Preview press releases from the organizers, some of the teams, and Brembo ahead of the first European round of WorldSBK:
#AragonWorldSBK: Who will climb the wall?
MotorLand Aragon heralds the return of WorldSBK for the first of two compelling back-to-back rounds
With a large portion of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season taking place on European soil, the first venture out west is always a good indication of how a championship may unfold. Riders find their feet, teams have a good few months of development time behind them, and gaps in the standings can be opened… or closed.
Since 2013, the medieval town of Alcañiz has hosted the first race on the continent, MotorLand Aragon proving to be a true land of opportunity for title contenders, pretenders, rookies, veterans and starlets alike. But fortune favours those who seek it, and several riders will arrive at the Motocard Aragon Round aching for a potential season-defining moment.
The first opportunity lies in the hands of the man who right now lays down the law of the land in World Superbike. Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) returns home on a six-race-strong winning streak, having picked up two debut hat-tricks in Australia and Thailand. The rookie’s explosive run of form has shown no sign of abating: consecutive wins seven, eight and nine would push him on par with Neil Hodgson for the best start to a WorldSBK season, and there’s no better place to achieve that than at home. Top-10 finishes in MotoGP™ in Aragon for four different manufacturers would seem to spell out a promising fate for Bautista’s first homecoming.
It feels odd to be mentioning history-making opportunities and not be referring to one of Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) latest exploits, but that has been the nature so far of the 2019 season.
But as they say, opportunity knocks at every man’s door, and the Northern Irishman has built much of his success on remaining cold and calculating through the toughest of times. MotorLand Aragon is not one of the four-time champion’s favourite tracks – in fact it’s one of just two on the 2019 calendar where he hasn’t achieved a double – but his focus will stay intact; Rea will be ready to pounce should the chance arise, as will teammate Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who took pole position last time out in Aragon (2015).
Finding opportunity in adversity is what separates the greats from the rest, and few have suffered more setbacks in recent months than Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Come Race 1 it will have been nearly a year since the Welshman’s last race win, which happened precisely at the Alcañiz circuit. Davies has built up a treasure trove of performances in Aragon, with seven hard-fought race wins and an additional three podiums. Can he conjure up some more MotorLand magic and add an eighth this weekend? It may arrive a bit early for the Brit in his personal adaptation to the V4 R, but expect him to make several steps forward on his own road to redemption.
There was a certain sense of dèja-vu in Thailand as Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) crossed the line in Race 2 in third and fourth, respectively, for the third time in a row; the same applies to independent standings runaways Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) in sixth and seventh. All four Yamaha riders have performed impeccably since Round One – in particular the Englishman, who has brought his superb pre-season form into the new season – but how much margin for growth is there? The first European showdown of the year could be an ideal moment to make that final step towards the top of the rostrum.
Another manufacturer looking for the final piece to the puzzle is BMW, although Tom Sykes and Markus Reiterberger (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) should find it in the form of an engine upgrade scheduled for later in the season. In the meantime, both men can look to the past to find inspiration: the former World Champion secured a dominant double here in 2014, while his partner emerged victorious last season from Spain on the road to the 2018 STK1000 title.
Perseverance will be key for the BMW riders and much of the same can be said for the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team. Still recovering from a blameless crash in Thailand, at the moment Leon Camier will simply aiming to be on the grid in Spain. If the combative 32-year-old gets the go-ahead to race, expect him to keep on pushing the Fireblade to its limits, as the HRC-backed outfit continues seeking answers and finding its grove in 2019.
The European leg of the 2019 season kicks off at MotorLand Aragon this Friday, April 5th, with the first free practice sessions on Spanish soil! Qualifying on Saturday morning will be followed by Race 1 at 14:00LT (GMT+2), with the Tissot Superpole Race and Race 2 to follow on Sunday.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team heads back to Europe for Round 3 of the Superbike World Championship at the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain
Following the opening two overseas rounds in Australia and Thailand, the 2019 Superbike World Championship has arrived in Europe for the third event of the season – the Aragón Round – which takes place this weekend from 5 to 7 April at the MotorLand circuit, located around 100 km from Zaragoza.
This weekend, all eyes will be focussed on the 34-year-old Spanish rider from Talavera de la Reina, Álvaro Bautista, who with his results is rewriting the history of the World SBK championship. Since his debut in the production-based racing series, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team rider has picked up a total of six wins in six races, one pole position and four fastest laps on the brand-new Panigale V4 R. Bautista will be racing at MotorLand for the first time in Superbike in front of his home crowd, and arrives there with a lead of 26 points over his closest rival, Rea on a Kawasaki.
