2019 Aragon WorldSBK Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after the first day of practice at Aragon:

Bautista sets the pace at MotorLand Aragón after FP2

Four manufacturers lead the way at Aragon, whilst the Independent team riders also begin to push to the front

Day one of the WorldSBK Motocard Aragon Round has been completed by the blue-riband class, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) heading the field once more. Times soon improved at the start of the session and riders edged closer to the outright WorldSBK lap record at MotorLand Aragon. However, rain played a part towards the end of the session, meaning there were little improvements in the final two minutes.

Bautista soon got to work, improving his lap time in the early stages of the session but initially, unable to get under the 1’49.6 bracket. Whilst having his gap slashed in half, the home-hero was still comfortably clear at the top and pushing hard throughout the session to try and improve his time. Teammate Chaz Davies failed to improve on his time and finished in ninth position. The Welshman had a few on-track issues, so will hope that they are put to bed ahead of the races on Saturday and Sunday.

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) continued his strong start to the Motocard Aragon Round, improving his time to be just over half-a-second from Alvaro Bautista’s lap time. Lowes hasn’t achieved back-to-back front row starts since the Losail International Circuit in 2017 and looks set to put the record straight. Teammate Michael van der Mark however seemed subdued and was outside of the top ten for some of the session. In the final eight minutes, the Dutchman went tenth but would finish 12th overall.

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued his pursuit at the front of the field, with the reigning four-time world champion putting a good lap in towards the end of the session to cement third position and just 0.023 from Alex Lowes’ Yamaha. Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) had a quiet session and remained towards the rear end of the top ten, placing seventh on combined times and improving his time at the end of the session.

It was an impressive FP2 for 2013 WorldSBK Champion Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), who put in a blistering lap time at the end of the session to go fourth overall. With two wins at Aragon, Sykes suffered a small crash at Turn 1, losing the front end of the S1000RR. His teammate, Markus Reiterberger, had a much better session than in the morning. The German placed in eighth overall, as the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team continue to improve their bike’s aerodynamics, as well as dominating the sector times in sector three.

Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) had his best session of the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, improving to fifth overall. Top Independent rider, the Irishman has continued to build on the steps he and the team made in Thailand, making for a promising European stint of the season. Fellow Independent team rival, Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was just a fraction off the 2013 runner-up’s pace in sixth position.

Italian rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was impressive and broke into the top ten, whilst also placing top Italian, as Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) struggled in 11th position.

It was a disappointing day for the Moriwaki Althea Honda Team, who were 16th and 17th with Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari respectively.

Round 3 of the Superbike World Championship begins well for Álvaro Bautista, who heads the timesheets with the Panigale V4 R of the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team. Some signs of progress for Chaz Davies, who finished the day ninth quickest

The third World Superbike round of the season began well for Álvaro Bautista, who immediately proved to be right on the pace in his home race with the Ducati Panigale V4 R. In today’s two free practice sessions, the 34-year-old Spanish rider was the only man to get under the 1’50 mark when he set a lap time of 1’49.692 in the morning FP1, and he then shaved off a few hundredths of a second in the afternoon run to finish the day on top with a time of 1’49.607.

Team-mate Chaz Davies started the day well with fourth-quickest time in the first free practice session in 1’50.920. For the afternoon, the Welsh rider made a few small modifications to the bike to try and further improve on his time, but his effort came to nothing in the last few minutes when the rain began to fall. Chaz ended the first day of practice in ninth place overall.

Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – 1st - 1’49.607

“The weekend here at Aragón has begun really well because I immediately found the right feeling with the bike, like in the first two rounds of the season. My confidence level with the Panigale V4 R continues to grow rapidly and here on my home circuit it all seems even easier. Today we did a good job but we have to keep one eye on the uncertain weather conditions for the weekend. I’ve never lapped with this bike in the wet and so in case of rain I will have to get used to the conditions very quickly. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’m very confident I can do a good qualifying run to start on the front row for race 1."

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 9th - 1’50.920

“This morning’s session was quite decent, but then I had a frustrating second session in the afternoon. We played around with the bike a little but it felt like it changed quite a lot, and I got a bit more comfortable with it at the end of the second session then three-quarters of the way round my fast lap I hit a wall of rain so had to abort. I felt we made a bit of progress with some of the vibration issues we’ve been having but it changed the bike quite a bit so there are pros and cons. With a good run I think we shouldn’t be in too bad a shape with race pace so we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Lowes Makes Strong Start to Aragon Weekend

Free practice

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider, Alex Lowes, made a strong start to Round 3 of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Aragon today. The 28-year-old Briton, three times a podium finisher last time out in Thailand, was second fastest on the opening day in Spain, having posted a time of 1'50.126 in this afternoon's second free practice session. Sandro Cortese ended the day sixth on the timesheet, with GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK teammate, Marco Melandri, five places further back in 11th. Michael van der Mark endured a difficult opening day in Aragon, finishing 12th on combined times after struggling to find a good feeling with his Yamaha YZF-R1.

