These previews just in:
The Superbikes return to Aragon as Team SBK Ducati Alstare prepares to embark on the European tour.
Tuesday 9 April 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare and riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini are all set to continue their quest in this weekend's second round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship, taking place at MotorLand Aragón in Spain.
Round 1 of the 2013 championship concluded over a month ago at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia but the opening event unfortunately did not go smoothly for either rider. Ayrton could not participate in the races due to a foot fracture and Carlos' fall in race one prevented him from taking part in the second race - he too came away from Australia with a fractured foot and both riders have spent time recuperating in recent weeks.
The upcoming Aragón round therefore provides a clean slate for both Checa and Badovini who, unable to show their potential at Phillip Island, will both be doing their utmost to prove themselves this weekend.
2012 marks the Superbikes third visit to ?La Ciudad del Motor de Aragón. Checa's ?home' track, the local rider was honoured when circuit organisers dedicated a corner to him, turning the third corner of the track into ?curva Carlos Checa'.
Carlos has reached the podium on two occasions, scoring a third place finish in both 2011 and 2012 while Ayrton's best finish at Aragón to date was eighth place in 2011.
"Physically speaking I'm more or less OK. I still can't really go cycling or running but I've been training at the gym and don't expect to have any real trouble riding the bike. I feel strong from a mental point of view too, I'm ready for the next races.
Until we're there on track I can't really make predictions. We'll start with our base set-up and then, once I'm on the bike we'll see what we need to do - it always depends on the conditions, levels of grip, the tyres and their consumption... I was in Aragón last week to see the development team that was testing; they worked a lot on the electronics, that are working well, and with the antispin. We can't do those kind of tests during a race weekend as they're time-consuming and we only have one bike of course, so the work that they've done during testing should give us some useful information, useful parameters. In Aragón I hope to be able to continue to improve, both in terms of the bike and myself.'
Checa's Superbike form at Aragón:
2012: Race 1- 3rd, Race 2 - 7th
2011: Race 1- DNF, Race 2 - 3rd
"At the gym I've concentrated on working on my upper body and my arms because I can still do very little as far as my legs are concerned. At the start it was very risky to put weight on my foot and so I was on crutches until a few days ago. Now I can walk quite well, and navigate stairs etc. but I don't yet have full mobility of my foot. I've worked with the Clinica Mobile staff, we've tried putting on my boot, assuming the riding position and nothing really hurt so I don't expect to have any real problems riding - it shouldn't be too bad on the footpeg.
Regarding Aragón, it's a track that I enjoy. In this case it's an advantage for me that it's not a very physical track, so I have chance to rest a bit, and that it fortunately won't be very hot. We still have the issue of the two straights of course so we'll be working to compensate for that, but I'm feeling positive.'
Spain - Motorland Aragón.
12th - 14th April 2013
2nd of 15 race weekends
Munich/Milan, 9th April 2013. Almost seven weeks have passed since the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team kick-started its 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship campaign with a podium at Phillip Island, Australia. The world championship now returns to Europe for the second round of the season, which takes place next weekend (12th to 14th April) at "Motorland Aragón" in the northeast of Spain.
Works rider Marco Melandri (ITA) was, through no fault of his own, involved in a crash in the first race of the season-opener, before finishing third to claim a place on the podium in race two. He currently lies fifth in the Riders' Championship on 16 points. His new team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) finished fourth at the first attempt in his maiden race on the BMW S 1000 RR. The Brit then came home 17th after a crash in the second race. He goes into the second race weekend of the year tenth in the overall standings on 13 points. BMW is second in the Manufacturers' Championship with 29 points.
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team used the long break after the opening event of the season to complete further tests. The team travelled to Jerez, Spain, for a series of tests in March and last week. The squad spent a total of four days working on further optimising various aspects of the RR. At the first Jerez test, Chaz was on his own while Marco recovered from an operation on his shoulder, which he underwent after the race at Phillip Island. At the second test, both Chaz and Marco rode. Both riders have fond memories of Aragón: Marco claimed a win and a second place there last year, setting the fastest lap time in both races. Chaz finished third there to make his first appearance on the FIM Superbike World Championship podium.
The 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup also gets underway at the "Motorland Aragón" race weekend. The BMW Motorrad GoldBet Team will line up with reigning champion Sylvain Barrier (FRA) and new team member Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) as it looks to defend its title. This season, the team will be equipped with the new BMW HP4 for the first time.
Aragón from the rider's point of view:
"I am looking forward to be in Aragón. I am very optimistic. For sure it will not be an easy race, but I am confident that I have fixed the shoulder problems I suffered from. I don't feel hindered anymore when riding, even if I am still lacking resilience. We worked a lot after the Australian round in order to close the gap to Aprilia and we have done a very good job.
