Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at the Motorland Aragon ciruit near Alcañiz in Spain:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Aragon - Superpole
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport experienced a disappointing Saturday at Motorland Aragón (ESP). Works riders, Leon Haslam (GBR) and Troy Corser (AUS), will start the seventh round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship from the fourth row. Leon finished the Superpole qualifying in 14th, while Troy qualified in 16th.
The best placed rider on a BMW S1000 RR was Ayrton Badovini (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team who will start from the second row. The Italian was eighth fastest in Superpole one and set the fourth fastest time in Superpole two to progress safely to Superpole three. In that decisive session Badovini had to go out on race tyres as he had already used his qualifiers in the previous two sessions and eventually finished in eighth position. "I am very happy, the bike is working really well and I cannot wait for the races tomorrow", said Badovini.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 2:00.007 min (P13) / Fastest lap FP: 2:00.075 min (P8) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 1:59.367 min (P14)
"We posted a good time in Superpole one on race tyres and decided to stay in the garage. Along with the guys, I thought we were safe and planned to save the qualifying tyres for the remaining two sessions. Sadly the gamble didn't pay off. A lot of the other guys put a qualifying tyre on for their second run in SP1, and that pushed us down from fourth to outside the top 12. It's a shame because I felt we had good pace, and the qualifying tyre seemed to be giving the other guys an extra second, so I think we could have done the same. Still we believe we have a good race pace for tomorrow, so will try to get a good start and see what we can do in the races."
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 2:00.182 min (P16) / Fastest lap FP: 2:00.808 min (P15) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 1:59.565 min (P16)
"Today the bike just was not doing what we wanted it to do. We were struggling with the race tyre, so we put the qualifier on. But with that we struggled even more. It was a difficult day. We will work hard to sort out these issues for tomorrow. In the races anything is still possible. We just need a good start and to find a better setup with the bike."
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
"On Leon's side we just had bad luck. We were doing pretty well with the race tyres. At the end of Superpole one we thought his time would be good enough to make it to the next session, so we did not do another lap. But unfortunately this plan did not work out. On Troy's side we had some issues with the chassis, as we did not have any grip. We are working hard to solve this for tomorrow. Let's wait and see what is possible in the races. The fact that we were quite competitive with Leon on race tyres gives us reason to be confident."
FABRIZIO ON ARAGON WSB THIRD ROW
Team Suzuki Press Office - June 18.
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio managed to get into Superpole 2, at Aragon today but was unable to get into Superpole 1 and so will start tomorrow's 20-lap World Superbike Championship races from the third row of the grid.
Although his right arm and wrist felt better today, they are nowhere near 100% and the Italian knows that tomorrow seventh round is going to be very tough.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha) won Superpole with a lap of 1:57.634 with fellow Italian Max Biaggi (Aprilia) second. Third quickest was Leon Camier (Aprilia) with series leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) fourth.
Michel Fabrizio - 11th, 1:58.950:
"I was happy to do well enough to get into Superpole 2, but not happy because I didn't get into the final Superpole. That would have guaranteed a place on the first two rows of the grid and that is something I have not had this season so far. So, once again I am a long way down the grid with lot of work to do - particularly at the start. I really need two good starts and not have to spend the best part of the race trying to catch the leaders.
"I am confident in my race pace and know that it would put me far higher than 11th, so now I've really got to give it a go from the start if I am to get good results. My right arm is definitely better - not perfect - but it is getting stronger. I did a longish run today - about 12 laps - and I didn't have much pain, so I know that tomorrow it will be even better.
"At the moment, we are still trying to find the best set-up for the bike. I am losing time on the braking at the end of the long back straight. We go from flat-out in sixth gear all the way down to first gear and our bike is not quite set up perfectly for this yet. We will try a little change in the warm-up tomorrow and see if we can improve the set-up. It seems that when the track temperature is high, the grip goes down, but the tyre life is better. When the track is cooler, the grip is better, but the tyre life is worse. But, I guess it's the same for everybody and we just have to deal with it. If I can get good starts, I know that my race pace is good enough to fight with the leaders and that's my goal."
