|Tom Sykes takes his first Tissot-Superpole of the season|
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 12 April 2014 - A thrilling Tissot-Superpole this afternoon saw reigning Champion Tom Sykes claim his first pole position of the season aboard his Kawasaki Racing Team machine ahead of his team mate Loris Baz.
In a restarted Superpole 1 after Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) suffered a technical problem, Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) and Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) were the fastest within the session and joined the already seeded riders for the final 15 minute shoot-out, in what was a fast and furious fight on track for top spot.
At the end of the session it was Sykes that just clung to secure pole position ahead of Baz and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) who completed the top 3.
In tomorrow’s races, row 2 will be headed by Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), who will be joined by Jonathan Rea (PATA Honda World Superbike Team) and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team).
After making it through into Superpole 2, Leon Camier, substitute rider for Sylvain Barrier, was the leading EVO category rider, qualifying 11thoverall in his first race with the BMW machine.
Leon Haslam and Chaz Davies also fell in the session, thankfully without injury.
More, from a press release issued by Team HERO EBR:
Improvements For May & Yates Ahead Of Aragon Races
American riders Aaron Yates and Geoff May bettered their lap times during the final 45 minute Free Practice session at MotorLand Aragon this morning, closing the gap to the top 20 significantly.
Team Hero EBR worked hard between the final session yesterday and today to improve the EBR 1190RX and the results were clear to see.
Both riders were able to lap consistently faster and whilst disappointed to miss a Tissot-Superpole, the team is confident of two positive races tomorrow.
The encouraging thing for the entire Hero EBR squad is that improvements and steps forward are being made each and every time that they are on track.
Aaron Yates: “Today we made some improvements and I am happy with both the chassis and with the electronics. Tomorrow I will try to make two good races, and collect as much data as I can for the further development of the bike.”
Geoff May: “We are getting better every time we go out and our goal for tomorrow is try to reduce the gap to the top 20 as much as we can, finishing both races in the process.”
More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:
Ducati Superbike riders Giugliano and Davies qualify fourth and sixth for tomorrow’s SBK races at Aragon
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 12 April 2014 – The second Superpole of the 2014 World Superbike season, which took place today at Motorland Aragon, brought positive results for the Ducati Superbike Team; Davide Giugliano to line up in fourth position and Chaz Davies in sixth place on tomorrow’s starting grid.
The track was cooler for this morning’s third timed practice after rainfall during the night (air temperature 16°C, track 19°C). The Ducati Superbike men continued with the work started yesterday and towards the end of the session both Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano were able to improve on their best times set yesterday, with a 1’57.936 for Davies and an almost identical time of 1’57.985 for Giugliano. The combined times of all three sessions saw Davies qualify in overall third position for this afternoon’s Superpole, Giugliano just behind him in fifth place.
Superpole 2 – In slightly warmer conditions with respect to this morning, both Davies and Giugliano made a first exit with the race tyre, positioning first and second at mid-session. Giugliano then went back out on the qualifying tyre, pushing hard to lower his lap time. Thanks to a fast, clean lap (1’56.825) on board his 1199 Panigale, the Italian rider achieved overall fourth position. Davies too went back out on the qualifier but unfortunately a crash at turn 12 during his out lap conditioned his Superpole. Fortunately Chaz was unhurt and there was no damage to the bike, meaning that the British rider was able to continue without returning to the garage. Davies was able to make the most of the qualifying tyre despite the crash, improving on his time (1’56.977) to close sixth.
