Press releases from the teams and series organizer after qualifying and race 1 at Aragon:
#AragonWorldSBK – Day 2: Rea scores massive win in restarted Race 1
KRT rider increases lead at top of championship after crash forces early red flag
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had mixed feelings about his bike throughout Friday and the Saturday Superpole, but in Race 1 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Round Three he put to bed any worries he or his team may have had with a dominant performance at MotorLand Aragon. The reigning champion increases his lead to 14 points now, after Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) could only come in fourth.
The race was red flagged after three laps, after a collision involving Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Honda rider was immediately taken to the medical centre for evaluation, while Torres and Savadori exited the track on their own feet, although the Spaniard could not make the restart in time.
Before the incident, a wild start had completely turned over the starting grid for Race 1. Poleman Marco Melandri moved down to fifth in lap one, with Rea taking the lead ahead of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), up from fifth. Behind them, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) had made an extraordinary start, coming through from 11th to 4th in just one lap, and beating Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the next lap to move into provisional podium positions.
After the restart, it was Rea again at the top, leading the first half of the new race bar one lap from Lowes. The champion later found himself under pressure from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), who made his move over the Northern Irishman with just nine laps to go, taking the lead in front of his home fans. But, ultimately, Rea found his moment a couple of laps later, racing away from the Spaniard and taking his second win of the season.
The final laps displayed an extraordinary three-way Ducati fight for the podium, between Fores, Melandri, and Davies, up the field again. With Melandri going long with two laps to go, it was a fantastic race to the finish between Davies and Fores, exchanging places throughout the final lap and with the Welshman just squeezing ahead at the checkered flag.
Behind them, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fifth, leaving him in a promising position for Race Two. The British pair of Sykes and Lowes followed in sixth and seventh, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team) taking a good eighth position on his WorldSBK debut.
At the back, a thrilling battle emerged for ninth, and thus a privileged starting position in tomorrow’s Race Two. At the end, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who came in ahead of the pack, with three more riders less than a second away.
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"It was a good race, I want to thank all my team as it's their home race - we have a lot of team friends here and they gave me a good bike. After Friday morning's FP1 I was throwing the toys out the pram, but step by step we worked in a good way and this morning we were fast in FP4. But today it was good with the temperatures, to keep the tyres cool and tomorrow we need to keep an eye on the temperature to see what our pace is like."
P2 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"It was an all red battle at the end! But I was really happy with the last few laps. It was a really hard race starting from 11th on the grid, I didn't really have anything extra to give and I gave it all. To be honest it felt like I was struggling a bit and it felt like I made the best out of what I had. Congratulations to the other guys, it was a hard fought race."
P3 - Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team)
"It was a funny race overall, we had a good fight overall with Jonny, Marco and Chaz. At the end I was struggling in the last four laps so I was pushing hard to defend the second place, but on the last lap Chaz overtook me on the rear straight. Anyway it was a good result because yesterday I felt bad with the bike in these conditions, but I am happy with this result and I look forward to tomorrow."
#AragonWorldSBK at MotorLand Aragon: Race 1
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) +1.450
3. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) +1.473
Masterful Race One Win For Rea In Spain
Jonathan Rea (KRT) demonstrated all his race craft and experience to win his second race of the season from a front row grid position in a restarted WorldSBK race, finally heading off a battling group of Ducati riders. Front row qualifier Tom Sykes (KRT) could not translate his strong pace into passing opportunities and slipped from fourth to seventh, before recovering a place on the final lap to finish sixth.
Despite a relative lack of top end power, because of limits on the maximum revs allowed under the new 2018 technical regulations, Rea found that constant improvements to his set-up through the practice sessions, and a wise tyre choice for the cool track conditions, allowed him to break the sometimes strong challenge of others and win by 1.450 seconds.
The planned 18-lap race was stopped after a few laps, after a three rider collision, making the eventual 17-lap restart a nervous time for all. Rea led for 13 of the 17 laps, but most crucially at the end. He upped his pace with a clear track ahead and takes a 14 point championship lead into race two, on Sunday 15th April.
Sykes was also well in contention in the early laps of Saturday’s race but the combination of not quite enough corner exit acceleration to overtake, and other riders holding him up in the corners, saw him drop back from the leading group. He still pushed all the way to the flag for a top six finish and ten more valuable championship points.
