle with Randy Krummenacher and Markus Reiterberger for the final points positions. He executed some strong passes and managed a good pace on his way to finishing 15th.
The team now have an important day of testing at Aragon on Monday, where they will make full use of the weekend's data to improve the RSV4 RF ahead of Round 4 at Assen. With teammate Lorenzo Savadori sidelined by injury, Eugene will be the only Milwaukee Aprilia in action and will take advantage of his experience this weekend to progress.
Round 4 of the 2017 WorldSBK season takes place at TT Circuit Assen in Assen, Netherlands from 28-30 April.
Keep up to speed with Milwaukee Aprilia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they contest the 2017 WorldSBK Championship.
Mick Shanley, Team Manager
Another difficult race for the team today. Eugene got away well at the front initially, but it's clear to see at the moment we're having an issue running with the guys at the top of the field.
I want to say thank you to Julián, he's been a brilliant stand-in rider at such short notice. He improved every time he got on the bike and had two solid race results, and I wish him every success in the future.
It's a really important day for us tomorrow with the test. We'll be trying various strategies and things that we need to rectify the issues we're having, and hopefully we'll have a clear direction at the end of tomorrow.
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid: 5th Race: 9th, 7 points
It was a tough weekend overall, and I did what I could today to bring it home with some decent points. At the start I was up to 2nd and was up for a good fight, but the other guys just rode around me. The wind was really bad out there too and it affected all of us. I was getting pushed wide by it a few times and they were difficult conditions to ride in.
At the moment we don't have a bike we can fight with, there's something that we are missing. We need to find lap time as soon as we can, and I'm struggling to get it stopped and turned.
There's an underlying issue, but with a test day tomorrow I think we can get to the bottom of it and hopefully get the bike where we need it.
Julián Simón #3
Grid: 17th Race: 15th, 1 point
Today was a difficult ride for me. There was a lot of wind in the first and second sectors, and it was hard for me to find the same rhythm as yesterday.
Even though it was harder than Race 1 I was able to have a battle with Krummenacher and Reiterberger, and I was strong in the third sector where the wind was less.
I am really happy with the whole experience this weekend. I improved every session and to get points in both races is fantastic. I just want to say a big thank you again to the whole Milwaukee Aprilia team for the support.
Aragon Round ends with little reward for Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
The third round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has had its final day of action at the MotorLand Aragón Circuit. Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Stefan Bradl finished the second race in twelfth place, while his team mate Nicky Hayden was forced into an early retirement on lap 11.
Bradl did not enjoy the perfect start from the second row of the grid and, by the end of the first lap, he had dropped down to tenth behind Hayden. The 27-year-old German rider retook his position and battled hard for eighth place in the first half of the encounter. Stefan then dropped back but stayed in contention for tenth place until the final laps, when he ultimately lost touch with the riders ahead.
Hayden moved up a couple of places on the opening lap and looked aggressive in the early stages, before starting to lose ground with a technical issue. As the race entered its second half, the situation worsened to the point where the 35-year-old had to make his way back to the pits and out of the race.
Bradl and Hayden will be back on track on board their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines tomorrow for the one-day official Dorna WorldSBK Organization test here at Aragón.
Stefan Bradl 6
This was not the result we were expecting, obviously. We tried a different setting from yesterday because we wanted to get a better turn in with the bike, and in the warm up it felt good. We decided to keep it, because we need to make changes and see how the bike reacts, but unfortunately it didn’t help us during the race. I was overriding the front tyre a bit, which left me with very little grip for the final laps when I was fighting with Ramos and Camier. We made a poor choice, but it was the first time that we made some real adjustment to the chassis as before we were mainly concentrating on the electronics and the engine. We definitely have a couple of things to try tomorrow during the test.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Nicky Hayden 69
We adjusted the bike a little bit this morning to try and increase the turning and help the changes of direction and the bike felt better. I had a good start and picked up some positions during the first lap. I got up to eighth at one point but as early as the second lap I was having some issues with the clutch: it got worse every lap, up to the point when there was no way I could finish the race, so I had to come back to the pits. Obviously we’re disappointed; things aren’t going our way at the moment but there is a test tomorrow so let’s see if we can make some progress.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
This morning during warm up we tried new geometry on the front of Stefan’s bike and it looked like we made a step forward as he was able to put together a decent amount of competitive lap times. For the race distance, unfortunately, these settings proved to be too aggressive for the front tyre which wore out quicker than expected. It’s a shame, because Stefan rode a great race and could have stayed in contention for a much better result. Nicky had a good start and was looking strong in the first few laps, but then had a problem with the clutch and he could not continue. It’s a shame because we could have done a bit better today. We now have eight hours of official testing ahead and we’ll make the most of them.