The Ducati Superbike riders therefore earned fourth (Giugliano) and sixth (Davies) place on tomorrow’s starting grid.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 4th (1’56.825)
“Today we’ve worked on resolving yesterday’s instability issue and I’ve been able to ride a bit more smoothly. I’d say we have a good bike that we will try to perfect tomorrow in warm-up in order to face the races optimistically. In the past I’ve never been particularly strong during practices at this track but then in the race I’ve been able to put everything together more successfully, so this makes me more confident for tomorrow’s races.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 6th (1’56.977)
“I’ve had better feeling today compared to yesterday, although we still have some small changes to make before tomorrow’s races. Of course it’s a pity about the crash, but it was my mistake. Maybe that point of the track was dirty, I don’t know, but I was off line and just lost the front. I decided to stay out and continue to see if I could improve my time. I managed that, but I know I could have done more if it hadn’t been for the crash. Anyway, we’ve shown quite good pace today, my position is what it is, and now we will concentrate on tomorrow’s races.”
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:
FIRST AND THIRD ROW FOR APRILIA RACING IN THE SECOND ROUND OF WORLD SBK.
THIRD BEST TIME FOR CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER SYLVAIN GUINTOLI.
SeVENTH PLACE – AND A FEW REGRETS – FOR MELANDRI, READY TO REDEEM HIMSELF IN THE RACES TOMORROW.
Aragon, 12 April 2014 – The Aragon Superpole places Guintoli and Melandri in a position to be key players in the races tomorrow despite today's times. In fact, the top seven riders are all within just over half a second of one another (0.584 to be precise) as a testament to the extreme balance that promises to characterise the races for the first European round of the 2014 WSBK season.
Because of these extremely small gaps it only took a few mistakes to keep Melandri from starting in the front positions. After qualifying for Superpole with the best time and with a feeling astride his RSV4 that has been building since the Jerez tests two weeks ago, Melandri made a few crucial mistakes in the first sector of the track.
This compromised the champion from Ravenna's time in the decisive lap but had absolutely no effect on the good sensations he has had since Friday: “All in all today was an excellent day. Unfortunately I missed the mark in the most important lap, the Superpole lap. We had made some changes that I didn't really like and even going back when we put the qualifier on I didn't feel confident enough to push hard, making a few too many mistakes in the first section of the track. In any case I am pleased in view of the races. I'll be expecting two close battles but we're ready”
Guintoli, the Frenchman who leads the championship after his win and podium at Phillip Island, had a more straightforward day. In every practice session he had been working on his race pace in view of the races Sunday, only pulling out the stops for a fast lap in the decisive session. His third best time (1’56.675) places him on the front row at less than three tenths behind Sykes' leading time and puts him in a position to make a play for the podium from the start of the race.
Sylvain Guintoli: “After a lot of work throughout the weekend on used tyres it was nice to finally put a new tyre on and push to the limit! The qualifying session, with the bike light and performing well, is my favourite time to ride. We improved again today. At the beginning of Superpole I put in a really good lap straight away on a race tyre. With the qualifier I shaved a bit more off but Sykes made a comeback as Mister Superpole. In any case I'm pleased with the position. The front row is excellent, especially if we consider our good race pace.”
More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team:
Second row for Rea in Spain
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two second-round World Superbike championship races from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
The 27-year-old British rider topped all but one of the four free practice sessions of the weekend on his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, but was unable to maximise the additional grip of his Pirelli qualifying tyre on its one available flying Superpole lap of the 5.344km Aragon circuit.
Pole position went to another British rider, Tom Sykes, with his team-mate Loris Baz and Sylvain Guintoli completing the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s two 17-lap races, which go off at 10.30 and 13.10 local time.
Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, made positive strides forward with the set-up on his own CBR machine in today's two free practice sessions, but crashed early in Superpole, leaving him with a 12th place starting position on the grid.
Jonathan Rea - P5, 1m56.972s
I’m honestly quite happy as this is the fastest I’ve ever been around Aragon and we’ve made such a big step since last year. It was quite a perfect lap from me but we just didn’t have the out-and-out speed with a qualifier in. While I’m satisfied with my lap time, I’m not with my position. Looking at the track condition this morning, I expected a 56s would be good for front row, but the pace is quite fast. We worked a lot on our option tyres this morning and checked them again this afternoon. We’re still not seeing the high temperatures that we’d need to run the really soft tyre so tomorrow’s going to be a big tyre decision. Whether the sun comes out and heats the track or not, I’m quite satisfied with the set-up we’ve got. We need to work a little mo re on engine braking tonight, but I just need to make a really good start from row two and try to go with the guys in front of me on the grid.