A lot is also expected from his Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team-mate, Chaz Davies, after a rather complicated start to the season. The 32-year-old Welshman has an excellent record at MotorLand Aragón, with seven wins to his name on the challenging circuit, but at this early stage of this season he has only notched up 18 points. In any case, Chaz showed some good potential in the Buriram races and in the pre-race test at Aragón, and he will tackle this upcoming weekend intent on turning his season around and fighting for the podium.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will take to the track on Friday at 10:30 CET for the first free practice session, while the weekend programme will see Race 1 held at 14:00 on Saturday and the Superpole Race at 11:00 on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14:00.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st (124 points)
“After Thailand we had some time to rest before my home race and I’m looking forward to it because I want to enjoy my WSBK championship round with all the Spanish fans. I think that six wins in a row for sure has helped to make Superbikes in Spain more well-known and I’m happy because I feel I’m contributing to the growth of the championship, but this obviously means there are more expectations for my home round. Even though we did a positive test here, Aragón will be a new track for this bike, but as always I will try to be focussed. The target is exactly the same, we must work to get the bike as competitive as possible and then we will see what happens.”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 11th (18 points)
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Aragón round – given my seven wins here – is a track where it’s all going to come together, because it’s not as simple as that. For sure it’s a track which on paper is better for me and this could help to mask some problems, but we still have to continue to work hard to find the best possible set-up. We did two days’ testing immediately after Buriram which was quite good, so now I’m going to Aragón to confirm the progress we’ve made so far and make another step forward because, as Alvaro continues to show, the potential of our bike is very high and it’s just up to us now to extract it.”
The MotorLand Aragón Circuit
The modern MotorLand Aragón facility had its roots firmly established with a solid history of street racing in Alcañiz, which hosted events between 1963 and 2003, but the need for greater safety led to the proposal and construction of a sporting complex dedicated to motorsport in the area. With the support of local institutions, renowned German architect Hermann Tilke was commissioned to design the facility. The circuit, which is 5.077 km long and has 17 turns, has always been a riders’ firm favourite ever since its first Superbike race here in 2011.
Spain The Next Stop For Rea And Haslam
Kawasaki Racing Team riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam will shortly embark on a run of six European-based WorldSBK championship rounds, beginning at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend.
The third of 13 rounds in the 2019 WorldSBK Championship Motorland Aragon will be an event laden with opportunities for both official KRT riders, given their most recent experiences at the 5.007km long circuit.
Rea has won at Motorland three times, as part of a total of nine podiums at this venue. He scored a victory for Kawasaki in race one last year. Haslam’s most recent Motorland race weekend experience, in 2015, delivered pole position and then a third place in race two.
WorldSBK race winning record holder and four-time World Champion Rea is looking to take his first step on the very top of the podium in 2019, having finished runner up in every race of the new season so far. Rea’s record of 71 race wins is still 12 more than the next closest rider.
Rea has already added to his career pole position total on the latest Ninja ZX-10RR, raising it to 17 at the opening round of the season in Australia.
Reigning BSB champion Haslam’s last competitive visit to Motorland was fruitful in terms of scoring pole and a podium. In addition, his first on-track experience with his official KRT Ninja ZX-10RR was at Motorland Aragon last November, where he set strong lap times.
As is the ‘new normal’ race weekend schedule in 2019, there will be two full distance contests for full points at Motorland this weekend, and one ten-lap Tissot Superpole race on Sunday morning. The shorter race only scores points for the first nine riders home, with 12 for the winner.
The ‘sprint’ race also determines the grid slots for the top nine riders in the last full-distance race on Sunday afternoon. The two 18-lap races will take place at 14.00hrs on Saturday the fifth of April and Sunday the sixth; with the Tissot Superpole race starting at 11.00hrs on Sunday.
Jonathan is second in the championship standings after two rounds, 26 points behind the lead. Even though he suffered from pain associated to trapped nerves in his back at the previous round in Buriram, Leon Haslam is sixth overall.
A quick-turnaround road trip to the north of Europe follows the Motorland Aragon round of the championship as Assen in the Netherlands hosts the fourth round, with track action to be held between the 12th and the 14th of April.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It’s been a nice break since Buriram and Motorland is a good place to get back to business. I enjoy the track layout and we made some good progress last year during winter testing. We will continue to work on making more progress during Friday’s practice sessions. The layout is nice and flowing with lots of challenges during the lap, so finding a good set up for the race is crucial. It’s an important race for my team too, as their headquarters are just a few hours away in Granollers, near Barcelona. I expect lots of support and I’m excited to give it my all.”
Leon Haslam, stated: “Aragon is a circuit I last raced at in 2015 but I was on pole. I managed to score a podium there, so those are not bad memories. It has not been one of my favourite circuits but the lap times have been pretty competitive. My very first test with KRT was at Aragon last year, even though we lost some track time due to the weather. But the lap times still came pretty good. I am predicting that it is going to be a tough weekend this time. Jonathan’s record around there is really competitive. Chaz Davies goes pretty well there and Alvaro Bautista is going to be the man to beat, especially with the couple of big straights that there are at this circuit. I think it is going to be a big fight to get on that podium but obviously that is always my aim. My back is better, definitely ten times better, than it was in Thailand.”
As he approaches the Motorland Aragon round Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) sits ninth overall in the championship and is fourth in the Independent Riders’ rankings. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) is 12th after six races and two rounds in his first season riding a Ninja ZX-10RR. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is currently 15th but aiming to move up at the home round of his team’s title sponsor.
