These just in from Aragon WSBK:
Jonathan Rea leads the way on Day 1
Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 11 April 2014 - Round 2 of the eni World Superbike Championship got underway in near perfect conditions at MotorLand Aragon with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) having the honour of topping the first European day of the season.
Reigning World Champion Tom Sykes improved his morning session time, but the Kawasaki Racing Team rider was edged out by Rea, who ensured that his last lap of the day at the Spanish track would keep him at the top of the standings.
Sykes was therefore 2nd ahead of Aragon wizard Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) who moved up to 3rd. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Aprilia's Marco Melandri completed the top 6.
Championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) was 7th with winner of the first race of the year Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) improving in the last five minutes to elevate himself to 8th. His new teammate Alex Lowes continued to adapt to the Spanish track eventually finishing in 11th.
In the EVO category Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) held on to tenth position despite a late crash. Local rider David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) ended the day as the 3rd placed EVO rider in 14th just behind the returning Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia).
The other Spaniard in the field Toni Elias had a difficult day, the Red Devils Aprilia only managing 12th position.
Bimota on the other hand had an encouraging start to their return to superbike competition with Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon finishing in 17th and 21st.
There is one more free practice session tomorrow morning which gives the riders currently placed 21st and below the chance to make the grid deciding Tissot-Superpole.
Times: 1. Rea (Honda) 1'58.180 average 162.789 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'58.417; 3. Davies (Ducati) 1'58.575; 4. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'58.579; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'58.717; 6. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'58.763; 7. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'58.855; 8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'58.971; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'59.103; 10. Canepa (Ducati) 1'59.861; 11. Lowes (Suzuki) 2'00.309; 12. Elias (Aprilia) 2'00.480; 13. Corti (MV Agusta) 2'00.749; 14. Camier (BMW) 2'00.966; 15. Salom (Kawasaki) 2'01.032; 16. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2'01.076; 17. Badovini (Bimota) 2'01.463; 18. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'01.511; 19. Morais (Kawasaki) 2'01.801; 20. Toth (BMW) 2'02.672; 21. Iddon (Bimota) 2'02.709; 22. Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 2'02.716; 23. Scassa (Kawasaki) 2'03.138; 24. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 2'03.217; 25. Yates (EBR) 2'04.075; 26. Sebestyen (BMW) 2'05.570; 27. May (EBR) 2'05.593.
Free Practice 1
Rea left it until his final lap to edge out Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) who was 2nd, and reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who moved up to 3rd in the closing stages. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and last year's double winner Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) completed the top 6. In the EVO category Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing) was fastest, claiming an impressive... (read more)
Frenchman Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC - Yakhnich Motorsport) is heading the field after the opening two World Supersport free practice sessions at MotorLand Aragon. With conditions perfect, the current leader of the championship posted a lap time of 2.02.461 to edge out the fastest rider from this morning Kev Coghlan (DMC Panavto-Yamaha) who also improved, just missing the top spot by 0.019s... (read more)
Times: 1. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 2'02.461 average 157.098 kph; 2. Coghlan (Yamaha) 2'02.480; 3. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'02.684; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 2'03.055; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 2'03.160; 6. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'03.173; 7. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 2'03.362; 8. Wilairot (Honda) 2'03.875; 9. Russo (Honda) 2'03.907; 10. Kennedy (Honda) 2'04.042; 11. De Rosa (Honda) 2'04.226; 12. Menghi (Yamaha) 2'04.382; 13. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 2'04.519; 14. Bussolotti (Honda) 2'04.638; 15. Leonov (MV Agusta) 2'04.695; etc.
Rea leads the way in Spain
Pata Honda's Jonathan Rea set the fastest time in both today's opening free practice sessions at Motorland Aragon in preparation for the two second-round World Superbike championship races at the Spanish circuit on Sunday.
The British rider fired his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP around the 5.344km Aragon circuit in a time of 1m58.180s in warm and sunny conditions this afternoon, two tenths ahead of compatriot and reigning World Superbike champion Tom Sykes. A third Brit, Chaz Davies, rounds out the provisional front row for Sunday's two 17-lap races.
Rea and his Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam have both made significant development strides in the long break since round one at Phillip Island in Australia, improving the CBR's overall chassis and electronics package during two recent three-day tests in Spain.
Haslam was able to dramatically improve his lap time this afternoon after an unsatisfactory opening free practice session, ending the day in ninth place.
Jonathan Rea - P1, 1m58.180s
I'm quite satisfied with today - it's been a really good start to the weekend for us. We've got quite a good base already, but I still need to work on optimising our engine braking quite a lot. The last time we were here it was quite good, but maybe a change in conditions has thrown some other issues into the mix. We can work a bit more on chassis settings tonight but, for day one, I'm quite happy with my out-and-out pace. With the change in raceday schedule, we need to do a long run tomorrow morning to work with a cooler race-one temperature in mind. We've got two rear options to check and see if our preferred tyre will work in cooler conditions around 10.30. So, after a longer run in the morning, I'll get ready for Superpole.