Leon Haslam - P12, 1m58.376s
The last three crashes I’ve had have spun the bike from under me on fast, third or fourth-gear corners, which is kind of frustrating. We started off on the back foot here but we’ve made progress every session and the bike felt pretty good this afternoon. I was on target for a 57s lap on a race tyre, which is in the ball park, but I’m lucky the bike didn’t high-side me like it could’ve done. But this is something we definitely need to look into and solve for the future. My race pace is quite good, although tyre life is an issue for the cooler conditions, so we’ll re-assess that in morning warm-up and decide which tyre to go with. As far as the chassis is concerned, and the progressions we made electronically before the crash, I’m quite happy.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We can be quite pleased with Jonathan’s fifth place and his performances during the free practice sessions. His race pace looks quite strong and should give him the potential to fight for the podium, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Leon has been looking good all day after making some good steps forward, and he was fourth in the final session before Superpole. Unfortunately, he crashed and we’ll have to analyse the data in more detail to see exactly why. We’ll help him to re-discover his confidence in warm-up tomorrow and hope that he can have a good couple of races.
More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:
An unlucky Superpole for Canepa today at Motorland Aragon
Cloudy skies but a dry track at Motorland Aragon for the second day of practice and the second Superpole of the 2014 season. After the strong results achieved yesterday, team Althea Racing returned to the track this morning for the third and final timed practice session, key in terms of qualification for the Superpole. Unfortunately, despite improving by more than three tenths of a second, Niccolò Canepa, once again first among the Evo riders, closed in eleventh position, just missing out on direct entry to Superpole 2 that establishes positions on the front rows of the grid. Canepa therefore took part in Superpole 1, in which the quickest two riders progress to Superpole 2. Before the Superpole, Canepa participated in the free practice, working with his technicians to refine his 1199 Panigale. The Althea Racing rider closed sixteenth with a time of 2’00”597.
In Superpole 1, and with the soft tyre mounted, Canepa had recorded the second fastest time (2’59”255) but then just a few seconds from the session’s end Camier went eight thousands of a second quicker, thus excluding the Italian from Superpole 2. A real pity for the Althea Racing rider who has to be satisfied with a fifth row start for tomorrow’s two seventeen-lap races. The team has nevertheless worked well over these two practice days and has good race pace that could bring strong results tomorrow.
Niccolò Canepa: “We’ve worked a great deal over these two days because we know that our rivals would have improved and that’s what we saw today. It’s a shame about the grid position - I lost out on a fourth row spot by just eight thousandths of a second, but that’s racing. I’m nevertheless optimistic for tomorrow, as my race pace is good. It will be hard to keep up with the Superbikes, but I’ll do my best to be first among the Evo riders.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:
SOLID SUPERPOLE FOR VOLTCOM CRESCENT SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 12.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will start Sunday’s WSB races from the third row of the grid after another consistent showing within the top 10 at Motorland Aragon in Spain today.
Eugene Laverty suffered a turbulent morning after technical issues hindered his progress in the last timed free practice session, but the Irishman regrouped to put in a solid performance on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 leaving him eighth on the timesheets ahead of tomorrow’s two races.
Alex Lowes continued to improve on the Yoshimura-powered machine as his confidence with the Spanish track increased, finding two seconds from his Friday times. Lowes will round out the third row, lining-up next to his team-mate for his first European race of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.
A cooler day with intermittent light showers and a highest temperature of 20°C saw a number of riders struggle with the changeable conditions, as the teams evaluated tyre choice ahead of Sunday’s new-look early race schedule. Tom Sykes regained his Superpole chalice setting a time of 1’56.479.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is on track for the first Motorland Aragon race tomorrow at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST) with the second instalment scheduled for 13:10hrs local time (12:10BST).
