Jonathan Rea’s race one victory at Aragon makes it five in a row for the Northern Irishman
Rea wins Saturday race after duel with Davies who crashed out late – Melandri and Sykes complete the podium
Following a brilliant 18 lap contest at the Pirelli Aragón Round Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) maintained his 100% record so far in 2017, taking full advantage of a late crash for Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), whilst Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the podium.
Rea made it five wins from five this year after putting pressure on provisional race leader Davies for most of the race, with Ducati’s Welsh rider crashing out at the penultimate turn of the penultimate lap. The victory puts Rea 47 points clear of Sykes at the head of the championship.
“I made the strongest race I could do. Chaz was strong in areas where I was not, and I was strong in areas where he was not, so it was a case of me learning a lot in the race. The stopping performance, direction change and grip conservation of the bike was really good today and I felt I still had a tyre to fight with at the end, but in the middle section of the track, where Chaz was just in the front, I could not maximise any time to try to go away out front.
“The only thing I could do in that race was ride shotgun and put as much pressure on as I could and wait for a mistake. The door opened up a few times because Chaz missed a few apexes but finally he went down in the penultimate lap. First of all I hope Chaz is OK but for me it was a perfect opportunity to win another race. It was going to be very difficult to win a last lap battle with him in that last sector where he was so strong. It is a crash-gifted win but I will take it because I felt I rode well.”
Chaz Davies – DNF
“After having missed FP1, we knew we were a bit behind in figuring things out so today I just wanted to do my race. I was trying to keep Rea at bay, passing him each time I had the opportunity to do so, but with five laps to go I started to feel that the bike was a bit more nervous and harder to manage in corner entry, and the weight was coming on and off the front.
“That’s what happened in the last corner, it locked without much warning and I lost the front. I was lucky to escape without injuries. Tomorrow we’ll try to get a good start and see if we can make our way to the front again. We want to win races”.
Melandri was another beneficiary of Davies’ unfortunate crash as he crossed the line in second, the Italian outpacing Sykes as the pair battled for prominence. Sykes’ third place in the race moves him up to second in the general standings.
Marco Melandri – P2
“It was a tough race, for sure. We expected warmer temperatures, which would have allowed us to use the softer rear tyre, but the grip level was much lower today and we all had to adapt, both with the electronics and riding style. Personally, I struggled with the front. I opted for the new development SC1 solution because I really liked it during practice, but I expected it to drop in a different way. I lacked grip at maximum lean angle, and early on it was really difficult for me to close the line in the fast corners. Still, a second place is a good result for us today. Of course, we’ll try to improve tomorrow as each race is a different story.”
Tom Sykes – P3
“Sometimes you get gifted things in racing but we were working hard. The start of my day was very bad because I woke up about 04.00 this morning with some kind of sickness and suffered in the race. I could not fuel the body for today, I could not eat and was almost not be able to drink anything. But in the race you always find a way around these physical things. In the wind I just suffered a little bit with the turning of the bike, so the rear traction was critical. Because the bike would not turn I was overstressing the rear tyre. From that point of view, tomorrow we will have another go. Hopefully my physical condition will be much stronger and the plan right now is to improve the set-up of the bike some more.”
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) secured an excellent fourth place finish, ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) who completed the top five.
Alex Lowes – P4
“I’m happy with the first race. Its always hard starting from 12th position, the first few corners are quite tight here and I wasn’t very confident after a little crash this morning because of the cold and the wind, so it took me a little bit to get going. We were a bit unlucky with Superpole so my first proper lap of the day was actually the first lap of the race. Once I got going I think I made a solid race, the bike was great and if we’d started from the front I think we would have had a chance to fight for the podium today. Anyway it was a good finish, my team did a really amazing job for me and well try again tomorrow.”
Michael van der Mark – P5
“I think of course you want to beat your teammate but it’s really positive that we are close together again. It was a nice race, we found a couple of tenths compared to yesterday which is good and finishing fifth and fourth is something really good for the team, it shows progress. Of course I’m not happy finishing fifth but I’m happy we are making good progress with the R1 and as I said yesterday I’m feeling so much better on the bike since the first time I came here to test. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we are both on the front row so it’s going to be really interesting.”
Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) was the best Spanish finisher in sixth, with Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) and Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) all in the top ten. Bradl did well for ninth after technical problems earlier in Tissot Superpole 2.
Eugene Laverty – P8
“It was a really tough race. P8 is more than I thought I’d get at one stage, but I managed to stay ahead of the group behind me and had a good fight with Bradl and Hayden. I struggled with the braking which made overtaking hard; I was able to use the Aprilia’s horsepower well on the straights, but the braking is something we need to address for Race 2. We’ve got time tonight and tomorrow to look at the bike and evaluate where we are missing out. If we can solve our issues from today then I’m confident we can deliver a stronger result on Sunday.”
Stefan Bradl – P9
“It was not an easy Saturday for us. For the first time this year I found myself battling out on track and I did have some fun with Laverty, but I was suffering a bit on the back straight as we had to use an old engine after a problem in Superpole 2. The setup still needs to be improved and there were several minor issues rather than one big one, but we can still work on them ahead of race two. The key areas are rear grip but we also need to find some more stability at the front. Starting from sixth place will be interesting for me as it’ll be a little bit closer to the front, with an opportunity to learn some more from the guys ahead.”
Nicky Hayden – P10
“We made a good change for Superpole 1 and I immediately felt much happier with the bike. A 50.9s lap-time with race tyres was definitely not bad but unfortunately I wasn’t able to lap much faster with the qualifier. I got a good start in the race but I found myself baulked entering turn one, so I lost some positions. The bike was working OK in some areas but I was struggling a little with turning. I caught up there with Eugene and Stefan and I thought I could have won that battle, so that I could start closer to the front tomorrow. I went back and forth with the Stefan on the last lap: I did get in front of him, then I thought I had a chance at Eugene but Stefan passed me again on the back straight. Obviously, we’re not too happy with tenth place but we’ll keep working and see what we can do tomorrow.”
Ayrton Badovini (Grillini Racing Team) retired early in the race due to a technical problem with his Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) was forced to stop in the final stages due to a technical problem which caused his Ducati Panigale R to catch fire. It was an disappointing end to Fores’ race after he had remounted and battled on having crashed early on when fighting for fourth with Sykes at turn 1.
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was 11th and Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team) did well for 12th after starting from pit lane due to an issue before the race.
WorldSBK 2017 – Aragon – Superbike Race One Results
- Jonathan Rea Kawasaki
- Marco Melandri Ducati +4.058
- Tom Sykes Kawasaki +7.512
Championship Standings after Race One – Round Three
- Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (125 points)
- Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki (78 points)
- Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (70 points)
WorldSSP: Determined Jacobsen grabs pole ahead of Sofuoglu
A focused performance in Tissot Superpole 2 from PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) gave the American rider his second pole position of 2017, with World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) returning to action to qualify second. The front row of the grid was completed by South African rider Sheridan Morais of the Kallio Racing team.
Jacobsen put in an excellent 1’54.948 lap on his MV Agusta F3 675 machine, to repeat his pole triumph from Australia at Round One. However Sofuoglu will be aiming to prevent Jacobsen from taking more poles as the season progresses and he steps up his title defence, having returned to action from his pre-season hand injury to qualify in a highly respectable second place – by a +0.061s deficit from P1.
It was a story of fine margins for Morais too, as he slotted in behind the front two on his Yamaha YZF-6R, trailing Jacobsen by just +0.09s.
Heading row two and +0.257s off pole was Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini), who will have Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) lining up alongside him in fifth.
SP1 saw Mahias and Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) take the top two slots to move through to SP2. Rolfo suffered a light crash at the end of SP2 but had already secured sixth place on the grid.
There were also crashes late in the SP2 session for Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) at turn 2 and Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) at turn 14, with the Finnish and Japanese riders ending up seventh and eighth respectively. Behind that pair is Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in ninth, just over a second off pole pace.
On the fourth row are Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing), his fellow Italian Alessandro Zaccone (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Englishman Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven).
In SP1 a crash for Anthony West following a technical issue at turn 13 brought out the red flag after oil was left on track. The incident saw West slide into the gravel, with his Yamaha YZF R6 catching fire, the Australian ending up at the back of the grid as a result. The session resumed after the oil spill was dealt with by the Aragon marshals.
