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Apr 13, 2013

Sykes Rides Kawasaki ZX-10R To World Superbike Superpole Win In Spain (Updated)

FIM Superbike World Championship: Tom Sykes (66) rode his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to World Superbike Superpole victory Saturday at Motorland Aragon.
FIM Superbike World Championship
Motorland Aragon, Spain
April 13, 2013
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Knock Out Session Three:
1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:56.339
2. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:56.638
3. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:56.845
4. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:57.486
5. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:57.540
6. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:57.869
7. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:57.975
8. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:58.268
9. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:01.613

From Superpole Knock Out Session Two:
10. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199R), 1:58.326
11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:58.329
12. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199R), 1:59.993

From Superpole Knock Out Session One:
13. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199R), 1:59.475
14. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:59.478
15. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:01.029

The Rest of the Grid:
16. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:59.379
17. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:00.979
18. Ivan CLEMENTI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:02.140
19. Mark AITCHISON, Australia (Ducati 1098R), 2:02.554
20. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:03.201

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Aragon (Spain), 13 April 2013 – The Aprilia Racing riders confirmed the good impressions from the Friday sessions and astride their official RSV4 Factory bikes they were key players in the Superpole session that decided the starting grid for the races tomorrow.

Laverty and Guintoli – who are tied in the World SBK rankings lead after a win and a second place each during the opening round in Australia – came through the first of the three Superpole sessions easily, both saving their qualifier tyres.
Starting the second session on qualifiers from the first lap, the two riders quickly put themselves in a safe position (Laverty second and Guintoli sixth, later dropping to eighth place just before the end of the session) to go through to the decisive round where only the top nine participate.

In the decisive session Eugene Laverty showed that he was quite ready to take advantage of the high performance tyre and immediately stopped the clock with the second best time (1’56.638), less than 3 tenths behind pole specialist Tom Sykes. An excellent performance by Sylvain Guintoli as well who, after hovering in ninth and seventh place during the sessions yesterday and this morning, took an excellent fourth place (in 1’57.486) which will put him in the best spot on the second row of the grid tomorrow.

Eugene Laverty is well aware that he can shoot for an important result: “Our goal is always to qualify on the front row and we managed to do that here at Aragon as well. Today we worked quite well, especially in the last free practice session where we found some good solutions for our race pace. Superpole went according to schedule. Second place is an excellent position to start from. Tomorrow will be difficult because there are at least four other riders other then myself who are quite capable of making a play for the win. There have always been some great battles on this track, we'll definitely be in the game and we'll have our sights set on the top step of the podium”.

“Superpole went better than I had hoped – confessed Sylvain Guintoli - I don't like to make excuses, but I think that I am still lacking something compared to the other riders in terms of race pace. In any case I took the first spot on the second row which is a good placing since it puts me on the outside of the first brake. I have never achieved good results on this track so tomorrow I will be looking for two good races. The feeling with my RSV4 increases lap by lap and that makes me hopeful, I want to take full advantage of all their strong points like I did at Phillip Island”.

More, from a press release issued by FIXI Crescent Suzuki:

Fantastic fifth for Cluzel in Aragon Superpole

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel celebrated his first appearance in an eni FIM Superbike World Championship Superpole by recording the fifth fastest time at Motorland Aragon in Spain today.

Cluzel qualified for this afternoon’s shoot-out with the 10th quickest time overall from the two qualifying sessions, the second of which was held this morning, and then conducted a long run in the practice session to prepare for tomorrow’s race distances. Cluzel started this afternoon’s Superpole 1 with a race tyre but was concerned that his time wouldn’t be good enough to advance further, so quickly changed to the qualifying rubber – the first time he had ever ridden on the Pirelli qualifying compound - and produced a lap to take a stunning third place in the first session. For the second 12-minute session, Cluzel used a race tyre again and produced an even better lap than he had done previously on the qualifying material, to make sure he made it in to the third and final part of the shoot-out. The Frenchman started the last part of Superpole on his final qualifying tyre and recorded his fastest lap around the 5,344m Spanish circuit to place him and his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R in the middle of the second row for tomorrow’s 20-lap races.

