Press releases from the teams and organizers after the racing on Sunday:
#AragonWorldSBK Day 3 - Davies dazzles field with seventh Aragon win
Davies took a comfortable lead in the final race of the weekend
There are very few certainties in the WorldSBK calendar – but a Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battle at MotorLand Aragon seems as close as you can get. In a repeat of last year’s Aragon Round, the two leading riders of the championship clashed sensationally in the final laps, with the Welshman avoiding a first Rea double of the season and taking his second win of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, and a record seventh around the Aragon bends.
Davies now moves into second place in the Championship standings, just 12 points away from Rea. Behind them, Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completes the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati pursuit on 96 points, after taking third in the Spanish Race 2.
The race start was similar to yesterday’s affair. Again, it was Rea sticking amongst the Ducatis at the front, with the Panigale R showing incredible pace at the Alcañiz circuit. This time it was Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) and Melandri heading the early laps, with a calculating Rea waiting behind.
Just one mistake is enough for the reigning champion to pounce, and as it happened there were two. First a wobble from Melandri (who has had some worrying difficulties controlling the bike throughout the weekend, despite showing very good rhythm) allowed Rea to move up to second. Fores, looking for his first win in front of his passionate local fans, held his provisional lead well under Rea’s pressure – until Lap 9, when his front-end gave in and left the Spaniard on the floor, leaving way for what seemed to be becoming a trademark Rea double.
But, with one Ducati rider leaving the leading group, in came another. Chaz Davies didn’t have the amazing start he did in Race 1, but quietly he benefitted from the action at the front to creep up to Rea and Melandri, picking off the Yamahas along the way. He was too far back to greatly trouble Rea in yesterday’s Race 1, his Superpole 2 slip a disadvantage too large to overcome. But on Sunday, with five laps to go and having already overcome his teammate, he got past the Northern Irishman. With the pair coming in close into the final lap and ready for a photo finish, Rea went wide in the middle sector, handing Davies a phenomenal win.
Behind them, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, the Dutchman unable to take advantage of his front row start despite leading in Lap 1.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) suffered a nightmare race off the grid, falling from third to eighth at the first turn, with Davies in ninth passing him shortly after. The Brit fought back to sixth at the checkered flag, but will be disappointed at his results throughout the weekend after two front-row starts.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) came in one better after his debut yesterday, finishing seventh and as the lead independent rider. Behind him Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) came back strongly from yesterday’s crash with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), ending the race eighth and pleasing the home fans. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Savadori completed the top ten, in ninth and tenth respectively, with the other local rider Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) finishing eleventh.
P1 - Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"Lucky no.7! It was a good fight for it as well, really I dug in, I didn't feel great in the early laps, I was trying to learn the bike. There was a lot going through my mind, I wanted to stake my time and stay patient. I had to force a lot of the passes, I am so glad to pull it off, lucky no.7 and roll on Assen."
P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"It was a really fun race, Chaz was really strong and it was all I could to today. They were making a lot of mistakes but if they were making the mistakes they were fine, but if I was making a mistake I couldn't make the time back up. I was sing the first to sectors as my strongest pints, I'm really happy with this weekend and to come out of here extending the lead is nice so thanks to my KRT team."
P3 - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"It was very difficult, the speed is there but every time I tried to pass someone the bike is shaking so bad. On the last lap I tried to pass but the rear brake went down so I settled for third. Its a shame because I know I have the speed to fight for the win."
#AragonWorldSBK at MotorLand Aragon: Race 2
1. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +1.184
3. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) +4.584
Stunning win by Chaz Davies in Race 2 at Aragon with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team, Marco Melandri 3rd and back on the podium
After finishing on the podium with a 2nd place in Race 1, Chaz Davies took a stunning win in Race 2 at Aragon (Spain) with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. Marco Melandri also rode a solid race to finish 3rd after constantly fighting at the top .
Starting from third row, Davies bided his time early on, then took the lead with five laps to go and never looked back, taking the 7th win of his career at Aragon and second of the season. Melandri also rode a strong race: starting from pole position, the Italian constantly fought in the leading group but faced an issue with the rear-brake lever in the last lap and was forced to settle for third position.
Adding to an already memorable Sunday, rookie Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished in 7th position, first among independent riders, with the dell'Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team. After three rounds, Davies and Melandri are respectively 2nd (102 points) and 3rd (96 points) in the championship, while Rinaldi is 14th (17 points). The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action next weekend at Assen (Netherlands) for the fourth round, scheduled for April 20-22.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1st
"I had to really work hard for this win, coming from 8th place on the grid. I knew we could pull through, but in the first few laps I didn't have the feeling I was hoping for. We opted for a softer rear tire and I was expecting to have more stability, but the rear kept spinning a bit so I stayed patient without trying to force my way through. Then, I made some passes and found myself in a good position to ride my own race. I'm really, really happy to have sealed my 7th win here at Aragon. Thanks to the whole team and Ducati. I can't wait to race again next weekend in Assen."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd
"I had a really competitive pace but I couldn't be as aggressive as I would have liked. Every time I changed the line to make a pass, the bike was still moving a bit. It's difficult because we have the speed but we still need to solve this issue. During the last lap I almost crashed at turn 3 because I lost the rear brake lever but luckily I didn't and, since it was the last lap, I could make it to the podium. It's a good result, but we can do better. We'll keep working hard to achieve more in Assen."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 7th
"It was an awesome race. The top guys are so fast. I wanted to try and follow them for the whole race, but in the end I was exhausted and the tires were finished. Anyway, I'm really happy with finishing 8th and 7th at my debut, we couldn't get off to a better start in this new category. We'll try to keep improving at Assen."
