Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had mixed feelings about his bike throughout Friday and the Saturday Superpole, but in Race 1 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Round Three he put to bed any worries he or his team may have had with a dominant performance at MotorLand Aragon. The reigning champion increases his lead to 14 points now, after Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) could only come in fourth.
The race was red flagged after three laps, after a collision involving Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia). The Honda rider was immediately taken to the medical centre for evaluation, while Torres and Savadori exited the track on their own feet, although the Spaniard could not make the restart in time.
Before the incident, a wild start had completely turned over the starting grid for Race 1. Poleman Marco Melandri moved down to fifth in lap one, with Rea taking the lead ahead of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), up from fifth.
Behind them, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) had made an extraordinary start, coming through from 11th to 4th in just one lap, and beating Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) on the next lap to move into provisional podium positions.
After the restart, it was Rea again at the top, leading the first half of the new race bar one lap from Lowes. The champion later found himself under pressure from Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), who made his move over the Northern Irishman with just nine laps to go, taking the lead in front of his home fans. But, ultimately, Rea found his moment a couple of laps later, racing away from the Spaniard and taking his second win of the season.
The final laps displayed an extraordinary three-way Ducati fight for the podium, between Fores, Melandri, and Davies, up the field again. With Melandri going long with two laps to go, it was a fantastic race to the finish between Davies and Fores, exchanging places throughout the final lap and with the Welshman just squeezing ahead at the checkered flag.
Behind them, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fifth, leaving him in a promising position for Race Two. The British pair of Sykes and Lowes followed in sixth and seventh, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) taking a good eighth position on his WorldSBK debut.
At the back, a thrilling battle emerged for ninth, and thus a privileged starting position in tomorrow’s Race Two. At the end, it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who came in ahead of the pack, with three more riders less than a second away.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“These track conditions suited us perfectly today. The tyres worked well in these weather conditions. I managed to find a good rhythm and I was confident, especially at the end of the race, when I knew we would be strong. I saw this race as our chance from the start. I thought that all the cards were on our side, so I just tried to be clean. I made a couple of little mistakes, and when Xavi Fores came past me it more about trying to understand where he was strong, and then improve. Mid corner, I feel like our bike is a little bit stronger. So all that first section of the track, where it is more flowing, I felt really strong. I am enjoying riding the bike.”
Chaz Davies – P2
“It was a good race. To start from 11th isn’t ideal but I made two good starts and took my time to let the race come to me. Eventually, I just started pressing a little bit more and got closer to Marco and Xavi. I was struggling to find an opportunity but I put it together in the end. It was a fun battle with them in the last lap. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent with the bike today but I learned a lot. We’ll try to put it to good use and come out swinging tomorrow.”
Xavi Fores – P3
“It was a funny race overall, we had a good fight overall with Jonny, Marco and Chaz. At the end I was struggling in the last four laps so I was pushing hard to defend the second place, but on the last lap Chaz overtook me on the rear straight. Anyway it was a good result because yesterday I felt bad with the bike in these conditions, but I am happy with this result and I look forward to tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri – P4
“Today’s race was a bit complicated. In the beginning I was struggling in some areas, while in the end I was faster. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to pass effectively. Each time I crossed lines with Forés, the bike was moving a bit and I couldn’t finish the move. I had a big wobble coming out of the last corner in the penultimate lap, which penalized me while braking into turn 1. It’s unfortunate, because our potential is higher, so I’m keen to bounce back on the podium tomorrow.”
Michael van der Mark – P5
“First of all, I was really happy with Superpole! We seemed to struggle this year and last year with qualifying and today we gained a lot with the qualifier and I finished the session in sixth, which I was quite happy with. We reduced the gap significantly to the guys at the front and I was close to Alex, so I was really happy with that. For the first race, I had a good start but missed my braking point into Turn 1, ran wide and I was coming back through the field when the red flag came out. After the red flag, in the restarted race I had a slight issue when back-shifting so, it was difficult. I had a really good start but then I had to find a way to ride the bike to manage the issue. With this problem, we must be really happy to have finished in P5 but we will fix the issue for tomorrow and then I hope we can fight for the podium!”
Tom Sykes – P6
“A strange race and I am obviously disappointed but I am struggling in some places. When I get in a group I have so much potential in a lot of areas of the track, but I find myself running into the back of other riders. It looks like we are taking a lot of good things from our chassis. We have worked hard and we are taking the best from our bike set-up. But we are giving away too much in acceleration. So many times our corner entry and speed is very good but we cannot get out of the turns as well. Even in the slipstream, on this very, very long straight downhill, I can only start to keep the same speed in the last 50 to 100 metres. It takes all that time to build up our speed. With a few laps to go I got a little bit of clear track and made a 1’51.6 lap time. On the lap before I was on the back of another rider and I was one second slower. Jonathan has done a good job. I think the secret for me now is to try to keep towards the front because the moment you have three bikes in front and couple behind, when I try to line up the guy in front I get passed by the guy behind. We need to really try to understand that now and not let it affect us.”
