2018 Aragon WorldSBK Preview Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and teams previewing this weekend's WorldSBK round at Aragon:


#AragonWorldSBK: Anything can happen

It’s time to predict the unpredictable as WorldSBK heads to Europe

Three different winners from four races have treated us to sensational MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action, and now 2018 heads into the third corner and accelerates into Europe as MotorLand Aragon is the host of the third round of the season. Last season Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) stunned the paddock as he took the victory in race one, but Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) came back fighting and as we head into Ducati territory, all bets are off and it’s time to be amazed.

Taking back the hold of the championship lead after a tough race two in Thailand, Jonathan Rea prepares for a big fight as he heads back to his home continent. Continuing to work on the set-up of his ZX-10RR with the new regulations, the Northern Irishman will be focusing on gearing around the 5.07km circuit this time around. Coming out on top of a scintillating battle in 2017’s race one, his record here is varied but he hasn’t finished off the podium since 2013 meaning he will be pulling out all the stops to continue this into 2018. Chasing down the all-time Superpole record this weekend, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldBSK) is another rider with a strong record around MotorLand, finishing over half of the races he has competed here on the podium.

A firm favorite around MotorLand, Chaz Davies will be hopeful of taking his first double victory of the season on-board his Panigale R machine, around a circuit in which he has dominated in the past. Painting Aragon red on more than one occasion, the 31 year old has an impressive history here – with six victories to his name - but with the changes made to his bike for 2018, it will be an interesting challenge to see if he can get back on top. Italian team-mate Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) won the first WorldSBK race held around MotorLand and with two podium finishes last season, he will be one to keep an eye on throughout the weekend.

Impressing in the WorldSBK paddock this season is Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), as the Spanish rider currently sits in third position in the world championship standings and has been threatening to take a victory in the opening rounds of 2018. Heading to his home circuit, in which he has finished all races between fourth and sixth in the past, he will be looking to impress his home fans and will be pushing to make it onto the top step for the first time of his career. Putting his battle with flames last season behind him, it will be a big weekend for Fores.

Fresh off the back of a double podium in Buriram, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) will be gunning to continue their success and take home some European silverware. As they continue to make some steps with the YZF-R1 – including an electronics update - the duo will be looking to get a good advantage at the start of the back to back. Lowes has had a tough history around MotorLand in the past, with only four top tens out of eight appearances. Whereas van der Mark secured his best result around Aragon so far in 2017 – with two top five finishes, on top of two second position finishes here when competing in WorldSSP.

Continuing to turn heads with the Fireblade CB1000RR SP2, Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) sits in eighth position in the world championship standings but this doesn’t show the full story. Narrowly missing out on a podium finish in Buriram last time out, the British rider is beginning to build a strong momentum on his Honda. Scoring points with four different manufacturers around MotorLand, he has the experience behind him and is prepared for a tough fight.

Making his return to the WorldSBK championship, Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) has been taking his time to adjust back to the Pirelli tyres as well as get used to his German machine. The Frenchman sits in ninth in the standings, and will be hoping to make it into the top six as he returns to Europe – visiting MotorLand with MotoGP™ he has the experience in both series. In six WorldSBK appearances here, he has two top six finishes as well as two podiums in 2014, so will no doubt be looking forward to returning.

Recovering from a huge crash in Thailand, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Apilia) will sit out of the next three races, hoping to make his return at the end of May around Donington Park. Replaced by Davide Giugliano, it will be an interesting weekend for the Italian. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) missed out on last season’s Aragon Round through injury, so the Italian will be hoping to make a strong impact this weekend in the third round.

Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) brings his Italian machine into Europe, and as he heads to his home circuit he will look at impressing his home fans. Last season he struggled with the BMW, but with a solid record to his name around MotorLand – consistently finishing between fourth and seventh - it will be interesting to see how he develops the machine.

Don’t miss any of the on track action around MotorLand Aragon this week, with WorldSBK taking to the track at 09.45LT (GMT +2) on Friday 13th April, before lights go out for race one at 13.00LT on Saturday, and bikes rev into action for race two at the same time on Sunday.


First European Round Awaits KRT

The third round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship will be a special one for the Spanish-based KRT team as their riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes take part in the first European-based event of the season, at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend.

With the KRT squad based in Barcelona for many years now the Motorland Aragon round is the closest WorldSBK venue to the team’s headquarters. That in itself makes any Motorland weekend something notable for all in Kawasaki’s official WorldSBK effort, and there have been several notable Aragon race successes to celebrate.

Current WorldSBK points leader and three-time champion Jonathan Rea has scored two wins and seven podiums in all in Aragon. Since joining the KRT squad in 2015 Rea has never finished off the podium at the venue located close to the town of Alcaniz.

After winning race one at Buriram recently, Rea is closing in on record holder Carl Fogarty’s total of 59, with a his winning tally now raised to 55.

Sykes has scored a double win at Motorland for KRT, in 2014, and was on the race one podium last season. Strong practice performances in the opening two rounds this year have not quite been converted into the ultimate results Sykes was aiming for. With second place in the first race of the year his individual highlight so far Sykes is currently seventh overall, but only 26 points from the championship lead.

One more Superpole qualifying success this year and Sykes will go from joint record holder, currently tied with Troy Corser on 43, to the stand-alone record holder.

With new WorldSBK technical regulations brought in this season to reduce the maximum allowable revs – regulations that have affected Kawasaki more than the other manufacturers at present - Rea and Sykes will continue to optimise their bike set-ups in Spain while also competing for valuable points.