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba CEO and Team Principal
"It's been a memorable Sunday. Chaz proved once again he's the man to beat on this track, riding a wonderful race, and Marco was within contention despite the fact that we still haven't made him 100 percent comfortable. We're also really pleased with Michael, who even managed to finish first among independent riders. We need to keep this form at Assen to further narrow gap."
Rea Second And Championship Leader
Jonathan Rea (KRT) added to his race one WorldSBK victory at Motorland Aragon with a second place today in race two, to extend his championship lead to 12 points. Tom Sykes (KRT) had a tough afternoon and finished sixth in the second race of a busy weekend.
With three riders eventually competing for the second race victory in Spain Rea continued to pressurise eventual winner Chaz Davies on the final lap, after Marco Melandri had suddenly dropped back to a distant third.
Rea was to run wide into the entry of the chicane at turn 12 and lose his chance to attack Davies on the long final corner. Rea was just 1.184 seconds back at the flag, for his fourth podium finish of the 2018 season.
In warmer and sunnier conditions today than Saturday, the small advantages that Rea felt had helped him win race one were reduced a little. He also had to fight his way forward in the first lap from a third row starting position, under the reverse grid rules that operate for race two.
He is now 12 points clear of Davies in the championship table, with arguably Jonathan’s favourite round at Assen coming up in just a few days time.
For Tom Sykes a change in weather and a front row starting position did not help him overcome an unlucky start and he was ninth after one lap. He worked his way back to sixth at the flag, despite experiencing issues with turning in the longer corners. Tom is seventh in the championship after Aragon.
The next round of the championship will take place at Assen next weekend, with races on 21st and 22nd April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I threw everything into the last lap but I overcooked it into turn 12. But it was fun! The set-up was pretty good, although I was struggling to stop a little bit after the rear tyre had dropped in grip; then I had reduced corner entry traction. It seemed like Chaz had the same thing but when he was making mistakes he could keep the same lap time. It seems like right now we have to be very precise all through the race, but I enjoyed it today. I had no information on how the race would pan out with the tyre choice we made, and the rise in temperature. I did not know what to expect at the end but I was really happy. I had some good tyre left and was still able to fight. Now we move onto Assen.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am really suffering with turning the bike and it is a shame. We are good in some areas but overall, in the long corners, I really suffered in turning and finishing off the corner. It is disappointing but I suppose it has been one of those weekends. We never got the answer and the race set-up. I am surprised at this because on Friday we had something but obviously everybody else has improved and we didn’t. I had some limit on the front tyre but overall we just missed a little bit of turning and I was not able to utilise the full grip from the rear tyre because of this. Today I could not get much more from myself and I am disappointed for this.”
Pata Yamaha Maximise Potential in Race 2 at Aragon
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team put in maximum effort in Race 2 at Aragon for Round 3 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship on Sunday. Alex Lowes started from fourth on the grid and was involved in the podium battle but found himself suffering from a lack of grip on corner exit. Despite this, he rode to his full potential and enjoyed a superb battle once more with his teammate Michael van der Mark in the latter stages of the race, emerging the victor of the duel to cross the line in fourth place. Van der Mark had a blistering start from the middle of the front row and led across the line after the first lap. He, unfortunately, also had a slight issue with his R1 and battled as hard as he could despite not having a great feeling with the front end, enjoying the excellent fight with his teammate in the last few laps before finishing the race in fifth.
As has been the theme for most of the 2018 season so far, there was almost nothing to separate the Pata Yamaha riders all weekend, with them matching each other's time exactly in Friday's free practice. Then there was only 0.01s between them in Saturday's qualifying before they crossed the line in Race 1 within 1.053s of each other after 17 laps of racing.
Lowes finished Saturday's Race 1 in a battling seventh place despite not being 100% comfortable with the feeling with his bike, meaning he would start Race 2 from the middle of the second row. He finished Sunday morning's Warm Up in third as the Pata Yamaha team tried to recreate the confidence he had with his R1 at the last round in Buriram but when the lights went out for Race 2, he did not have the drive he needed coming out of the corners. The 27-year-old British rider showed incredible determination and maturity to ride around this issue as, after dropping down to seventh in the early laps, he started to fight back and pick off the riders in front of him one by one.
By lap 8 he had passed his teammate van der Mark for fifth place but, as has been the case in nearly every race so far this season, the two would enjoy an excellent battle right to the line. As the race went on, the duel between the teammates became ever more sensational, and on the last lap, they swapped places a number of times before Lowes managed to power to the chequered flag ahead of his teammate to secure fourth place. Disappointed to not have the pace for the podium despite his best efforts, Lowes is determined to bounce back in Assen. The 13 points he collected sees him fifth in the championship standings with 70 points from the first six races.
Van der Mark lined up in the middle of the front row for Race 2 after he rode to a solid fifth in Saturday's Race 1. Sixth in Sunday morning's Warm Up, he was confident heading into Race 2 and this showed as he enjoyed an excellent start, taking the lead almost immediately. Sadly, this was to be short-lived as the 25-year-old Dutch rider just did not have the same feeling with the front end of his Pata Yamaha R1 as expected. Pushing hard at the front, he was made to run a bit wide after there was contact as Melandri passed him for the lead, but recovered superbly, although he just did not quite have the pace to keep the chasing riders at bay.