Yamaha Riders Target the Podium as WorldSBK Lands in Europe
With four podium finishes in the opening two rounds of the FIM Superbike World Championship, the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK and GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK riders head to Aragon this weekend, determined to carry the momentum into the first European race of the 2019 season.
Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes heads into the Aragon weekend off the back of a confidence inspiring weekend last time out in Thailand. The 28-year-old Briton finished on the podium in all three races at the Chang International Circuit and is determined to add to his podium tally at the technically challenging 5.077km Aragon circuit this weekend.
After three fourth place finishes in Thailand, Michael van der Mark has his sights set firmly on the podium this weekend in Spain. The 26-year-old Dutch rider was twice a top five finisher last year in Aragon, but heads into the third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship confident that he has the package necessary to fight for the podium in both the two feature races and Sunday morning’s 10-lap sprint race.
Marco Melandri finished on the podium on his debut for the GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK team in Phillip Island, but was left frustrated as he struggled to overcome stability issues last time out in Thailand. The veteran Italian is confident that he will have no such problems this weekend as he targets the podium in Aragon, a track he views as the most beautiful on the WorldSBK calendar and where he finished on the podium 12 months ago.
Aragon is a track that Sandro Cortese knows very well indeed. Not only did the German finish second at the circuit on his way to winning the Moto3 World Championship in 2012, he also took his first WorldSSP win at the track last year on his way to being crowned as the 2018 Supersport World Champion. While he knows the track intimately, this weekend will be Cortese’s first in Aragon aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 but, after a strong start to this season in Australia and Phillip Island, the GRT Yamaha rider is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
The Yamaha riders will take to the track for Free Practice 1 at 10.30 on Friday morning, with Race 1 scheduled for 14.00 on Saturday, the Superpole Sprint Race at 11.00 on Sunday, followed by Race 2 at 14.00 the same afternoon.
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"I'm Looking forward to getting back to Europe and heading to Aragon this weekend. Normally when we arrive back to start the European phase of the championship it settles down a bit, but this year we have back-to-back races in Aragon and Assen, so it's going to be a busy start. Aragon is a track that the majority of the riders enjoy; it's a long lap, with quite a few changes in elevation and it's quite technical, which means a lot of work with the guys on Friday to get the bike working really well. With the WorldSSP300 guys racing for the first time in Aragon the schedule is different compared to the two flyaway races, with less time between sessions, so we need to see how that works out. Thailand was a good weekend for us, with a podium finish in all three races, and I'm looking forward to carrying that momentum into the first European race weekend in Spain."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha WorldSBK
"After two races on the other side of the world, it's great to be heading to Aragon to start our European campaign this weekend. We head there with a lot of confidence after the first two rounds, with our sights set firmly on the podium. Aragon is a very different circuit to Phillip Island and Buriram, quite technical, which always makes finding a good set-up on the bike quite challenging. But we know we have a good base set-up already, so I think we head into the Aragon weekend in a good position."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"I'm happy to be back in Europe and Aragon is one of the most beautiful tracks we race at during the season. The long straight doesn't play to our strengths, but there are a lot of technical sections, with nice corners, where I think we can be very competitive. The late race was quite a difficult one for us, but I'm excited for the weekend ahead and I'm confident that we can find a solution to the issues we experienced in Thailand. The podium is our target this weekend; it won't be easy, but it's a realistic target."
GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK
"After two solid overseas races and a good start to my first WorldSBK campaign, I'm happy to return to Europe for the Aragon race. The Aragon circuit is one I like and one I know very well from the past. It's one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar, with many changes in elevation and a combination of fast and slow corners, so I hope it will fit well with the superbike, which I'll ride there for the first time this weekend."
BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team kicks off the WorldSBK European season with the new BMW S 1000 RR.
Third round of the 2019 FIM Superbike World Championship at MotorLand Aragón, Spain.
Marc Bongers: “For Aragón, we will bring some new developments for the bike”.
Tom Sykes: “On most of the track we certainly have the chassis to do what’s needed”.
Munich. After the two overseas rounds at Phillip Island, Australia and Buriram, Thailand, the brand-new BMW S 1000 RR is now making its European debut in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK). This weekend (5th to 7th April), the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team with riders Tom Sykes (GBR) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) will be competing in the third round of the season at Spanish MotorLand Aragón.
The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team’s race weekend kicks off with two free practice sessions on Friday. Saturday features Superpole qualifying and race one, which gets underway at 14:00 local time. The ten-lap ‘Superpole Race’ starts at 11:00 on Sunday followed at 14:00 by race two.
