There are very few certainties in the WorldSBK calendar – but a Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battle at MotorLand Aragon seems as close as you can get. In a repeat of last year’s Aragon Round, the two leading riders of the championship clashed sensationally in the final laps, with the Welshman avoiding a first Rea double of the season and taking his second win of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, and a record seventh around the Aragon bends.
Davies now moves into second place in the Championship standings, just 12 points away from Rea. Behind them, Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) completes the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati pursuit on 96 points, after taking third in the Spanish Race 2.
The race start was similar to yesterday’s affair. Again, it was Rea sticking amongst the Ducatis at the front, with the Panigale R showing incredible pace at the Alcañiz circuit. This time it was Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) and Melandri heading the early laps, with a calculating Rea waiting behind.
Just one mistake is enough for the reigning champion to pounce, and as it happened there were two. First a wobble from Melandri (his Ducati again looking very unstable) allowed Rea to move up to second. Fores, looking for his first win in front of his passionate local fans, held his provisional lead well under Rea’s pressure – until Lap 9, when his front-end gave in and left the Spaniard on the floor, leaving way for what seemed to be becoming a trademark Rea double.
But, with one Ducati rider leaving the leading group, in came another. Chaz Davies didn’t have the amazing start he did in Race 1, but quietly he benefitted from the action at the front to creep up to Rea and Melandri, picking off the Yamahas along the way. He was too far back to greatly trouble Rea in yesterday’s Race 1, his Superpole 2 slip a disadvantage too large to overcome. But on Sunday, with five laps to go and having already overcome his teammate, he got past the Northern Irishman. With the pair coming in close into the final lap and ready for a photo finish, Rea went wide in the middle sector, handing Davies a phenomenal win.
Behind them, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, the Dutchman unable to take advantage of his front row start despite leading in Lap 1.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) suffered a nightmare race off the grid, falling from third to eighth at the first turn, with Davies in ninth passing him shortly after. The Brit fought back to sixth at the checkered flag, but will be disappointed at his results throughout the weekend after two front-row starts.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) came in one better after his debut yesterday, finishing seventh and as the lead independent rider. Behind him Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) came back strongly from yesterday’s crash with Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Jordi Torres ending the race eighth and pleasing the home fans. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Savadori completed the top ten, in ninth and tenth respectively, with the other local rider Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) finishing eleventh.
“Lucky no.7! It was a good fight for it as well, really I dug in, I didn’t feel great in the early laps, I was trying to learn the bike. There was a lot going through my mind, I wanted to stake my time and stay patient. I had to force a lot of the passes, I am so glad to pull it off, lucky no.7 and roll on Assen.”
Jonathan Rea – P2
“I threw everything into the last lap but I overcooked it into turn 12. But it was fun! The set-up was pretty good, although I was struggling to stop a little bit after the rear tyre had dropped in grip; then I had reduced corner entry traction. It seemed like Chaz had the same thing but when he was making mistakes he could keep the same lap time. It seems like right now we have to be very precise all through the race, but I enjoyed it today. I had no information on how the race would pan out with the tyre choice we made, and the rise in temperature. I did not know what to expect at the end but I was really happy. I had some good tyre left and was still able to fight. Now we move onto Assen.”
Marco Melandri – P3
“It was very difficult, the speed is there but every time I tried to pass someone the bike is shaking so bad. On the last lap I tried to pass but the rear brake went down so I settled for third. Its a shame because I know I have the speed to fight for the win.”
Alex Lowes -P4
“The race was really tough for me! I struggled from the start and I was simply not fast enough. I said it yesterday, but today was the same, in as much as it was a case of just doing the best I can. I understood after 2 or 3 laps that I did not have the pace to fight for the victory so my target was to finish the rest of the race in the best position possible, make no mistakes, and ride as fast as I could till the end. That is, obviously, what you should do in every race but normally you have a little bit in reserve for when you want to pass people. To be honest, I didn’t really worry about anyone else and just tried to do the best I could. I realised Michael was struggling with the front near the end of the race and I managed to get past him after a nice little battle but, like I said, it was too far from the lead. It is not too important to me to finish in front of him when we are ten seconds from the front. Hopefully, next week in Assen, Michael’s home race, we want to be battling like that for the win!”