Cluzel was FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s sole representative at Aragon today after team-mate Leon Camier was forced to withdraw due the injuries he sustained in yesterday’s crash. Camier had surgery last night to repair his injured left knee and is still resting in Alcaniz hospital. The Englishman had looked sharp on Friday and his best time from his three laps in yesterday’s qualifying session, before the crash, would have been good enough to see him qualify for the Superpole with the ninth quickest overall time, a fact that leaves the team with a feeling of what might have been.

Today’s Superpole was held in warm and sunny conditions, with track temperatures getting up to 39°C, it was secured by Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki, the 12th of the Englishman’s WSB career, with Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies joining him on the front-row. Cluzel’s fifth place makes for an all French affair on row two, as he is joined on either side by his compatriots Sylvain Guintoli and Loris Baz, who qualified fourth and sixth respectively.

Cluzel and the rest of the World Superbike field will line up for the first of tomorrow’s races at 12.00 local time (11.00hrs BST) and with race two scheduled for 15.00hrs local time (14.00hrs BST), the FIXI Crescent Suzuki star will certainly be looking for a good start in both races to capitalise on today’s qualifying.

Jules Cluzel:
“I am very happy with the whole of today, the practice and qualifying session went well and so did Superpole. This morning we did a long run with the race tyre and we have more information and it was good for me to get more of a feeling over a longer distance. Before Superpole I was very nervous because it was my first time, but at the end everything came good so I am really pleased with that. In the first exit we were panicking a bit because although I improved my time it was not enough to make Superpole 2, so we had to use the first qualifying tyre. I improved a lot and this was my first experience with qualifiers so I enjoyed that very much. We did have some vibration, but I think that everyone had that because there was so much more grip. We used a race tyre in the second session and I did an even faster lap than I did with the qualifier, so for me this is the really good point from the whole of Superpole. In the last run I improved again, I think it might have been possible to go quicker, but I made a couple of mistakes on the lap, including a big one in the first corner, so I had to push because the qualifier only lasts for one lap, but I still improved again so I am very happy with that. We will start both races from fifth place and I enjoyed today, so this has been a high point of the weekend so far.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“After spending most of yesterday afternoon in the hospital with Leon, it has been a great boost to the whole of the team to see Jules improve his performance, and that of the Suzuki GSX-R, so much over the course of the day. He clearly has a lot of raw speed and isn’t afraid to lay it on the line. The potential he demonstrated today really shows a great deal of promise for the rest of the season, as he gains more experience. The race will be very tough tomorrow and the tyre degradation is a concern for everybody, so our focus in the warm-up will be to find the most consistent setting we can to look after the rear tyre and to allow Jules to ride at his limits throughout the race.

“It has been a brilliant performance today by everyone in the team – especially Jules – and I hope we can give Leon a little get well present tomorrow by further demonstrating that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki has the potential to challenge at the front.”

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Motorland Aragón – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 13th April 2013.

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 14 – 23 °C, Track: 15 – 39 °C
Number of riders participating: 18/19 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:57.785 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:56.339 min

The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team will start the second round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the front row. Factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) finished third in today’s Superpole qualifying at Spanish “Motorland Aragón”. For Chaz, who has been fast on his BMW S 1000 RR over the whole weekend, it will mark the first time he has ever been on the front row in a World Superbike race. His team mate Marco Melandri (ITA) was struggling with the front end of his bike and had to settle for eighth place on the third row of the grid.

In Superpole 1, both riders easily qualified for the next session by setting one fast time on race tyres. In Superpole 2, the team started to have mixed fortunes. While Chaz set another fast lap on race tyres to be third and comfortably progress to the final and deciding session, Marco was struggling. For his first outing in Superpole 2, Marco opted for the qualifying tyre, but he was nearly one second slower than his team mate. Marco improved his time on race tyres in a second outing and finished ninth to progress into Superpole 3. Both riders started the deciding session on qualifying tyres. While Chaz again was third fastest, Marco set the eighth fastest time. The Italian returned to the garage and settled eighth grid position. Chaz used his remaining qualifying tyre to make another attempt in the closing stages of the session but went wide on one corner and could not further improve his time.