Second row for Foret in Spain
Fabien Foret will start tomorrow's sixth round World Supersport championship race at Motorland Aragon from the second row of the grid after setting the seventh fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session.
Pole position was take by series leader Broc Parkes, who tested at the 5.344km Spanish circuit with his team two weeks ago. Foret's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Florian Marino, was eleventh quickest this afternoon.
It was a frustrating day for Foret but the Frenchman is confident that, as in the previous round at Misano in Italy, his crew will be able to identify the changes needed to run a consistently faster lap time.
His compatriot and team-mate Marino is also looking to find the front-end feeling that he discovered yesterday, but was not there in today's cooler temperatures. With the forecast for warmer weather tomorrow, the 18-year-old is looking to be running with the leading group in the 18-lap race.
Fabien Foret – P7, 2m03.537s
It's not the position we expected to be honest and it's disappointing not to be on the front row. I hope tomorrow we can do another big jump to make the bike faster, more comfortable and consistent and I will make a similar jump myself. It's a little like the situation last weekend at Misano, but we were able to do something for the race then. I liked the smaller tyre that we had last year, but we have to manage what we have, look at the data and try to find that extra half a second to be competitive.
Florian Marino – P11, 2m03.821s
I'm very disappointed for the team because even though we improved the time – by something like three seconds since the first session yesterday – we have not improved the position. Every time I go faster, we need to change the setting again and, because we could not really test here before, I am always going faster. I am still learning the right lines and I want to push more on the brakes and the gas. I found a better feeling yesterday but with the extra pace today it's gone again. We'll work hard to find it again tomorrow and try to make a good start in the race and stay with the guys in front.
Ronad ten Kate – team manager:
The changes we introduced yesterday worked because, looking at the times, we are closer to the front of the field. Unfortunately the positions have not improved, but we still have some ideas for tomorrow morning. The weekend so far shows a great resemblance to Misano, where we also didn't qualify well. We put together a nice race pace last Sunday though and we'll work hard to do that again tomorrow. We definitely need to find something for Fabien and Florian, who is struggling a little more. The progress we made yesterday stopped tod ay, so we need some last minute improvements there, too.
Mark of greatness for Melandri in Tissot-Superpole
Motorland Aragon (Spain), Saturday 18 June 2011 – Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) put in a great performance in qualifying to take his first ever Tissot-Superpole success and also give Yamaha its first top grid slot of the season. Melandri set a new track best of 1 minute 57.634 seconds in Superpole 3 and he will start Sunday's 20-lap races with his great rival Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) as his closest challenger. Biaggi's team-mate Leon Camier and championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) complete the front row.
Marco Melandri: "It's awesome, I'm very happy. I didn't think it could happen, especially after Superpole 1 when I almost lost the chance to go to the next one. When I saw Max in front of everyone in Superpole 3, I had a few guys in the middle on race tyres so I passed them and followed Max to set my best time so I need to say thanks to him for my lap time!"
Max Biaggi: "We've been working a lot to find the best set-up possible, I'm quite happy even though I'm not on pole, but tomorrow is a long race and it's not going to be easy because it's difficult to make the tyres last for the final eight laps. But we're all in the same boat and we will see!"
Leon Camier: "It makes a change for us to be up on the front row to be honest. I'm really happy with that, we've been working good all weekend. We made a couple of little changes since Misano and thought we were going to struggle a bit here but they have made the bike feel much better. Fingers crossed for tomorrow, it'll be interesting to start from the front!"
Carlos Checa: "I struggled here a bit in qualifying, and then made a small mistake in the last Superpole session going into the slow turn. It was difficult to fight for pole today, but we are confident for tomorrow's races."
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) put in a late charge on race tyres to fifth, with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team), Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) all joining him on row two. The competition for places in qualifying was remarkable at such a long 5.344km circuit, with combined qualifying (which determines the top riders who go forward to Superpole) ending with the top 16 riders within a second of each other.