WorldSSP: Superb victory for Mahias in dramatic Aragon race
Frenchman takes maximum points in drama-filled race at Pirelli Aragón Round, with Morais and Jacobsen also on podium
Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was the victor in an action-packed WorldSSP race at the Pirelli Aragón Round, with Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) joining the French rider on the podium.
With several front-running riders crashing out over the course of the race Mahias, Morais and Jacobsen were left to fight for the victory. Mahias got the better of South Africa’s Morais on the final corner to win by just +0.014s.
Jacobsen was in the hunt for second in the final stages but the American finished a tenth of a second behind the leading two. The win for Mahias sees him take over at the head of the standings after three rounds.
Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) crossed the line three seconds behind the podium finishers in fourth place, with close behind him Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) in fifth.
Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) crashed alone on the first lap at turn 7, Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) crashed at turn 9 on lap 5, with Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) then going down at turn 14 on lap 7 having run at the front in the early stages.
Then there was more drama at the start of lap eight as Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was flipped over his bike and Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was unable to avoid colliding with Caricasulo’s Yamaha.
Returning World Champion Sofuoglu, who missed the opening two rounds with a hand injury, was taken to the medical centre for check-ups, as was Caricasulo.
The top ten was completed by Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag), Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Hannes Soomer (WILSport Racedays) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing).
Estonian rider Soomer’s ninth place result made him the top FIM Europe Supersport Cup finisher, followed by Rob Hartog (Team Hartog - Jenik - Against Cancer) in 12th and Péter Sebestyén (Team SSP Hungary by Pedercini Racing) in 19th.
There were DNFs for Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) and Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), the Englishman stopping midrace and the Italian retiring in the opening stages.
The WorldSSP riders will return to action at the Acerbis Dutch Round over the
28th-30th April weekend.
Race winner: Lucas Mahias - GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team
"It was pretty crazy but I was fighting a lot. I had a good strategy, in the beginning it was to follow all the riders and with a lot of wind it was tricky with the race. I am very happy as in the race I was fast in the last corner and Sheridan doesn't have a lot of confidence in the corner, and the win is good for me and for the team."
Lucas Takes Championship Lead with Stunning Aragon Victory
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP rider Lucas Mahias kept the tension up to the final seconds of todays FIM Supersport World Championship race in Aragon, taking a hard fought win, the second race victory for the all-new YZF-R6. Teammate Federico Caricasulo had looked strong in the early laps before an unfortunate crash left him unable to continue.
Frenchman Mahias was quick to move up from his fifth place grid start, immediately in the middle of the fight for the top three by the end of the first lap, just 0.3 seconds from the front two. Teammate Caricasulo made an early appearance in the mix before crashing out and leaving Mahias to keep the pressure on fellow Yamaha rider Sheridan Morais at the front. South African Morais was bale to make some ground on the back straight that Mahias was able to match with some highly skilled riding through the corners, keeping the gap down to just 0.1/0.2 seconds. Having identified Morias' weakest spot, the GRT Yamaha rider waited until the last corner of the last lap to spring, turning his R6 sharply up the inside of Morais to steal the drive out onto the final straight and grab a well deserved first race win of the year by just 0.014 seconds.
Teammate Caricasulo had an incredible start to today's race, flying off the line from his 13th place grid start and fighting quickly through the pack to reach second place by lap seven. Then just as quickly it was over, a highside coming out of turn three putting the young Italian out of the race. A trip to the medical centre and an x-ray found a small fracture in the left collarbone, but the injury will not rule Caricasulo out of the next round in Assen.