He battled hard, but could not hold them off and dropped down to sixth as he tried to work out a way to deal with his issue and when his teammate Lowes came past on lap 8, he responded in style. Latching on to Lowes back wheel, the two Pata Yamaha riders started to hunt down Michael Ruben Rinaldi in fourth. They both blasted past the Italian and van der Mark then tried to break away from Lowes but to no avail. Enjoying an excellent scrap, Lowes signalled his intent by making a move into Turn 1 on a final lap that saw them pass each other a number of times. In a dramatic finish, he just lost out to his teammate in the final few corners, crossing the line in fifth 0.436s behind Lowes to collect 11 championship points. He is now sixth in the overall standings with 67 points, just three behind his teammate Lowes, and up next is van der Mark's home round at Assen, a circuit he loves racing at in front of the passionate Dutch fans.
Despite a tricky weekend at times, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team head to Round 4 of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship at the TT Circuit Assen on the 20th-22nd of April confident they will be back fighting for the podium. Check out the full Race 2 results.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 4th +10.251s
"The race was really tough for me! I struggled from the start and I was simply not fast enough. I said it yesterday, but today was the same, in as much as it was a case of just doing the best I can. I understood after 2 or 3 laps that I did not have the pace to fight for the victory so my target was to finish the rest of the race in the best position possible, make no mistakes, and ride as fast as I could till the end. That is, obviously, what you should do in every race but normally you have a little bit in reserve for when you want to pass people. To be honest, I didn't really worry about anyone else and just tried to do the best I could. I realised Michael was struggling with the front near the end of the race and I managed to get past him after a nice little battle but, like I said, it was too far from the lead. It is not too important to me to finish in front of him when we are ten seconds from the front. Hopefully, next week in Assen, Michael's home race, we want to be battling like that for the win!"
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th +10.687s
"I had quite a good start and then I took the lead in the first few corners but, to be honest, after the first few laps I didn't feel comfortable with the front-end of my R1 and this was an issue for the whole race. I was leading the field but I felt too slow and one but one they passed me. I tried to stay with the front guys and tried everything I could but, in the end, I was riding right on the limit and then I missed a gear and missed quite a lot of time there as well. Towards the end of the race, I had another excellent battle with Alex which I really enjoyed, but to be fourth and fifth and 10 seconds behind the leaders is not where we have to be. Hopefully, for Assen, we can find a solution to the problem and make some good progress at my home race!"
Paul Denning - Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"Everybody in the team did their best to give Alex and Michael an R1 that was capable of challenging for the podium today but, whilst we did take some steps forward, unfortunately, the characteristic of the race in terms of not having the traction and corner-exit performance the guys needed was quite clear as the race developed. This was, perhaps, slightly unexpected, in that one of the very strong points of the Pata Yamaha R1 has been its consistency to the end of the race. The focus will be to regenerate that race durability performance. Honestly, I have no complaints whatsoever with the efforts or performance of the team, particularly both riders who rode really hard but also very maturely to maximise the results they could achieve. If a bad pair of races as, frankly, these two here in Aragon have been, can result in a decent points haul and a potentially closable gap to the winner then we have to take the positives from that and look forward with enthusiasm to Assen."
Gagne secures double point finish with twelfth place in Aragón Race 2
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
A hard-fought twelfth place for Jake Gagne ensured a double points finish at the Aragón WorldSBK round, the American rider continuing his progress on the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 for his best weekend yet in the WorldSBK championship.
Starting from thirteenth position on the grid, Gagne had a storming start to make up multiple positions and settled into tenth place at the end of the first lap. Fighting hard to secure the first top-ten finish of his WorldSBK career, Gagne set a competitive pace in the middle stage of the race and in the final laps enjoyed a close battle with Kawasaki rider Román Ramos, with Gagne crossing the finish line in P12 just 0.1 seconds behind his Spanish competitor.
Gagne was the sole rider for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team in Race 2 due to the injury his team mate Leon Camier sustained in Race 1 and by securing another point-scoring finish, Gagne moves up a place in the riders classification into fifteenth overall with 17 points after three rounds. Camier is in eighth place in the standings with 42 points.
The next WorldSBK round is the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s home race at the Assen Circuit in the Netherlands next weekend.
Jake Gagne 45
We made a couple of changes in Warm Up this morning that I was really happy with which helped me a lot, particularly in braking. With those changes made I was confident heading into the race and I got a great start and slotted into tenth place on the first lap and found a good rhythm. The Fireblade was working really well and I could hold a good pace throughout the race, but in the last few laps I struggled a bit with rear grip so at that point I just focused on keeping my position. Overall I'm really happy from this weekend as I got points in both races and made progress with the bike so it's a good way to head into Assen next weekend.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Today we saw another solid performance from Jake, fighting in the top ten and then managing his race well to finish in twelfth place. Jake scored points in both races this weekend and stepped up his performance for his best weekend so far in WorldSBK. We head to Assen next week and it's a circuit that Jake knows well so hopefully his good result this weekend will give him momentum as we head into a busy part of the season. We also had some good news from Leon, who is leaving hospital in Alcaniz today and is heading home to Andorra so we wish him all the best and will continue to monitor his recovery.
Jacobsen and Triple M Honda fight back to score points in Aragón
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
The first European round for the Triple M Honda World Superbike team was only their third since joining the WorldSBK series with their rider PJ Jacobsen. The American scored points in race two today at Aragón for 14th place, after just missing out with 16th in race one on Saturday.
After two rounds of strong showings in Australia and Thailand the rookie team amassed more combined knowledge and experience at the 5.077km long Motorland Aragon circuit, despite their preparations being hampered at times by some wet track surfaces on Friday.
PJ qualified 17th in Superpole in what was the first race for all Honda WorldSBK riders to use the Magneti Marelli electronic system that the Triple M squad has been pioneering in the opening rounds.
