2018 Aragon WorldSBK Recap: What We Saw In Aragon

Six races into a new era of WorldSBK and it seems as though we've seen a lot has changed without anything changing. Ducati and Kawasaki are still doing the winning with Yamaha the only manufacturer to upset the podium hegemony enjoyed by the leading manufacturers.

Everyone's a winner

When Chaz Davies arrived at Aragon the expectation was that he would take another double win and move closer to the championship lead. Jonathan Rea circled Aragon on his calendar 12 months ago as a pivotal round. The Spanish circuit is Davies' favorite and winning here has been a habit for the Welshman. Last year Rea forced a mistake from Davies and claimed a win before Davies reasserted himself in Race 2. On paper it was the same in 2018 but for both riders coming away with 45 points this weekend would have felt like a lot more. Davies played his get out of jail free card this weekend after a Superpole crash left him on the fourth row of the grid, and he would have felt that finishing second on Saturday was as good as a win. For Rea 45 points left him with an extended title lead, from two points to 12, as he heads to Assen, one of his favorite tracks of the season.

A clear edge for Ducati

With four Ducati's in the top five at one point on Sunday it was clear that the Panigale was the bike to have at Aragon this weekend. The Kawasaki was fast in the hands of Jonathan Rea but with Davies, Marco Melandri, Xavi Fores and Michael Rinaldi at the front it was clear that Rea was swimming against the tide. The Kawasaki was as fast as the Ducati but the red bikes were clearly finding it easier to generate their lap times. It's all relative between Davies and Rea and comes down to a very fine line, but Rinaldi's performance, in being able to race with the Yamaha's and Tom Sykes, showed the advantage being enjoyed.

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Sandro Cortese has been reinvigorated by a move to WorldSSP. The German, a former Moto3 world champion, endured a difficult second act to his career in the Moto2 class but having moved to Kallio Racing he has immediately gelled with the Yamaha R6 and is a genuine title contender once again. Having claimed Germany's first win in the class in 15 years he will be a man to watch next weekend at Assen. The Yamaha is the bike to have in the class and Cortese has made good use out of it.

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Krummenacher and Cortese were running mid-pack at best in moto2, but have wins in WSSP. That doesn't seem to speak well to the talent level in this series. Not saying it hasn't been entertaining to watch, more that it looks like an end to itself vs a feeder to WSBK.

Krummenacher had a few good races in Moto2, but Cortese really never got on with the class. I remember going to the Jerez test last year, seeing Cortese crash, get up out of the gravel, and start ranting and kicking at the bike. I really think Cortese hated Moto2.

They are rather different animals I understand, just because the engines are the same size don't imagine you can hop from one to the other.


SSP are of course, basically road bikes. Moto 2 are prototypes and the frames are much stiffer, built for racing only, and they handle differently. Ironically the SSP engines have more power.


Sam Lowes although he has slightly disappointed some fans, has actually competed well in Moto 2. Sofuoglu did little.

... isn't there an assesment on which manufacturers get rpm increases or decreases? Considering Kawasaki and Ducati have remained dominant, I'd assume both will lose another 250 rpm's.

With the current technical regulations the reverse grid seems to have helped more this year than last year.

In 2017, a front row start for Race 2 ended up in a total of 5 podiums (12.8%) (Melandri 2x, Sykes, Lowes, Van Der Mark)

In 2018 so far, a front row start for Race 2 ended up in a total of 4 podiums (44.4%) (Fores, Melandri, Rea, Lowes)

What hasn't changed though is that the race 2 winner continues to come from row 3. In 2017 9 of 13 race 2 winners came from the 3rd row. In 2018 it's 3 of 3 winners from the 3rd row.

Before we hang out the flags for the new rules, in six races we’ve had two serious accidents - Eugene Laverty’s damaged pelvis and now Leon Camier’s broken ribs. Eugene was struck by another bike and, although I haven’t seen the incident, I think another bike was involved in Leon’s incident. The new rules, by narrowing the power difference between the manufacturers, have brought bikes closer together. The track is the same width as before, the surface the same too. Are we seeing riders, unable to get away on the straight, feeling they have to do it all in the turns? Pressing hard, different bikes on different lines, all wanting a piece of the apex, mistakes are inevitable, as are accidents and injuries. This isn’t about questionable riding of the type generating discussion in MotoGP. This is riders pushing hard, doing their job. I don’t expect them to complain. They are racers. Close racing is great to watch. Manipulating the rules regardless of rider safety has consequences. 

But thats what racers and the public want 'safety' is relative.