Sykes will now look to find a set-up and a strategy to overcome his first day issues and get into contention for a podium finish on Sunday at the 5.077km circuit in Spain, when significantly warmer weather conditions than today are expected to arrive.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “These track conditions suited us perfectly today. The tyres worked well in these weather conditions. I managed to find a good rhythm and I was confident, especially at the end of the race, when I knew we would be strong. I saw this race as our chance from the start. I thought that all the cards were on our side, so I just tried to be clean. I made a couple of little mistakes, and when Xavi Fores came past me it more about trying to understand where he was strong, and then improve. Mid corner, I feel like our bike is a little bit stronger. So all that first section of the track, where it is more flowing, I felt really strong. I am enjoying riding the bike.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “A strange race and I am obviously disappointed but I am struggling in some places. When I get in a group I have so much potential in a lot of areas of the track, but I find myself running into the back of other riders. It looks like we are taking a lot of good things from our chassis. We have worked hard and we are taking the best from our bike set-up. But we are giving away too much in acceleration. So many times our corner entry and speed is very good but we cannot get out of the turns as well. Even in the slipstream, on this very, very long straight downhill, I can only start to keep the same speed in the last 50 to 100 metres. It takes all that time to build up our speed. With a few laps to go I got a little bit of clear track and made a 1’51.6 lap time. On the lap before I was on the back of another rider and I was one second slower. Jonathan has done a good job. I think the secret for me now is to try to keep towards the front because the moment you have three bikes in front and couple behind, when I try to line up the guy in front I get passed by the guy behind. We need to really try to understand that now and not let it affect us.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the podium in Race 1 at Aragon with Chaz Davies (2nd), 4th place for Melandri
After a positive start to its campaign in Friday's free-practice, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team took yet another podium with Chaz Davies in Race 1 at Aragon (Spain), home of the third round of the 2018 WorldSBK championship. The Welshman, who started from 11th position due to a crash during Superpole, showed his character by storming back through the field – twice, due to a restart – until he reached the leading group, then defended second position under the checkered flag.
Marco Melandri rode another solid race, in which he registered the fastest lap after taking pole position. The Italian consistently rode at the top, but unfortunately faced a small issue braking into turn 1 in the last lap, which caused him to briefly go off the track, and settled for fourth position.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi enjoyed a strong debut with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, as he rode within distance of the leading group for half the race to finish in eighth position. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action on Sunday, April 15th, at 09:45 (CET) for a warm-up session ahead of Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 13:00 local time.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) - 2nd
"It was a good race. To start from 11th isn't ideal but I made two good starts and took my time to let the race come to me. Eventually, I just started pressing a little bit more and got closer to Marco and Xavi. I was struggling to find an opportunity but I put it together in the end. It was a fun battle with them in the last lap. I wasn't feeling 100 percent with the bike today but I learned a lot. We'll try to put it to good use and come out swinging tomorrow."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) - 4th
"Today's race was a bit complicated. In the beginning I was struggling in some areas, while in the end I was faster. Unfortunately I wasn't able to pass effectively. Each time I crossed lines with Forés, the bike was moving a bit and I couldn't finish the move. I had a big wobble coming out of the last corner in the penultimate lap, which penalized me while braking into turn 1. It's unfortunate, because our potential is higher, so I'm keen to bounce back on the podium tomorrow."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) - 8th
"I'm happy with this first race. Until half-way through, I was riding close the leading group and with a similar pace. Then, since I'm not used to manage tires over this distance, I dropped the pace a bit. Anyway, to finish 8th at my debut is a good result."
Marco Zambenedetti, Technical Coordinator on track for Ducati Corse
"It's been a hard race, with both our riders capable of fighting for the win practically until the end. Chaz was penalized by the crash during Superpole, while Marco couldn't fight back after going wide into turn 1, but both showed to be capable to fight for the top step of the podium and we'll try to improve ahead of Race 2."
Pata Yamaha Battle Hard in Race 1 at Aragon
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team fought valiantly during a two-part Race 1 at Aragon on Saturday at Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. Michael van der Mark backed up his pace in the mixed conditions on Friday by qualifying in ninth. In the original race, he didn't enjoy the best of starts but was on a charge when the red flag came out on lap 4. In the restarted race, he showed excellent consistency despite not having the best feeling with his R1 to cross the line in a solid fifth place. His teammate Alex Lowes qualified strongly in fifth on the grid and enjoyed two electric starts, taking the lead in the restarted race and battling at the front before experiencing a slight issue that saw him dropping back through the field. The 27-year-old recovered superbly to fight back and finish in a battling seventh place.