Former WorldSSP contender Jacobsen’s race one 16th place came on a day of cool weather and track conditions and without an optimal set up. The dry race was red flagged and restarted over 17 laps. In a warmer and sunnier Sunday race two, with better settings on his CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, PJ improved to 14th, finishing ahead of five riders. He now sits 18th in the championship on 10 points after six races across three rounds.
In only a few days the team will recommence track action, at the classic Assen circuit in the Netherlands, between 20th and 22nd April.
PJ Jacobsen 99
It may not look like it on TV, or on paper, but we are making progress and learning. Friday was not good for anybody because of the loss of track time due to the weather. For us, being a new team this year, and me not having ridden a Superbike here at Aragon, it was quite difficult to jump in and get everything together. We just need to stay positive and keep working on our settings for the bike in readiness for the next round in Assen.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
Our weekend was not so bad. We had some issues on Saturday but we fixed it all today and PJ could challenge for points in Race 2 so we look forward for Assen next week, where our target is to do better. For this weekend the other Honda team in the paddock the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team switched to the same Magneti Marelli electronics system as us which will help our future development. Of course, we are doing our race and they are doing theirs, but having all Honda CBR1000RR machines on the same base system will be of mutual benefit as the season progresses.
A complicated day for Gulf Althea BMW at Aragon
Alcaniz (Spain), Sunday 15 April 2018
The third round of the Superbike world championship concluded today at Motorland Aragón in Spain. In the SBK category, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing team finished fifteenth with Loris Baz while, in the Superstock 1000 category, rookie Alessandro Delbianco unfortunately suffered a crash.
Superbike - Race 2 – having started 19th on the grid, Baz unfortunately lost time in the initial stages, caught up in the middle of a small group, from which he struggled to break away and catch the group up ahead. Oscillating between 16th and 18th position, the Frenchman was able to make up a little in the final phase, crossing the line in fifteenth place to score one championship point.
Superstock 1000 Race – from tenth on the grid, Delbianco got away well, seventh and then sixth already through the first corners. Unfortunately, the young Italian was unable to finish even his first lap, crashing out at turn 13. Getting straight back up, Alessandro tried to continue with his race but sadly it was not possible, and he returned to the pits minutes later.
After this third championship round, Baz positions tenth in the rider standings with 27 points while Delbianco is yet to score points, today’s Stock1000 race his first. BMW lies sixth in the SBK manufacturer's classification with 27 points.
“Not an easy day. My start wasn’t as good as yesterday and a contact with Leonov put me back to last place. I made a couple of other mistakes too and, though I kept trying to fight back, we were just too far off the pace. It’s a pity; yesterday I felt that I did quite well, after making a good start I was able to do my best, while today there were too many mistakes. I will now analyse all the information we have and we’ll see what we can do next weekend at Assen.”
“There’s not much to say unfortunately. There was some tension before the race and I didn’t make the best start. I tried to catch up but sadly I crashed. It’s all part of racing but I’m very disappointed. We’ll try to make up for this at Assen next weekend.”
Savadori takes points honours for Milwaukee Aprilia in
Race 2 at Aragon
Motorland Aragon 15 / 04 / 2018
Race 2 Report
Lorenzo Savadori scored the points for Milwaukee Aprilia in Race 2 at Aragon with P10 as teammate Davide Giugliano was forced to pit for tyres
Starting P12 and P14 respectively after a tough Race 1 on Saturday, Lorenzo and Davide were optimistic for a stronger finish on Sunday and delivered impressive performances in morning warm up to finish P7 and P8.
Lorenzo held on to his starting position at the start, fighting with Torres and Gagne to make up places. He passed Gagne on Lap 7 for P11, and moved to P10 after a crash for Fores ahead. From there he was stuck in the midfield and struggled with set up issues on his bike that persisted from Race 1, on top of the pain from his healing collarbone. His race pace was strong however and looked fast enough to fight Sykes for P6, but the pack ahead held him back and he had to ultimately settle for 6 points in P10 less than 0.5s behind P9.
Davide struggled with front tyre grip from the start of the race, the hotter temperatures not favouring the Aprilia in race conditions. On Lap 7 he made the decision to pit for fresh rubber, opting to collect data for the coming races over risking a crash by pushing with low grip. The unscheduled stop shuffled him to the back of the grid and he came home P19.
Though the team hoped for a bigger points haul from Aragon they still have positives to take away for Round 4 at Assen next week. With a strong performance from Davide in his very first appearance for the team and an improving Lorenzo back to a good level of fitness, they have a wealth of data to draw on as the European leg of the WorldSBK series continues.
WorldSBK Round 4 at the TT Circuit Assen takes place from 20-22 April
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"Lorenzo had a disappointing race, he wasn’t happy in himself and was playing catch up for most of the race. He got stuck in a midfield group but he had the pace for the top 6. He did well in morning warm up with P7 but that didn’t translate to the race when the temperatures here higher, which has been an issue for the Aprilia.
Davide too had a strong warm up session with P8 just behind Lorenzo, but in the race he had an issue with his front tyre and didn’t want to risk pushing more than necessary for the sake of a few points. He decided it was safer to pit and fit a new front tyre which was a safe option, and just brought the bike home with some useful data to build on for next week.
It was a disappointing weekend overall for us but we have positives to take away. We need a good start in Assen Free Practice, and our aim will be to be score bigger points with both riders."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 result: P10 - 6 points
Total weekend points score: 7 points
"It was a difficult weekend for me really, my collarbone is a lot better than in Thailand but not yet 100% and it caused me some pain still. I also had some problems with the second bike yesterday in Race 1, and today I was still having some problems with the set up.
