Chaz Davies takes Aragon WorldSBK Race One Victory
With clear blue skies and warmer temperatures, the stage was set for another classic WorldSBK showdown as the grid headed out on the Sighting Lap for Race 1. Sykes got the best getaway from pole as teammate Rea also shot away from fifth on the grid, with the reigning Champion up into P3 behind Guintoli on the chase as Sykes led them away.
The two Ducatis of Davies and Giugliano set upon Rea as the three battled over third and Giuntoli and Sykes pulled away, however Davies soon pulled the gap back once free of the fight and with 15 laps remaining took the lead from Sykes, intent on taking another win in Aragón and adding to his tally as the most successful WorldSBK rider at MotorLand.
Chaz Davies – 1st
“In the beginning it wasn’t easy to fight in the group, but I gradually managed to climb back through the field and take the lead. Then, I simply tried to establish my own rhythm, progressively building a gap. I’m very happy, we’ve made a clear step forward in terms of power, for which I want to thank Ducati for the constant efforts to push development forward. We’ve been close to winning a few times already this year, and now we need to stay on this course. We can still improve before Race Two tomorrow.”
Jonathan Rea – 2nd
“I am satisfied because if you cannot win you should finish second. Today we did that at a track that has been really strong for Chaz in the past. In the beginning of the race I was still understanding the bike because the first time we had used our complete race set-up was in Superpole. I was learning in the early laps. This morning we went back to more like what we had before. Now we need a bit more grip and to improve things under braking for tomorrow. We can go back and understand my rhythm now and take things from there to make the bike even better. I know we can be closer tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes – 3rd
“I knew that one fast lap was easy from earlier in the day but I knew the race pace may be difficult. I was suffering a little bit with the balance, as it is not quite letting me do what I wanted to do. That means when the tyre drops I cannot keep the level I want to. I am also happy to be on the podium and we are blessed to still be able to do that even when it is not our best day. I just did not have enough to be able to close and make a pass on Jonathan at the end so that is something we need to work on but both Kawasakis seemed to be at a very similar level. We need to be stronger tomorrow and work hard again.”
Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden, who started 10th and 11th respectively after a crash for van der Mark in Superpole 2 led to Hayden needing to take avoiding action, both got away well and were in the thick of the action. Van der Mark sadly suffered a crash at with around 15 laps to go, leaving Hayden to go on the attack as he chased down the Yamaha of Guintoli and Ducati of Giugliano, with the American coming home in P6 at the flag.
Xavi Forés was the fastest home rider on his 1199 Panigale R and took the fight to fellow Ducati runner Davide Giugliano to clinch P4, with Jordi Torres also making fantastic progress up the grid and fighting his BMW into 7th place just behind Honda’s Nicky Hayden. GOELEVEN’s Roman Ramos also scored points at home after a great battle with Torres’ Althea teammate Markus Reiterberger, eventually taking 12th position.
Davide Giugliano – 5th
“Unfortunately, so far I’ve struggled more than I expected here in Aragon. It wasn’t an easy race, but the good thing is that we fought until the end, collecting a fifth place. It’s not the result I’m aiming for, but we still collected important points for the championship and have time to make adjustments and do better in Race Two. The technical upgrades brought here by Ducati are a further source of motivation, and I’m sure that we’ll manage to take full advantage of them.”
Nicky Hayden – 6th
“Things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked today. In qualifying, I was having a good lap before Michael crashed in front of me. Even though he was up and away, both he and the bike were still sliding on the track so I had to back off. I made a good start to the race and was feeling really good, but then I had too big a drop off in terms of grip, so maybe the tyre choice was not the best for today. Yesterday’s crash did not allow me to test different solutions, so we had to go with what we knew. We will try something different tomorrow morning and let’s see what race two will be like.”
Yamaha pairing Guintoli and Alex Lowes had mixed fortunes on the getaway, with Lowes dropping down the order after a difficult start and finding himself fighting back from just outside the top ten. Teammate Guintoli, after initially challenging race leader Sykes with impressive pace, then started to struggle slightly and dropped back slightly to 9th as Yamaha look to keep improving the all new YZF R1. Lowes had an impressive comeback to P8 at the chequered flag, keeping both bikes with a good haul of points.
Alex Lowes – 8th
“Today was a more positive day than yesterday and it’s clear that our outright pace is good after the performance in Superpole. We still need to work on keeping that pace over race distance, but everything is still very new. We’ve highlighted a few areas we can improve on for tomorrow and hopefully we can take a couple of steps in terms of keeping our pace up. It’s been a positive day and it’s important to remember that it’s still only the third race event of the year and we’re already proving the potential of the bike – with our qualifying result – is really high. We need to keep working hard but we’re hoping to make another step tomorrow, maybe not to win but to get closer to the front group!”
Sylvain Guintoli – 9th
“Today had some very good points, we managed to show that on new tyres and on the qualifying tyres there is a lot of potential in the YZF-R1. The lap time in qualifying was very good and then in the race we started very well. We are improving the feeling with the clutch and the starting procedure. I got a very good start in race one, had really good pace and felt comfortable and then from about lap four or five I started to lose a lot of grip from the rear and I just wasn’t able to stay with the front and keep my position. I did as much as I could but there were clearly some big imitations with the rear grip and it got worse through the race so I ended up in ninth. This is not where we want to be but we still showed potential and we know that every session and every race is information that we can use to gain experience to make the bike more efficient on longer runs, and to learn how to not overstress the rear tyre.”