I like Aragón; it is a great track. It is a very technical and fast circuit. It will be the ideal venue to verify the work we have done. My only wish is that we finally will have good weather."
"Aragón is one of the best tracks in the calendar, a great venue and one to look forward to. The circuit offers a good mixture of everything. You have uphill and downhill sections, short corners and fast corners. It is difficult to set the bike up as the circuit varies so much. In addition, it will be different to ride there compared to last year as we are racing there three months earlier. That changes a lot, temperature-wise, which has an effect in some areas like how much grip you have.
Aragón is a special place for me because back in 2011 I won there in Supersport which was quite unexpected and last year it was the venue of my first podium finish in the Superbike World Championship. With that in mind, I know Aragón works well for me and I am excited to go there. The positive results from last week's test in Jerez also make me confident. We will push straight away from Friday morning on and hopefully on Sunday we will see the results."
Aragón from a technical point of view:
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"We are looking forward to Aragón with a lot of interest. After the test completed in Jerez last week, we are now eager to see the result of the hard work carried out by the whole race and R&D team in Italy and Germany on this different track - where we have won in the past but where our competitors are very strong. We are still sweating remembering the thrilling races we had there last season.
The circuit in Aragón offers a bit of everything. It has tight corners, fast and flowing sections, hard braking and a long straight where we will be able to get the best from our powerful BMW engine. It is a demanding track for the tyres because the asphalt is abrasive, and also a demanding track for the riders because of its unique characteristics. To find the right bike set-up will be an exciting challenge, especially considering that the weather conditions could be cooler than in the past as the race has been moved from summer to the middle of April. After such a long break we are all looking forward to some nice action on the track and we are confident that our riders will be in the thick of the action in this fantastic show we call World Superbikes!"
Aragón from a sporting point of view:
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"Aragón is the first European race after a long break and will also be the opening race for the Superstock team. The results from last week's Superbike test in Jerez and the Superstock test in Aragón were really positive. In addition, Marco has no pain to his shoulder after testing and Chaz' feeling with the RR is getting better and better with each outing. Both of our works riders got positive results last year in Aragon, and even if Marco will not be one hundred per cent fit, we are still really confident. We'll do our best from the very beginning of the weekend to get the best possible results."
Release Date: Tuesday 9 April 2013
Intense Spanish preparation for Rea and Haslam
Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon have completed their preparations for round two of the 2013 World Superbike championship to be held at Motorland Aragon this weekend (12-14 April).
The British duo tested their CBR1000RRs at the 5.344km Spanish circuit for three days last week but opted for an additional test this week to further develop the new electronics system that has been introduced to their machines for the 2013 season.
The second Spanish test took place at the Alcarras circuit, 175km to the west of Barcelona, with both riders finishing their riding duties today before heading back to Aragon for this weekend's racing activities.
Rea and Haslam currently lie in sixth and seventh places respectively in the championship standings, separated by just one point, following the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia on 24 February.
We have certainly made some progress the last few days at Alcarras but it'll be difficult to tell just how much until we're back riding against our rivals at Aragon on Friday. I've got a good feeling with the bike now and my confidence is certainly higher than when we left the Aragon test last week where we really made zero progress. We've been working hard on all aspects of the new electronics system and made some in-roads at Alcarras. Our engine braking particularly is now more consistent and I can hit apexes more precisely, whereas during the Aragon test, I felt a bit like a passenger at times. We were definitely a bit lost there but now we can head back to Aragon with more confidence and see where we are on Friday.
I stayed at Alcarras a little longer than Jonathan and got to try some tyres that he tried yesterday and I managed a pretty good lap time in the end. We definitely had major problems during the first two days at the Aragon test - in fact, it's not really accurate to call it a test. Although the guys found a solution on the evening of day two, we didn't really get a chance to try it out on the final day because of the bad weather. So the Alcarras test has definitely been useful, even though we started here with a completely blank sheet of paper. We've made some progress and got a good base setting so that we can now go back to Aragon with a little more optimism for the race.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We've had a very good test here at Alcarras following a very difficult one at Aragon last week. It's no secret that we had some problems which came from the fact that we didn't have a very good series of base maps for the new electronics system. It's a very complicated development process made more complicated by the fact that everyone has been learning the new system, including finding out how the riders respond to input changes. You can only get that through testing so, although the last week or so has been very intense, it's been very useful. We've managed to find a good base setting for both the riders, although we'll have to wait until Friday to see how we measure up against our rivals. But now we're actually looking forward to Aragon and you might not have heard that from me last week!