These just in from Aragon Spain
MotorLand Aragon Day Three
Davies wins superb lap battle over Rea
Fantastic ride by Davies from tenth on the grid sees Welshman overcome Rea in Race 2 at Aragon, with Melandri third
A highly determined ride from Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at the Pirelli Aragón Round on Sunday saw the Welshman get his first win of 2017, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) also on the podium.
WorldSBK Race 2 – in sunny but windy conditions at MotorLand Aragon – went down to the last lap, with Davies making amends for his Race 1 crash as he got the better of World Champion Rea over the last two corners.
The pair dueled for the lead in the final stages, with Davies ultimately crossing the line half a second ahead of Rea, to end the Northern Irishman’s five race winning streak. Melandri continued his solid comeback season in third place, around 2.5s back on his victorious teammate.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finished in fourth place, the former World Champion suffering from sickness this weekend in Spain. Sykes finished eight down on the podium positions but got the better of Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) on the final lap.
Dutchman Van der Mark equaled his best result of the season so far in fifth. There was frustration for his Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team colleague Alex Lowes on lap 11, as a mistake saw him run off track and drop out of podium contention as he resumed way down the field, having been in fourth before his off-track excursion.
Lowes had started Race 2 at the front of the grid and he had held the lead for several laps. The Englishman eventually finished 13th.
Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team) recovered from the drama of his Saturday DNF, which saw his race end with his Ducati in flames, finishing Sunday’s contest as the top Spanish rider in sixth – just under two seconds ahead of compatriot Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team).
Leandro Mercado (IODARacing), Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completed the top ten.
Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) suffered a DNF due to a technical problem, whilst Alex De Angelis (Pedercini Racing SC-Project) crashed out at the end of lap 15.
The WorldSBK grid will be back in action at the Acerbis Dutch Round over the
28th-30th April weekend.
Top Three Reactions:
1st: Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati “Yesterday was a disaster, the whole weekend was a disaster until the last lap of the second race. The only moment of joy is bringing home the win, and it’s good to bring it home like that. We know the bike is good here, although we still need to work in a lot of different areas, but for now we are really going to enjoy this and it was a great battle.”
2nd: Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team “I’m really pleased and its been a really good weekend for us. We have come to a track that’s not strong for me on the bike, we put a good Friday in and felt confident. To put in a 18 full laps with Chaz yesterday, bar to bar in both races at one of his strongest tracks was no mean feat. And today we had a good battle, so are really happy to get a podium.”
3rd: Marco Melandri – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati “It was a great race, but very tough because of the windy conditions but my bike was working pretty good. It was not that easy to come back from the third row. I struggled with the front again and when Chaz arrived it was difficult. He is always difficult to try and force more in the breaks. I was able to get closer to the front guys but I am missing something.
A day to remember at Aragon for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team: Davies wins Race 2, Melandri is 3rd
The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team took its first win of the season in Race 2 of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship at Aragon (Spain) thanks to a brilliant performance by Chaz Davies. The Welshman thus bounced back from yesterday’s DNF, claiming his sixth victory at the Spanish track and 21st of his career. After finishing second yesterday, Marco Melandri took third place at the end of particularly close race, in which he fought for the win until a couple of laps to go.
Starting in tenth and eighth position respectively, Davies and Melandri quickly stormed back through the field, already joining the leading group on lap 3. The two teammates then closely followed Rea until lap 12, when Davies took the lead. The final laps resulted in a spectacular series of passes. Melandri climbed to second position but eventually had to drop his pace to avoid taking too many risks. Davies on the other hand crossed lines with Rea several times, only to make the decisive move at the last chicane.
After three rounds, Davies (95 points) and Melandri (81 points) are respectively second and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team will resume action tomorrow for a one-day, official test ahead of the fourth round of the season, scheduled for April 28-30 in Assen (Holland).
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 1st
“The whole weekend has been difficult, from start to finish, so it was really important to cap it with a win, especially after yesterday’s disappointment. We were confident our bike would be fast at Aragon, but it wasn’t easy at all out there today and our main rivals seem relatively comfortable so we know there’s still work to do in many areas. Today we suffered a bit with grip early on. Also, the wind was really strong. It kept pushing me away from corners and in the last lap I got caught by a gust going into turn 5 and I missed a backshift, going a bit wide, but we still managed to finish in front. We’re competitive but it’s still not enough, so we need to keep working to improve. Tomorrow’s test will be very important for us but, for now, we’re going to enjoy this victory.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #33) – 3rd
“Today our bike was more competitive than in Race 1 and we were in contention for the win almost until the very end. I wanted to try to pull away with about 8 laps to go, but unfortunately I almost crashed a couple of times and after that it would have been difficult to pass Rea and Davies, so in the end I couldn’t ask for more. Each race I learn something new and I’m getting acquainted with the head-to-head battles, but we lacked the necessary grip to push with the front. Anyway, we’re happy with our performance. We’re constantly fighting for podiums and we’re not far from winning. We just need to improve the setup to be a bit more consistent throughout the race, and tomorrow’s tests will be very important to this end.”
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba S.p.A CEO and Team Principal:
“We came to Aragon with great expectations but we struggled more than what we expected. At any rate, both Chaz and Marco showed great competitiveness and put on a show. We have good reasons to believe this is but the first win of the year, and we’ll keep working hard from tomorrow’s tests onward to allow our riders to be protagonists also in Assen. The season is still long.”
Aragon Round ends with little reward for Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
MotorLand Aragón, Spain
The third round of the 2017 FIM Superbike World Championship has had its final day of action at the MotorLand Aragón Circuit. Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Stefan Bradl finished the second race in twelfth place, while his team mate Nicky Hayden was forced into an early retirement on lap 11.
