Though the final day of testing at Aragon for the World Superbike teams took place under sunny skies, an oil spill and a strong headwind down the back straight made improving times difficult. The test ended with Tom Sykes as fastest, finishing ahead of 2012 World Champion Max Biaggi by two tenths of a second. Leon Camier set the third fastest time on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki, though matched by Biaggi's Aprilia teammate Eugene Laverty.
The oil spill was caused by Carlos Checa's Ducati Panigale, which locked up on the front straight and dumped a lot of oil onto the track. The riders lost a lot of testing time while the track was cleaned, and by the time the circuit workers were finished the wind had picked up, making it difficult for riders to improve their time.
Kawasaki's Sykes finished the three-day test as fastest overall, with Biaggi in 2nd and Camier in 3rd. The introduction of the 17-inch wheels has failed to slow the bikes, with times easily faster than the fastest race laps set here during the race weekend at July. Sykes set his fastest times on race tires, the bike and the new wheels clearly demonstrating their combined potential.
The teams now head home, but only for a few weeks. The World Superbike off-season is due to culminate in a joint test for all of the teams at Jerez at the end of November.
Day 3 times, courtesy of the official World Superbike site:
|1||Tom Sykes||Kawasaki||1:57.6||Day 2|
|2||Max Biaggi||Aprilia||1:57.8||0.2||0.2||Day 2|
|3||Leon Camier||Suzuki||1:58.1||0.5||0.3||Day 2|
|4||Eugene Laverty||Aprilia||1:58.1||0.5||0.0||Day 3|
|5||Michel Fabrizio||Aprilia||1:58.4||0.8||0.3||Day 2|
|6||Carlos Checa||Ducati||1:58.5||0.9||0.1||Day 2|
|7||Loris Baz||Kawasaki||1:58.5||0.9||0.0||Day 3|
|8||David Giugliano||Ducati||1:59.4||1.8||0.9||Day 2|
|9||Josh Waters||Suzuki||2:00.2||2.6||0.8||Day 2|
|10||Alex Hofmann||Aprilia||2:00.4||2.8||0.2||Day 1|
Althea Ducati press release:
CHECA AND GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) COMPLETE A THREE-DAY TEST SESSION AT MOTORLAND ARAGON
Aragon (Spain), Wednesday 17th October 2012: the Althea Racing team and Ducati are pleased with the progress that riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have made on board the new 1199 Panigale Superbike during a three-day test session at Motorland Aragon.
Checa and Giugliano took to the track on Monday where in cool and very windy conditions, totally the opposite of the extreme heat experienced during the July race, they continued with the work that they had begun a couple of weeks ago during testing at Misano. Carlos, whose 40th birthday coincided with Monday’s test, recorded some interesting lap times while Davide spent time testing a new fork.
On the second and third track days (in more settled and dry conditions) the Althea men continued to work with their technicians and Ducati development personnel, gaining confidence with each exit. Davide suffered a small crash on Tuesday but was fortunately unhurt and able to return to the track almost immediately. As well as the new tyres, the team spent time testing various new components relating to suspension, setting and forks.
By making a series of changes throughout the three days the team was able to better understand how the bike reacts and identify the best direction to take as a result. At this point of development it is essential that the riders begin to understand the bike and that the bike is adapted to the needs and style of each rider.
On track along with several other SBK teams, Ducati’s technicians were able to compare the 1199 Panigale’s performance to that of its rivals for the first time and have declared themselves satisfied with the work completed thus far, although there is still a lot to do over coming months. The winter testing programme will continue next month in Jerez, Spain.
“My impression is positive. We’re still a little way off in terms of times but we are here to work on the bike and try things out to better understand what is missing and what we need to go faster. This is all a normal part of development work. The 1199 Panigale is an extreme bike and the riding style needed is different too. We are at the start of the journey; we’re still in the first phase and still have a lot of work ahead of us. The 17” tyres are working well once the track is up to temperature and conditions have allowed us to get a lot of laps in during yesterday and today – the data collected will be useful as we move forward.”
“We have tried many things over these last days and I am working hard to find my way with the new bike. The Aragon track is very different to Misano where we carried out the last tests and I’ve had a bit of trouble going from one to the other because of those differences. I would say that we can be satisfied with what we’ve got done here and we have a good base from which to progress.”