I had the pace to fight Sykes for P6 today, but it was really difficult to pass the guys ahead of me from P10. That is an area we need to work on a lot, to help me make passes and to make them stick.
We go to Assen with a lot of information to use and improve the bike with, and I’m looking forward to it. For sure there is work to do but I like the track a lot and I think we can make a big step forward."
Davide Giugliano #34 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 2 result: P19
Total weekend points score: 3 points
"I wanted to change the tyre in the race today because the temperature was so high and I couldn't do a lot with the harder compound. I wasn't able to match my pace from warm up this morning or yesterday's race, and I struggled in the long corners a little. I knew it was safer to change tyre than risk a crash, and I wanted to gather the data for the team so that we can work with it to be quicker.
Overall I think it was a positive weekend for me. When I arrived I had never seen the bike before or met the team, but we worked really well together all week. I want to say thanks to all the guys and Shaun for their work and support, and scoring points yesterday was a good feeling.
I like the Assen circuit very much, and I'm looking forward to racing again with the team next week. We have learnt a lot and I think we can have a good result there."
WorldSSP: Cortese seizes debut win with dominant display at Aragon
Cortese welcomed a return to the top of the podium
Third time’s the charm for Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing), as the German made good of his first FIM Supersport World Championship Superpole to grab his first win. Only three races into his World Supersport career, he led his Yamaha back into first place after a poor start and dominated the latter two-thirds of the race, with only Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) endangering the German’s lead.
This is the first victory for Cortese since 2012, when he met the checkered flag in the penultimate race of his Moto3™ championship-winning season. A huge win and a return to the podium, after missing out at the Chang International Circuit, moving now just four points away from defending champion Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who could only come in fourth. The Frenchman couldn’t keep up with the leading pace from the halfway mark and finished 5 seconds off the podium places.
Teammate Caricasulo was the only rider to give Cortese problems in the latter stages of the race, coming as close as two tenths of a second off the lead. Unable to make a pass, he eventually had to defend his position in the final laps from Jules Cluzel (NRT), who completed the podium.
Far behind the leading four, an electric battle for fifth position took place around the final laps at MotorLand Aragon, with the British pair of Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) just edging ahead of Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), returning to WorldSSP this weekend.
Previous championship leader and Thai race-winner Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) went down on Lap 4 and fell back to 27th position. The Swiss did manage to fight back to 11th, minimising damages and scoring what could end up being vital points at the year-end.
Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) made a fantastic start, dashing off the line from the second row straight into first place by the first turn. The Italian was performing admirably with the MV Agusta amongst the front-group Yamahas, fighting for his first podium finish of the season, but an unfortunate technical issue put his race to rest halfway through. On the same lap, Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) crashed on Turn 7, completing a disastrous race for the MV Agustas.
Completing the top ten, it was Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in eighth, just creeping ahead of Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) in ninth, with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) making in in tenth place and as the first FIM Europe Supersport Cup rider.
P1 - Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
"I am so so happy, I enjoy the moment. Yesterday was great already with the pole position, my first in WorldSSP and I felt from the first FP that we had a good speed. I knew the track and after the pole yesterday I started to think we on fight for the victory. I felt from the first lap that something is possible today, and I tried as soon as I could to say out of any fights and problems with Cluzel and Caricasulo. My plan was right and I tried to keep my speed up, I was just relaxed and happy about the whole weekend."
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP at MotorLand Aragon - Race
1. Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
2. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +1.426
3. Jules Cluzel (NRT) +1.639
Caricasulo on the Podium as Mahias takes Championship Lead in Aragon
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team enjoyed a strong Sunday in Aragon at Round 3 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship. Federico Caricasulo maintained his 100% podium record in 2018 by charging to a hard-fought second-place finish after a superb ride from the 22-year-old Italian. Reigning WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias, missed out on the podium for the first time in 4 races as he could not quite find the perfect setup for his R6 due to the changeable conditions experienced over the weekend. Despite this, he fought his way to a battling fourth-place finish to retake the overall Championship lead. It was a disappointing end to a truly promising debut in the European Supersport Cup for Alfonso Coppola. After impressing throughout the weekend, he crashed out on the opening lap of the race at the first corner through no fault of his own.
Caricasulo backed up his podiums in Phillip Island and Buriram with another stunning display of riding at Motorland Aragon on Sunday. Showing good pace all weekend, he lined up for Sunday's race third on the grid and was involved in the battle for victory all through the race. Giving it his all in the podium battle, he led the race at the start and enjoyed an excellent battle with fellow Yamaha - and eventual race winner - Sandro Cortese for pretty much the entire race. As his grip levels faded towards the end of the race, he managed to hold off another Yamaha rider - the hard-charging Jules Cluzel - in the final few laps to bring his GRT Yamaha R6 home in second, just 1.426s behind Cortese, and make it three out three podiums in 2018. He now finds himself fourth in the championship standings with 49 points, just eight behind his teammate at the top.
The reigning WorldSSP Champion Mahias arrived in Aragon level on points with Randy Krummenacher in the championship standings after both Yamaha riders had recorded a victory and a second-place finish in the opening two races, but he left on Sunday night having retaken the outright lead in the overall standings. Despite qualifying in second for Sunday's race, the 29-year-old Frenchman has not been able to find the perfect setup with his R6 after being forced to miss most of FP1 on Friday due to the rain and had been playing catch up ever since. When the lights went out for Sunday's race, Mahias had a good start but could not match the pace of the leading three riders and dropped down to fifth. Realising a victory was not on the cards, he instead decided to cleverly play the long game and bring home as many championship points as possible. He fought his way back to fourth and showed incredible consistency - not lapping outside of the 1:55s until his grip levels faded in the final two laps - ensuring he crossed the line in fourth place to collect a vital 13 points. He now sits on top of the championship standings with 58 points and has a four-point lead over Cortese in second.