Van der Mark had ended Friday's practice in seventh overall on the timesheets with a 1:51.347 after displaying good pace in both the wet and dry. On Saturday morning, the 25-year-old Dutch rider ended FP4 in fifth place before going on to enjoy a promising SP2 that saw him qualify in seventh for Race 1 after setting a 1:49.863, just 0.320s off pole. When the lights went out in the original race, he shot up the inside into Turn 1 but missed his braking marker and ran wide, dropping back to 13th. Undeterred, he scythed his way through the field and was up to sixth when the red flag came out on lap 4. In the restarted 17-lap race, he enjoyed a much better start, battling in the leading group of eight riders right from the off. He built up his rhythm and started to make his way through the pack, passing his teammate for fifth on lap six.
Unfortunately, he was suffering from a slight difficulty on corner entry which meant he could not chase down the leaders but the 2014 WorldSSP Champion showed excellent consistency to cross the line in fifth place and collect 11 championship points. This now means he is just one point behind his teammate Lowes in the overall standings in sixth with 56 points from the first five races. Van der Mark will line up on the grid in the middle of the front row tomorrow, hoping that he can add to his 2018 podium tally after his superb ride to second in Race 2 at Thailand.
Lowes showed good progress on the opening day, ending Friday's practice in sixth overall by incredibly setting exactly the same time as his teammate (1:51.347). Trying a few setup tweaks in FP4, he ended the session in P4 with a 1:51.510. Feeling confident heading into SP2, the British rider improved to an excellent 1:49.853 to start Race 1 from fifth on the grid, just 0.010s quicker than his teammate as, once again, they were almost inseparable. He enjoyed a superb start in the original Race 1, flying up to second by the first corner and battling for the lead with Jonathan Rea before the red flag came out. In the restarted race, it was a case of déjà vu as once again he got a sensational start and was once again battling at the front with Rea. Taking the lead on lap 2 he looked as if he would battle for the victory but, unfortunately, he started to suffer with a chatter issue on his Pata Yamaha R1 that saw him drop down to seventh by lap 6.
Showing excellent composure, he worked out a way to ride around the problem and battled back to sixth, before just losing out to Tom Sykes on the final lap and crossing the line in hard-fought seventh place to collect nine points. This sees the 2013 British Superbike Champion maintain fifth in the championship standings with 57 points and he will be working hard with his team overnight to solve the issue with his bike to allow him to fight for his second podium of 2018 - after storming to third in Buriram - from fourth on the grid in Sunday's Race 2.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to action on Sunday morning for Warm Up at 9:35 am local time (CEST) in Aragon, with Race 2 due to kick off at 1 pm. Check out the full Race 1 results.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th +8.932s
"First of all, I was really happy with Superpole! We seemed to struggle this year and last year with qualifying and today we gained a lot with the qualifier and I finished the session in sixth, which I was quite happy with. We reduced the gap significantly to the guys at the front and I was close to Alex, so I was really happy with that. For the first race, I had a good start but missed my braking point into Turn 1, ran wide and I was coming back through the field when the red flag came out. After the red flag, in the restarted race I had a slight issue when back-shifting so, it was difficult. I had a really good start but then I had to find a way to ride the bike to manage the issue. With this problem, we must be really happy to have finished in P5 but we will fix the issue for tomorrow and then I hope we can fight for the podium!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th +9.985s
"My starts and the opening laps have been something I have struggled with so far this year. Today I got two go's at them and I did them both quite well, unfortunately, that is where the positivity ends because the race was quite tough. I don't really know why, but after the first few laps, I started to struggle with chatter on corner entry that was catching me out quite a lot and didn't allow me to ride the bike the way I wanted. I went into damage limitation mode from there on in, tried to be as consistent as could, focused on not making mistakes, and tried to get the bike to the end. It was a tough race but it was the best I could do so we will have a look with the guys and try again tomorrow. In general, I am really strong at the end of the races, today I was strong at the start, so let's try to improve the problem I had today and fill the bit in-between! If we can do that, we shouldn't be too far away from the top guys tomorrow!"
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"Race 1 here in Aragon was, honestly, disappointing. It was a strong effort by Michael and Alex to perform at the very front but, unfortunately, both riders had a couple of restrictions which limited the result to less than we hoped for. There were some positives, significantly improved starts for Alex, twice with the restart, and very few mistakes by either rider, plus strong consistency to make sure we scored good points but the ultimate performance over race distance wasn't enough and we will be doing everything we can to give Michael and Alex an improved R1 for tomorrow and achieve a better result."