The race results see Mahias now leading the Supersport World Championship with 45 points, 5 clear of Roberto Rolfo in second. Caricasulo sits in seventh with 25 points, one point behind PJ Jacobson in sixth. The team now head to Assen for round four on the 30th April.
Lucas Mahias - 1st
"The final lap was completely crazy, but not just that lap, the whole race! I had a lot of fights and it was very difficult! There were a few riders fighting for the first position but I had a good strategy in the beginning, just to follow the other riders as there was a lot of wind and it was difficult to have a good rhythm for the race. I'm very happy because Sheridan was able to get a better drive onto the straight but I knew I was fast through the corners where he wasn't so confident. The result is really good for me and for Yamaha, so a big thank you to my team for the hard work this weekend, at the beginning I wasn't so confident but we really made it work."
Federico Caricaselo - DNF
"Today I was ok in the race, but I had a problem shifting when I crashed. I had worked from 13th up to 2nd, that was great, and I was feeling good and my R6 was working really well. I crashed on turn 3 and unfortunately I have a fracture in my left collarbone. I will be back and ready for Assen though."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"It always seems up and down in this championship either with Federico or Lucas. The next step is to have both of them on the podium! Lucas made a fantastic job this weekend. Sheridan was able to get better drive out of some corners, but he recovered the gap cleverly and consistently. Federico also started fantastically, starting 13th then quickly fighting for the lead. This means that our package works really well, so a big thank you to Yamaha for giving us a bike that enables us to fight for the win. Unfortunately Federico had a little problem into the corner turn 3, and came off. We will analyse the data to see what happened and move on to Assen. Im sorry that he takes an injury from here but I am confident he will be back on the bike and fighting alongside Lucas for Assen."
Hard fought fourth for Cluzel at Aragon
Posted on 2nd April 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Jules Cluzel managed to clinch a fourth place finish in a drama-filled World Supersport race at Motorland Aragon today. Jules rode a controlled race in windy conditions at the 5.1km circuit and was rewarded with some much needed Championship points.
Jules said: “I think that was the best that we could do this weekend. Starting 14th and finishing 4th is good. I was struggling with the rear grip and I tried to find a solution but I just tried to finish the race without making any mistakes. We had some really strong points like the braking, but if we work on the rear grip we will be really really good. I am confident and we need to win races to take points so that will be the target at the next race.”
Despite the windy conditions at the Spanish circuit, Hikari Okubo secured another strong points finish in 11th position.
Hiromichi Kunikawa acquitted himself well on his debut with CIA Landlord Insurance Honda with the Japanese rider finishing the race in 23rd position.
Round 3 of the World Supersport Championship was not so kind to Robin Mulhauser who highsided and crashed out at turn 7 on the first lap of the 16 lap race. Robin wasn’t seriously hurt so can look forward to a strong ride next time out at Assen.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “For Jules to go from 14th on the grid to finish 4th is really good. We went back to the base setting and Jules rode a very intelligent race. I’m happy and relieved for everybody. We weren’t as strong at this track as we were in Australia and Thailand so we need to look at the areas we need to improve and be fighting for the win in Assen. Hikari crashed yesterday and didn’t have the same feeling today but it was very windy and we believe that may have been a factor but another good finish for him. Robin made a mistake and ran wide then got on the throttle and it high sided him. It’s a shame as he was riding really well and I’m sure he will be strong at the next round. Hiromichi came here with no testing and has worked really well all weekend, it’s good that he has this experience under his belt and we will build from here.”
Ryde Scores Well As Sofuoglu Gets Forced Out
Kyle Ryde secured eighth place after a dramatic 16-lap WorldSSP race at Motorland Aragon and is ranked fourth in the championship points as a result. Reigning FIM Supersport World Championship Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was taken out of the race on lap eight after another rider highsided in front of him. He escaped any significant injury.
Kyle Ryde, who had opted for the soft front race tyre, was riding on his own behind the leading group at half race distance and ended up on his own at the end of 16-laps, six seconds ahead of the next nearest rider. He scored points for the third race in succession.