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier will start the 2013 season opener from pole position. The Frenchman from the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team dominates the weekend on his brand new BMW HP4, being fastest in all the sessions so far, including today’s qualifying. His team mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) will start from sixth on the grid.

Chaz Davies:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:58.117 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:58.627 min (P5) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:56.845 min (P3)
“I am really happy, it was a good step forward. It is my first front row in World Superbikes – last year I barely managed to get on the second row never mind the front row. Qualifying has always been the weakest part of my weekend. I think people underestimate what it takes to learn a superbike and the difference it makes when you come back to a circuit after having the experience of racing here last year. The front row feels great actually. It is the result of the work that BMW have done over the last month since Australia. In addition, I am getting used to my RR. I am very happy but I have to remember that tomorrow is the most important bit which I am looking forward to. The plan is to get a good start and then see if I can match the best rhythm. The race pace, as we have seen in free practice, is not too bad although I think we can improve a little bit. The bike seemed a little bit better in qualifying so we will use that data for tomorrow’s work on race pace.”

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:58.925 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:58.213 min (P3) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:58.268 min (P8)
“Unfortunately we struggled a lot with vibrations today and despite several different set ups we tested, we did not find the one which allowed me to ride as I wanted. I feel like I am riding on the wet. I am pretty slow in the corners because I do not really feel comfortable. We need to find the right way – even a small change could bring a big result and allow me to ride better, to be more confident and ultimately to go faster. I had no problem with my shoulder today, because it was not over stressed. Because we were looking for the right set up I came to the garage very often so I never rode for a long time in a row. Tomorrow morning we will see which solution is the best for the races.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“It was a demanding day. Today we had to test a lot of different set up solutions. Chaz and his crew found the right one, while unfortunately Marco’s bike did not work as planned. Chaz continues to improve and the qualifying result confirms that. He had a good qualifying practice and a great Superpole and now starts from the front row for the first time in World Superbikes. Unfortunately the Superpole did not go that well for Marco. He was struggling with vibrations and we could not solve this issue. On the contrary, it got worse and he could not show his true performance. Tomorrow during warm up we will test further solutions for him. We need to overcome these difficulties or at least reduce them in order to enable him to have a good race. The Superstock team worked very well. Sylvain confirmed today that he is the fastest rider at the moment. Also Greg, who will start from the second row, is doing well. We planned to have a strong start to the season and we are happy that we achieved our target so far. I am really confident and am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We had bitter sweet emotions in the garage today. On one side we are very happy with Chaz and with what he has achieved today. He has taken another step forwards and a good point is that everytime he does, he builds on it. He handled the Superpole qualifying very well and he deserves to be in the first row after the strong results he had so far this weekend. So we are happy and look forward to tomorrow’s race. On the other side, Marco was struggling. We have been testing several settings but so far we could not fix the issue he is having with the front end. We will have another chance tomorrow and give our best to find the right direction for him. I am convinced that as soon as we can improve the bike he will be able to fight with the top guys, even if we start from the third row. Usually he starts very well and we are pretty confident we have a good race pace.”

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes Wins Superpole As Baz Finishes Sixth

WSBK, Aragon, Spain, 13 April 2013

Official KRT rider Tom Sykes put in a new circuit best lap of 1’56.339 to win his 12th career Superpole contest on a day when his team-mate Loris Baz secured a second row start in sixth place.

Both riders played their full part in qualifying before Superpole itself in which the top 15 riders compete for final grid positions on the new three rider per format brought in to use this season.

Sykes was fast throughout and kept his best for almost last, as he posted his new track best and was just unable to put in one more lap, on his second qualifying tyre, before the final chequered flag came out. He has now taken 12 Superpole wins in his career and starts the races on Sunday from the best possible position.

Loris, who had qualified eighth in regulation qualifying, improved that to sixth in the final Superpole contest, using a race tyre in Superpole 1, then using his qualifiers to their best to earn a starting spot on the second row of the grid for Sunday’s two 20-lap races. He and his team were particularly pleased at this great qualifying result as they had spent time in recent tests to make sure Loris could improve his one-off lap performances, on both race and qualifying tyres.