After two rounds held at the ‘fly-away’ venues of Phillip Island and Buriram, a return to competition at the well-established Motorland Aragon circuit starts a sequence of five rounds in Europe. After the completion of the Spanish weekend the entire WorldSBK paddock will immediately relocate to the north of the Netherlands, with races at Assen on 21st and 22nd April.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Aragon is a great circuit and one that I really enjoy riding at, although at this time of the year the conditions are generally quite cool. Last season was interesting riding against the Ducatis, to see how the bikes had strengths in different areas. This season we will have to understand how our bike behaves and how competitive we can be - but I am optimistic. Step-by-step I’m starting to feel better with the bike and understand what is required to be fast this season. It’s important to be strong at Motorland, and with Assen coming right after, it could be the most important phase of the championship. Being back in Europe everything is more familiar and ‘normal’, so I am excited to see what this weekend brings.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “Our preparations for Aragon are all good and I am looking forward to it. It is a shame the way things went at times in Australia and Thailand, because we started each race with great potential. I am happy about that and it was just unfortunate that we had a bit of bad luck in Thailand. I have to say that we are really quite strong now, and in a number of areas. The track at Motorland almost flows into one, especially as we have one big left-hander at the end of the lap, not a first gear hairpin we had during the first few times we went there. There are some aspects of how well you exit the corner leading onto the long back straight that makes for a good top speed but the stronger bikes still seem to be able to make it up. Unfortunately, we have less engine revs this year. We will to ride it harder, that’s all there is to it!”


WorldSBK returns to Europe: the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team heads to Aragon for Round 3

After taking three wins in the first two overseas rounds of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to kick off the "European season" with the Aragon (Spain) round, scheduled for April 13-15. The track on the outskirts of Alcañiz saw both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri triumph - respectively in six and two occasions - collecting eight podiums each in total, and the goal of the team is to extend the positive momentum and achieve prestigious results with both riders.

After two rounds, Melandri and Davies are 2nd (67 points) and 4th (57 points) in the rankings, only 2 and 12 points behind the provisional leader respectively. Also, at Aragon, Michael Ruben Rinaldi will make his WorldSBK debut with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, which will take part in all European rounds. The STK1000 champion prepared the round with two days of tests on the Spanish track, concluded with positive feedback.

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action on Friday, April 13th, at 09:45 for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)

"I'm excited going into Round 3. We've put in the work and I feel good on the bike. The win in Thailand was really important and it gives me a lot of confidence, because it's always been a tough track for us. On the other hand, I had a lot of good races at Aragon: first podium, first double and first W with the Panigale R. That said, I'll take it as any other race. It's been close there in the past, and I expect many riders challenging for the win. The racing has been pretty even this year, and on track I haven't seen big differences between the bikes. I'm ready for the battle".

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)

"Aragon is track that I really enjoy and I had good results there in several occasions in the past. I'm happy to start the European leg of the championship from there. Despite the difficulties on the straight we encountered in Thailand, I feel in great shape and I'm confident I can be fast. I believe we can fix the issues that limited us and challenge for the win or at least the podium once again. Weather could also come into play this weekend, so we'll see."

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21)

"I'm really happy and ready to make my WorldSBK debut. We worked hard to begin in the best possible shape, and I'm really keen on finally racing. We'll obviously do our best, knowing there's still a lot to learn. In the tests, we consistently improved the base setup and the feeling with the bike and the team. We just have to get out on track and find out where we're at."


Pata Yamaha Looking to Carry Momentum to Aragon

Setup

Fresh from their double podium during Race 2 at the last round in Thailand, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are looking to carry their form into Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship at Aragon, Spain this weekend. Alex Lowes is looking forward to the first European round of the season at a track he loves, with the British rider currently fifth overall in the championship standings after his fifth and third-place finishes in Thailand. His teammate Michael van der Mark highlighted the progress he and the team have made with a stunning ride to second during Race 2 in Buriram and the Dutch rider is hoping to add to his rostrum tally in Spain.

Lowes has enjoyed a strong start to the 2018 season and after securing fifth in Race 1 at the last round he recorded his first podium of 2018 - and his fifth for the Pata Yamaha team - in Race 2 at Buriram after fighting at the front and enjoying a superb battle with his teammate. The 27-year-old really likes the Aragon track and in 2017 he stormed to a superb fourth-placed finish from 12th on the grid in Race 1. Starting from pole in Race 2, he unfortunately ran off track and lost a lot of time before making an excellent comeback and charging through the field to cross the line in 13th. The 2013 British Superbike Champion is looking to build on his confidence and pace shown on his ° in Thailand as he hopes to, once again, be fighting for the podium. Lowes is currently fifth in the overall standings with 48 points after the first two rounds of 2018, 21-points behind championship leader Jonathan Rea.

After a strong ride to seventh during Race 1 in Thailand, van der Mark pulled off a sensational ride in Race 2 at the Chang International Circuit, leading for the first third of the race while battling with Lowes at the front. He went on to record his maiden podium of the season - and third for the Pata Yamaha team - after crossing the line in second, just 2.185s behind the race winner. The 25-year-old recorded two fifth-place finishes at Aragon in 2017 and is hoping to build on his early season pace on his Pata Yamaha R1 at the first European round of the season. The 2014 WorldSSP Champion is currently sixth in the championship standings with 45 points, just three behind his teammate Lowes, and is aiming to return to the podium in Spain

Situated just a stone's throw from the historic street-racing area of Alcañiz and just 100km from the region's capital of Zaragoza, Motorland Aragon is a favourite destination for fans and riders alike. Opened in 2009, the Herman Tilke designed circuit has multiple configurations, with WorldSBK running the 5,077km layout that contains a challenging 17 corners to master. Made up of a mix of long straights, high-speed flowing sections combined with some slower technical areas like Turns 8 & 9 - the reverse corkscrew - with a number of different lines, the Aragon circuit is known for producing stunning racing. This will be the eighth consecutive year the track has hosted a WorldSBK race after it was introduced to the calendar in 2011.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will take to the track on Friday morning at 9:45 am local time (CEST) for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying starting at 10:30 am ahead of Race 1 at 1:00 pm, while Sunday's Race 2 is also scheduled for 1:00 pm.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th - 48 points

"It's always nice to get the European season started and now the races come more frequently, which I enjoy. I feel like I have had a solid start to 2018 but, honestly, I have been missing some confidence and that last bit of feeling I need to ride at my best. Aragon is a track I really enjoy! It's a long circuit with a variety of corners that contain some slower sections that are quite technical and also some faster corners, which really suit me. I honestly can't wait to get there, work hard with the guys through the practice sessions and fight for more podiums during the races!"