Quotes ahead of the races at MotorLand Aragón.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “We’re looking forward to being back racing in Europe again. This is always a special moment after the opening overseas season rounds. It will also be exciting to see the team trucks and the hospitality in the new color scheme with the classic BMW Motorsport colours in the paddock. For Aragón, we will bring some new developments for the bike, aimed at getting another step closer to the competition.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “Ahead of the third round at Aragón we are looking forward to getting to Europe where we get some more equipment and are back with our race motorhomes, which makes logistics and life a little bit easier at the circuits. We are looking forward to some upgrades, regarding aerodynamics, which we worked on after the last race in Thailand. It was a lot of hard work by all the guys to get all the vehicles and equipment ready for the first European races. With some good weather we can hopefully start FP1 well and close that gap to the top four and we will see how the weekend develops. Both Tom and Markus have been training hard behind the scenes; they are looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good run of results at these back-to-back weekends with Aragón and then Assen.”
Tom Sykes: “I am really looking forward to the coming races. We have two back-to-back weekends but obviously we are first focusing on Aragón. It’s a circuit where I have done well in the past, and I hope with the style and the layout of the circuit that we are able to be very competitive on the BMW S 1000 RR. On most of the track we certainly have the chassis to do what’s needed. The only question from the previous experiences is our performance down the very long back straight. It’s obviously still a bit of an unknown but I feel that the whole BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team is doing a great job considering we still have to do a lot of testing during the actual race weekends. My expectations are that we will be continuing this way, enjoy our racing and for sure the rest will come naturally in the not too distant future.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I am glad that we are back in Europe. Aragón is a great track that I like very much. Certainly it is a bit easier for me because I’ve raced there many times. Last year I got along really well and rode very fast times with the Superstock bike. With my qualifying time, I would have even been in the top eight for the Superbikes. I hope the weather is good and it is not too windy. I also hope that we can take another step forward in my set-up so that I get a better feeling for the front; then a good weekend is possible. My crew chief and the whole team have intensively analysed and worked through the findings from Buriram, and I know that BMW will bring some things to Spain. It is important to work well all weekend, to constantly improve, to give good feedback and to pull together. I hope we can make it into the top ten and that I can reward my team for the hard work.”
Back to Europe!
The Superbike World Championship is about to land in Europe!
In the two inaugural overseas races the real potential were discovered and it created great excitement around the WorldSBK. From this first European stage everyone will be hunting down the current leader of the standings Alvaro Bautista, absolute ruler in Australia and Thailand!
It will be the Aragon circuit, spectacular up and down between the arid hills of Aragon, halfway between Barcelona and Zaragoza, to host the delicious battle between the series derivatives bikes.
A "caliente" weekend is expected between the turns of the Motorland, but with cold temperatures and high rain risk that could mix up the results.
It will be three days to live!
Go Eleven and Eugene Laverty continue their apprenticeship riding the Ducati V4-R; race after race the feeling increases and the Irish ace is more and more comfortable on the Red from Borgo Panigale. The time has come to catch the results of the work done so far. The steps forward made between Friday and Saturday in Thailand must be confirmed and improved, the latest news will be installed with the intention of removing the few tenths that separate us from the very first positions!
Camier and Kiyonari prepare for the first continental round of the 2019 WSBK season
Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari are preparing for the first European round of the 2019 Superbike World Championship, which will be held next Friday – Sunday in Spain, at the Motorland Aragón Circuit in the municipality of Alcañiz.
It will be a double challenge for the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team riders, for several reasons. Leon will be back on track after an injury sustained to his right knee forced him to sit out race 2 in Thailand, while Ryuichi will be faced with a track he has never raced at before.
The race weekend will get underway with the first free practice session on Friday morning at 10:30 local time (CET).
Leon Camier 2
“Carrying an injury is always frustrating for a rider but at least this time there was no need for an operation. The next round will definitely be a challenging one but I’m happy to be back in Aragón, which is kind of a home track for me since I live in Andorra, because I take a lot of confidence from the fact that I always do my best and keep working, no matter what. In the last two weeks I have had some physiotherapy and completed some light exercise, but we must wait and see how I feel on the bike, also because Aragón is a track that is technically and physically demanding, with a long straight, many different types of corner and hard braking zones”.
Ryuichi Kiyonari 23
“I’ve never been to Aragón before but having been a big fan of motorcycling racing all my life, I’ve watched every WorldSBK and MotoGP race over and over again and I think the Aragón circuit looks nice, with an interesting layout. Of course, there is a big difference between seeing the track and riding it, and so on Friday morning it will just be another new track for me, but I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike because I’m fully motivated to improve both my way of riding and my speed”.
Althea MIE Racing ready to race in Europe, at Motorland Aragón
Alcaniz (Spain), Wednesday 3 April 2019
After the two opening events in Australia and Thailand, the Althea MIE Racing team and rider Alessandro Delbianco return to Europe for the third round of the 2019 Superbike World Championship, taking place this weekend at the Motorland Aragón facility close to Alcañiz, in Spain.
Young Delbianco, who makes his Superbike debut this year, has gained precious experience during the first races of the season, which he aims to harness this weekend at a track of which he already has knowledge. Together with his technicians, the Italian will continue his apprenticeship, striving to improve both his performance on board the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 and his race results.