Coppola had impressed all weekend on his WorldSSP debut as he took part in the first round of the European Supersport Cup. The 20-year-Italian managed to improve from a 1:58.009 on Friday to set a 1:56.295 in SP2, meaning he would start Sunday's race from 20th on the grid. When the lights went out he was keen to put in a good display but crashed out at the first corner due to an issue beyond his control. He bravely rejoined the race but was forced to retire due to the damage to his bike on lap nine. Understandably disappointed, the 2017 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner is determined to bounce back at the next round in Assen.
Continuing Yamaha's dominance of the class in 2018, they completed another lockout of the podium and the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team (107 points) now have a 42-point lead in the Team standings, with all three riders back in action at Round 4 of the WorldSSP Championship in Assen on the 20th-22nd of April. Check out the full race results.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 2nd + 1.426s
"I am happy because my team did an amazing job to give me a bike with the perfect setup! It was difficult during the race because we seemed to be a bit slower on the straights than the others but it is okay, as I know the team will work really hard to fix this before Assen. I like the Assen track a lot, it has lots of fast corners and this usually makes for very good racing. It is great to have been on the podium in every race so far this season, now I want to add to that with a victory at Assen!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th +5.533s
"Today was a very difficult race for me but I made sure to bring home the best result I could, with the Championship in mind, and I am back in the overall lead, which is very good. The race was very hard and I am a little bit angry because I could not fight with the front three riders. I was sliding a lot and I didn't get find the right setting for my R6 all weekend after losing Free Practice 1 to the rain, which made it harder for me. Now I am turning my focus to the next race in Assen and we will work hard to ensure we can find a good setup so I can win the race. Assen is a high-speed track and normally I am very fast at this kind of circuit because I like them a lot. I seem to be losing out a little under acceleration but in Assen, this should not be an issue as it is made up of lots of fast corners. I got the best result I good today. I will take the positives and I am looking forward to getting back on track at Assen already!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - DNF
"The race was not so good for me because I crashed out, but I am happy with my efforts over the course of the weekend considering this was my debut in WorldSSP. It is such an honour to be riding with the GRT Yamaha team, it is like a family and they worked so hard this weekend so I want thanks to my mechanic for his work and everyone in the team, plus of course Yamaha for this amazing opportunity. I am not down about the result, as I can take the positives from this weekend and focus on the next round at Assen. We have lots of work to do before then and we have already started to go over the data. I hope to start the weekend in a similar way in Assen, but finish it with a better result!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"We are very happy! Lucas may not have had the best race, by his standards, as he missed the podium but he has retaken the championship lead. We have been struggling since Friday to find the right setup on his R6 for him but the weather and track conditions have been different in almost every session this weekend which has made it very tough. It may not have been his best result but it was crucial for the championship as he now has the outright lead in the standings. Federico had an incredible race. He was very consistent and clever. He did a fantastic job and has worked hard on his riding style and has shown excellent maturity this season. We feel he is now ready to fight for the championship as well! Alfonso, unfortunately, had an issue that caused him to crash out at the first corner through no fault of his own. It was a shame as he has impressed everyone this weekend with his attitude and pace and he is a great addition to the talented riders in the Yamaha family. I would like to say a massive thank you to all the team as they did an incredible job and worked hard all weekend. I would also like to thank Yamaha as they always give us a package that allows us to fight at the front and that is how Championships are won!"
Morais Seventh After Strong Ride In Aragon
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took part in his first race of 2018 as a stand in for the injured Kenan Sofuoglu and secured a positive seventh place finish, having been fifth until three laps from the end of the 16-lap race. Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was heading for a top ten placing today but a technical issues caused him to retire.
Having not ridden competitively since November of 2017 Sheridan Morais was unsure of how he would finish in today’s race - making his eventual seventh place a real reward for all his and his team’s efforts. He had also qualified seventh in Superpole on Saturday.
Sheridan made a good start to the race and was sixth on lap one, fifth on lap eight, and hanging onto the back of the leading pack around the long and varied 5.077km circuit in northern Spain.
He only dropped his best pace near the end and was finally passed by two riders, ending up seventh and scoring nine points as a result. He will be back in action for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team at the next round, next week, at Assen.
New team regular rider Okubo was in a strong seventh place on track after eight laps, but a loss of power at low revs forced Okubo to slow his pace. It eventually became an issue that caused Hikari to pull over and retire from what was a promising race, riding not far behind the leading runners.
Now all the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team staff will head for the fourth round of the year, to be held at Assen in the Netherlands next weekend. Raceday will be Sunday 22nd April.
Sheridan Morais, stated: “It was surprisingly good today especially for the first half of the race. I was managing to stay at the front, stay competitive, and I felt like we have worked well all weekend. The bike was really strong entering the turns. I was losing a little bit on the exits, and that is something we will work on for Assen. The thing that let me down was actually mental fitness. Towards the end of the race I ran off track three times. I was out-braking myself and making silly mistakes but I expected worse, because I have not raced for such a long time. Qatar at the end of last year was my most recent race. Fifth was in the bag for us at one stage but we still got seventh, so it wasn’t bad, really.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I was feeling good but in the first lap I made a little mistake and hit another rider. But I kept ninth position in the early laps. I could watch the race in the top group so I tried hard to join, and I had a little bit of a fight with Kyle Smith. Then I had a strange feeling after five laps with my bike and no power at low RPM. I tried to change my riding style to keep a constant lap time but in the end it destroyed my front tyre, and some chattering started. I was sliding a lot and then there was a drop in power, so I stopped. It was not a happy result but the lap time was not so bad in the beginning. I think my position to fight is about sixth to ninth.”