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th - 45 points

"After the first two overseas races of the year, the European season finally starts this weekend in Aragon! We have had some encouraging results in the first two races and this year it seems like the competition is a lot closer than before, and with the progress we have made, I am looking forward to what Aragon will bring. Hopefully, we can carry our momentum to Aragon and, once again, be challenging for the podium!"


Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team all set for Aragón

Aragón Round

MotorLand Aragón, Spain

The FIM Superbike World Championship heads to Europe for the first time in 2018 as Aragón hosts the third round of the season. After showing glimpses of brilliance at the first two rounds, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team are planning to put on a thrilling performance in front of their European fans.

Motorland Aragón is a technical 5.078km circuit that not only features a wide variety of corners, a long straight and hard braking zones, but is also subjected to highly changeable weather conditions which add to the challenge for riders and teams alike.

Coming off the back off the Thailand round where he secured a top three qualifying position and narrowly missed out on scoring a debut WorldSBK podium with his new team in Race 1, Leon Camier heads to Aragón confident that the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will help him score a good result at a circuit that hasn’t been kind to the British rider in recent years.

For the first time this season, Jake Gagne will start the race weekend at a circuit he has previous experience of, with the rookie having ridden the Aragón circuit many years ago. Despite a challenging outing at the last round in Thailand, Gagne has continually improved his pace on the Fireblade and is relishing the chance to race in Europe once again.

World Superbike action will get underway on Friday at 09:45 local time (GMT +2), with the two races scheduled to get underway on Saturday and Sunday at 13:00 local time.

Leon Camier 2

Aragon is kind of a home race for me given that I live in Andorra and I'm happy to be racing again in Europe. After the last round in Thailand we had a positive test at Assen as we continue to try and refine our package even more and step by step we're making progress. Although Aragon is a circuit I like, I haven't had the best results there over the past few years so I'm hoping to be more competitive this weekend with the Fireblade.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

I'm really looking forward to getting back to Europe and getting back in to the swing of things. Luckily, I've ridden the Aragon circuit many years ago so unlike the first two rounds it is nice to come to a circuit where I know the layout which will help me get up to speed quicker. We had a tough time last time out in Thailand, but me and the team still learned a lot and so it will be good to get out there and make another step forward.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

We go into this round being well prepared following our performance in the first two rounds and a recent productive test at Assen. The layout of Aragon is quite particular with fast, flowing sections, some tighter corners and hard braking zones and I'm eager to see how the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 performs at this impressive circuit. We have introduced a new Magneti Marelli electronics system which we will race in Aragon for the first time and will run for rest of the season, as our strong development programme for 2018 continues. Aragon is the first of two back-to-back races and everyone in the team is motivated to go racing again and show what we can do.


Motorland Aragón awaits Gulf Althea BMW

Alcaniz (Spain), Tuesday 10 April 2018

After opening rounds in Australia and Thailand, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team prepares for the first European round on the 2018 Superbike World Championship calendar, taking place this weekend at Motorland Aragón in Spain.

On track with rider Loris Baz, the team will work to improve on the results achieved in the first races of the year, making the most of the fact that the Frenchman is now back in shape after the accident that left him with a fractured right shoulder at Phillip Island.

Baz has already raced in the Superbike class at Aragón, scoring a double podium in 2014 in fact, after crossing the line second in both the weekend’s races. The French rider will undoubtedly be doing his best to aim for the positions that count this weekend.

As well as competing in Superbike, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing team will also be hard at work in the European Superstock 1000 series, which kicks of this weekend, a category in which it is taking part with young Italian rider Alessandro Delbianco.

Loris Baz

“I’m pleased because my shoulder is now almost 100%. I’ve been training fairly hard since Thailand and am not feeling any pain so that's good. As for Aragón, it’s always a little different when the championship lands in Europe. I hope we can start from where we were on Friday in Thailand, with strong pace. We have a few ideas to improve some aspects of the bike and hopefully the electronics too. I’m looking forward to the race, I have some great SBK memories at this track, one that I think should suit the bike quite well. The whole team was left disappointed after Buriram and I think we are all very motivated ahead of this race.”

Alessandro Delbianco

“Aragón is a very fast track and, considering it’s my first time in an international series, a brand new one for me, so I’ll have a lot to learn, this weekend and throughout the season. During the winter, I have focused on my physical preparation, working in the pool, the gym and also running. I feel ready, though we won’t know until the first race exactly where we are. I think I’m well-prepared though, and that’s the first step.”


Davide Giugliano in for the injured Eugene Laverty at the Milwaukee Aprilia team

After his crash at the Chang circuit last month, Eugene was declared unfit to ride and is expected to be side-lined for a further 6 – 8 weeks.

In the interim period the team have drafted in the experienced Italian rider Davide Giugliano, who will compete for the team for the next rounds in Aragon, Assen and possibly Imola.

Davide most recently competed in the 2017 WorldSBK championship, and before that in 2016 finishing the season 7th overall with 5 podiums.

Davide has good experience of the Aprilia RSV4 1000RR to draw on, having previously raced on the bike in 2013 where he finished the season 6th overall with 2 podiums.

He will compete alongside permanent Milwaukee Aprilia rider and countryman Lorenzo Savadori, meaning the team will have an all-Italian line up for the first time.