The four riders who had to exit Superpole after the second of three sessions were Misano podium finisher Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia), Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing), Michel Fabrizio (Team Suzuki Alstare) and the remarkable Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini) who had his most impressive qualifying of the year, ending up 12th from 20 riders in his rookie WSBK season on a privateer machine.
The first casualties of the stopwatch as the first session finished included a surprise figure, as Jakub Smrz (Effenbert-Liberty Racing) was second place in combined qualifying but he ended up 13th on the grid after Superpole 1. Even more of a surprise in some regards was that official BMW riders Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) were unable to compete the way they hoped and finished 14th and 16th respectively. Privateer Ducati rider Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) took a fourth row start after posting some impressive times in earlier qualifying and practice sessions.
Tissot-Superpole Times: 1. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'57.634; 2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'57.790; 3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'58.279; 4. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'58.472; 5. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'58.641; 6. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'58.756; 7. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.194; 8. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'59.591; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'58.566; 10. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'58.640; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'58.950; 12. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.680; 13. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'59.355; 14. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'59.367; 15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'59.507; 16. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'59.565; etc.
Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) booked his ticket for a repeat win after Misano tomorrow with another terrific performance in today's World Supersport final qualifying session. The Australian's time of 2 minutes 02.093 seconds, was almost four-tenths quicker than his Spanish team-mate, David Salom, who was also on form today. A fighting third place went to Britain's Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda), while fellow-Brit Chaz Davies completed the front row for the Yamaha ParkinGO team. Erstwhile championship leader Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) could only manage fifth place and a row 2 start, with Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) grabbing sixth place in the final stages from Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda).
Times: 1. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'02.093; 2. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'02.454; 3. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2'02.708; 4. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2'03.058; 5. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2'03.140; 6. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'03.441; 7. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2'03.537; 8. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2'03.614; etc.
Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati) laid down the gauntlet to his fellow STK1000 runners by setting a scintillating time of 2 minutes 01.161 seconds, almost one full second clear of the next man, Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock). Zanetti was a fraction ahead of points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) in third, while the all-Italian front row will be completed by the returning Niccolò Canepa on another Ducati, the SS Lazio Motorsport version. A second BMW, that of Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) notched up fifth place to head row 2, with Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda) and South African Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) the top runners on Japanese four-cylinder machinery.
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'01.161; 2. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2'02.112; 3. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'02.141; 4. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'02.279; 5. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 2'02.415; 6. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2'02.903; 7. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'02.949; 8. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'03.153; etc.
Superstock 600 – Race
Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) was the fourth different winner in the first four rounds of this year's exciting Superstock 600 European Championship. The Australian, now firmly in second place in the table, finished just over one second ahead of points leader Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France), but the Frenchman is now 20 points clear in the table. The final podium slot went to Belgium's Gauthier Duwelz (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha), who held off a fierce challenge from a trio of riders on Yamaha and Honda machinery.
Results: 1. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 21'09.901 (151,495 kph); 2. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1.279; 3. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 7.150; 4. Lombardi D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 7.251; 5. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 7.423; 6. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 7.962; 7. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 8.429; 8. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 13.973; etc.
Points (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Lanusse 81; 2. Metcher 61; 3. Lombardi 46; 4. Vd Mark 41; 5. Duwelz 38; 6. Gregorini 35; 7. Day 31; 8. Russo 29; etc.
Lowes ready to fight for victory
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes secured third place on the grid for tomorrow's sixth round of the World Supersport Championship at Aragon in Spain and is confident he can compete for the race win.
Miguel Praia on his Parkalgar Honda will start from 15th after improving his lap times. The race starts at 1330CET tomorrow, Sunday 19th June.
Sam: "That is another good qualifying - I have been on the front row every race so far this season and I am pleased to keep that record. I need to get a good start but there is no doubt I can run with Parkes and Salom. We had a good long run today and our race set-up is very good. I am ready to fight for victory."