Eleventh for Gulf Althea BMW at Aragón
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 14 April 2018
The first race of the of the SBK weekend took place in dry conditions at the Motorland Aragón circuit and, for the Gulf Althea BMW Racing team, it proved to be a real battle. Facing a tough task from 19th on the grid, Loris Baz was able to put up a good fight, crossing the line eleventh. In the first Stock1000 qualifying of the season, Alessandro Delbianco finished in tenth position.
Superpole 1: thanks to a fast lap completed in the opening stages, Baz immediately placed first and was performing well. Unfortunately though, a crash two minutes from the end prevented him from being able to consolidate a solid result. The Frenchman closed ninth, meaning a seventh row start for the race.
SBK - Race 1: Baz, nineteenth on the grid, made up a number of positions off the line, twelfth after one lap, but unfortunately the race was brought to a halt on the following lap after three other riders were involved in a crash. After a quick restart, the race resumed a few minutes later. Baz again got away well, back up into twelfth through the opening corners. Earning another two places during the central phase of the race, the Frenchman retained a strong pace, part of a compact group that battled it out to the line. Oscillating between ninth and eleventh place, Baz crossed the line eleventh.
STK1000 Qualifying: after having set a very fast time of 1’53.296 in the morning's third free practice session, closing sixth, Delbianco was back on track for the afternoon’s qualifying. Despite a small crash early on in the session, the Italian worked hard with his technicians throughout what remained of the 30 minute qualifying. Continuing to lower his times, he set a best of 1’53.743 to position tenth at the session’s end. The Gulf Althea BMW rider will therefore start from row four of the grid for tomorrow’s race.
“Another difficult day. Superpole didn’t go to plan at all. We had found something at the start but then I made a mistake with the cold front tyre. It wasn’t easy to start from where we did on the grid. I made a strong start to the race though, and was lying P8, but then we had the red flag. After the restart, I didn’t make quite as good a getaway but I was able to fight back and was battling for P9. My strategy was to try to get past my rivals in the final stages but a contact with Ramos caused me to lose some time and so in the end I closed eleventh. I think we’ve improved and made a good step with the chassis anyway and tomorrow I’ll try my best to improve on our performance.”
“This morning went well. I was lying sixth and was able to continuously on improve my performance. Unfortunately, I suffered a small crash at the start of qualifying, which conditioned my session. It was down to inexperience I guess, the front closed on me. Anyway, I was able to finish tenth, despite the crash, so I guess that isn’t too bad considering. Tomorrow I will do my best to make up as many positions as possible in the race…”
Twelfth place for Gagne in Aragón Race 1
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
Jake Gagne equalled his best position of the year in a closely-contested Race 1 at Aragón as the American rider claimed twelfth place, while his fellow Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Leon Camier was unfortunately involved in an incident on lap 3 which called an early finish to his race.
Having qualified in ninth and thirteenth place respectively, Camier and Gagne were primed for a good fight in dry conditions for Race 1. Camier got a good start and found himself as high as fifth place on the opening lap, however while running in eighth place he was involved in an incident at turn 11. Following the incident, Camier was treated by medical staff on site and although he is fully conscious with full movement of his limbs, he was taken to hospital in nearby Alcañiz for further assessment. At this stage there is no indication whether he will be fit to participate in Race 2 tomorrow.
The incident involving Camier resulted in the race being red flagged and after the restart, a shortened 17-lap race got underway with Gagne resuming his push for a top-ten position. Gagne managed to keep a consistent pace throughout the race and ultimately was just half a second from a top-ten place, crossing the finish line in twelfth place and adding another four points to his points tally for the season.
The next session is tomorrow’s fifteen minute Warm Up session at 09:35 local time (GMT +2) before Race 2 gets underway at 13:00.
Jake Gagne 45
It was great to get a full race under my belt here in Aragón and I enjoyed having some close racing in that big group of riders. As well as scoring more points, I was able to learn a lot about which sections of the circuit we're strong in and where we need to improve, so we've now got a lot of information on how to change some settings to improve things for Race 2. It's a real shame that Leon was caught up in an incident, it's never nice to see riders get hurt so I wish him a speedy recovery.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Today with the dry weather we tried to make up for lost time and improve our settings in FP4 and qualifying and we were looking forward to putting up a good fight in the race. Unfortunately, today we saw the unpleasant side of racing with the incident Leon was involved in, but thankfully he appears to have no serious injuries but has been taken to hospital for further assessment. I would like to commend the circuit and medical staff for their prompt actions after the incident. On the positive side, it was great to see Jake put in a good race and he was just a few tenths from a top-ten place, however P12 matches his best result of the year. We have some adjustments we can make in Warm Up to help him fight for more points in Race 2, so we'll once again push to the maximum tomorrow.
