Friday’s WSBK Aragon activity drew to a close with the Kawasaki Racing Team leading the way. 2013 World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes topped the standings until the final minute of today’s second session, when he was displaced by current championship leader Jonathan Rea. Rea goes into FP3 tomorrow with a margin of 0.145s over his team-mate, who managed to hang on to second overall.
Jonathan Rea #65 – Kawasaki Racing Team – 1st – “This is the first event that we have to all use the new electronics so we had a few things to sort out. We have made a good step and surely we will try something more in the third free practice session. We are looking quite good and I think that if we have a good feeling in the Tissot-Superpole then for sure I will push for the best placement on the grid. It would be nice to get three pole positions in a row but our focus has to be the two races, which I still expect to be really close.”
Tom Sykes #66 – Kawasaki Racing Team – 2nd – “Today was not my best day to be honest. I woke up this morning at 5am and I immediately realised something was not right. Despite this we worked really hard and we knew we could have been fast given our previous tests here. We are definitely heading in the right direction with the bike. I wasn’t able to get down to business properly but the results are encouraging anyway. All I wish now is to drink a good cup of tea and an early night. Hopefully I’m feeling better tomorrow.”
Chaz Davies, fastest this morning on his Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team machine, improved to remain third in the combined standings ahead of his team mate – and new substitute rider for the injured Davide Giugliano – Xavi Fores, who finished an impressive fourth on his 2015 debut (+0.766s).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 3rd (1’51.582) – “This morning went well and I felt that I could lap fast but then this afternoon the grip dropped off and I didn’t really get the feedback that I want from the bike here at Aragón. I know I can go faster, it’s just a case of finding the right setting, we’re not there yet although it’s doesn’t look bad on paper. We still have work to do, but overall it’s been a positive day. We’ll take a good look at the data this evening and then tomorrow try to develop some of the ideas we’ve got. I’m confident that we can do more…”
Javier Forés – (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #112) –4th (1’52.000) – “We’re going quite well, considering it’s only the first day – I hope we can continue in this direction. I haven’t ridden the Ducati for a few months, since the IDM concluded last season, and so I’m pleased with how these first sessions have gone. This morning I already found good pace and the work we completed at Misano helped me find a good feeling that I’ve had again here today at Aragón. I like to remain optimistic; we need to continue to work calmly, as the level here is very high, but I would of course like to thank the team by completing a good weekend’s work and two good races on Sunday…”
Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) made the biggest improvement, moving up to fifth place (+0.862s) as he edged Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), sixth with a second gap to the top.
Leon Haslam: “I spent the morning trying to adapt, especially because I am riding the RSV4 here at Aragon for the first time, whereas many of my rivals already have some test sessions under their belts on this track. The guys did a great job before the FP2 sessions where I was able to improve by a second and a half straight away. We’re moving in the right direction and we aren’t far off, but we need to improve more in order to do our best tomorrow and especially on Sunday.”
Team Suzuki used the first free practice as an exploratory session for the new Magneti Marelli electronics, Lowes completed 11 laps of the Spanish circuit, re-entering the pits twice and spending half of the 45-minute session working in the garage with his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team. Returning to the track for the closing minutes, the British racer seemed much-more comfortable with his GSX-R1000, setting a 1’52.638 on his final revolution to finish the morning in third position.
The team’s development and investigation continued in a similar vein for the afternoon as Lowes completed the day’s 22 laps, improving on his earlier time to finish sixth with a 1’52.309 and positive of more to come as the weekend progresses.
Alex Lowes:“We always knew it was going to be a difficult weekend with the brand-new electronics and we ran the whole day without the traction control but it’s been good. I’m very optimistic that if everything works we are going to be competitive again it’s just a case of when, whether it’s tomorrow, the next day or the next round we don’t know. We have a lot of work to do and we’ve hardly done any laps today so we’re feeling very much on the back foot and it’s testing really for us but we’ll do what we can and keep moving forward to achieve the results.”
The final places inside the top ten were taken by Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was 1.324s behind Rea, Althea Racing’s Nico Terol, reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), who also improved late in the session and local rider Jordi Torres, who powered his Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils RSV4 RF to tenth position overall.
Michael van der Mark – P7, 1m52.558s – “I’m quite positive for today, in the first session I felt happy but for the second session we made some good changes and I improved my lap time. We have much to improve on but for today I’m happy. Tomorrow I think we will try a few more different options and hopefully again improve the lap times, and we will have a long run for a race simulation.”
Sylvain Guintoli – P9, 1m52.617s – “We have been working very hard to try and improve our pace this morning, this afternoon we found a new way with engine braking, which is positive so we’re trying to make this more efficient. Tomorrow we will try and improve again our performance and try to close the gap at the front. I’m confident we’re getting there and tomorrow we’ll work on race distances.”
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) elevated himself to 12th place in his last quick-lap attempt before the chequered flag and finished behind fellow Italian rider Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Team Ducati).
Free Practice 3 is scheduled to take place at 9:55am local time tomorrow and is the last chance for the riders to make it into the afternoon’s Tissot-Superpole, courtesy of being inside the top-20 at the end of the next 45 minutes. The first ten riders will be seeded directly in the second session.
WorldSBK MotorLand Aragon – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
J. REA GBR Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.234 26
T. SYKES GBR Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.379 0.145 31
C. DAVIES GBR Ducati Panigale R 1’51.582 0.348 31
X. FORES ESP Ducati Panigale R 1’52.000 0.766 31
L. HASLAM GBR Aprilia RSV4 RF 1’52.096 0.862 24
A. LOWES GBR VOLTCOM Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’52.309 1.075 22
M.VD MARK NED PATA Honda CBR1000RR SP 1’52.558 1.324 30
N. TEROL ESP Ducati Panigale R 1’52.940 1’52.607 1’52.607 1.373 32
S. GUINTOLI FRA PATA Honda CBR1000RR SP 1’53.015 1’52.617 1’52.617 1.383 31
R. RAMOS ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’55.656 1’55.205 1’55.205 3.971 24
J. ALVIZ ESP Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’58.348 1’56.462 1’56.462 5.228 30
I. TOTH HUN BMW S1000 RR 1’57.807 1’57.230 1’57.230 5.996 33
L. PEGRAM USA EBR 1190 RX 1’59.107 1’57.904 1’57.904 6.670 25
G. RIZMAYER HUN BMW S1000 RR 1’59.435 1’58.841 1’58.841 7.607 27
Supersport – PJ Jacobsen leaves it late to take top spot on first day of action
After two 45-minute practice sessions under the Spanish sunshine, PJ Jacobsen (Intermoto Ponyxpres Kawasaki) heads the World Supersport field into tomorrow at the head of the times, courtesy of his MotorLandAragon lap of 1.54.413s. The 21-year-old from Montgomery, New York, left it until the final two minutes to displace Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who was the quickest in the morning’s session.
Jacobsen, who improved his FP1 time by 1.5s, heads into tomorrow’s last free practice session with a slender advantage over Sofuoglu (+0.272s) and Jules Cluzel, (+0.302s) third aboard his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine.
Current World Championship leader Ratthapark Wilairot powered his CORE Motorsport Thailand Honda to fourth overall on the combined classification (+0.701s) ahead of Gino Rea (CIA Insurance Landlords Honda) and Kyle Smith (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), who overcame a technical issue mid-session to move into sixth with his last flying lap of the session (+1.205s).
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