Privateer Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) rode hard for ninth place with ESS competitor Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) 1.5 seconds behind, and completing the top ten.
Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) secured 14th place and his fellow regular rider Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 17th at his home round.
Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team) placed 21st, Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) in his wheel tracks in 22nd and Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) ended up 24th and the final finisher.
Tuuli and Irwin make strides in Spain
Posted on 15th April 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Niki Tuuli claimed more valuable Championship points in today’s World Supersport race at Motorland Aragon and retains seventh place in the Championship standings.
Starting the race in 13th position on the fifth row of the grid, Tuuli didn’t get a great start and dropped a few positions but he stuck to the task and fought back to bring it home in eighth place.
Tuuli said: “I started the race with really good feeling the bike was working well but I got such a bad start. I’m looking forward to Assen I like the track a lot. I just need to start Friday practice like I started in Superpole here. Thanks to the team.”
Rookie teammate Andrew Irwin made a further improvement of four tenths of a second in the morning warm-up session and achieved his target of another top twenty finish in the 16-lap race.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Eighth position is another improvement for Niki, a step forward. Obviously we need to do more but we are getting there. Niki is starting to have a better feeling for the bike and we as a team are starting to understand how to get the best from him. We would like to be higher, we want it Niki wants it and we are all capable of it but after three rounds we are in the top ten and we are going in the right direction. Assen has always been a good circuit for our team and Niki likes the track so we’ll go there in a positive frame of mind, confident that we can improve more and move closer to the front of the field.”
“Andrew lost a couple of places when he had a coming together with Soomer on the last lap but it was a much stronger race for him than Thailand and good for his confidence. He’s starting to improve and he’s going to Assen, a track that he knows so we need to look for the points for him and for Niki to break into the top six. All in all an improved weekend for both riders.”
RANDY KRUMMENACHER: ELEVENTH AFTER A SPECTACULAR RECOVERY
15 April 2018 - Aragon (Spain)
A tough but at the same time spectacular race for Randy Krummenacher at the Motorland Aragon in Spain. The Swiss rider, who set the best time in this morning's warm-up, started from fifth place on the grid. At 11.30am, the lights went out signifying the start of the third Supersport world championship race. The Bardahl Evan Bros. rider had some problems with the clutch immediately after the start, but was able to stick with the leading group as far as lap three, during which he suffered a crash while lying in seventh place. Krummenacher didn't lose heart, getting straight back up and continuing on, from 27th position. From there he was able to make a great recovery, making up many positions to cross the line in eleventh place, with times in line with the leading group.
#RK21: "This isn't the result we wanted of course but it all helps us to find solutions in order to improve. After the start, I had some issues with the clutch and so I didn't have the best feeling with the bike but I was sure I could improve on my times and make up positions. I was lying seventh when I crashed at turn nine. This cost me many positions because I had to restart from 27th positions but I tried to give it my all and make up as much as possible. I was lapping fast and closed the race in eleventh place. A pity because we had great pace but I have to take the positives. This is only race three, I made a great recovery, lapping fast, and am third in the standings, just four points from seconds and eight from first. This all gives me hope that I can make up the gap and I can't wait to get back on track for the next race on 22 April at Assen in The Netherlands."
WorldSSP300: Meuffels makes it a debut win at WorldSSP300 kickoff
Dutch one-two at the inaugural race of the season, with Mika Pérez completing the podium
Stunning battle to the line in WorldSSP300
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) made his debut FIM Supersport 300 World Championship race one to remember, with a photo-finish win over fellow Dutch rider Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki) at MotorLand Aragon. Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) repeated his performance from last year with a third place finish, despite leading six out of the eleven laps.
The first race of the WorldSSP300 season showed all of the same hallmarks from last year, when the debuting category proved to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable competitions in all of motorsports. Halfway through the race, a nine-strong group had formed at the front, with just about every rider taking the provisional lead at some point as the gap from first to ninth kept under one second.
That group remained together until the end, with the exception of sixteen-year-old Tom Edwards (Nutec-Benjan-Kawasaki) who crashed out with less than two laps to go. It ended up being a drag race finish to the line, with Meuffels edging out last year’s winner and poleman Deroue by three hundredths of a second.
Just missing out on the podium were Mykyta Kalinin (GP Project Team) in fourth, Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki) in fifth, and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), who led the second-most laps at MotorLand Aragon but comes away with just ten points, finishing in sixth. Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Junior Team) and Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) completed the runaway group in seventh and eighth, respectively.
P1 - Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team)
"I almost don't know what to say, a big thanks to the team. They gave me the best bike today. My plan came together and I'm very happy."
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at MotorLand Aragon - Race
1. Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team)
2. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) +0.031
3. Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) +0.125
bLU cRU Riders Denied Chance to Shine in WorldSSP300 at Aragon Due to Unfair Competition
The five Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders fought valiantly throughout the opening round of the 2018 FIM Supersport 300 World Championship despite being denied a level playing field due to the FIM and Dorna - the series organiser - not being able to balance out the performance levels of the different manufacturers on the grid. Despite this, the bLU cRU riders were still able to show good promise with Galang Hendra Pratama demonstrating sensational pace all weekend, before finishing the race in 16th. Luca Bernardi fought hard in Sunday's race to greet the chequered flag in 19th, with Dutch riders Dennis Koopman and Joep Overbeeke crossing the line 23rd & 25th respectively, while Hugo de Cancellis from France showed good promise before, unfortunately, being declared unfit to race on Sunday due to a stomach virus.