Paul Denning – Yamaha World Superbike Team Director
“Eighth and ninth positions for our riders was frankly disappointing compared to the incredible turnaround that both the team and Sylvain and Alex made in qualifying. However, making very fast laps with new tyres and lots of grip is very different to making 18 laps and, of course, we are still behind our competitors in terms of experience and development time. The YZF-R1 is simply a fantastic motorcycle with absolute potential to be a World Championship contender and the only thing missing now is time. Time to refine the package, time to develop the hardware and the strategies and time bring the overall combination to the best level that it can be. We’ve now got race one under our belts with very clear information on where some improvements can be made in the short term and we’ll be starting at the race tomorrow with an absolute positive attitude and doing everything we can to have both riders fighting inside the top six.”
Josh Brookes finished 13th on the Milwaukee BMW. The only other BMW rider to do better than Brookes was Jordi Torres, the Spaniard finished seventh, 15-seconds in front of Brookes. The Australian battled Torres’ teammate, reigning IDM Superbike Champion Markus Reiterberger in the latter stages of the race but it was Brookes, the reigning British Superbike Champion that came out on top in that tussle.
Josh Hook retired from the race with five laps still to run. We are unclear as to whether this was because of a technical problems or due to injuries Hook sustained in pre-season testing at Phillip Island that kept him out of the opening rounds of the championship.
MV Agusta rider Leon Camier suffered a technical problem to end his first Race of the weekend at MotorLand early. With the Italian manufacturer having scored points in both Races in 2015 at the Aragonese track, that will surely be the goal for tomorrow. Aprilia duo Lorenzo Savadori and Alex De Angelis took their IodaRacing machines to two more points finishes in P10 and P11 respectively as the team look to keep improving in their first year in WorldSBK. De Angelis is recovering from recent surgery and will surely be encouraged by a good result in Race 1.
Michael van der Mark DNF
“It surely hasn’t been my best day. This morning I was feeling really good but then in Superpole, when I put my Q tyre on, I was exiting turn 7 and my front wheel was up in the air; as soon as it came back down I basically had no grip at all and crashed out. The boys did an outstanding job in fixing the bike in such a short time. I had a good start to the race and was able to ride with the front-runners, but straight away I felt I didn’t have the same level of grip I had in practice. I had to push a bit more with the front and this is why I crashed again at turn 5. It’s a big shame for today, because we had a chance for a very good result. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to redeem myself.”
Pirelli Aragon Round – Race 1 Results
- Chaz Davies (GBR) Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
- Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team +4.168
- Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team +4.948
Pirelli Aragon Round – Championship Standings After Race 1
- Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team 115
- Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki Racing Team 82
- Chaz Davies (GBR) Aruba.it Racing – Ducati 80
WorldSSP: Sofuoglu Clinches Pole in Tissot-Superpole Shootout
After watching the lap record fall in WorldSBK, Tissot-Superpole 1 got underway for the full European grid of the WorldSSP class at 11:30. After a crash on Friday with Glenn Scott that saw the Brit luckily escape with only a bruised hip, Kyle Ryde was first to top the sheets before local rider Nico Terol better his effort by hundredths. It was then Ukrainian Ilya Mikhalchik from the ESS class who took over, as the early half of the session seemed characterised by run offs. Terol and Italian rider Alex Baldolini then took control of the session. After another quicker lap from Terol that saw him take the top spot by almost half a second advantage, it was the number 88 and number 25 who then remained fastest to gain entry into Superpole 2.
With two riders from the FIM Europe Supersport Cup class making it into that second session, Axel Bassani and Alessandro Zaccone, Superpole 2 started with Cluzel as the benchmark after the French MV Agusta rider put in the best lap on Friday.
Reigning Champion Sofuoglu set the early benchmark, with teammate Krummenacher in P2 and Honda rider PJ Jacobsen just edging MV Agusta rider Jules Cluzel into P4 before the second push for pole began. With orange sectors for a lot of riders but Puccetti pair Sofuoglu and Krummenacher turning the screens red, it was the reigning Champion who put in the lap for pole and his Swiss teammate denying Jules Cluzel and PJ Jacobsen the chance of P2. Thailand race winner Cluzel did achieve P3 however, for another front row start as both he and Sofuoglu attempt to chase down Championship leader Krummenacher.
Aiden Wagner finished qualifying in 22nd place on the GRT MV Agusta F3 675.
Lachlan Epis qualified 32nd quickest on the Response Racing ZX-6R.
Glenn Scott took no part in proceedings after breaking both his tibia and fibia on Friday, the Australian likely to be out of action for some weeks.
Pirelli Aragon Round – Tissot-Superpole Results
- Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 1’54.000
- Randy Krummenacher (SUI) Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +0.830
- Jules Cluzel (FRA) MV Agusta Reparto Corse +0.844