Sofuoglu was in fourth position early in the race, leading the second group, before easing his pace to wait for the last few laps to make his final plan. Another rider highsided in front of him, however, and Kenan was collected by the prone machine, getting roughly dumped onto the asphalt. Despite hurting his back Kenan did not re-injure his right thumb and he will be ready for the next round.
Kyle is fourth in the championship after three rounds, still the leading Kawasaki rider. Kenan has yet to score after missing the first two rounds through injury.
The next round takes place at Assen in the Netherlands, with raceday on Sunday April 30th.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “It is a long time off the bike for me and right now, back in racing, I cannot say I was confident to pull a gap on everybody. I decided to follow some riders but when I saw that they all thought they were on the last lap, last corner - even at the beginning of the race - I let four or five people go into the lead. It was a long race so I was saving my tyre and riding in the right way. Then even more slow riders started attacking me so I moved a little bit closer to the front group. But, one of these riders made a mistake and took me out of the race. To finish up like that hurts because this is not something we deserved. I am sad for my team but I had a lot of practice this weekend and got some confidence back. My thumb is no problem. I hurt my back, and it still hurts now, but nothing is broken.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “It was a good race to go from 18th to eighth. I had an issue with the front but after half race distance I was only three seconds from the first. It was positive. I was lucky three or four riders fell but I have to keep finishing the races as well. I am still fourth in the championship too. We have to make the Friday of the next race better so I can get into Superpole two and have a better race result.”
Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI Kawasaki) was the top Kawasaki finisher, fifth today, while Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) was 12th, scoring good points. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) and Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) finished 14th and 15th respectively at Motorland.
At his home round Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 18th, Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary by Pedercini Racing) was 19th and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) 20th. Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) was unable to finish the race. One-off Aragon rider Nasser Al Malki (Qatar National Team Kawasaki) placed 25th.
WorldSSP300: Deroue wins enthralling maiden WorldSSP300
Dutchman makes history with first win in new series from pole, with Spaniards Valle and Perez also on the rostrum
At the Pirelli Aragón Round on Sunday Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) made history with victory in the first ever race of the new WorldSSP300 series, the young Dutchman joined on the podium in Spain by two Spaniards, Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) and Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays).
Former Moto3™ rider Deroue started on pole and used his Grand Prix experience to eventually fend off his rivals, crossing the line just 0.047s ahead of Valle after a brilliant race, with Perez also in the hunt for maximum points. Perez had led the race and looked strong for several laps but would ultimately have to settle for third, 0.127s behind Deroue.
Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) was in the mix for the win too, sitting at the back of the front group over the last two laps and finally reaching the checkered flag less than a second off P1.
Angelo Licciardi (Team Trasimeno) finished in fifth place, 10 seconds behind the leading riders. Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV), Giuseppe De Gruttola (SK Racing), Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Paolo Giacomini (Terra e Moto) and another ex-Moto3™ rider Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) completed the top ten.
Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) slid out of the lead with seven laps to go at turn ten, before Kimi Patova (Kallio Racing) and Chris Taylor (MTM HS Kawasaki) crashed out together at turn 17, with five laps to go.
Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) then crashed out of the podium hunt at turn 4 of the penultimate lap. Enzo de la Vega (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) was an unfortunate crasher right at the end of the race, as he slid off on the final corner.
Avalon Biddle (Sourz Foods - Benjan Racing) and wild card Marc Garcia (Halcourier Racing) both suffered DNFs due to technical problems.
Race winner: Scott Deroue - MTM HS Kawasaki
"The start of the race was good but it was quite difficult with the wind, as it makes a big difference on these bikes, but then I saw Perez and Kalinin and I thought okay I need to push and then Kalinin crash so I push and make the gap and get better. On the last lap I was able to take the win, it's been an awesome week and awesome weekend."
Superstock Top Four For Toprak And A Debut Win For Ninja 300
The first round of the new Superstock 1000 European Championship season took place at Motorland Aragon in Spain on Sunday 2nd April, with two Kawasaki riders in the final top six places. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a fighting fourth and is therefore ranked fourth in the early championship table.
A man-to-man battle on the last lap between Razgatlioglu and Roberto Tamburini saw Toprak denied the chance of a late charge to a potential podium, after a vivid rear tyre slide lifted him out of the saddle as he applied the throttle. The Turkish rider did well to save a potential crash, keeping his nerve and track position to hold off the following Marco Faccani and take 13 valuable points.
