2014 Aragon World Superbike Saturday Roundup: Ballistic Engine Cases

The front two rows of the morning's final timed practice was headed off by factory braces of Aprilias, Kawasakis and Ducatis, with both EVO Bimotas managing to get into Superpole. The weather was not much of an issue in Spain, being cooler than Friday, in spite of occasional light showers.

Superpole was delayed as the track needed clearing of wet Kawasaki parts after Jeremy Guarnoni's EVO bike launched an engine cover at a pit board, dousing the start/finish straight in oil, engine parts and pit board debris. After the restart of the first session, Toni Elias and Leon Camier, replacing Sylvain Barrier for the weekend, were the two riders to qualify for the second Superpole session, Camier being the only EVO rider to get into the final session.

For most of Superpole, Loris Baz, sitting second in the championship behind Sylvain Guintoli, looked like he might be able to get pole position, making his Kawasaki dance feverishly on the brakes at the end of the long back straight, lap after lap. However, once Tom Sykes put on a qualifying tyre, waiting until near the end of the session, Baz had to settle for second place behind the current world champion and consummate qualifier, his teammate. Sylvain Guintoli, who, like last year, leads the title chase after the first weekend, lost the top spot to both Kawasakis and took the last place on the front row. Guintoli has spent most of the weekend, along with Marco Melandri, chasing a setup on used tyres rather than trying to head free practice sessions, but wanting to save qualifying for Superpole, knowing they'd make it into the top session even with spending time tuning their settings.

While it is still far too soon to break out the Chianti, Ducati are likely making sure they have enough in stock as it looks like the Panigale might be past the worst of its troubles. With both their riders qualifying on the second row, Davide Giugliano in fourth and Chaz Davies in sixth in spite of a tumble, memories of races without a Ducati in the points will be long forgotten.

Jonathan Rea once again made the Honda look like a capable bike, posting quick times in all sessions on a track that looks like it should be dominated by long-legged horsepower bikes. Leon Haslam, however, wasn't able to complete a lap without crashing, relegating himself to tenth place. Rea's fifth place puts him between both Ducatis.

Suzuki may not have done as well as the bikes in front of them, but with both Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes comfortably qualifying for Superpole Two, they are both in a position where they can push, especially with Laverty's ability to fight through a pack.

World Supersport qualifying was headed by Kev Coghlan, ahead of a surprise package of PJ Jacobsen and Jules Cluzel. While Coghlan was expected to make a front row start, Jacobsen was not, and yet, he posted two laps that were quid enough to make the front row, showing that it wasn't a fluke. Cluzel, the man who gave MV Agusta their first win in decades, will have his work cut out to maintain his lead, with Michael Van Der Mark and Kenan Sofuoglu on the second row, eager to make up for their non-scoring weekends in Australia.

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