Alex Lowes – P7
“My starts and the opening laps have been something I have struggled with so far this year. Today I got two go’s at them and I did them both quite well, unfortunately, that is where the positivity ends because the race was quite tough. I don’t really know why, but after the first few laps, I started to struggle with chatter on corner entry that was catching me out quite a lot and didn’t allow me to ride the bike the way I wanted. I went into damage limitation mode from there on in, tried to be as consistent as could, focused on not making mistakes, and tried to get the bike to the end. It was a tough race but it was the best I could do so we will have a look with the guys and try again tomorrow. In general, I am really strong at the end of the races, today I was strong at the start, so let’s try to improve the problem I had today and fill the bit in-between! If we can do that, we shouldn’t be too far away from the top guys tomorrow!”
WSBK 2018 – Aragaon – Race One Results
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki GBR 31’38.578
Chaz Davies Ducati GBR 00’01.450
Xavi Fores Ducati ESP 00’01.473
Marco Melandri Ducati ITA 00’06.108
Michael van der Mark Yamaha NLD 00’08.932
Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 00’09.450
Alex Lowes Yamaha GBR 00’09.985
Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati ITA 00’19.303
Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki TUR 00’26.081
Román Ramos Kawasaki ESP 00’26.325
Loris Baz BMW FRA 00’26.571
Jake Gagne Honda USA 00’26.858
Davide Giugliano Aprilia ITA 00’27.219
Yonny Hernandez Kawasaki COL 00’28.340
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia ITA 00’28.400
WSBK Championship Standings
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki GBR 94
Marco Melandri Ducati ITA 80
Chaz Davies Ducati GBR 77
Xavi Fores Ducati ESP 76
Alex Lowes Yamaha GBR 57
Michael van der Mark Yamaha NLD 56
Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 53
Leon Camier Honda GBR 42
Loris Baz BMW FRA 26
Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki TUR 25
Román Ramos Kawasaki ESP 18
Eugene Laverty Aprilia GBR 16
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) ran a superb lap to grab his first pole in 6 years at Round Three of the FIM Supersport World Championship. The German rider has not started from the front since the penultimate race of his Moto3 title winning season in 2012, but a consistent performance throughout the session also grants him his first front row start this year.
Pole position – Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
“I am really happy, finally I got the pole position after being so close the last two rounds. I felt comfortable and I know the track so I am happy, I was also surprised when I saw 53.5 because from the first laps we were on the .54s but we were on the limit and it’s very important for tomorrow to start from the first row.”
Behind him, Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was very close to recording a third successive Superpole this season, denied the chance to lead the grid by just two hundredths of a second. He will be happy about his placement however, as title rival and co-leader Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) could only come in fifth.
Between them, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) was agonisingly close to beating both his teammate and Cortese, with the Italian just 0.081 off the German’s best lap.
Leading the second row on the grid will be Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) with the first non-Yamaha bike, with the row completed by Jules Cluzel (NRT), who couldn’t follow up a promising performance in the free practices with a front row start.
Debutant Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), stepping in for five-time champion Kenan Sofuoglu as he recovers from injury, will lead the third row from seventh, ahead of Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) and Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag).
Anthony West qualified 15th while countryman Lachlan Epis will start from 27th on the grid.
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP at MotorLand Aragon: Tissot-Superpole 2
1. Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
2. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.022
3. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) +0.081
Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) opened the curtains for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship with a stunning best lap around the Alcañiz circuit. The Spaniard was the only rider to beat 2’08 on the day, and finished 0.791 seconds ahead of Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki) in second place. As such, Sunday’s race will see an inverted grid from last year’s race, when Deroue took pole ahead of Pérez.
Pole Position – Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
“I am really happy to secure the first Kawasaki pole position. Yesterday was a really tough day, we had a lot of problems with the track conditions but the bike an team did a great job. I want to thank my team and sponsors, and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Behind them and completing the four Kawasakis at the front were Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), confirming that both teammates are strong contenders for this year’s crown. Loureiro beat Carrasco by a mere four hundredths of a second, just after the Spaniard had momentarily moved into third.
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) came in fifth with the first KTM, followed by fellow Dutchman Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki) in sixth, one place down from where he started last year.
Daniel Valle (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), who came in second last year, could not make it through the Superpole 1 and will start from sixteenth. The two riders who did make it through the first round were Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team), who will start twelfth, and Filippo Rovelli (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), who made it through in ninth.
Australian teenager Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan – Kawasaki), the fastest rider across yesterday’s practice sessions, crashed in his final lap and will start from tenth after clocking a best time of 2m10.031 in Superpole. Edwards’ speed though is faster than that Superpole time indicates as he recorded a 2m08.752 during the free practice sessions, which is the third quickest time of the weekend thus far overall.
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at MotorLand Aragon
1. Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team)
2. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) +0.791
3. Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) +0.986
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