Kawasaki Pedercini Team rider Alex Lundh made it into Superpole after another rider was injured and missed his starting place. Lundh will now start the races from 15th place on the grid, on row five, with his team-mate Federico Sandi 17th.

Tom Sykes: “It has been a long break since the first race a few weeks ago but Kawasaki has worked so hard since then and made improvements to the bike, and that brought something extra. It has been nice to ride without any injuries this weekend as well after my fall in testing at Phillip Island. The most important thing to get today was a start on the front row and not worry too much about pole position but it was good to get my first Superpole win of the year for my Spanish-based team. There will be two long and hard races tomorrow so it is important to keep up a high level of consistency. I have a lot of supporters here because the team is based here and my old team-mate Joan Lascorz is also doing commentary on Spanish TV so hopefully I can give him something to talk about in the races. I want to leave here with a lot of points and move forward consistently.”

Loris Baz: “I am very happy to be able to take a second row start in Superpole and it is the result of all the good work we have done recently. I was a lot more confident after the weekend at Phillip Island and we used our qualifying tyres here properly, with a race tyre in Superpole 1 then qualifiers in Superpole 2 and 3. It is different for Tom because he has so much experience but to go into the first Superpole sessions with a race tyre you have to ride with complete confidence and be very precise. You have to get every single corner exactly right and not make any mistakes. I am pleased to be on the second row and hope for two good races now.

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team:

Mixed feelings for Pata Honda duo

Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have mixed feelings this evening after today’s Superpole sessions at Motorland Aragon in Spain left them in ninth and eleventh places respectively on the grid for tomorrow’s two second-round World Superbike championship races.

Haslam, particularly, had a testing day which began with a crash in this morning’s second qualifying, causing the British rider to miss the entire 45-minute session. Technical issues in the subsequent free practice hindered his progress further but he qualified for Superpole thanks to his lap time from yesterday.

The 29-year-old British rider made it to Superpole 2 and did his best time on a race tyre, leaving him reasonably satisfied.

Rea, meanwhile, made impressive steps forward, finishing inside the top four in both regulation qualifying and free practice. The 26-year-old from Northern Ireland made it through to Superpole 3, where a broken wheel-speed sensor restricted him to a third row start.

Jonathan Rea – P9, 1m57.765s (Superpole 2)

Today was a mixture of positive and negative, really. We made a lot of progress on our race set-up and, with the electronics, we’ve got kind of close to where I feel we were last year. But, going into Superpole 3, a wheel-speed sensor caught us out and trying to match wheel speeds with everything else under braking went completely out the window and I felt a bit like a passenger. It was partly my mistake staying out for two laps at the beginning and not coming straight in but I wasn’t sure what the problem was and I was trying to change the engine brake settings. We didn’t have enough time left to get out at the end and it was quite frustrating because it was a problem we found out about after Superpole. What I feel should have been the second row is now the outside of the third row, so I can just hope and pray for a clean start tomorrow. We’ve been in the top five all weekend, timing wise, and I feel we did a pretty good race run this morning – a long run – which I was happy enough with. And we’ve improved since then, so it’s just a race where I feel we’ve been handicapped a little bit more than we should be at the start. We’ll see – it’s more experience; I still feel like we’re doing a lot of testing but we’ve got to man-up for two 20-lap races tomorrow.