Round 3 of the 2018 WorldSBK championship takes place at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain from 13-15 April.

Shaun Muir - Team Principal

"We are very pleased to welcome Davide to the team. At the same time, we look forward to Eugene’s return as soon as he is fit and ready.

This is a real opportunity for Davide to show his potential and we are sure he will fit in well. The deal will see him join the team for Aragon, Assen and most likely Imola.

We put no pressure on Davide other than to take each session and each race with a measured approach, and with the focus to grow his confidence and in turn his speed. We are all well aware of what he is capable of and we will give him 100% support at every level.”

Davide Giugliano #34

"First of all I'm sorry for what happened to Eugene in Thailand and I hope he can get back on his bike as soon as possible.

I want to thank Shaun Muir and the Milwaukee Aprilia team for allowing me to stand in and for their cooperation. We only have a short time to prepare but the upcoming rounds are at tracks I know very well, and I have great confidence in the experience and professionalism of the crew.

I also want to say thanks to Arai and Alpinestars for their efforts in supporting me at such short notice."


10 facts you need to know ahead of the Pirelli Aragon Round

Prepare for the European opener and countdown to Aragon

1. Hard times for the World Champion: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has managed just two podiums out of four races in this opening part of the season. It’s just the second time this has happened since he joined Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK in 2015, the other being his one podium finish (a win at the Lausitzring) out of four races from Laguna Seca Race 2 to Magny-Cours Race 1, back in 2016.

2. Rea did however manage to go back to the top of the championship standings, with an advantage of 2 points. He has always been the championship leader after four races in the past three years, and his advantage was as follows: 10 points in 2015; 29 points in 2016; 30 points last year.

3. Chang International Circuit was the 10th track where Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) recorded a WorldSBK win, and the 42nd for Ducati. The manufacturer has now won at least once in each track of the current calendar.

4. Last year Rea gave Great Britain their 200th WorldSBK win in Race 1 at MotorLand Aragon.

5. Davies enters the Aragon Round with six wins here. In WorldSBK history only four riders have managed seven wins or more on a given track: Carl Fogarty at Assen (12); Jonathan Rea at Assen (11); Tom Sykes at Donington Park (9); and Troy Corser at Phillip Island (7).

6. The last 12 races here have always had a British rider on pole. This includes Race 2 last year, when according to the new regulations the 4th placed rider in Race 1 - Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) - started from pole in Race 2. The streak of British winners here is 10 races long and started in 2013 with a double by Davies.

7. All but two wins here have been secured by current riders: six by Davies, and two each by Melandri, Sykes and Rea. Missing from this list is retired World Champion Max Biaggi, who won at MotorLand Aragon in 2011 Race 2 and 2012 Race 1.

8. In the last three race weekends at MotorLand Aragon (2015-2017) only one non-British racer finished on the podium, this was Marco Melandri (Italy), who was second in both races last year.

9. The only win that hasn’t come from the first five grid spots at MotorLand Aragon was taken last year by Chaz Davies in Race 2, he won starting from 10th.

10. Only three wins out of fourteen came from pole at MotorLand Aragon, the first 2011 race (Melandri) and the double from Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in 2014.


#AragonWorldSBK: Manufacturers profiles from Aragon

Read up about who has prospered and who has struggled around MotorLand Aragon

Aprilia have stood on the podium on ten occasions at MotorLand Aragon, and are second only to Kawasaki in this area. Their last podium came three years ago with Leon Haslam, who was third in Race 2. Last year the best result for Aprilia here was a seventh place by Leandro Mercado in Race 1. Aprilia have won two MotorLand Aragon races thanks to Max Biaggi, as he took the wins in the second 2011 race and the first in 2012.

BMW have won around MotorLand Aragon three times, second only to the four won by Kawasaki and Ducati. Marco Melandri won Race 2 in 2012 and Chaz Davies scored a double the following year. Last year the best result from the weekend was a sixth position by Jordi Torres in Race 1.

Ducati has Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) to thank for its MotorLand Aragon success. Davies has claimed all four Ducati wins, making the Italians the most successful manufacturer here along with Kawasaki. Davies won here for Ducati in 2015’s Race 2, scored the double in 2016, and won again in Race 2 last year. Ducati have only started from pole once here, with Davies last year.

Honda have only finished on the podium once around MotorLand Aragon, with a third place from Jonathan Rea in the first 2014 race: last year their best result was Stefan Bradl’s ninth in Race 1. The best qualifying spot for a Honda bike here is fifth, recorded by Jonathan Rea in 2014. Honda has won at 30 different tracks in their history, but MotorLand Aragon is one of the 10 tracks where they have secured a podium but are yet to win.

With four wins, Kawasaki is the most successful manufacturer at MotorLand Aragon along with Ducati. However they have an edge on podium finishes, with 15 to Aprilia’s 10 and Ducati’s 9. The main obstacle for to success at MotorLand Aragon for Kawasaki has been Chaz Davies, a Kawasaki has finished second to Davies here on no less than four occasions (Rea in 2015 Race 2, 2016 Race 1 and last year’s Race 2; Sykes in 2016 Race 2). Thanks to Tom Sykes, Kawasaki are the only manufacturer with more than one pole start here: Sykes has recorded a pole position four times at MotorLand Aragon for the Japanese manufacturer (2012 to 2014 and 2016). Since 2012, a Kawasaki has always qualified for a front row place at MotorLand Aragon.

In 2011 with Marco Melandri, Yamaha managed a win from pole in Race 1 and a second place in Race 2. Last year the best result for Yamaha was a fourth by Alex Lowes in Race 1.

The best result for MV Agusta at MotorLand Aragon is a 10th place recorded by Leon Camier in the first 2015 race, and last year in race 2.