Just behind Faccani, Jeremy Guarnoni (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) took sixth place and the Triple M Racing Kawasaki of Ilya Mykhalchyk was eighth. Just behind the top ten Wayne Tessels (Agro-on-Benjan Kawasaki) scored five points for 11th place, the last Kawasaki rider to record points as the new season started in dry but windy conditions.
At the commencement of the very first WorldSSP300 race in history Kawasaki had instant success, thanks to the victory of Dutch rider Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) and the Ninja 300.
Deroue was on pole but finished the first lap in sixth place, battling back after dropping as low as eighth at one stage to win an exciting three way fight by 0.047 seconds from Daniel Valle and Mika Perez. Heavy and very gusty winds made riding conditions tricky for all but Deroue handled them best and took full points ahead of his home round at Assen next time out.
Scott Deroue, stated: “This win means a lot to us. The start of the day was quite difficult because it was so windy and it is a bit different on these kinds of small bikes. On the bigger bikes it is a not so much of a problem but on these bikes there is a big difference. So in the first stages I was just looking at how it was. Then I saw a gap developing ahead as some riders got away and I knew I needed to push. I knew I could get better and closed the gap. On the last lap the others could not overtake me. This was the first pole position and first race win, so thanks to my team and Kawasaki for preparing such a good bike.”
MF84 Althea and Puffe reach the points zone in the STK1000 race at Aragón
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 2 April 2017
The first race of the 2017 Superstock 1000 season took place today at Motorland Aragón and for the new MF84 Althea team, on track with German rider Julian Puffe, it proved to be a weekend of constant progress, with Puffe crossing the line fourteenth, and scoring his first championship points, in today’s race.
>From the sixth row of the grid, Puffe made a good start and was lying 20th through the first corners. From that position, he started to fight back, finding the kind of pace that allowed him to make up several places through the early stages, up to 16th by lap six. A constant rhythm through the final stages saw him advance a further two position to conclude the first race of the season inside the points zone, 14th across the line.
“For our first race weekend, we can say that we’ve made continual progress, from the first session up until the race. The team is now, the track is not an easy one and Julian arrives from a different bike which is never easy so, all in all, we are very pleased. Julian is getting on well with the BMW and the team is working well together. We’re keen to continue with our work, and hopefully see improvements already at Assen.”
“My start wasn’t bad but another rider cut my line at the first corner and I lost a lot of places. I then found it hard to build up a rhythm and made a few mistakes but lap by lap things improved and in the end, I finished fourteenth. For my first race that’s OK but I’m sure we can do much better, as the team and bike are working well. We will work to improve and get faster step by step, starting from Assen…”
Marino and Tamburini Storm the Aragon STK1000 Podium
The opening round of the Superstock 1000 FIM European Championship, held at Motorland Aragon on Sunday 2nd April, saw Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 riders Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini score strongly inside the top three at the first time of asking. Marino was a confident second and Tamburini a determined third on their close-to-showroom model YZF-R1M machines.
After the traditional style one-session qualifying session on Saturday 1st April Marino lined up fifth on the grid and Tamburini sixth, already in the vanguard in a field of over 30 machines from six different manufacturers.
The 13-lap race itself, the final main event on the weekend race card, saw eventual race winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi take an early lead, followed by eventual faller Max Scheib. Behind, Marino was fourth on lap one, got relegated to fifth, but moved up to third after passing Mike Jones and Toprak Razgatlioglu. The young Frenchman was lifted up to second on lap seven after Scheib crashed out, holding the position to the line and was just 3.587 seconds from first. It was a popular and highly rewarding return to racing for a rider who has been dogged by injury in recent times.
It was a fight to the flag all the way for Tamburini, who was down in eighth place after lap one but got into podium contention with two laps to go. He won a thrilling personal last lap passing battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu on the very last corner, as he took an ideal line and forced his rival to try and re-pass on too tight a line. Tamburini, three times a winner in this class, signed off the opening race of the year in third by an eventual clear margin and made it an almost perfect end to race day for his team, with both their riders on the podium.