“The most dramatic day of the year! It’s hard to be more dramatic than Phillip Island race day, but this seemed to be. We had problems with the bike smoking, so we were in and out of the pits. It seemed like the engine was fine, but we lost a lot of track time. The chassis feeling is much better than yesterday so that I can be happy with. Grid position, I usually like to be on those first two rows so it’s not ideal, but with a good start tomorrow on the Suzuki GSX-R I can try to go with them.”
“I think it’s obvious that we are struggling a little, but I made some big improvements today and I’m a lot closer than I was yesterday. It’s always hard work when it’s not quite going right and it’s a new track, but I’ll be alright. It’s obviously tomorrow that is important so we will keep working to be stronger for the races.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s tricky Aragon weekend continued today, but with some very positive signs that we are close to finding the solutions to allow the guys to run closer to the front. Alex has found two seconds on the race tyre compared to yesterday, and Eugene has also taken a significant step forward in speed and consistency. The qualifying laps weren’t as good as either rider might have hoped, but I think we will be a lot closer to the pace over race distance than we were over a single lap.”
More, from a press release issued by Alstare Bimota:
THE PROGRESS CONTINUES
The second day of the Motorland Aragon round of this year’s World Superbike Championship saw more progress by Team Bimota Alstare. Riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon carried on where they left off yesterday, working on getting to further understand the new Bimota BB3 and improving it in all areas. So far, no major problems have surfaced and the whole team are delighted by the progress being made. The hard work continues though and Ayrton, Christian and the team will not be happy until the bike is fully competitive. At the moment, Ayrton is just over two tenths of a second slower than the best EVO bike - encouraging news considering that today was only the second proper full day that the team have had with the bike.
Ayrton Badovini - 1:59.596, 15th overall, (4th EVO class)
“To be fifteenth quickest in this competition, on a bike that is new and hasn’t done many laps at all, is pretty good. I am happy because we are close in the hunt, but I am not happy with the bike on the qualifying tyre. With the Q tyre, the front was pushing a lot and I couldn't go as hard as I wanted to. With the race tyre though, I have a good feeling with the bike and so I am looking forward to the races tomorrow.
For me, today was a good surprise and to be only two tenths slower than the best EVO bike is pretty amazing. I went faster (on the race tyre) today than last year! Once again, we had no particular problems except those you would expect with a new bike.”
Christian Iddon - 2:01.102, 18th overall, (6th EVO class)
“My day began quite well , after a difficult start, took a bit of a downward turn later and ended with me being a little frustrated because I really thought I’d break into the 1:59s today. We had some small problems which prevented me from going faster. The bike was good in the fast turns, but I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted it to do out of the slow corners and that meant I could get into the 1:59s. The bike’s chassis is fantastic and all the ingredients are good, so I think it’s just a matter of patience and hard work and I am connfident that we will get there. Today was the first time I’ve ever used a qualifying tyre and the bike feels different than when it is on race rubber. It’s something that I’m just going to have to get used to - and quickly! Where we are now far exceeds the expectations we had before the weekend began and it feels good to know that there substantial improvements to come.”
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
“I am very satisfied with today and how things are going because this is really our first proper test of this new bike. The bike is very sound, the engine is very strong and today we had no big problems. There was a bit of difficulty with the qualifying tyres but this was our first time using them so there was a lot to learn and understand. At this stage, we’re making more progress than we thought and that has made our team spirit even stronger. Bimota Engineer Acquaviva is here this weekend and also Bimota’s vice-President, Daniele Longoni. They have been able to see, at first hand, how Alstare have developed the bike and also what (small) difficulties we have experienced so far. I think that they are surprised how quickly the team are progressing and they are both eagerly looking forward to next stages of this bike’s progress.”