Bradl did not enjoy the perfect start from the second row of the grid and, by the end of the first lap, he had dropped down to tenth behind Hayden. The 27-year-old German rider retook his position and battled hard for eighth place in the first half of the encounter. Stefan then dropped back but stayed in contention for tenth place until the final laps, when he ultimately lost touch with the riders ahead.
Hayden moved up a couple of places on the opening lap and looked aggressive in the early stages, before starting to lose ground with a technical issue. As the race entered its second half, the situation worsened to the point where the 35-year-old had to make his way back to the pits and out of the race.
Bradl and Hayden will be back on track on board their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines tomorrow for the one-day official Dorna WorldSBK Organization test here at Aragón.
This was not the result we were expecting, obviously. We tried a different setting from yesterday because we wanted to get a better turn in with the bike, and in the warm up it felt good. We decided to keep it, because we need to make changes and see how the bike reacts, but unfortunately it didn’t help us during the race. I was overriding the front tyre a bit, which left me with very little grip for the final laps when I was fighting with Ramos and Camier. We made a poor choice, but it was the first time that we made some real adjustment to the chassis as before we were mainly concentrating on the electronics and the engine. We definitely have a couple of things to try tomorrow during the test.
Nicky Hayden 69
We adjusted the bike a little bit this morning to try and increase the turning and help the changes of direction and the bike felt better. I had a good start and picked up some positions during the first lap. I got up to eighth at one point but as early as the second lap I was having some issues with the clutch: it got worse every lap, up to the point when there was no way I could finish the race, so I had to come back to the pits. Obviously we’re disappointed; things aren’t going our way at the moment but there is a test tomorrow so let’s see if we can make some progress.
– Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
This morning during warm up we tried new geometry on the front of Stefan’s bike and it looked like we made a step forward as he was able to put together a decent amount of competitive lap times. For the race distance, unfortunately, these settings proved to be too aggressive for the front tyre which wore out quicker than expected. It’s a shame, because Stefan rode a great race and could have stayed in contention for a much better result. Nicky had a good start and was looking strong in the first few laps, but then had a problem with the clutch and he could not continue. It’s a shame because we could have done a bit better today. We now have eight hours of official testing ahead and we’ll make the most of them.
Van der Mark Rides to Confident Fifth in Aragon Race 2, Lowes Recovers to Score Points
Pata Yamaha Official World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark repeated yesterday’s promising results with another fifth place finish in today’s second race for the FIM Superbike World Championship Motorland Aragon round. Teammate Alex Lowes initially led the race before an issue saw him drop to 13th.
Dutchman van der Mark enjoyed a front row start today after yesterday’s fifth place finish and was clearly enjoying the early laps in the front group, tucked in to second behind his teammate Lowes. Despite being passed by a couple of the fastest riders, van der Mark was able to keep the group in sight and maintain an impressive pace. As the race developed, front tyre grip dropped dramatically due to the colder temperatures and high winds, however this didn’t stop him from bringing his R1 home in fifth position to match yesterday’s race result.
Teammate Lowes had a less fortunate race experience. The young Brit made a brilliant start from pole, taking the holeshot into turn one and leading the race into the first corners with his teammate tucked in behind. As the key protagonists joined the fray Lowes was able to maintain the pace and keep the podium fight within his sights. Disaster struck when a missed gear going in to the last chicane caused him to lock up and run off track at turn 14, requiring 22 seconds to get back and re-join the race. Unshaken, he was immediately back up to podium pace to the end, unfortunately too far back to make up any places, and finished in 13th.
Michael van der Mark – 5th
“I’m really happy, we had a good start in second behind Alex, then Johnny Rea passed me and then Marco Melandri passed me on the straight. I was a little bit slower than the guys in front of me but I could hold on to them so I was happy with that. For sure we’ve made another step forward; that is really good. In the end I struggled with the front tyre, we were on the softer front option and I think today with the wind it made it worse. I’m happy finishing fifth, and it was good to fight in the front group. I want to thank the team for all their hard work. Everybody is working really very hard and we can see the potential is developing well. We are making progress and I’m happy.”
Alex Lowes – 13th
“I’m annoyed but it’s my first small mistake in a race this year. It wasn’t all my fault, I haven’t been 100% happy with the shifting on the bike and just at that point I didn’t get the shift quite right and missed the gear. I ran off and that was it, 20 seconds gone right there to get back in to the race. The team have done a fantastic job, my bike was great and I would have liked to be on the podium so overall I’ve got to be happy with the potential. When I got back on track my pace was similar to Marco Melandri’s but I was a long way behind. I’m upset that we had an opportunity to fight for the podium and we didn’t take it. I feel good and I really feel we have made a good step forward on the bike. I need to improve in the first few laps but my race pace the second half of the race is good and I fully believe I could have been battling with the guys for the podium today. That’s my goal for Assen, keep consistent, keep working hard and keep having fun.”
“Michael rode a really strong race today from the front row, putting the R1 in the podium fight. Unfortunately, due to a combination of front tyre choice and the extremely cold and strong wind, the tyre degradation compared to race one was considerably worse and we didn’t have anything left to fight with in the last five or six laps. Two fifth places is a strong and positive result for Michael. His understanding and riding style is moving forward to match the R1’s characteristics, so we move on to his home track of Assen with positive aspirations!
A disappointing race two result today for Alex, yet on reflection there are still many positives for the Pata Yamaha World Superbike project and Alex to take away. He looked very comfortable in fourth position, hadn’t been dropped by the podium fight and was right on Melandri’s rear wheel when he suffered a small problem that caused him to run off the track. Nonetheless, I’m sure on reflection Alex will balance his disappointment with the fact that we were competitive and potentially in the fight for the podium, at a track we didn’t perform well at in 2016. Its another signal that we and the R1 have moved forward and we will do our best to take the next step.”