Update on condition of Leon Camier from Aragón WorldSBK
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
In an incident during Race 1 at the Aragón WorldSBK round, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Leon Camier was injured. Leon was attended to by Clinica Mobile staff at MotorLand Aragón circuit and afterwards was sent to Alcañiz Hospital for further assessment. Following the hospital’s prognosis, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team can confirm he will not participate in Race 2 of the Aragón WorldSBK round and provide the following update on Leon’s condition:
Leon has been diagnosed with a closed chest injury: a fracture of the posterior ribs 9, 10 and 11 on his left side with a lung contusion. His condition is stable.
Leon is conscious and in good spirits and the team would like to thank all his fans and supporters for their well wishes.
Giugliano leads home double points finish for Milwaukee Aprilia in red-flagged Race 1
Motorland Aragon 14 / 04 / 2018
Superpole and Race 1 Report
Milwaukee Aprilia rider Davide Giugliano led home teammate Lorenzo Savadori in a double points finish for the team at Aragon after a restart in Race 1
A disappointing Superpole saw Davide and Lorenzo start P14 and P10 respectively, with a crash for Lorenzo in Superpole 2 preventing him from chasing a faster lap. Both riders had confidence for the race though, with rain holding off despite grey skies over MotorLand Aragon. On the race start they each made up places, Lorenzo starting Lap 2 in P9 after a pass on Torres and Davide taking P12 after he passed Baz and Rinaldi ran wide.
On Lap 3 Lorenzo was chasing Camier hard for P8, but a crash for Camier at Turn 11 left Lorenzo and the chasing Torres with no room for avoiding action as all three riders hit the ground. The racing incident brought out the red flag, allowing Lorenzo to return to the box as his crew prepared the spare bike.
A quick restart procedure gave the teams limited time to prepare for the restart, but the spare bike was fired up in time for Lorenzo to head out and join the grid. With 17 laps left to contest the whole field was eager to make progress, and Davide and Lorenzo were quickly in the the thick of the action.
Davide made the most of his first racing start to adapt for the second half, and made rapid progress from P17 to pass Jacobsen for P16 on Lap 4. He held position and took a further three positions, passing Mercado, teammate Savadori and Hernandez all within 6 laps. He came home in P13 less than a second from P9 to take 3 points in an impressive finish for his debut with Milwaukee Aprilia.
Lorenzo struggled to adapt to his second bike, as an issue with his front brake impeded his progress. With his collarbone still healing from Round 1 he was in pain after the crash, but marched on and was able to finish P15 with a single valuable point.
With a morning warm up ahead of Race 2, the team now have a good opportunity to prepare the Aprilia to deliver strong results on Sunday.
Warm up begins on Sunday 15th at 09:35 local time (GMT +1) ahead of Race 2 at 13:00.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"It was an unlucky start for Lorenzo in the race to be caught up in the crash at Turn 11, and we're all wishing Leon [Camier] a speedy recovery. The crew did a really good job to get his spare bike ready in time for the restart. Of course with his collarbone still healing he was sore after coming off, so to bring the bike home with points was a good gauge for him to build on tomorrow.
On Davide's side I'm really impressed with his professionalism and his attitude, and he's been working really well with the guys. He started the race tentatively having had very limited track time here, but he was within a second off P9 at the end. For him to come from P17 to finish P13 with a bike that doesn't yet feel like home was a good result. We've got some good changes to make on the bike tomorrow so we expect him to perform well in Race 2, and I think a top ten is within his grasp."
Davide Giugliano #34 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 1 result: 1'51.632 - P14 on grid
Race 1 result: P13 - 3 points
Race 2 grid: P15 - Row 5
"In the Superpole I didn't feel totally confident to push 100%; the bike is still new to me and I didn't want to risk a crash trying for a really fast lap. I was quite happy with the lap and it was good to try the qualifying tyre.
I felt very good going into the race. In the first three laps before the crash I was trying hard to focus on holding position and not pushing too hard. It was better to stay calm and gain experience with the bike and understand how it behaved.
On the restart I felt a lot more confident. I was able to fight with other riders and made some good passes, and to finish with points in my first race with the team was really good. Tomorrow I feel positive for the race, it's important that I get a better start and for sure I can mix with the guys in front for more points."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'50.809 - P10 on grid
Race 1 result: P15 - 1 point
Race 2 grid: P12 - Row 4
"I had a problem in the morning Free Practice and the bike was really difficult to ride. I lost some time because of that and my set-up was not really where I wanted it to be. I tried to push in Superpole, but then I crashed at Turn 2.