The Motorland Aragón structure, inaugurated in 2009 and located roughly 250 km from Barcelona, has hosted the Superbike every year since 2011.
“I’m very pleased to get back to racing and return to the track after ten days at home. The Aragón track won’t be an easy one for us I don’t think, considering the long straight, but I’m happy that we’re back to a track that I know, so I already have some frame of reference. I’m just keen to get the weekend started.”
#AragonWorldSBK: Aragón in numbers: keep track of all the stats!
Have a read to all the stats before the first European round of the 2019 season in Spain
1. In 2011 Aragon became the fifth Spanish track in the history of the WorldSBK Championship, and the 44th overall.
2. A total of 70 races have been run on Spanish soil so far. Aragon, with 16 run up to now, is set to surpass Albacete (16: used from 1992 to 1999) to become the second Spanish circuit for WorldSBK races after Valencia (22 races).
3. The last 12 wins in Aragon were all scored by British riders: since the first race in 2014 the winners have been Chaz Davies (7 times); Jonathan Rea (3); Tom Sykes (2). They took up from Italy, which won the first four races here with Melandri (2) and Max Biaggi (2).
4. In the last four race weekends at Aragon (2015-2018), only two non-British riders made it to the podium: Marco Melandri (Italy) 3 times, and Spaniard Xavi Fores, 3rd in Race 1, last year.
5. The last 8 Aragon races (since 2015, Race 1) were won only by two riders: Chaz Davies (5 times) and Jonathan Rea (3).
6. Jonathan Rea climbed on the podium in all his eight races run for Kawasaki here.
7. Chaz Davies enters the Aragon weekend with 7 wins at this track. An eighth win would put Davies in a very close elite of riders who have won 8 or more times on a given track: Carl Fogarty and Jonathan Rea, with 12 wins each in Assen; Tom Sykes with 9 wins in Donington.
8. Carlos Checa is the only Spanish rider who achieved a pole, win or fastest lap in Aragon: he recorded the fastest race lap in the very first race held here in 2011.
9. An unstoppable Alvaro Bautista has recorded six wins out of six races in this beginning of the season, matching the rocket starts of Troy Bayliss in 2002 and Neil Hodgson in 2003: the latter went on to win the first nine races that year. In Aragon he will be already aiming for the second all-time string of wins, 9, recorded by Colin Edwards from Laguna Seca/2, 2002 to Imola/2, 2002, and repeated by Neil Hodgson in the aforementioned start of the 2003 season. The all-time record sequence was set by Jonathan Rea in the last 11 races of last season.
10. Given the current form of Alvaro Bautista, Ducati has the first chance to reach the milestone of 350 WorldSBK wins already in Aragon.
#AragonWorldSBK: Ducati or Kawasaki? Who will become the most successful manufacturer at Motorland Aragón?
Catch up with all the stats ahead of the Motocard Aragón Round
Chaz Davies carried the flag for Ducati in Aragon: he made the Italian manufacturer one of the two most successful around this track with Kawasaki winning 5 times for the Borgo Panigale squad here. Davies won for Ducati in 2015, Race 2; scored the double in 2016 and won again in Race 2 in the last two weekends here in 2017 and 2018. Ducati is also the team to beat in qualifying in Aragon, having recorded pole in 2017 and 2018. Moreover, Ducati recorded 7 of their 13 podiums here in the last two race weekends run at this track.
Kawasaki is level with Ducati as the most successful team here, with five wins: they have an edge on podium finishes though, 17 to Ducati’s 13. Since the second 2013 race, at least one Kawasaki rider has climbed on the podium in each of the 11 races run here. The last podium with no Kawasaki on came in 2013 Race 1, when Sykes had to retire, and Baz was 5th.
The obstacle for Kawasaki success in Aragon has been Chaz Davies: no less than five times a Kawasaki rider finished second to Davies here (Rea in 2015 Race 2, 2016 Race 1, 2017 Race 2, 2018 Race 2; Sykes in 2016 Race 2). Thanks to Tom Sykes, Kawasaki is the only manufacturer with four Superpoles in Aragon: (2012 to 2014 and 2016). The first weekend here, in 2011, is the only one without a front row place in qualifying for the Japanese manufacturer.
BMW won three times in Aragon (and it is the only track in which the German manufacturer won three times), the second-best number behind the five by Kawasaki and Ducati. Marco Melandri won Race 2 in 2012 and Chaz Davies scored the double the following year. Last year Loris Baz was 11th and 15th for BMW here.
In 2011, with Marco Melandri, Yamaha managed a win from pole in Race 1 and a second place in Race 2. In the last two seasons, Yamaha have finished just off the podium, recording two fourth places (Lowes in Race 1, 2017; Race 2, 2018) and four fifth places (with Van der Mark in all the four races).
Honda finished on the podium only once at Aragon, with a third by Jonathan Rea in the first 2014 race. Last year they were hit by bad luck as Leon Camier had managed a 9th on the grid (the best qualifying result for Honda in Aragon since the 5th by Rea in 2014) but was involved in a racing accident in Race 1 and had to withdraw from Race 2. Jake Gagne was the best Honda rider: he was 12th in both races. Honda won on 30 different tracks in its history: Aragon is one of the 10 tracks where they climbed on the podium but have yet to win.