Miguel: "I improved my lap times and more importantly my feeling with my Parkalgar Honda. I am a little disappointed not to be on the third row but I always race better than qualify so will be looking for a good race tomorrow and to see how high up the results I can finish - I am feeling strong and ready to race."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "It's another good job by Sam, he is one of only three riders in the 2mins 2secs band and certainly has the pace over race distance to compete for the win. He had two small crashes today but is absolutely fine and we later found that there was a technical issue with a fork slider that we have now fixed.
"Miguel is OK and is improving all the time. He is no stranger to starting around 15th position and always improves as the race goes on so we are looking for another decent points scoring finish in the race."
Ellison shows podium pace for race
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S James Ellison found extra pace to score an eighth place start for tomorrow's sixth round of the World Supersport Championship at Aragon in Spain and his lap times on race rubber make him a potential podium challenger.
Pawel Szkopek took a near-best 16th place on the grid as he continues to show a rich vein of form and he will be looking to score points. Marcin Walkowiak will start from 24th on the grid in the Superstock 1000 class after slashing more than a second from his lap times yesterday. The World Supersport race starts at 1330CET tomorrow, Sunday 19th June.
James: "I am not happy with eighth as I was fourth and faster in morning practice. For qualifying we tried a new front tyre and made slight adjustment to suspension and gearing and were immediately 2-secs off the pace. We went back to the original tyre but were still half a second off the morning pace. I tried another tyre and then got frustrated and failed to go faster. My ideal time is P5 and I would have been OK with that. I am happy with the consistency of lap times and need to get a good start - if I do then I am confident of a podium finish."
Pawel: "My best ever qualifying is 15th so I am pleased with 16th. It has been a good weekend so far and I want to get solid points in the race. My Bogdanka PTR Honda is very good and I am starting to understand it better and how best to go faster. I am happy and my Crew Chief Graeme is doing a good job - thank you."
Marcin: "We have made big improvements this weekend and I am much closer to the riders in front - my lap time is just 1-second from a points scoring position which is good. We will continue to work hard and make more improvements and my target for tomorrow is a top 20 finish."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "James has the potential to challenge for the podium in the race and needs to dig deep in order to do so. He has the bike and the ability and we will do all we can to get him there."
"Pawel is riding well and gaining in confidence and pace. He deserves 16th place on the grid and that is a platform for him to score points tomorrow - he just needs to keep his cool; these are long races and he must not do anything rash early in the race.
"Well done to Marcin, he is gelling with his crew and has found a lot of speed. He now looks like he can genuinely challenge for the top 20 and that is a big step forward from where he was previously."
Hard work for Xaus at Aragon
Ruben Xaus improved his lap time in this morning's second qualifying session at Motorland Aragon in Spain but was unable to progress to the final Superpole sessions this afternoon. He will consequently start tomorrow's two seventh round World Superbike championship races from the head of the fifth row of the grid.
Pole position was taken by Marco Melandri this afternoon, the Italian lapping the 5.344km Aragon circuit in a best time of 1m57.624s, with Max Biaggi, Leon Camier and series leader Carlos Checa joining him on the front row.
Despite shaving almost half a second off his best time, Xaus missed out on Superpole by one place and used this afternoon's free practice session to try a number of different settings on his CBR1000RR.
Ruben Xaus – P17, 2m00.432s
It's been a difficult day and, of course, I was disappointed not to make it into Superpole for this afternoon. Everyone has been working very hard and I've been riding as well as possible, but as soon as the guys have found a possible way through one problem, I have found another. We'll keep working this evening and in warm-up tomorrow to find some more improvements and I'll ride my hardest in the races to get something. It's great to be at this new track with the enthusiastic Spanish fans, and I hope I can give them something to cheer about tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It's been a frustrating day for everyone and, after just missing out on Superpole, Ruben wanted to try a few things in this afternoon's free practice. We weren't able to improve anything, but at least we know which direction not to go in! There's still some time to look at all the data and get the right kind of compromise for tomorrow morning's warm-up. Then we'll have to hope for a couple of good starts and see how the races go.