The WorldSSP300 Championship sees bikes of varying engine capacities and power/weight ratios line up on the grid, with technical regulations designed to guarantee that despite these differences, the riders are given the chance to show their potential by ensuring all bikes perform at a similar level. It was these performance balancing technical regulations that led to such a thrilling debut season for WorldSSP300 in 2017, as it allowed the individual's skill and talent to shine through instead of any technical advantages, something Yamaha believe is crucial in helping to develop the next generation of riders
Unfortunately, this was not the case at the opening round in Aragon as the Yamaha riders were made to suffer for being the bike the smallest engine capacity. Sadly, it put all Yamaha riders at a disadvantage with the other bikes on the grid having a 10-15kph top speed superiority over the R3. This resulted in lap times for the new Kawasaki and KTM machines being almost 5 seconds under the 2017 pole record (2:12.712), while Yamaha has stayed faithful to the rules by using the same specification machines as they did last season. Undeterred by the fact they knew they would not realistically being able to fight with the other manufacturers, the five Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders put in a sensational effort to produce some promising results after dealing with the sense of disappointment that follows from working hard all winter only to be denied the chance to showcase their riding ability in their first race on the world stage.
Leading the bLU cRU charge through the weekend was 19-year-old Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | Biblion Motoxracing Team) who ended Friday's Practice in 10th overall to make him the only Yamaha rider to make it through to SP2. The 2017 wildcard Jerez race winner qualified in 11th for Sunday's race and despite being at such a speed and power disadvantage, he battled in the top ten during the race before a small mistake saw him lost touch with the leading group. Recovering superbly, he continued to battle hard right to the line to secure 16th place. To show just how quick Galang Hendra was, his best time from the weekend - set during the race - was a 2:09.939, which was over 4 seconds quicker than the best time set by a Yamaha R3 during last season's race (2:14.050), despite the fact he was on identical machinery.
Luca Bernardi (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team) finished in 30th on the combined timesheets on Friday before going on to qualify in 23rd on the grid for Sunday's race. Showing improvements every time he went on track on his R3, the 16-year-old Italian made up four places in the race after giving it his all to finish in 19th.
Dutch rider Dennis Koopman (Yamaha Pata | Semakin di Depan | GRT Team), who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Monday the 16th of April, had ended Friday's practice in 23rd and then managed to qualify in 32nd on Saturday. When the lights went out for Sunday's race he, like all the bLU cRU riders showed great heart to battle through the pack with some excellent overtaking manoeuvres to make up 11 places and cross the line in 21st.
Joep Overbeeke (Yamaha Pata | Trasimeno Team), also from the Netherlands, managed to improve dramatically from finishing Friday in 38th overall to then qualify in 26th. He enjoyed some excellent fights with other Yamaha riders during the race before crossing the line in a solid 25th place in a close finish that saw 0.242s separate the riders from 22nd to 25th as they crossed the line.
16-year-old French rider Hugo de Cancellis had shown his class by ending Friday in 24th on the combined timesheets. He went on to qualify in 31st on Saturday, but was suffering from a stomach bug and, unfortunately, was declared unfit to race on Sunday.
To emphasis the imbalance in performance levels between manufacturers, the fastest Yamaha rider was Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing) in 13th place, who was a regular podium challenger in 2017, with the Spanish rider crossing the line 15.014s behind the eventual race winner.
Yamaha Motor Europe is confident that the FIM and Dorna will balance the regulations that are designed to produce a level playing field and expect action to be taken before Round 2 of the WorldSSP300 Championship in Assen on the 20th-22nd of April. This will not only preserve the reputation of the championship, but also ensure that it continues to provide young riders with an excellent platform to launch their careers in the World Championship.
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Project Manager
"All of our Yamaha riders, and especially the bLU cRU guys, have done a fantastic job during the winter and it obvious to everyone the results of this hard work because all of them were able to go under the fastest time set by a Yamaha last year, some by 2 seconds. This shows the job done during the winter started to pay dividends and we are very proud of them all. Unfortunately, they were up against unfair competition due to the incorrect levels of performances between the manufacturers, when the technical regulations are designed to provide a level playing field. For this reason, our guys - who have all done a fantastic job - were prevented from being able to fight for the positions they deserved all weekend. The organisers, Dorna and the FIM, understand the situation and we strongly expect them to make changes before the next race."
Spanish Strides For Alex Murley In WorldSSP300 Season Opener
Britain's Alex Murley is optimistic of a big step forward in Assen, The Netherlands in seven days after finishing 24th in the opening round of the 2018 FIM Supersport 300cc World Championship at MotorLand Aragon in Spain.
Murley had a frustrating weekend for a number of reasons, compounded by a significant speed differencial between his Yamaha R3 and the Kawasaki 400 that is now permitted in the class. Despite missing out on championship points Murley continued to #PUSH hard all weekend, improving his own personal best lap time from last year and closing the gap to the front runners during today's race.
With upgrades coming for the next race, and with the memory of a strong point scoring race at the Cathedral of Speed twelve months ago Alex is looking forward to round two.
Alex Murley - 24th: "Obviously I am disappointed. I moved to Spain, trained hard all winter and improved both my physical and mental condition for it to mean nothing as it was impossible to challenge the front guys. I have to focus on myself and take the positives of which there are quite a few. I like Assen and went well there last year so I am already focused on making amends at round two! I want to say a massive thank you to Grant, my parents and all my sponsors for getting me here and believing in me."