I started the race P10 which was not great, but my start was good. I was holding P9 but on lap 3 Camier crashed in front of me and I had no space, so I hit his bike by mistake and went down. I hope Leon is OK after the accident and that he can race tomorrow, because it was not a nice crash.
During the red flag the guys got the spare bike ready for me, but when I started there was an issue with the front brake and the set up was not as comfortable for me as the first bike. From there the race was really difficult and I didn't have much pace. We know the areas we can work on for Race 2, points today were good but I think we can have a better result tomorrow."
WorldSSP: Cortese comes out in front at Aragon Tissot Superpole
Kallio Racing rider denies Mahias the chance to score third consecutive pole
German rider Cortese took his debut pole position at MotorLand Aragon
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) ran a superb lap to grab his first pole in 6 years at Round Three of the FIM Supersport World Championship. The German rider has not started from the front since the penultimate race of his Moto3™ title winning season in 2012, but a consistent performance throughout the session also grants him his first front row start this year.
Behind him, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was very close to recording a third successive Superpole this season, denied the chance to lead the grid by just two hundredths of a second. He will be happy about his placement however, as title rival and co-leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) could only come in fifth.
Between them, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was agonisingly close to beating both his teammate and Cortese, with the Italian just 0.081 off the German’s best lap.
Leading the second row on the grid will be Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) with the first non-Yamaha bike, with the row completed by Jules Cluzel (NRT), who couldn’t follow up a promising performance in the free practices with a front row start.
Debutant Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), stepping in for five-time champion Kenan Sofuoglu as he recovers from injury, will lead the third row from seventh, ahead of Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag).
Pole position - Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
"I am really happy, finally I got the pole position after being so close the last two rounds. I felt comfortable and I know the track so I am happy, I was also surprised when I saw 53.5 because from the first laps we were on the .54s but we were on the limit and it's very important for tomorrow to start from the first row."
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP at MotorLand Aragon:
1. Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
2. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.022
3. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.081
Double Front-Row Start for GRT Yamaha in Aragon
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team secured their third consecutive double front-row start on Saturday in Aragon at Round 3 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship. Reigning WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias, just missed out on securing his fourth pole position in a row by 0.022s and will start Sunday's race from second on the grid. His teammate Federico Caricasulo was just a further 0.059s further back in third and will join his teammate on the front row for Sunday's race. Alfonso Coppola also impressed in the European Supersport Cup, improving his time from Friday by 1.714s to qualify in 20th.
Mahias ended Friday's practice in second overall, despite missing most of FP1 due to the wet conditions. The Man from Mont-de-Marsan was celebrating his 29th birthday on Saturday and was in sensational form, having made up for the lost time, he rediscovered his feeling with his beloved Yamaha R6. He secured second on the grid on his penultimate lap in SP2 with a 1:53.589 and was going even quicker on his next flying lap - he was up by 0.3s in the first sector - but he ran out of grip on the qualifier tyre and had to settle for starting Sunday's race from the middle of the front row. Mahias is confident that although he missed out on setting the fastest time on Saturday, his race pace will allow him to fight for victory on Sunday.
His teammate Caricasulo was fourth overall on Friday, but only 0.070s off the pace of the fastest rider. This theme continued on Saturday as the 22-year-old Italian ended FP4 in third, just 0.80s off the pace. Showing improvement every time he went out on his R6, he was determined to secure a good grid position for Sunday's race. There was almost nothing to separate the top 3 riders in SP2, with Caricasulo setting a 1:53.648, just 0.081s off the pole man. He will line up next to his teammate in third on the grid on Sunday and feels that he has the consistency and pace to challenge for the win when the lights go out for the race.