WorldSSP: Takes more than two to tango

Europe prepares for the arrival of the sensational racing action

Two races of 2018, two final lap battles and two different winners has been the story for the FIM Supersport World Championship machines so far, and the riders head to MotorLand Aragon with plenty to play for this season. Just 16 points spilt the top four riders of the championship, and this is clear out on track. Last season Aragon threw up a big curve ball but also some stunning racing, and with the reigning world champion Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) looking to fight back, there’s set to be a storm brewing.

Frenchman Mahias is on a roll this season, with an electrifyingly consistent pace that he was unable to turn into a victory in Thailand, he will not be slowed down. Beginning his title defense in the best way possible – with a victory – he has an 100% podium rate so far this season but will be hungry to be back on the top step in Europe. The victor around MotorLand Aragon last year - his debut win in WorldSSP - he will no doubt bring forward the confidence gained from the memories of last season and bring a strong fight.

Fellow Yamaha rider Randy Krummenacher (BARDHL Evans Bros WorldSSP Team) took a sensational victory in Thailand and has slipped back into the WorldSSP series very swiftly, putting up a strong battle after a year away in WorldSBK. Clearly comfortable with his new team he will be looking forward for the return to Europe and putting on a good show for the fans. His past pace around MotorLand took him to second position on the podium in 2016, and with two points scoring finishes last season he will no doubt be keen to get racing underway.

Stepping in for the injured Kenan Sofuoglu is Sheridan Morais at Kawasaki Puccetti Racing, with the South African set to make two appearances – at MotorLand Aragon and Assen – it will be a good challenge out on track. Certain to be fighting at the front, the experienced 33 year old put up a strong battle at the front of the field last season, and taking a second position in 2017 and a third in 2012 around MotorLand, he will no doubt be a strong contender on the ZX-6R.

Andrew Irwin (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) looks set to continue his debut season in WorldSSP after being sidelined with injury in Australia, and will be on the hunt for his first points scoring result of the season. Yet to visit MotorLand Aragon, he will relish the challenge ahead.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vmag) will return to MotorLand with WorldSSP, as he sticks with the series for 2018, making steps with the Italian manufacturer. His record around MotorLand is a mixed one, with a sixth position secured in 2014 and he will hope to impress with his new team for 2018.

On top of the full WorldSSP field, excitement will be added as the European Supersport Cup is welcomed back into the series with the European leg of the championship beginning. With six riders, including WorldSSP300 runner-up Alfonso Coppola (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team), there will be even more on track action to keep an eye on.

WorldSSP action commences at 10.40LT (+2 GMT) on Friday, before Superpole at 14.00LT on Saturday and the much anticipated 16 lap race around MotorLand Aragon on Sunday at 11.30LT.


Mahias Ready to Return to Happy Hunting Ground in Aragon

Setup

After securing a sensational double podium in Thailand, the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are excited to get back into action at Round 3 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship in Aragon, Spain this weekend. Reigning WorldSSP Champion and joint leader of the overall standings after the first two rounds, Lucas Mahias, is looking forward to returning to the site of his maiden WorldSSP victory last season after finishing in second at the last round in Buriram, missing out on the race win by just 0.048s in a dramatic finish. His teammate Federico Caricasulo showed great pace through the entire weekend in Thailand before recording his first podium of 2018 after finishing in third place and the Italian is hoping to carry his pace and form into the first European round of 2018.

Mahias has been in incredible form during the first two round of 2018, maintaining a 100% pole position record and storming to victory at Phillip Island before just missing out on making it two out of two race wins in Thailand. The 28-year-old French rider was involved in an incredible finish in Buriram as he tried to overtake Randy Krummenacher at the very last corner, just missing out on victory in the sprint to the line by less than five-hundredths of a second. He is excited to be getting the first leg of the European season underway at Motorland Aragon after taking his maiden WorldSSP victory at the track in 2017 with a sensational last corner move, winning by just 0.014s. The man from Mont-de-Marsan is currently level on points at the top of the championship standings with Randy Krummenacher, with both Yamaha riders having collected 45 points from the first two races, and he is keen to reclaim top spot for himself after the duo's excellent battle in Buriram.

Caricasulo has enjoyed a strong start to 2018. A fourth-placed finish at Phillip Island was followed up by a battling ride to third in Thailand to secure the maiden double WorldSSP podium for the GRT Yamaha team. The recently turned 22-year-old crashed out of last year's race at Aragon while battling for the podium but will be looking to continue his impressive 2018 momentum after training hard in-between rounds. After his impressive start to the season, Caricasulo is currently third in the Championship with 29 points, just 16 behind the leaders, and he will be looking to close that gap in Spain.

The first European round of the season sees Alfonso Coppola - last year's Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner and runner-up in the WorldSSP300 Championship - making his debut in the European Supersport Cup with the newly-formed GRT Yamaha Official Jnr Team. The 20-year-old Italian has been working incredibly hard over the winter in preparation for making the step up to the WorldSSP Championship with Yamaha as his prize for winning the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge.

Situated just a stone's throw from the historic street-racing area of Alcañiz and just 100km from the region's capital of Zaragoza, Motorland Aragon is a favourite destination for fans and riders alike. Opened in 2009, the Herman Tilke designed circuit has multiple configurations, with WorldSBK running the 5,077km layout that contains a challenging 17 corners to master. Made up of a mix of long straights, high-speed flowing sections combined with some slower technical areas like Turns 8 & 9 - the reverse corkscrew - with a number of different lines, the Aragon circuit is known for producing stunning racing. This will be the eighth consecutive year the track has hosted a WorldSBK race after it was introduced to the calendar in 2011.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team take to the track on Friday at 10:40 am for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying set to start at 2:00 pm, and Sunday's race scheduled for 11:30 am.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 45 points

"I really like Aragon and last year I won my first WorldSSP race here! The first European round is where you seem to settle into more of a normal race weekend rhythm, with all the classes taking part and the races becoming more regular. I love racing in front of the knowledgeable fans in Aragon and the track itself is amazing, with loads of elevation changes and lots of fast flowing corners. My team have been working really hard since Thailand and we have a few upgrades to bring to Aragon that should help us fight for victory. My only concern is the forecast doesn't look great at the moment, but whatever the weather we will be ready to fight for the victory!"