Leon Haslam – P11, 1m58.329s

I’ve never been so happy to be P11 on a grid! On Friday, we had a lot of problems electronically which we couldn’t get sorted. This morning we went out and I didn’t even get one lap – I had a big crash and lost the whole session and that was the session when we needed to sort a few of the issues. We did the whole session in Free Practice 2 but a sensor had broken and we didn’t find out until after that session. So, going into Superpole 1 was my first go on a bike with sensors working so I was really happy. I think I went 1.6 seconds quicker than I did before, which is quite hard to do when you’re under pressure to do it in one lap. But the bike worked. I made a mistake in Superpole 2, which knocked me out by less than a tenth. So I’m really happy with what we’ve done – we’ve solved the issues that we had but it’s still going to be a tough race tomorrow.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Today with Leon we encountered a lot of problems and we were not really making progress at all. Still, we managed to make Superpole and reached eleventh place in the end, which was pretty good, considering everything. We had to find a setting in Superpole itself and in the end he did a really good lap on a race tyre and started to feel good on the bike. I must say ‘hats off’ to Leon for staying calm, keeping on working and keeping his comments coming. Despite his position, we look forward to the race, and he does, as well. On Jonathan’s side of the garage we managed ninth place and it could have been a possible second row but we had a small problem with the bike. He wasn’t able to put in a good lap time on his last Superpole run and we must apologise for that. These things happen. They should not happen, but they sometimes do, and Jonathan did not get what he deserved today. I hope he can find a good rhythm in warm-up. His race pace is quite good, so we’ll see tomorrow.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Team Althea Racing – Aragon qualifying and Superpole

Second day of practice and qualifying for the Althea Racing team on the track of Motorland Aragon in Spain. Yesterday’s results did not satisfy the technicians and rider of Genesio Bevilacqua’s team, and today they continued to work on the Aprilia RSV4 and gathered important results. In the last qualifying session this morning on a dry track, Davide Giugliano improved yesterday’s best time by two-tenths of a second and set a time of 1'58 "330 reaching fifth place and qualifying for Superpole this afternoon.

The team Althea Racing staff took advantage of the last free practice session to prepare Giugliano’s bike for the Superpole and the two races tomorrow. David closed the session in seventh place (1'59 "363).

Excellent performance for Davide in Superpole. In the first phase, the Althea Racing team driver reached the seventh place with a time of 1'58 "661; therefore, easily qualifying for the second phase. Unfortunately in phase two, Davide made a small mistake during his best lap, but improved the time of 1'58 and with a time of 1'57 "602 and took fifth place and access to phase three. Unfortunately, in the last phase Giugliano did not use soft tires and finished with a time of 1'57 "975 and in seventh place. Third row for him in the two races that will take place tomorrow for a distance of 20 laps each.

Genesio Bevilacqua: "During qualifying in the morning we found some problems that luckily did not resurface in the Superpole, but we were put on alert. Phase one of the Superpole went very well, while in the second Davide was carrying out a very good lap when unfortunately he made a small mistake that not only ruined the race, but also forced us to use the last soft rubber tire for the next round. But here we had an important surprise because with the race tire Giugliano clocked an excellent time of 1'57 "975 which demonstrates how competitive he is even with the tires that will be used in the race. This year we are also struggling with inexperience as it is our first year with Aprilia, but we are constantly improving and this makes us confident for a great championship. "

Davide Giugliano: "Today was good. We are improving step by step and this is very positive. I'm still finding it difficult to adapt to the changes that my team makes on my RSV4 but my technicians are helping me a lot and the results are now showing. The third row satisfies me only partially because I was aiming for at least the second row. I'll try to get a good start and jump right into the group of the fastest riders, as we are only at the beginning it will be a learning experience for me as I still have to start exploiting the full potential of my bike that is remarkable."

More, from a press release issued by SBK Press Office:

Saturday at MotorLand under the sign of Tom Sykes

Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 13 April 2013 - World Superbike Round 2 Tissot-Superpole was performed today at MotorLand Aragon under blue skies. After missing the top spot of the grid at Phillip Island Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) went back to his usual Saturday level by scoring the 12th Superpole of his career and set a 1'56.339 new best lap for the Spanish track.

Tom Sykes: “It has been nice to ride without any injuries this weekend as well after my fall in testing at Phillip Island. The most important thing to get today was a start on the front row and it was also good to get my first Tissot-Superpole win of the year for my Spanish-based team. Moreover, my old team-mate Joan Lascorz is doing commentary on Spanish TV so hopefully I can give him something to talk about in the races.”

The English rider saved both qualifying tyres for Superpole 3, a strategy that proved to be perfect. Fellow Brit Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) did the same, but went wide on the last lap and missed his last opportunity to snatch pole position, finishing 3rd behind Eugene Laverty. The Championship current Leader, who lead both Free Practice 2 and Superpole 1, is still looking forward to his maiden Superbike pole start.