WorldSSP: The European battle begins at Motorland Aragón
Cluzel and Krummenacher arrive at the Aragon Round tied for the championship lead – but recent history could play in other riders’ favour
After two edge-of-your-seat races to kick off the year, MotorLand Aragon is ready to host the third race of the FIM Supersport World Championship. If the last few years are anything to go by, the Motocard Aragon Round could play a decisive role in the fate of this year’s championship race. The last four winners of the Spanish race have gone on to clinch the title later in the season – and in unfavourable news for the co-championship leaders, none of them entered Aragon at the top of the standings.
Two men have been the outstanding stars of the early stages of the World Supersport season. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) proved to be utterly dominant in the first round at Phillip Island, following that up with a conquering comeback to second position at Buriram. But Krummenacher has always finished the second round at the top of the standings – can he keep up the pace at the third time of asking, after eventually falling back in both 2016 and 2018?
Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) meanwhile has enjoyed his best start to a WorldSSP season, sitting on 45 points alongside Krummenacher. The Frenchman was unshakeable in Thailand, fending off countless attacks from the riders preceding him, and seems determined to take the crown this year after last year’s dramatic finale. But MotorLand Aragon is a bit of a bogey circuit for the Frenchman, with three DNFs and a solitary podium in six races. Could Cluzel’s luck change for the better in 2019?
The men following them in the standings will be hopeful of extending the WorldSSP Spanish streak, starting with the man sat third in the standings. After two consecutive third-place finishes, Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) finds himself 13 points adrift, nonetheless also consolidating his best start to a WorldSSP season. The young Italian finished runner-up in Spain in 2018 and is the only rider to have led in both races this year. Caricasulo will certainly be in contention in every session.
The home fans will also have two strong contenders to rally on. Héctor Barberà (Team Toth by Willirace) and Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) have both finished a race in fourth position in 2019 and are guaranteed to fight for the rostrum positions at a track which both men know to perfection, albeit not on World Supersport machinery.
The switch over to Kawasaki machinery may not have worked out yet for 2017 world champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), but the Frenchman will remain spirited and combative, seeking inspiration from his 2017 Aragonese win. Teammate Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) meanwhile will also continue pushing the limits of his ZX-6R, after two strong performances in Australia and Thailand.
Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) is seeking his first podium at the Spanish track, coming off a strong top-five performance in Thailand, while both CIA Landlord Insurance Honda representatives push to close the gap with their rival machinery.
The FIM European Supersport Cup riders will also make their first appearance on the calendar, with a former race winner in Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing) joined by two French newcomers: Xavier Navand (DK MOTORSPORT) and Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team).
The third round of the World Supersport season gets underway on Friday 5th with free practice, followed by the Superpole on Saturday. On Sunday 7th it’s race time, with lights out at 12:15LT (GMT+2).
Aragon Set to Host Another Supersport Thriller
The FIM Supersport World Championship lands back in Europe this weekend, with Yamaha supported riders filling the top three places in the series standings after two thrilling encounters to open the season. Victory in Thailand for GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider, Jules Cluzel, saw the Frenchman replace Randy Krummenacher, the winner of the opening race in Australia, at the top of the championship standings. This is a situation that the Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider is keen to reverse this weekend in Spain.
But the two race winners won’t have things all their own way in Aragon. Bardahl Yamaha’s Federico Caricasulo lies third in the standings, having racked up podium finishes in Australia and Thailand, and will be gunning for his first win of the season in Aragon, a circuit where he has finished on the podium previously.
Another rider looking to impress this weekend is Isaac Viñales. The Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported rider narrowly missed out on claiming his first WorldSSP podium in Thailand but showed his potential with a hard fought fourth place, after being involved in the battle for the lead in the early stages of the race. The Spaniard will be targeting the podium again in Aragon, where he can expect plenty of support from his home crowd.
Viñales’ Kallio Yamaha teammate, Thomas Gradinger, was also involved in the battle at the front of the race in Thailand, before being forced to retire after six laps due to a technical problem. The Austrian will be out to make amends with a strong performance in Aragon this weekend.
Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Loris Cresson heads into the Aragon weekend looking for his third ten finish in as many races, while GMT94 Yamaha’s Corentin Perolari will be hoping for a less dramatic opening lap than he endured in Thailand. The Frenchman crashed on the opening lap but recovered strongly to pick up points in 11th position.
GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"The target this weekend in Aragon is the same as it was in Thailand; to start the weekend well and then build towards Sunday in the best way possible, so that the confidence is high going into the race. From the forecast for the weekend it looks like conditions could be a little tricky, so that's something else we will need to manage well. We need to maintain focus and continue improving, as we did in Thailand, to do the best that is possible and pick up as many championship points as we can."