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd - 29 points

"Honestly, I cannot wait to get to Aragon for the first European round of the season! I have been training really hard and working with the team since Thailand to ensure that we arrive in the best possible shape. I feel strong and I am confident with my R6 that we will have a good pace. As always, we will work from Friday morning to find a good setup for the race, and my aim is to go out and fight for the win!"

Alfonso Coppola - GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Jnr Team

"I am really looking forward to making my debut in the WorldSSP Championship on my Yamaha R6! Winning the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge was an incredible experience, but it already seems a long time ago. I have spent the winter training hard and working with the team to make the transition as smooth as possible and I cannot wait to hit the track for the first time on Friday! I would like to thank Yamaha for this opportunity to make the step up to WorldSSP and I my aim is to make the whole Yamaha family proud!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager

"After the first two races, which are always harder due to the distances involved, we are looking forward to the first European round. We have been working really hard as a team and have some upgrades to bring to Aragon which we feel will make both riders even stronger and allow them to fight for the victory. Lucas really likes Aragon, he recorded his first WorldSSP victory here last year here and he wants to repeat that performance this season. Federico also loves the track he has shown great maturity this season as well as pace and he will look to build on the impressive form he has shown so far this year. Genuinely, I believe both riders are in great shape. We also have Alfonso Coppola making his WorldSSP debut in the European Supersport Cup. He has been working very hard during the Winter to make sure he is as prepared and he is ready to grab this chance with both hands. Federico turned 22 last week and Lucas will celebrate his 29th birthday on Saturday, so we are hoping to give them both something to celebrate in Aragon!"


Okubo And Morais Ready For Motorland

Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) leads the official Kawasaki charge in the forthcoming FIM Supersport World Championship round at Motorland Aragon in Spain, as five-time champion Kenan Sofuoglu has been ruled out through injury. Experienced rider Sheridan Morais will take control of Sofuoglu’s Kawasaki Puccetti Racing machine this weekend.

After making the transition to the official Kawasaki WorldSSP team in the winter, the 24-year-old Okubo scored points in the opening round of the season in Australia. Making a strong showing in Thailand for much of the most recent WorldSSP race, Hikari was unlucky to finally crash late in the second round.

Okubo remounted to finish in Thailand, albeit out of the points, and is now determined to get into the top finishing positions at Motorland, in what will be the first European race of the season. Okubo has now started 25 WorldSSP races, with a best individual race finish of sixth place.

Morais, who won his first WorldSSP race last season on his way to fourth place overall, takes over Sofuoglu’s machine in Motorland with high expectations. Sheridan is no stranger to either Kawasaki machinery or WorldSSP in general and he has now started 37 races in all, 17 of them for Kawasaki. This will be his first race weekend back in the WorldSSP paddock since 2017.

Hikari Okubo, stated: “I think I can do a good job for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team this weekend because I understand the machine more after the last round in Thailand. I have found a good feeling. The next race is at Motorland Aragon, and I like it at that circuit, so I will try to finish inside the top five on Sunday.”

Sheridan Morais, stated: “The excitement is too much as I have been hoping for an opportunity like this since last year. To have a shot on this bike and with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing is the best shot possible, I believe. I’ll be a little rusty at first since I haven’t ridden for a couple of months but I certainly haven’t forgotten how to ride. I am confident that by race day we will be in with a shout.”

Top level privateer Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) will be looking for his best result of the year after a sixth place in the opening round at his home race. His fellow Australian Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is also back in action this weekend. Epis’ team-mate Michael Canducci should be back in action after missing the previous Thailand round through injury.

Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) rides on home ground this weekend. The grid for Motorland Aragon includes the riders in the FIM Europe Supersport Cup for the first time, with Kawasaki represented by Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer), Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team).


Tuuli and Irwin motivated for Motorland

Posted on 11th April 2018

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda head to the third round of the World Supersport Championship as the series arrives in Europe at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

Finnish rider, Niki Tuuli arrives at the 5.077km circuit just outside the historic town of Alcaniz in a focused frame of mind following his top ten finish last time out in Thailand and is eager to get the weekend underway at a track he likes. He said: “I am looking forward to Aragon, I like the track a lot and also last year I was quite fast there. Now I have to focus on the right things then we will be in the top places. I am happy to be back on track with my team!”

Teammate Andrew Irwin is also keen to get to Round Three after a top twenty finish at Chang in his first World Supersport race and the young Ulsterman is looking to take away some Championship points from Spain on Sunday. Irwin said: “I’m looking forward to Aragon, Thailand was very tough and not where I want to be. I had laser surgery on my hand to help the bone heal last week and it seems to have helped so now I’m feeling healthier I’d be disappointed if I don’t get my first world championship point come Sunday.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster added: “I think it’s fair to say we didn’t have the start to the season that we really wanted but we are seventh in the Championship with Niki and Andrew has a race under his belt. We welcome back the experienced Kor Veldman as Andrew’s crew chief for the rest of the season. I’m sure they’ll do a good job together and we’ll see Andrew take great steps from here with a very experienced man to guide him.”

“Niki finished the race in Thailand much happier and we know what we need to do. We have the capable team, bike and rider so we need to work together as we always do to bring us the results that we strive for and deserve. Here’s looking forward to a good weekend, let’s see what we can do.”

World Supersport action kicks off with Free Practice One on Friday at 10:40 local time (GMT +2).