Coppola also impressed as the 20-year-old Italian - making his debut in WorldSSP in the European Supersport Cup - managed to improve his time dramatically on Saturday. Still adapting to riding the Yamaha R6 after making the step up from WorldSSP300, he showed why he was the inaugural winner of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge by improving his best time of 1:58.009 from Friday to a 1:56.295 in SP1. This was good enough to see the talented young rider to line up in 20th on the grid for Sunday's race where his aim will be to finish in the points.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are back in action on Sunday at 9:10 am local time on Sunday for Warm Up, with the 16-lap race scheduled for 11:30 am. Check out the Qualifying results here.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 2nd - 1:53.589
"It was a good qualification for me today. Honestly, I was not confident before SP2 because I did not have a great feeling with my R6. This was because I lost FP1 to the rain and it is difficult to build a good weekend when you lose a practice session that is so important for setting up your bike. The team worked a lot to improve the bike and my feeling was good in SP2! One of the problems today was that the track was very cold and with a qualifier tyre you just have one lap to set a good time.it is difficult because it is impossible to make the tyre last two laps, so you only have one chance to get it right. My target was the front row, I am second, so this is good for the race tomorrow. It will be a very hard race as there are a number of riders with very good pace but I am confident because the race is completely different and is not just about one lap. I think tyre wear will play a huge part on Sunday and you will see every bike start to slide around. When the bike slides around, normally I am fast, so I am looking forward to the race!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd - 1:53.648
"I am very happy because I did not expect to do a 1:53 lap! I missed out on pole position by just 0.080s, so it is not a problem for the race but I would like to have been on pole as I was so close. Tomorrow, I think we can have a really good race, there are five riders that are very quick and can win so it will be very tough but we have a good bike, my team is working well and I am optimistic I can fight for the victory!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 20th - 1:56.295
"I am not happy for having to start from 20th on the grid but I am very happy with the amount I managed to improve my time. I was five seconds quicker in SP1 than I was at the test here a few weeks ago, which is really good. It was a difficult qualifying, as you have to do a few laps, then stop and go out again for a few more laps, and the pace is strong. I feel good for the race tomorrow, I would like to thank my team for all their hard work and the fact I managed to do a 1:56.2 is good for the race. Right now I am focused on Warm Up, and my target for the race is to finish inside the points and set an even quicker time!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"I am very happy for all three of my riders because they all did such a good job. Lucas and Federico have been so consistent it is incredible. They have been in the top three in nearly every session and they have recorded their third consecutive double front-row start. That consistency is important as the championship has changed this year and there are lots of riders who are fast, so it is very important to show that we can always be in and around the top 3 at each track. Lucas only just missed out on pole and Federico also did an incredible job, and both have shown very good race pace and we feel we have the potential to continue our form from the first two rounds. Alfonso has really impressed me! We knew he had a good potential but now we are sure that we have secured another amazing rider into the Yamaha family. I want to thank Yamaha and to the whole team. I am so proud of all of the people that work in the team as they have done an amazing job!"
FIFTH SPOT ON THE GRID FOR RANDY KRUMMENACHER AT MOTORLAND ARAGON
14 April 2018 - Aragon (Spain)
After the two long-haul rounds, which saw Krummenacher close second in Australia and first in Thailand, the Superbike and Supersport championships are at Motorland Aragon, Spain, for the first in a long series of European rounds. The Bardahl Evan Bros. rider set the fastest time in yesterday's practice sessions, stopping the clock on 1'54.750 and gaining direct entry to today's Superpole2. IN that session, the Swiss rider closed in fifth position. Krummenacher will therefore start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow's race, set to get underway at 11.30 am CET, and taking place over 16 laps (81.232 km). Krummenacher is feeling confident and positive ahead of the race, aware that he has strong pace and can continue to work along with his team to improve further.
#RK21: "The first European race weekend has got off to a strong start, and I was able to place first in yesterday's practices. In today's Superpole I struggled to complete a fast lap, a little like in Thailand. I think that, if I continue to work together with the team, we can be strong on the flying lap too. I'm pleased anyway as fifth is not at all bad and I know I have strong pace that I can maintain for the duration of the race. I hope to be able to repay my team and everyone who supports me with a good result."
Seventh Place On The Grid For Morais
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) secured seventh place on the grid for Sunday’s WorldSSP race after a strong pre-race showing as a substitute rider for the injured Kenan Sofuoglu. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was tenth in Superpole 2, after qualifying fastest in Superpole 1.
After just two days on a Kawasaki Puccetti Racing machine Sheridan Morais secured a third row starting position for Sunday’s Motorland Aragon WorldSSP race, with a lap time less than a second from the quickest rider at this 5.077km long circuit.
Morais was second fastest qualifier in Superpole 1, right behind his team-mate Okubo, but in the subsequent second superpole session Sheridan made a real leap to go seventh fastest in a field of 28 riders. He starts raceday as the top Kawasaki entrant.
Okubo, a new signing for Kawasaki at the start of 2018, continues to grow and learn the secrets of 2018 machine inside his experienced team. Rider and technical staff combined well to see him fastest of all the riders in SP1, and then finish tenth overall in SP2.