Michael van der Mark – P5
“I had quite a good start and then I took the lead in the first few corners but, to be honest, after the first few laps I didn’t feel comfortable with the front-end of my R1 and this was an issue for the whole race. I was leading the field but I felt too slow and one but one they passed me. I tried to stay with the front guys and tried everything I could but, in the end, I was riding right on the limit and then I missed a gear and missed quite a lot of time there as well. Towards the end of the race, I had another excellent battle with Alex which I really enjoyed, but to be fourth and fifth and 10 seconds behind the leaders is not where we have to be. Hopefully, for Assen, we can find a solution to the problem and make some good progress at my home race!”
Tom Sykes – P6
“I am really suffering with turning the bike and it is a shame. We are good in some areas but overall, in the long corners, I really suffered in turning and finishing off the corner. It is disappointing but I suppose it has been one of those weekends. We never got the answer and the race set-up. I am surprised at this because on Friday we had something but obviously everybody else has improved and we didn’t. I had some limit on the front tyre but overall we just missed a little bit of turning and I was not able to utilise the full grip from the rear tyre because of this. Today I could not get much more from myself and I am disappointed for this.”
#AragonWorldSBK at MotorLand Aragon: Race 2
Chaz Davies Ducati GBR 33’29.519
Jonathan Rea Kawasaki GBR 00’01.184
Marco Melandri Ducati ITA 00’04.584
Alex Lowes Yamaha GBR 00’10.251
Michael van der Mark Yamaha NLD 00’10.687
Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 00’13.729
Michael Ruben Rinaldi Ducati ITA 00’14.819
Jordi Torres BMW ESP 00’15.215
Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki TUR 00’19.812
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia ITA 00’20.272
Román Ramos Kawasaki ESP 00’25.604
Jake Gagne Honda USA 00’25.745
Leandro Mercado Aprilia ARG 00’27.973
Patrick Jacobsen Honda USA 00’28.469
Loris Baz BMW FRA 00’32.094
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 3
Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (114 points)
2. Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (102 points)
3. Marco Melandri (ITA) Ducati (96 points)
Cortese seizes debut win with dominant display at Aragon
Third time’s the charm for Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing), as the German made good of his first FIM Supersport World Championship Superpole to grab his first win. Only three races into his World Supersport career, he led his Yamaha back into first place after a poor start and dominated the latter two-thirds of the race, with only Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) endangering the German’s lead.
This is the first victory for Cortese since 2012, when he met the checkered flag in the penultimate race of his Moto3 championship-winning season. A huge win and a return to the podium, after missing out at the Chang International Circuit, moving now just four points away from defending champion Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who could only come in fourth. The Frenchman couldn’t keep up with the leading pace from the halfway mark and finished 5 seconds off the podium places.
Teammate Caricasulo was the only rider to give Cortese problems in the latter stages of the race, coming as close as two tenths of a second off the lead. Unable to make a pass, he eventually had to defend his position in the final laps from Jules Cluzel (NRT), who completed the podium.
Far behind the leading four, an electric battle for fifth position took place around the final laps at MotorLand Aragon, with the British pair of Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) just edging ahead of Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), returning to WorldSSP this weekend.
Previous championship leader and Thai race-winner Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) went down on Lap 4 and fell back to 27th position. The Swiss did manage to fight back to 11th, minimising damages and scoring what could end up being vital points at the year-end.
Raffaele de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) made a fantastic start, dashing off the line from the second row straight into first place by the first turn. The Italian was performing admirably with the MV Agusta amongst the front-group Yamahas, fighting for his first podium finish of the season, but an unfortunate technical issue put his race to rest halfway through. On the same lap, Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) crashed on Turn 7, completing a disastrous race for the MV Agustas.
Completing the top ten, it was Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in eighth, just creeping ahead of Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) in ninth, with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) making in in tenth place and as the first FIM Europe Supersport Cup rider.
Lachlan Epis rounded out the field in 24th place.