Eugene Laverty: “Our goal is always to qualify on the front row and we managed to do that here at Aragon as well. In the last free practice session we found some good solutions for our race pace. Superpole went according to schedule. Second place is an excellent position to start from. Tomorrow will be difficult because at least four other riders other than myself are quite capable of making a play for the win and there have always been some great battles on this track.”

Chaz Davies: “It was a good step forward, it is my first front row in World Superbike. Qualifying has always been the weakest part of my weekend. I think people underestimate what it takes to learn a superbike and the difference it makes when you come back to a circuit after having the experience of racing here last year. The race pace, as we have seen in free practice, is not too bad although I think we can improve a little bit also by using that data for tomorrow’s work.”

Second works Aprilia rider and co-protagonist at Phillip Island Sylvain Guintoli gets the first slot of the second row for tomorrow's two races, making some ground after a poor start of the weekend, and will be flanked by Jules Cluzel who - onboard the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R - had an incredible maiden Superpole of his career.

6th place for Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), ahead of Italy's Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet). An unfortunate Tissot-Superpole in front of his home crowd for Carlos Checa, who couldn't make it to Superpole 3 for a matter of just 0.036 seconds.

Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'56.339 average 165.365 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'56.638; 3. Davies (BMW) 1'56.845; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'57.486; 5. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'57.540; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'57.869; 7. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'57.975; 8. Melandri (BMW) 1'58.268; 9. Rea (Honda) 2'01.613; 10. Checa (Ducati); 11. Haslam (Honda); 12. Neukirchner (Ducati); 13. Badovini (Ducati); 14. Fabrizio (Aprilia); 15. Lundh (Kawasaki).

World Supersport - Sofuoglu clinches the top spot on the grid at Aragon

Three-time and current World Superport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu put himself in the best possible situation for tomorrow's race at the end of Qualifying 2. The Mahi Racing Team India rider set a competitive 2'01.450 in the final minutes of the session to edge Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) out of pole position. The young Brit, already not 100% fit, had a crash with 35 minutes to go at Turn 15 but was able to get back on track later on in the session.

Mahi Racing Team India almost perfect qualifying is completed by 3rd place Fabien Foret, who dropped 0.8 seconds off yesterday's qualifying lap-time to get a well-deserved front row start. South Africa's Sheridan Morais showed further improvements onboard his PTR Honda Machine and finished 4th ahead of Scot Kev Coghlan (DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki), rookie Michael van der Mark - who crashed towards the end at Turn 3 - and Luca Scassa (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres).

A superb 9th place for WSS debutant Riccardo Russo (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki), in what was only his 4th session in the series, followed by fellow Italian Raffaele De Rosa (Team Lorini Honda), able to get a top-10 finish after the difficult end of the Season Opener at Phillip Island.

Times: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'01.450 average 158.406 kph; 2. Lowes (Yamaha) 2'01.610; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'02.216; 4. Morais (Honda) 2'02.239; 5. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 2'02.366; 6. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'02.379; 7. Scassa (Kawasaki) 2'02.593; 8. Zanetti (Honda) 2'02.895; 9. Russo (Kawasaki) 2'02.958; 10. De Rosa (Honda) 2'02.981; etc.

Superstock 1000

Defending Champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) scored the 9th pole position of his career today at Alcaniz Motorland Aragon. His lap-time of 2'01.347 was 0.287 seconds faster than former STK1000 champion Niccolò Canepa (Barni Racing Team Ducati), who showed a good synergy with the 1199 Panigale on what is not the best track for the L-Twin machine from Borgo Panigale.

Third place Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini) was the last rider able to lap within the 2'01 bracket and finished ahead of team mates Leandro Mercado and rookie Alessandro Andreozzi. Johannesburg-born Greg Gildenhuys (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) will start his first STK1000 race as full-time rider (second overall) from the 6th grid slot, while 2012 title contenders Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) and Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Ducati) will move off from the 3rd row, in 7th and 8th place respectively.

Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 2'01.347 average 158.540 kph; 2. Canepa (Ducati) 2'01.634; 3. Savadori (Kawasaki) 2'01.920; 4. Mercado (Kawasaki) 2'02.144; 5. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 2'02.303; 6. Gildenhuys (BMW) 2'02.392; 7. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2'02.523; 8. La Marra (Ducati) 2'02.544; 9. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 2'02.931; 10. Bergman (Kawasaki) 2'03.137; etc.

Superstock 600 – Race

Close racing was the main factor of STK600 first race of the year at Alcaniz MotorLand Aragon. Pole man Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Yamaha) gets a hard-won victory after a breathtaking 10-lap race on the 5344 m Spanish venue. It's the maiden win for the 19 year old Belgian, who was able to take advantage of the tough four-way battle behind him, eventually making a small mistake towards the end of the race that allowed his rivals to close the gap down to 1 second.

But the battle for the 2nd place helped once again Duwelz to maintain a small margin up to the finish line. Tony Coveña (Nito Racing Kawasaki) made his final move on Swiss Bastien Chesaux (EAB Ten Kate Junior Racing Honda) during the final lap, down the long straight going into Turn 16, and set at the same time the new Lap Record in 2'05.250.

Robin Mulhauser (MTM-MVR Yamaha) kept his team mate Adrian Nestorovic behind to get a 4th place finish, while Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia) lost some ground in the early laps and was not able to stay with the front runners.

Race Results: 1. Duwelz (Yamaha) 10 Laps/53.440 km in 21'04.746 average 152.113 kph; 2. Coveña (Kawasaki) 0.941; 3. Chesaux (Honda) 1.138; 4. Mulhauser (Yamaha) 1.271; 5. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 1.733; 6. Morbidelli (Kawasaki) 5.488; 7. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 12.566; 8. Casalotti (Yamaha) 20.834; 9. Schmitter (Yamaha) 21.019; 10. Tessels (Suzuki) 24.225; 11. Nekvasil (MV Agusta) 25.045; 12. Tuuli (Yamaha) 25.908; 13. Vitali (Suzuki) 28.395; 14. D'Annunzio (Yamaha) 28.505; 15. Jones (Honda) 28.911; etc.

Standings: 1. Gauthier Duwelz (Yamaha) 25; 2. Tony Covena (Kawasaki) 20; 3. Bastien Chesaux (Honda) 16; 4. Robin Mulhauser (Yamaha) 13; 5. Adrian Nestorovic (Yamaha) 11; 6. Franco Morbidelli (Kawasaki) 10; 7. Christian Gamarino (Kawasaki) 9; 8. Stefano Casalotti (Yamaha) 8; 9. Dominic Schmitter (Yamaha) 7; 10. Wayne Tessels (Suzuki) 6; 11. Marco Nekvasil (MV Agusta) 5; 12. Niki Tuuli (Yamaha) 4; 13. Luca Vitali (Suzuki) 3; 14. Federico D'Annunzio (Yamaha) 2; 15. Mike Jones (Honda) 1.

European Junior Cup

Spaniard Albert Arenas has taken the first pole position of the 2013 Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda season after a late charge that saw him displace long time provisional pole sitter Guillaume Raymond. Raymond (who was fastest yesterday), held on to second ahead of a much improved Michael Canducci. Kiwi Jake Lewis also improved late in the session to take 4th just a fraction ahead of Illan Fernandez and Javier Orellana who completed the top 6.

Sabrina Paiuta from Brazil continued to mix it amongst the front runners by putting her CBR500cc Honda into a solid 12th position overall. Amelie Demoulin from France was 34th on her Honda.

Times: 1. Arenas (Honda) 2'25.483 average 132.238 kph; 2. Raymond (Honda) 2'25.504; 3. Canducci (Honda) 2'25.687; 4. Lewis (Honda) 2'25.855; 5. Fernandez (Honda) 2'26.171; 6. Orellana (Honda) 2'26.213; 7. Levy (Honda) 2'26.523; 8. Sebestyen (Honda) 2'26.686; 9. Rusmiputro (Honda) 2'26.720; 10. Pittet (Honda) 2'26.924; etc.
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