Leon Haslam - P9, 1m59.103s
Most of this morning's session was wasted as we tried to get the bike sorted with the fresh engine but the guys made some good changes between sessions. My first flying lap was about 1.3s faster than I went all morning so that was a good step. I felt pretty consistent on that tyre but went quicker on a new tyre at the end. I made a lot of mistakes on my lap and got held up in some traffic so Im reasonably happy with this afternoon's performance. I feel the lap could've been a high to mid-58s without those issues. We've got a way to go yet, but Johnny [Rea] seems to be able to put the lap together so we know the bike can go well here. Tomorrow's the last timed session for Superpole, so the priority is to get into the top ten, but we need to test in the cooler conditions for Sunday, too.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
It's been a really good day for Jonathan, topping the sheets this morning and this afternoon. Everyone's been working really hard through the winter and since Phillip Island, so this makes everyone feel good. Tomorrow we still need to make some more improvements and find a bit of race pace, but I think it's looking OK at the moment. Leon struggled a lot this morning, which was disappointing after the recent positive tests, but we found a direction again this afternoon. He got held up on his best lap, but we ended the day in a positive mood.
Top five for Davies and Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) in first practice sessions at Aragon
Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 11 April 2014 - The Ducati Superbike Team kicked off the race weekend at Motorland Aragon with encouraging results. Riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano closed day one of timed practice in third and fifth position respectively.
In the first of the weekend's three timed practice sessions, which took place late this morning in warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 21°C, track 28°C ), Davies was immediately at ease on the Spanish track, one of his preferred circuits. His fastest lap of the session - 1'59.135 - placed him sixth at the end of the 45-minute session. Giugliano made a series of fast laps but lost a few minutes towards the end of the session as his technicians worked to improve the feeling during braking. The Italian rider nevertheless closed in seventh position, with a best time of 1'59.290.
The Ducati Superbike men were soon back on track for the second timed session of the day. Together with their technicians, both Chaz and Davide used the session to make small changes to their bikes, thanks to which feeling improved, allowing the pair to lower their times set in the morning by approximately half a second. At the end of day one, Davies closed in overall third position, thanks to a fastest time of 1'58.575 and Giugliano fifth (1'58.717). The team has more work to do tomorrow, particularly regarding race pace, but today nevertheless came to a positive close.
Quotes after the day's sessions:
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - 3rd (1'58.575)
"The lap times picked up a little this afternoon but we still need to improve the front of my bike as I would like to have more stability. Having said that, today wasn't too bad. My position is good but it doesn't quite feel like we're there with the bike just yet. Anyway we have more time tomorrow so we'll continue to work to try to improve things ahead of Sunday's races."
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 5th (1'58.717)
"Today wasn't the easiest day, we had a few problems. We're close to those ahead of us anyway, despite the problems we've had, and so this is a positive sign. We didn't spend so much time on track, working more in the garage. This afternoon we improved a little but we still have a few things to solve tomorrow, especially in terms of stability during braking."
Ernesto Marinelli (Ducati Superbike Project Director)
"We've had a positive day. We still have some things to resolve, particularly with regard to the level of stability in the final stage of braking, as both riders are talking about movement and not having enough constancy during braking. So we will concentrate on solving this aspect tomorrow in order to find the best possible solution."
THE APRILIA SUPERBIKE WEEKEND GETS OFF TO A FAVOURABLE START AT MOTORLAND DE ARAGON.
BOTH MARCO MELANDRI AND CURRENT RANKING LEADER SYLVAIN GUINTOLI FOCUSED ON RACE PACE, CONFIRMING THE PROGRESS DEMONSTRATED DURING THE RECENT TESTS AT JEREZ.
Alcaniz, 11 April 2014 - Never more than today should the standings at the end of Friday's free practice be read so carefully. At Motorland de Aragon, the scene of the second 2014 World Superbike round, Aprilia Racing Team chose to work on race pace with long runs of several laps to simulate how the RSV4 will react over the 17 laps on Sunday and to take the best possible advantage of the tyres over the long distance. In light of the strategy being employed the sixth best combined time for Marco Melandri and the seventh best for team mate Sylvain Guintoli gave the Italian garage confidence and seem to pave the way for a weekend as protagonists.
Although each took a different route both Marco and Sylvain tackled the second afternoon session continuing to work with used tyres and they confirmed their good feeling during the recent tests in Jerez, approving the developments that have been made on the RSV4 during that time.
However, optimism in no way diminishes Marco Melandri's goals, satisfied with his work today on the track but still convinced that a few more precious tenths can be shaved off. Especially on the fast lap, a situation that will become crucial in Superpole tomorrow where the starting order for the races Sunday will be decided.
Marco Melandri: "I'm pleased. This is definitely the best day of practice since I've been on the Aprilia RSV4. We chose not to use a new tyre this afternoon to see what the best option would be for the races. Both the electronics strategies and the bike setup have been improving constantly so all that's left now are those areas where we can still improve and we'll work on those today and tomorrow, but overall I am quite satisfied with today's results."
Sylvain Guintoli, winner at Phillip Island in the first race of the season and provisional leader of the rider championship, is of the same opinion. The Frenchman also put in a long series of fast laps using the same tyre, looking for the "delicate" setting that will make the difference at the end of the race. For Sylvain the new solutions introduced at Jerez were also confirmed on the Aragon track, a track which has historically favoured the powerful V4 from Noale.
Sylvain Guintoli: "Two excellent sessions for us today. We were fast and consistent. The improvements we found at Jerez came out here at Aragon as well so that is quite comforting. We worked mainly on race length. We still have some more fine tuning to try tomorrow but the base setting that we reached today is definitely good. The RSV4 really works well here, I hit 327 kph and that is just more good news in view of the Sunday races."