P1 – Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
“I am so so happy, I enjoy the moment. Yesterday was great already with the pole position, my first in WorldSSP and I felt from the first FP that we had a good speed. I knew the track and after the pole yesterday I started to think we on fight for the victory. I felt from the first lap that something is possible today, and I tried as soon as I could to say out of any fights and problems with Cluzel and Caricasulo. My plan was right and I tried to keep my speed up, I was just relaxed and happy about the whole weekend.”
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP at MotorLand Aragon – Race
Sandro Cortese Yamaha DEU 30’47.791
Federico Caricasulo Yamaha ITA 00’01.426
Jules Cluzel Yamaha FRA 00’01.639
Lucas Mahias Yamaha FRA 00’05.533
Kyle Smith Honda GBR 00’14.201
Luke Stapleford Triumph GBR 00’14.610
Sheridan Morais Kawasaki RSA 00’14.771
Niki Tuuli Honda FIN 00’18.507
Anthony West Kawasaki AUS 00’18.590
Rob Hartog Kawasaki NLD 00’20.108
Randy Krummenacher Yamaha CHE 00’21.180
Loris Cresson Yamaha BEL 00’30.046
Eemeli Lahti Suzuki FIN 00’37.478
Michael Canducci Kawasaki ITA 00’37.979
Stefan Hill Triumph GBR 00’45.001
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 3
Lucas Mahias (FRA) Yamaha (58 points)
2. Sandro Cortese (GER) Yamaha (54 points)
3. Randy Krummenacher (SUI) Yamaha (50 points)
Meuffels makes it a debut win at WorldSSP300 kickoff
Tom Edwards in the mix up front before crashing out
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) made his debut FIM Supersport 300 World Championship race one to remember, with a photo-finish win over fellow Dutch rider Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki) at MotorLand Aragon. Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) repeated his performance from last year with a third place finish, despite leading six out of the eleven laps.
The first race of the WorldSSP300 season showed all of the same hallmarks from last year, when the debuting category proved to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable competitions in all of motorsports.
Halfway through the race, a nine-strong group had formed at the front, with just about every rider taking the provisional lead at some point as the gap from first to ninth kept under one second.
That group remained together until the end, with the exception of sixteen-year-old Tom Edwards (Nutec-Benjan-Kawasaki) who crashed out with less than two laps to go. It ended up being a drag race finish to the line, with Meuffels edging out last year’s winner and poleman Deroue by three hundredths of a second.
Just missing out on the podium were Mykyta Kalinin (GP Project Team) in fourth, Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki) in fifth, and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), who led the second-most laps at MotorLand Aragon but comes away with just ten points, finishing in sixth. Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Junior Team) and Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) completed the runaway group in seventh and eighth, respectively.
P1 – Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team)
“I almost don’t know what to say, a big thanks to the team. They gave me the best bike today. My plan came together and I’m very happy.”
#AragonWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at MotorLand Aragon – Race
Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team)
2. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) +0.031
3. Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) +0.125
WorldSSP300 Championship Standings after Round 1
Koen Meuffels (NED) KTM (25 points)
2. Scott Deroue (NED) Kawasaki (20 points)
3. Mika Perez (ESP) Kawasaki (16 points)
STK1000 returns with Reiterberger victory
Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) recorded his second consecutive win in the European Superstock 1000 Championship in the inaugural race of the 2018 season. After closing last year on the top step of the podium at Jerez, the new season opened with a similar picture, the German making the best of his pole position to start to cross in first place.
It didn’t come easy for Reiterberger, however, with Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) getting past Reiterberger and controlling long stretches of the race. The Chilean was eventually overtaken by Reiterberger and nearly had his race spoiled by a technical failure, his bike momentarily coming to a near stop with just one lap to go. Scheib managed to make it to the end of the race in fourth position.
Accompanying Reiterberger on the podium were Roberto Tamburini (Barclaz Racing Team SA) in second and Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing) in third. The Italian pair were the only riders able to keep up with the frenetic pace displayed by Reiterberger and Scheib.
Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team), second here in last year’s race, crossed the checkered flag in fifth position, followed closely by Alessandro Andreozzi (SPEED ACTION) and Luca Vitali (Aprilia Racing Team). Reiterberger’s teammate Jan Buhn (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW), who started fifth on the grid, fell on the first corner of Lap 1 and, despite climbing back in the points, was forced to retire with one lap left.
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