With warmer conditions expected on raceday than those experienced today, the Kawasaki Puccetti team will now make their final set-up choices to take on 16-laps of the often fast and flowing Motorland Aragon circuit. The race – the third of 12 scheduled rounds this year - will take place at 11.30am on Sunday 15th April.
Sheridan Morais, stated: “I am really happy with the steps we made today, as we went a lot faster than yesterday. I feel our race pace is pretty good, although we have not done a full race distance yet. I hope that my fitness is alright. I have been training a lot but I do not know how my ‘bike fitness’ is. We will see tomorrow but I feel we have a bike that is good for the race and that I can do the same lap every lap. Our race pace should be the pace to be up at the front. I am happy with qualifying and really happy for the team so it should be good for Sunday.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I am happy because a good feeling is coming with the bike. In Superpole 1 and Superpole 2 the team staff worked well, so a big thank you to them. I am understanding the Kawasaki more and more. I set my best time in Superpole 2 but I had some chattering problems. My grid place is tenth but I think I can do a good job in the race and I will try to push again.”
Returning to action after injury, Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 12th fastest and Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) 15th. ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) was just one place behind West in Superpole 1.
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) ran out 18th in SP1 at his home round; Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) was 25th today. A fall for Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) prevented him from going for an even better position than 27th, with Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team) just one place behind.
Tuuli heads up fifth row in Spain
Posted on 14th April 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Niki Tuuli narrowly missed entry to Superpole 2 by only three hundredths of a second despite a good run in Superpole 1 today. Tuuli had his name on the number two spot but was denied going through when Morais claimed it on the last lap of the session.
Tuuli said: “I didn’t make it but still I improved a lot. We improved the bike and my riding was much better but I just need to find that rhythm. We have been improving all weekend and now we are going the right way, now we have the potential to be faster so I’m really happy about that. We still have a long way to the top but step by step we can be there. Thanks to the team.”
Andrew Irwin posted his fastest time of 1’57.8 in Superpole 1 making a huge 1.4s improvement over his best lap in FP2 and the World Supersport rookie will start the 16-lap race from the ninth row of the grid in 26th position.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Obviously we are disappointed not to go through and be challenging for the first two rows of the grid. That said Niki rode well in that session, on his first run he caught traffic but on the second run he did two good laps all on his own. This place, if you can get a good draught down the straight you can gain a little bit of free time. Niki didn’t have that and missed out by such a small margin. So we start 13th tomorrow. We have a good chance to challenge well inside the top ten and build from there. One thing we shouldn’t forget to allow for is that Niki is a young rider with all his experience on a Yamaha and he is adjusting to the change to a Honda which requires a different riding style. I’m sure we will soon see the best of Niki Tuuli, I think tomorrow we will see a good strong challenge in the race and then move to Assen and improve again.”
“Andrew lost a bit of confidence after his crash in Australia and then in Thailand but we are seeing some big improvements from him. He’s frustrated because he knows he should be higher but he needs to relax, he knows that and I’m sure that working with Kor and the data we’ll just go forwards again in the race. Then we go to Assen which is a circuit Andrew knows from his British Championship days so that’s a big positive.”
The lights go out for the World Supersport race from Motorland Aragon at 11:30 (local time) tomorrow.
WorldSSP300: Perez snatches first Superpole of 2018
Spaniard nearly eight tenths of a second ahead of field at MotorLand Aragon
Mika Perez storms to pole position in front of his home fans
Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) opened the curtains for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship with a stunning best lap around the Alcañiz circuit. The Spaniard was the only rider to beat 2’08 on the day, and finished 0.791 seconds ahead of Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki) in second place. As such, Sunday’s race will see an inverted grid from last year’s race, when Deroue took pole ahead of Pérez.
Behind them and completing the four Kawasakis at the front were Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), confirming that both teammates are strong contenders for this year’s crown. Loureiro beat Carrasco by a mere four hundredths of a second, just after the Spaniard had momentarily moved into third.
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) came in fifth with the first KTM, followed by fellow Dutchman Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki) in sixth, one place down from where he started last year.
Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), who came in second last year, could not make it through the Superpole 1 and will start from sixteenth. The two riders who did make it through the first round were Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team), who will start twelfth, and Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), who made it through in ninth. Teenager Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan – Kawasaki), the fastest rider across yesterday’s practice sessions, crashed in his final lap and will start from tenth.
Pole Position - Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
"I am really happy to secure the first Kawasaki pole position. Yesterday was a really tough day, we had a lot of problems with the track conditions but the bike an team did a great job. I want to thank my team and sponsors, and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at MotorLand Aragon:
1. Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
2. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) +0.791
3. Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) +0.986