Kallio Racing Yamaha Supported WorldSSP
"After the race to fourth place in Thailand I'm looking forward to getting back on track in Aragon this weekend. Aragon is a difficult track to master, as it's very technical in places, so we will have some work to do on Friday and Saturday ahead of the race. It's my home race, in front of my home crowd, so I'm very motivated to give my all to secure the best result possible and give the Spanish fans something to cheer about on Sunday!"
European Adventures Begin For Mahias And Okubo
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing partners Hikari Okubo and Lucas Mahias are now approaching the first European round of the 2019 Supersport World Championship; the third event of the season so far. Raceday will be on Sunday the seventh of April, at the 5.077km long Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain.
After some strong recent performances, particularly in the early stages of the most recent race in Thailand, Okubo is now fifth overall in the championship rankings. Two races into the 12-round season, Hikari has equalled his career best of sixth place in a WorldSSP race on each occasion.
After the opening rounds for Mahias, each of which was affected by regulatory interventions that affected his finishing position, the 2017 WorldSSP Champion is in overall ninth place in the championship table. Lucas aims for a top-level finish in Spain at a circuit he won a race at during his championship-winning season.
Motorland Aragon, designed and built on a grand scale, features challenges of all kinds, including elevation changes, a long back straight and wide chicanes, all of which offer potential passing opportunities.
After the 16-lap race is concluded in Spain the paddock will immediately relocate to Assen in the Netherlands, for the fourth round of the championship, to be held between the 12th and the 14th of April.
Lucas Mahias stated: “My mind was on the Aragon round even before we got to Thailand. Unfortunately my last race was compromised by a regulatory issue that forced me to start from the last row of the grid. I made up many places during the race, lapping at the same pace as the fastest guys. That shows that my feeling with the bike is improving and that we need to continue to work to achieve the kind of results we deserve.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “Last year my Aragon race was affected by a technical problem and so I’m keen to make up for that. I like the track and know I can achieve a good result. The Buriram race proved that I can compete for the top positions and that I have similar pace to the fastest guys. I want to consolidate that performance when we get to Spain and try to improve on the Thai results.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) will have a new teammate this weekend, as three-time WorldSSP race winner Kyle Smith joins him for all the rounds of the FIM Europe Supersport Cup. Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) will be back in action, alongside regular riders Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki). Frenchman Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki) joins the ranks of the ESS riders this weekend.
WorldSSP300 returns with over 50 riders hungry for glory
Action-packed, fairing-to-fairing racing will be on display by the WorldSSP300 riders, who look set to continue making history
Since 2017, the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship has been a very welcome addition to the WorldSBK paddock, with 10 race winners and a further nine podium finishers in just two seasons of racing. This year over 50 men and women from 16 different countries and five continents will challenge for the WorldSSP300 crown, in the biggest season yet for the always exciting feeder series. Who will be the stars of the 2019 season? We will certainly look to gain a clear indication after MotorLand Aragon.
Reigning champion Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) is looking to kick off her title defense in fine style at her home circuit – the Spaniard looking to make more history and become the first rider ever to win back-to-back WorldSSP300 titles, as well as looking to become the first female solo rider to do so. Carrasco has yet to achieve a podium placing at MotorLand Aragon, so whatever the result after the opening race, the championship looks set to come alive.
Tough opposition is led in the form of Marc Garcia (DS Junior Team), who returns to the 2019 line-up, looking to take back his crown he earned in 2017. Garcia failed to finish in Aragon in 2017 so will be looking to start his season strongly.
Previous race winners at MotorLand Aragon, Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT) in 2017 and Koen Meuffels (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) in 2018, will also be part of the battle again in Spain, with both showing great potential towards the close of 2018. Meuffels is hoping to give KTM a win in the class again, whilst Deroue will hope to head to the Netherlands a week later in fine form.
2018 championship runner-up Mika Perez (Scuderia Maranga Racing) will be hoping to improve his championship position this year and kick-start his title-tilt from MotorLand Aragon, where he has finished third for the past two seasons. South African rider Dorren Loureiro (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) had a strong end to 2018 and has been eighth in the past two seasons at MotorLand Aragon, making him a protagonist at the sharp end.
Popular Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) is leading the Yamaha charge and looking to secure a third class-victory in as many seasons. MotorLand Aragon will be a test for the 20-year-old, as he has never scored points at the venue before.
Other notable names include Borja Sanchez (Scuderia Maranga Racing), who is without a win in his WorldSSP300 career but has gathered three podiums. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) also comes into the season as one of the potential front-runners, having ended his 2018 campaign with three third-places.
Riders will be split into two groups from Friday for Free Practice and Qualifying the following day, with the first-ever Last Chance Race taking place on Saturday afternoon. Then it’s lights out on Sunday at 15:15 LT (GMT+2) for the first time this season! Will MotorLand Aragon deliver again?
Ana Carrasco and Kawasaki Provec WorldSPP300 are ready for 2019
Today, 29th March, 2019, the project and the new Kawasaki Provec structure with which Ana Carrasco will defend her World Championship title were presented at the Motocard Centre in Barcelona.