1-2 For Parkes And Salom In Motorland Qualifying
WSS, Motorland Aragon, Spain, 18 June 2011
Championship leader Broc Parkes and his team-mate David Salom dominated qualifying at Aragon, with Parkes setting a new best lap of 2'02.093 and Salom finishing close behind on his own Ninja ZX-6R.
The Provec Motocard.com team used the knowledge gained from a relatively recent test at Aragon to be in the leading mix from the very first session this weekend, with Parkes riding a wave of confidence that delivered him a first pole position in partnership with Kawasaki, and the 12th pole of his career. Broc has fallen twice in qualifying but his self-confidence and smart teamwork in the pits mean that he recovered from each with no harm done and he is fully prepared for Sunday's 18-lap race. Broc is confident in his pace in both race and qualifying trim as he goes for back-to-back wins.
Had Parks not been baulked in the final qualifying session, he may have set a time under the 2'02 barrier, such was his ability to deal with the blind corner entries and changes of elevation, as well as variations in track temperatures at this circuit new to the championship itself.
The only close challenge Broc had after two qualifying sessions came from his team-mate David, who was second in qualifying at his ‘new' home track. Salom ended up only 0.361 seconds from Broc, and 0.254 seconds ahead of third placed qualifier, Sam Lowes.
Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki rider Massimo Roccoli also had a strong qualifying performance, going sixth on the grid, starting the race from the second row. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) was also in the right half of the qualifying rankings, 13th from 29 riders.
Broc Parkes: "We had a little bit in the bag, I think, and we were always going to put on that last new tyre. I had a couple of downs this weekend so I did not want to use the last tyre too early in the final session. Even on my best lap I had a little bit of traffic at the end so maybe we could have made a 2'01 lap time. Anyway, I am really happy to have pole and it's the first one for Kawasaki and I together. I really enjoyed winning the pole but most of all we need to be there for the win tomorrow. The pace looks good for us but the race is 18-laps long, it is going to be hot, so it is will be another challenge tomorrow. There is one choice of rear tyre for all of us, I think. It is working pretty good and we think it is going to go the distance. Things look OK after qualifying."
David Salom: "Very good! I am very happy for the team with two riders in the first two positions. I think for tomorrow it will be a good race for us. The bike has been working well and we have a strong race pace. Our consistency has been the way we wanted it. I think we will all be using the same rear tyre as the rest and the team has done a great job during our tests here and then again in qualifying. It is also nice to be racing in Spain this weekend."
Sykes And Lascorz Qualify Well In Spain
WSBK, Motorland Aragon, Spain, 18 June 2011
Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz will start each 20-lap WSBK race at Motorland Aragon from the second row after finishing Superpole qualifying fifth and seventh respectively.
Sykes has never dipped out of the top five in any session of practice or qualifying and was then sixth, fifth and finally fifth again through the three Superpole sessions. Tom even stayed in contention for a front row starting spot right until the end of the final Superpole session and posted his impressive lap time on a race tyre.
Lascorz had a slightly more complex practice and qualifying experience before Superpole, ending up tenth after combined qualifying. He was only 0.647 seconds from the leading rider at that point. Lascorz' seventh place after Superpole puts him in a good position to take an early advantage in what will be his lone home race in 2011. Seventh was his best qualifying performance of the year so far. The tall Spanish rider had the opportunity to test Aragon recently but was only able to do a few laps back then.
It was another tough weekend of practice for the recently returned Kawasaki Racing Team rider Chris Vermeulen but although 18th in combined qualifying, he was only 1.324 seconds from the very fastest; a respectable margin at a circuit which measures 5.344km in length.
Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Pedercini Team) was on strong form, making it into Superpole and finally qualifying 14th, by far his best pre-race position of the year so far. His team-mate Roby Rolfo was 19th, one place behind Vermeulen.