WorldSSP300 Returns with a bang

Heading into its second season, we take a look at the 2018 line up

Hosting a grid of 40 riders in the Pirelli Aragon Round for the debut FIM Supersport 300 World Championship race of 2018, the grid is preparing for a phenomenal opening round of edge of your seat racing action. Last season’s opener saw the top four riders be covered by one second over the line and with new bikes, new riders and new teams, this season will be no different.

Spanish sensation Daniel Valle returns this year alongside rookie Maria Herrera in the BCD Yamaha MS Racing team, and the duo have a wealth of knowledge in the world of racing. On-board the championship winning YZF-R3, they will no doubt set the field alight with their competitive racing, as Herrera will be gunning to be the second woman to take a world championship race victory.

Dutch duo of Robert Schotman and Scott Deroue will take on the new Ninja 400 machine with Motoport Kawasaki, as the two rising stars look to make an impact on the 2018 season. Deroue was the debut winner in the category last season but had a tough end to his campaign, so he will be looking for a more consistent year, whilst Schotman continues to learn and develop his riding.

Indonesian hero Galang Hendra Pratama secured a permanent ride with BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING for 2018, and will be hoping to repeat his stunning victory at Jerez last season. With two seasons in the Asian Production 250cc behind him, he will be competitive on the YZF-R3 and will be one to watch as the season gets underway.

Another rider to switch colours this season is Ana Carrasco, as she moves over to the DS Junior Team but sticks with Kawasaki, the same manufacturer with which she made history with in 2017 after becoming the first woman to win a world championship race. Heading into her second full time season, she will be no doubt be building on her confidence to repeat this.

Welcoming the successful Racedays team into WorldSSP300, South African Dino Iozzo will be at the helm of the CBR500R this season as he looks at making his debut in the class. With a short amount of experience in national championships, it will be a learning curve season for the 16 year old.

KTM are bringing in a strong force this season, with six RC 390 R machines on the grid, all hoping to be fighting up at the front in the highly competitive class. Signing Glenn van Straalen, who secured a podium finish in his wild card appearance last season, they are preparing for a strong year with their vast array of riders.

Don’t miss the 40 riders battle it out around the undulating MotorLand circuit for the first time of 2018, as action begins on Friday 13th April at 11.45LT (+2 GMT), before the fight for pole intensifies at 11.30 on Saturday with Superpole and the main event – race day at 14.20LT on Sunday.


Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge Riders Ready to Kick Off Season in Aragon

Setup

The five young Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders are ready to get the 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship underway in Aragon, Spain this weekend. Spearheading the attack on the title will be Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama, who took the world by storm last year when he rode to a stunning victory at the final round of the season in Jerez as a wildcard. Looking forward to his first full-time season in the championship, he will be joined on the grid by Italian Luca Bernardi, Dutch riders Dennis Koopman and Joep Overbeeke, and Hugo de Cancellis from France as they compete against each other in the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge alongside the main championship.

The 2018 WorldSSP300 season sees the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge enters its second year as part of the Yamaha bLU cRU project that is a truly unique scheme designed to identify, nurture, and develop the best young riding talent from around the world, providing a clear career path for them to fulfil their dreams on the world stage. The crop of five young, talented riders for 2018 were selected to compete in the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge after putting in good performances in their respective National R3 Cup's and Challenges and then impressing the bLU cRU Ambassadors during the R3 Masterclass in Latina, Italy last year.

Galang Hendra (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) gave notice to his potential with two wildcard appearances in the WorldSSP300 Championship last year, impressing in Portimao while battling in the top ten, before going on to take a sensational victory at the last race of the season in Jerez. Coming from the Asian Road Racing Championship AP250 class, the 19-year-old from Selangor had never ridden the Yamaha YZF-R3 or even been to Europe before his 2017 wildcards and knows the biggest challenge ahead of him will be having to learn most of the tracks during his debut season. Despite this, he is confident he can hit the ground running in Aragon and battle at the front throughout the race weekend as he looks to mount a serious title challenge in 2018.

The victor of the 2017 Dutch Yamaha R3 Cup, 20-year-old Dutch rider Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team), comes from a family of racers. His father has been racing for over 20 years and from the tender age of 12 years old, Dennis took up the family tradition. A sensational 2017 saw him record 6 wins and three second-place finishes to secure the title and he is now relishing the chance to prove himself on the world stage.

The 2017 season was incredible for Italian Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) as he emerged victorious not only in the Italian Yamaha R3 Cup but the Italian CIV Supersport 300 Championship too, with the 16-year-old going on to further impress at the 2017 bLU cRU Masterclass to secure his place in the 2018 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge. Bernardi has been racing since he was five years old and - like Galang Hendra - highlighted his class during two wildcard appearances in the WorldSSP300 Championship in 2017, recording a best-placed finish of seventh at Imola.

Born in Ooltgensplat in the Netherlands, Bernardi's teammate for 2018 is 18-year-old Joep Overbeeke (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) who has been racing since he was 9 years old. In 2017 he finished third overall in the Dutch Yamaha R3 Cup to earn his place at the 2017 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Masterclass. Impressing the ambassadors, Overbeeke is now preparing for his tenth season as a racer, but first in the World Championship.

The 16-year-old French rider Hugo de Cancellis (Yamaha Pata | Toth - YART Team) was the winner of the 2017 French Yamaha R3 Challenge. Growing up in Avignon, Hugo started BMX racing at the age of seven. When he was 12 he swapped pedals for power as he began racing motorbikes in the PW50 Cup, finishing third in just his second season in the class. It has always been his dream to be a professional rider and he is hoping to grab the opportunity to race in the WorldSSP300 Championship with both hands to show the world his potential.

All five Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders have been training hard in preparation for the opening round of the 2018 SuperSport 300 World Championship and will hit the track for the first time in anger in Aragon on Friday at 11:45 am local time (CEST) for Free Practice 1. Qualifying will take place on Saturday from 11:30 am, with the first race of the season scheduled for 2:20 pm on Sunday.