This being the first round of the championship, Marino and Tamburini enter the next round in Assen in second and third place in the points standings, with 20 and 16 points respectively.
"We had good winter tests so I was ready for this race. The weekend as a whole did not go as I expected, I had expected to be a bit faster. At some stages I struggled a little bit with set-up but anyway when it came to the race I stayed calm, and did not make too many mistakes. It is good to be back in this championship, to be back racing and to finish on the podium."
"I was eighth on lap one after not such a good start so I had to push a lot to recover the gap. During the race I had some problems when entering corners with the brake applied but this podium is fantastic. Thanks to all the team and now we will work on the bike settings to be even more competitive. This was a good start to our season."
REA ROLLS TO MORE WorldSBK GLORY IN ARAGON
Change the time zone, drop the temperatures, throw in some more dips, drops and climbs…but the 2017 WorldSBK FIM World Championship still remains in the jaws of veritable ‘king of the jungle’ Jonathan Rea. The reigning number one was the star of two spectacular races at Motorland Aragon this weekend and continued an emphatic run that began in Australia, stretched into Thailand and now stays strong as the series traverses through Europe. Rea won the first race and finished a close second to Chaz Davies after an epic last lap on Sunday in Spain.
With a lead of 50 points already at the top of the standings after three fixtures of thirteen on the calendar and a record that reads 1-1-1-1-1-2 Rea is cranking up the pressure on his rivals by extending his impeccable level of performance and competitiveness.
Under the blue and gusty skies of Aragon and around the sweeping, fast and technically challenging Motorland course (tricky due to the variety of elevation, off-cambered turns and constant changes of direction) Rea entertained the public that defied windy conditions with a first race duel with Ducati’s Davies. The pair circulated close for almost the entire distance; swapping positions and lines until a grandstand finale was wrecked by Davies’ crash with just one lap to go. Rea cruised to win five of five.
“I did the strongest race I could do and I learned a lot,” said Rea, who had also been suffering with illness. “I don't know how we can manufacture some acceleration out of the chicane and onto the back straight because I was getting annihilated; all I could do was ride shotgun [to Davies] and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake; that is the only way the door opened up a few times because he missed a few apexes. It was a perfect opportunity to win another race because a last lap battle with him would have been so tough.”
“It is a crash-gifted win and I will take it,” he added. “I also want to dedicate it: this is for my mechanic Ori whose grandfather, Josep, has just died; we spoke a lot before the race and I said I wanted to try and win for him and his family.”
On Sunday Rea scythed to the front in just four circulations and from ninth place on the grid (with the inverted order format new to 2017). From there he faced continual assault from Davies and Marco Melandri that went to a last lap crunch with his countryman. Davies made a mistake that almost let Rea through but the champion came close and attempted a brave line on the final chicane. Contact between the pair left some of Davies’ Pirelli rubber on Rea’s left elbow but the Ducati’s acceleration advantage down the back straight was enough to deny the Kawasaki by half a second at the finish line.
“I’m really happy because I was not feeling good this weekend with my health – I was OK on the bike and it was working really good – but I did not have a lot of energy and today was worse than yesterday,” he said after the podium ceremony. “I had a really good fight and this is historically the strongest track for Chaz and Ducati, so I am really happy to come away with 45 points. Last year we were second and third but we were miles away. This time we race right until the end with Chaz.”
Tom Sykes picked up a podium on Saturday thanks to Davies’ faux pas and walked onto the third step. The 2013 champion had been struggling with a virus and also getting the Ninja ZX-10RR to flick between the fast curves to his liking but still ran to his fourth rostrum of the year. On day two he was further adrift from the leaders and placed fifth.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes took part in a tasty tussle with teammate Michael Van der Mark in the first race and beat the Dutchman to claim fourth. The battle was renewed on Sunday and after Alex had fronted the pack for three laps. Unfortunately #22 ran off the track at turn fourteen and then had to push to reach the finish in twelfth.
A three-week break now precedes the trip to Assen, Holland for WorldSBK and round four of thirteen that will work across Italy and the UK before heading Stateside to Laguna Seca in July. Rea has won seven of the last eight races at the flowing Dutch layout.