Tom Sykes: "We have been in the top five places all weekend and I am quite happy. I still don't think we made the best out of the qualifying tyres and in superpole we had no option but to run with the race tyre and we produced quite a good lap. I was happy with that. I was just a little bit disappointed we lost out on a front row start but that is just me putting pressure on myself and wanting to achieve more things. I am confident with our race pace and over 20 laps we are quite consistent, so it just depends what the other guys do and which tyres they choose. We did a bit of a race run this afternoon and without busting a gut it seems we were very strong and consistent, so we will see tomorrow. I just pray that I get real good starts, that is all I need. If we get away clean I will have a big smile on my face ready to battle away for the rest of the races."
Joan Lascorz: "I found things easier at this circuit with the qualifying tyre on the bike. We improved by a second when we made that change. On the entry to corners on closed throttle it turned better and that made the whole machine work better. I made a good adjustment in the final Superpole sessions but we were losing a bit of time because the bike was sometimes trying to do a wheelie. So we will work on that aspect of set-up. We have made one step more and every time I start nearer the front we can improve. We have not chosen a tyre yet, it just depends on the weather conditions we find in the morning."
Chris Vermeulen: "We improved it a little bit this afternoon, and as my chief mechanic Marcel said, our race pace is not that far away on race tyres. As far as the bike set-up is here, I am having the same sort of issues I was having in Misano. Just not being able to stop the bike and get confidence in the front while braking. We made a little bit of a step forward using the tyre we expect to be racing on. I used the hardest front too, just because I wanted to try it out. We were only a couple of tenths off getting into Superpole but I could not get a good feeling this morning. The lap times are close so it should be an exciting race."
Melandri Claims Spectacular Maiden Pole at Aragon
In a thrilling Superpole session today at Aragon, Marco Melandri was flawless, qualifying in pole position with an impressive time of 1'57.634, while setting the new track record in the process.
The Italian completed two laps in the opening Superpole heat and confident to have recorded a sufficiently fast pace decided to save his qualifiers for the coming heats. The nail-biting dying seconds of the session saw several riders improve their lap times, bumping Melandri back to 12th.Team-mate Laverty wisely changed to a set of qualifiers with just 3 minutes to go and produced a flying lap taking him comfortably into Superpole two in first place. The second phase of the Superpole knockout was equally impressive with Laverty and Melandri concluding in third and seventh place respectively. Melandri performed impeccably in the third and final session, producing his fastest time on the first lap, setting the record time on the new Spanish track and claiming his maiden pole position in his World Superbike career. Having used his qualifiers in the previous heats, Laverty completed Superpole three in sixth place on a set of used race tyres.
A track temperature of at least 20 degrees less than that recorded in yesterday's first qualifying session permitted all riders to improve their lap times in this morning's second qualifying. Eugene Laverty had a less than perfect session, struggling with wheelie issues which he managed to improve prior to the afternoon's free practice. A competitive qualifying session saw all 16 riders heading into the Superpole knockout with less than a second between them
Both Yamaha World Superbike rookies face tomorrow's two races confident to be on top form and proving strong contenders for a Spanish podium. Melandri has his sights on a victory, in what will be a very competitive race day, on higher track temperatures.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 1st, 1'57.634
"This is an amazing day. I really didn't think I'd be in pole position, especially after the first Superpole where I risked not qualifying. My team has been working harder than ever since Misano and we've really come a long way and the bike is working very well. I'm really happy with today and I want to say thanks to Yamaha and all my team. The race tomorrow will be very difficult and competitive. A lot will depend on the heat of the track and tyre wear but hopefully it won't be as windy as today."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 6th, 1'58.756
"It was a very tough morning. I didn't find a good set up, so I wasn't very confident. The team worked hard and we made huge improvements in the afternoon's free practice and I regained confidence prior to Superpole. I knew I had to go out again in the first heat and improve my time even if that meant using a qualifier and only have one left. Unfortunately I also knew that then I couldn't produce a faster lap in the third session. Marco, Checa and Biaggi will be very strong tomorrow but I'm sure I'll be competitive as well."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"A great result for Marco today. He has had a good weekend overall and has found a good race set-up. He was fortunate in the first Superpole, having saved his qualifiers for the final heats. It's important to be on the front row and it will be crucial to get ahead and try and save on tyre wear. He did a long run in the afternoon which highlighted the necessity not to over use the tyres in the first few laps. Eugene struggled this morning but managed to improve on his race setting before the afternoon's session. The second row is a very good result and from there I'm confident he will be strong and battle for a position amongst the leaders."