Alberto Barozzi

Yamaha Motor Europe bLU cRU Racing Manager

"I'm excited to start the second year of the road racing bLU cRU program, the new selected young riders continue to impress me after showing their potential in their respective National R3 Challenge's or Cup's and they did superbly at the Masterclass as well. Now it is time for their WorldSSP300 debut! Preseason testing went well and I was happy with how the riders worked with their new teams in finding a good setup and direction with their Yamaha YZF-R3. The bLU cRU philosophy means that we will help them as much as we can during the season. All the riders will have the support of our technical staff at the track and also will get advice from the bLU cRU ambassadors (WorldSBK/WorldSSP official riders) on everything from how to set up their bikes, some riding tips for each circuit and also on how to mentally approach a race weekend. The Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge really does offer them a clear and defined career path right the way through to the top level of racing, and each of the riders are hoping to grab this opportunity with both hands. I would like to give a big thank you to all who are involved in the project, all of our sponsors, especially Pata and Semakin di Depan, plus all the teams, staff and parents. The season will be a great experience for all the bLU cRU riders and I wish them all the best of success!"


STK1000: No defender of the Crown

European battle begins for 2018 with no defending champion at the helm

As Aragon approaches so does the debut round of the FIM European Superstock 1000 Championship, and 21 riders will line up in front of the lights on Sunday with a big battle on their hands, and a lot to play for. 2017 champion Michael Ruben Rinaldi departs to WorldSBK this season, leaving no reigning champion and no target for the riders this season. Nine nationalities, six manufacturers and fourteen teams, you won’t be short of variety in STK1000 this season.

French rider Florian Marino sticks with a Yamaha for 2018, this season with URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team as the 24 year old looks at taking his debut victory in the class. Mr consistency in 2017, he will be keen to secure a victory early on this season as the class is a competitive one. Without his main rivals of 2017, he will be confident he can put on a good show this season and go one step further than the second position he secured here last year.

Roberto Tamburini and Luca Salvadori will be taking on the BMW S 1000 RR machines with Berclaz Racing Team SA, as both former podium contenders will look at putting up a strong fight this season. The Italian duo’s history around MotorLand stretches back to Tamburini securing a victory in 2015, whilst Salvadori has a more difficult past and they will be a strong force into 2018.

Previous STK1000 race winner Markus Reiterberger secures a full season deal with alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW, as he comes off the back of taking the IDM title in 2017. Stunning the crowds around Lausitzring in his wild card appearance last year, he moves over with a familiar team and bike, meaning his pace will no doubt be strong from the opening round.

Italian up and coming star Gabriele Ruiu takes on the Team Pedercini Racing ZX-10RR this season, as the 17 year old is set to make his debut on the world scene. Competing in CIV and CEV in the past, he comes to MotorLand understanding the circuit and his riding talent is strong enough that he will no doubt shine.

Chilean talent Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) returns to the STK1000 field this season with Aprilia, and after 2017 full of points scoring finishes and three podiums he will be looking to progress and improve into 2018. Whilst Alex Schacht (EAB SCHACHT Racing Team) will be at the helm of the other Italian machine on the grid with the Ducati 1199 Panigale R.

Follow all the 21 riders on their mission of the opening round of the season, as the racing action kicks off at 15.15LT (+2 GMT).


Fans won’t miss a minute of the #AragonWorldSBK action

First European round of the season gets fans more involved than ever before

As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads into the third round of the season, fans will not only have access to some of the best racing out on track, but they will also be involved with some of the best off track action to start the European leg of the season. With children and seniors going free, and all tickets included free entry into the paddock and pit walks, the Pirelli Aragon Round will already be off to an exciting start.

Ever expanding and developing, the Paddock Show is getting a European makeover this season, and will be even more involved in the action throughout the weekend. Beginning on Friday with the usual Sofa Racer chats, fans quizzes and the Opening Day show, it will be the first chance fans get to meet their heroes.

But the Paddock Show stage really comes alive on Saturday with the all new Podium Show. After Race one on Saturday afternoon, riders will come into the all new Parc Ferme below the stage to celebrate with their team before heading to the podium on stage. Fans will then have the opportunity to see riders minutes after the Prosecco Doc is sprayed as they head out for the Race 1 Podium Show. Returning back to stage in the afternoon for the SuperShow and a meet & greet, the action never stops. On Sunday there will be Race Podium Show’s for all classes, as the new format will have fans more involved than ever before in celebrations.

Fans have the option to get a taste of what it feels like to ride around the undulating MotorLand Aragon circuit, as circuit laps are on offer on Sunday at 16.40h. As simple as riding your bike to the track and booking a place at the box office over the weekend, it’s not one to be missed. Entrance is free providing you get a ticket, and you could feel like WorldSBK rider for the day.

Your ticket doesn’t just gain you access to the WorldSBK racing on track, but this year it also means you can gain entrance onto the Pit Walk for free. With two opportunities to head out into pit lane and get a glimpse inside the garages and maybe even an autograph or two, the Pirelli Aragon Round is the gift that keeps on giving.

Want to head over to the Fan Zone and show your support for WorldSBK? From Friday to Sunday the ever popular Zone will be open with a bikes exhibition, merchandising and shops, an expo area and even an animation area for your children. Get yourself an SBK® t-shirt to wear for the pit walk, or take a look at your dream bike in the expo area.

If the racing action on the track hasn’t quashed your racing bug, you can head to the Go-Karting track from Thursday – Sunday, as it’s open from 9 – 13h or 14 – 18h. With plenty of opportunities to take to the track with your friends and family, it could really top off a sensational weekend.

Don’t miss out on any of the action off track at the Pirelli Aragon Round, and feel the pure entertainment and excitement of WorldSBK.

 

Source: 
Round Number: 
3
2018

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