After a winter where Ana has had a never ending list of commitments with the media, the last two months have served for the Murcian rider to concentrate on training for many hours; physical, off-road and the last few weeks testing the new Kawasaki Ninja 400 prepared by the technicians of Provec Racing.
Ana Carrasco will be the only member of this team so that Provec can concentrate on her performance. 2018 has passed and although Ana will carry the number one on the Kawasaki fairing, she sets off with 0 points, knowing that the expectation and the pressure will be very high.
The first race of the WorldSPP300 World Championship takes place on April 7th at Motorland Aragón.
Ana Carrasco (Rider): It has been one of the busiest winters of my life, we have made many changes at the sports level as well as at a personal level and I’m very eager to start the season to see the results of all this. Although I’ve had to do a lot of media work these months, I’ve also been able to work a lot on the motorcycle and I think that I’m ready for the first race. I’m very happy with all my team, with the work we’ve carried out during the pre-season tests and I’m very excited and keen to have a good season and will be able to return all the effort over these months to the team via good results and to give my best this year.
Jordi Caparros (Team Manager): ”The 2019 season is here, we’ve been working for months to start this project with maximum strength, certain that it will be a fast-paced year, waiting for the final technical regulations from the FIM, all the members of the team and our suppliers have worked hard to have the Kawasaki Ninja 400 ready. Ana has also worked hard, in the gym as well as on the track, the expectations are high so we’ll have to stay tuned in, and, finally, thank you to the innumerable people that have supported us in this project”
Steve Guttridge (Kawasaki Europe Racing Planner)
"After such an amazing 2018 season with Ana and her World title achievements on our Ninja 400, we cant wait to see the 2019 season unfold! It's not going to be easy by any means but with the Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP team structure in place and Ana's desire to retain her title, we are set for some fantastic battles this year and for sure Ana and the team can rely on Kawasaki's support all the way!"
#AragonWorldSBK: The Motocard Aragón Round promises added fan entertainment
Spanish fans will get a taste of a new paddock experience at MotorLand Aragón
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returns to Europe for the third round of the season that will be held this weekend at the Spanish circuit of MotorLand Aragón. For the first time this year, fans will enjoy not only the intense battles of the three WorldSBK races and WorldSSP but also the incredible actions of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, which is now back into the weekend.
With more than 50 riders taking to the track and a new format, the 2019 season of the most exciting WorldSBK feeder class will kick off at the Motocard Aragón Round, offering even more racing action this year.
But it’s not only the action on track that will entertain, as the first European round of the year will see plenty to do off-track too, and all ticket holders will have free access to the paddock.
Ready to hit Europe the world-famous stage of the Paddock Show is back with a new structure and much more fan interaction than ever before.
Situated in the heart of the Fan Zone, the live commentaries of all sessions from Friday till Sunday will ensure fans not to miss anything of what is happening on track wherever they are.
New competitions such as “A Question of WorldSBK” on Friday and Saturday will give a chance to the fans to win exclusive prizes, including access to the WorldSSP grid on Sunday and a copy of the 2018 WorldSBK Yearbook. The top three riders at the end of Day One will be on stage and fans will be able to hear their reactions first.
Bigger and better than ever before, there will be more opportunity for the fans to meet their heroes. The SuperShow on Saturday evening will welcome on stage all WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders, while the main WorldSSP300 stars will be available for autographs and selfies with the Meet & Greet sessions on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. But there is more! During the Supershow a new WorldSBK official helmet will be presented, and fans will have the chance to win it, together with other exciting prizes, in the competitions hosted by Motul.
Action will be even closer to the fans, as the parc fermé will be once again inside the paddock. Be part of the podium celebration and don’t miss the exclusive Podium Show as riders will be on stage just minutes after receiving their trophies.
On top of this, fans will have the chance to experience the pit walk for free on Saturday from 16:00 and Sunday from 10:10. Turn up with your ticket at Pit Garage 25 and get your wristband to join the queue and get the chance to see pit lane action and take a closer look at the team garages.
Sunday will be action-packed as fans will be treated to four races with the Tissot Superpole Race early in the morning, the WorldSSP race, WorldSBK Race Two and then the WorldSSP300 race. After the on-track action is over, it will be your turn to show off your riding skills. Come with your bike and book a place at the box offices during the weekend to be part of the stunning bike parade lap on Sunday from 16:00. The circuit will be opened for free for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Motorcard Aragón Round will be the perfect event for all family. Children under 14 and seniors over 65 will not need to buy a ticket to enjoy the racing actions as they will have free access by showing their ID at the entrance. On top of that, the Fan Zone will offer plenty of activities suitable for all ages. From Friday till Sunday there will be shops, an Expo Area, bike exhibitions and even a Kid’s animation area. As well as this, have fun and take a chance to show off your racing skills at the karting circuit opened from Friday to Sunday.
Check out the Fan Guide to see all the incredible activities you can enjoy at the Motocard Aragón Round.