Aiden Wager qualified 22nd on the Lorini Honda while Lachlan Epis will start from 27th.
The WorldSSP race at MotorLand Aragon round takes place at 11.30am local time on Sunday.
Pole Position – PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)
“I am absolutely happy with this second pole position. All the MV Agusta team did a very good job today and I can’t thank them enough. The only little problems today were the wind as is was too strong, and the tyres, but in the end I had a very positive feeling on by bike and I was able to close in pole position. The main target for tomorrow is win the race or at least get the podium, so I can bridge the gap with the top riders and get back in the fight for the championship.”
WorldSSP Tissot-Superpole 2
- PJ Jacobsen (USA) MV Agusta 1.54.751
- Kenan Sofuoglu (TUR) Kawasaki 1.55.676 (+0.061)
- Sheridan Morias (RSA) Yamaha 1.55.599 (+0.090)
MotorLand Aragon took the honours as the first round of the 2017 season for the European Superstock 1000 season, and the riders are already split by thousandths of a second in Spain.
Under the sunny skies, Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) took pole position with 1.52.245 in the closing seconds of the qualifying practise, ahead of Maximillian Scheib (Nuova M2 Racing), despite Scheib leading in the closing stages.
Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team) completes the front row, with a lap time of 1.52.626.
Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) will sit behind his team-mate on the grid, starting from the front of the second row.
With the top eight split by one second the STK1000 race is bound to be a close one, with inner team battles also being included in the battles. Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team-mates Roberto Tamburini and Florian Marino will start from fifth and sixth respectively, despite Tamburini crashing at turn two in the closing seven minutes of the session.
Toprak Razagtlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) takes on the front of the third row, ahead of Illia Mykhalchyk (Triple M Racing), who are both just over a second off the pole position time of 1.52.245.
Australian Glenn Scott qualified 29th on the Agro On-Benjan Kawasaki.
With over six competitive manufacturers and some stunning racing action promised at the Pirelli Aragon Round, anticipation builds ahead of the debut STK1000 race, at 15:15LY (+2 GMT).
WorldSSP300: Deroue secures inaugural WorldSSP300 pole
Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) will be the rider on pole for the first race of the new World Supersport 300 series on Sunday, after the Dutchman headed Tissot Superpole 2 at MotorLand Aragon. Deroue made it through from SP1 to take pole with a 2’12.712 best time, with Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) and Mykyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING) also qualifying on the front row.
Spaniard Perez lapped +0.219 behind Deroue, with Ukrainian rider Kalinin also going through from SP1 to register a best time +0.696 off P1.
The second row will feature two more Spaniards Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) and Borja Sánchez (Halcourier Racing) who qualified fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching Dutchman Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) in fifth.
Meanwhile wild card Marc Garcia made it four Spanish riders in the top seven to head row three, in front of two Italians – Giuseppe De Gruttola (SK Racing) and Paolo Grassia (3570 Made in CIV), who were eighth and ninth.
Gabriel Noderer (Scuderia Maranga Racing) and Armando Pontone (IODARacing) were ten and eleventh respectively, whilst Harun Cabuk (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) crashed and ended up at the bottom of the Tissot Superpole 2 timesheet, therefore qualifying 12th.
Troy Bezuidenhout (Team Toth) was an early crasher in SP1, with Avalon Biddle (Sourz Foods – Benjan Racing) and Ruben Doorakkers (MVR Racing) also suffering accidents in the session, though without significant consequences.
The first race of the new World Supersport 300 class takes place at 2.20pm local time (GMT +2) on Sunday at the MotorLand Aragon track.
Pole Position – Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki)
“It feels good, the first Superpole was quite difficult there was a bit of rain so it was quite difficult so we didn’t know how much to push but the second one had no rain and the Kawasaki feels really good. I had a good slip stream and it as an amazing lap so I’m really happy to have the first pole position in the new class so it feels really good.”
WorldSSP300 Tissot-Superpole 2
- Scott Deroue (NED) Kawasaki 2.14.247
- Mika Perez (ESP) Honda 2.14.017 (+0.219)
- Mykyta Kalinin (UKR) Yamaha 2.14.408 (+0.696)