Davies on Front Row in Aragon
Yamaha ParkinGO rider Chaz Davies will start tomorrow's race from the front row on the grid, in fourth place while his team-mate Luca Scassa sits just behind him on the second row in fifth.
A difficult free practice session in the Spanish sunshine this morning saw both Yamaha ParkinGo riders go back to their initial chassis set ups based on the tests carried out just over a month ago. The afternoon's second qualifying session was also problematic for Davies due to a chain issue he encountered on his out lap, causing him to lose valuable track time. Despite the less than perfect weekend so far the Brit successfully concluded a series of nine laps, securing a front row start ahead of tomorrow's race day.
Struggling with brake handling in this morning's free practice, team-mate Luca Scassa made the most of the second qualifying session to test his basic YZF-R6 chassis set-up with the hope of finding a suitable race setting. Improving on lap times throughout the session, the Italian heads to tomorrow's race confident to be able to bounce back and contend for a podium.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 4th, 2'03.058
"We have improved a little bit from yesterday and the work done today has given us a good understanding of the set up to use for the race. I was hoping to further improve my lap time at the end of the session but Szkopek crashed against me in the last hairpin preventing me from producing a faster lap. I'm happy to be starting on the front row and I'm confident I can be strong in the race."
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 5th, 2'03.140
"The Team has done an excellent job today. I am confident that with a little more work tomorrow in the morning's warm up, I will find a good race pace and be where I want to be. It will be a tough race though, competitive to the very end with several riders battling to the chequered flag."
THE ALTHEA RACING TEAM AND CHECA EARN A FRONT ROW START FOR TOMORROW'S RACE AT RIDER'S HOME TRACK ARAGON
Alcaniz (Spain), Saturday 18th June: in front of the Spanish crowds, home rider Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took part in a closely fought Superpole this afternoon on the Motorland Aragon track, ensuring himself of a front row start, in fourth position, for tomorrow's two Superbike races.
For second qualifying this morning, the track temperature was more than 20C cooler than it was yesterday afternoon and as a result times dropped significantly. Checa, having closed yesterday with the second fastest time (2m00.0), was able to improve by almost a second today. He completed several laps in under 2m00, the fastest of which was a 1m59.1, recorded mid-session and which propelled him to the top of the timesheets. He remained in first position until the session's end, thus qualifying in first place for the afternoon's Superpole.
Superpole 1: temperatures increased greatly during the afternoon (47C track temperature) and in the first Superpole phase Checa made just one lap on race rubber. The time recorded, 1m58.7, was enough to allow him safe passage to phase two; he closed in second position.
Superpole 2: this time the Spanish rider and his technicians opted to use the first qualifying tyre. As in the first phase, Carlos needed to make only one lap, which saw him close in a safe second position once again.
Superpole 3: Carlos went out on track in the third session with the second qualifer available to him and immediately made a fast lap. A small error made during a subsequent fast lap cost him a few tenths and he thus closed the session with the previously recorded best time which awarded him fourth place on the grid for tomorrow's races.
"Today a few of the other riders went really well. We knew we had the pace needed to finish on the front row and we did it. Unfortunately I made a small mistake at one point in the final Superpole phase and without that I think I could have gone a few tenths faster. Anyway we are satisfied to be on the front row and I'm feeling confident ahead of the races because we've shown that we have strong pace. All that's left is to select the best tyre for the races, but we'll wait to see exactly what conditions and temperatures are like tomorrow before making a decision. I know that the races will be a lot of fun in the presence of the Spanish fans."