Lowes was quick to make his mark as the first free practice session got underway in cool conditions this morning, with the Pata Yamaha rider quickly finding his rhythm around the fast and technical 5.077km Aragon circuit. A time of 1’50.819 saw Lowes finish the opening session in second position, but over a second behind the winner of the opening six races, Alvaro Bautista. Another significant step forward in this afternoon’s second and final free practice saw Lowes improve his lap time further, reducing the gap to Bautista to just half a second.

While Lowes enjoyed a strong opening day the same wasn’t true for his Pata Yamaha teammate, van der Mark. After a solid opening practice this morning, the 26-year-old Dutch rider went in slightly the wrong direction with set-up changes ahead of the second session, which he started late due to a technical issue. As a result, van der Mark was only able to make a small improvement to his lap time but he remains confident that a further step forward is possible tomorrow ahead of qualifying and the race.

Today may have been Cortese’s first aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 at Aragon, but the reigning Supersport World Champion was quick to adapt to the demands of racing a Superbike around the technical 5.077km track. Ninth in the opening free practice session this morning, Cortese improved his lap time by almost a second to end the day an impressive sixth on the timesheet.

Melandri endured a difficult opening day in Aragon, with the Italian struggling to find a good feeling with the bike in both practice sessions, despite working through a number of set-up options. The GRT Yamaha rider will sit down with his crew to go through the data tonight, as they work to find a solution to the issues ahead of tomorrow’s all important qualifying.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P2 – 1’50.126

"It was a good start to the weekend today. We stayed on the same tyres for this afternoon's session and, while I couldn't do a long run because I'm still struggling a little bit with my wrist and don't want to work it too hard ahead of the race, my pace was quite strong and I felt good on the bike. It was certainly the best feeling I've had on this track, which is really positive, and now I'm looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow and trying to improve in a couple of areas."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK – P12 – 1’51.103

"This morning wasn't too bad; I felt quite good on the bike, the gap to Alex wasn't so big and it was clear in which areas we needed to improve. This afternoon we had a small technical problem which meant I missed a few minutes at the start of the session, and after that I just struggled to feel comfortable on the bike. We reverted to a set-up closer to the one we ran this morning, which felt a little bit better and, together with a new set of tyres, allowed me to improve my lap time, but not as much as I expected. We have some work to do tonight, as I was struggling a bit mid-corner, but I'm confident we can find a solution ahead of qualifying."

Sandro Cortese

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P6 – 1’50.636

"A very positive opening. We worked hard between FP1 and FP2 because I struggled a lot initially this morning, but throughout the day we managed to improve a lot by making some big changes to the set-up of the bike. Of course, it was made more difficult by the fact that this my first time here on the Superbike and, while I know the racetrack, it's different on the bigger bike. In FP2 the pace was there and now we need to see tomorrow how the race will go."

Marco Melandri

GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK – P11 – 1’51.053

"it's been one of the most difficult days in the Yamaha R1 for me. I arrived with good expectations, as I have always had good results at this track, but today was very difficult. I was struggling to brake, to get the bike stopped, and getting the bike turned was also an issue, so it was not easy. We tried a lot of different things, but the result was the same. Tomorrow we will try to find a solution in the final free practice session by making some changes to the character of the bike, especially in the areas where, at the moment, I don't feel very comfortable."

Rea Third Quickest With Haslam Seventh

At the first Spanish-based round of the 2019 WorldSBK season the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam took their first steps toward finding a race set-up to use in race one at the long and varied Motorland Aragon circuit. Rea finished up third fastest on day one of track action, with Haslam seventh.

With some grey clouds above them but having a dry track to ride on for all of FP1 and the vast majority of FP2, Rea and Haslam set about the task of matching the new Ninja ZX-10RR to the 5.077km long Motorland Aragon circuit.

In finishing third overall in the combined times Rea was 0.542 seconds back from early pace-setter Alvaro Bautista, but just 0.023 from second placed rider Alex Lowes.

Rea was able to combine his race set-up duties with evaluating new Pirelli front and rear tyres today, finding positives in some areas. Like his peer group he will now face a final free practice session on Saturday morning, Superpole qualifying and then a full distance 18-lap opening race.

After a undergoing a recent operation on his left ankle to remove a cyst, Haslam concentrated on his main task today; trying to improve front end confidence. He also stated that back pain has been suffering from recently is much-reduced and did not affect his riding on the opening day at Motorland.

With rainfall finally affecting the very last minutes of the first day all riders and teams will be hoping for dry weather for the rest of the weekend, to build on the positive work already completed today.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Not too bad today but this morning I struggled with some things, on the bike and with myself in the way I was riding. Things were not happening naturally. This afternoon we made some changes and I felt immediately more at home. We were just evaluating and trying to make subtle changes because we do not have too much time anymore, with two sessions on Friday in 2019. You do not have another chance now to make a change. Pirelli have also brought some different front and rear tyres to test. On the front I tried the ‘C’ option tyre which is more like the SC2 family that I liked before. We are making progress.”

Leon Haslam, stated: “I am not too worried about our position in the rankings today but I was struggling a little bit. Not so much with the track but with the feeling while getting the bike stopped. It is one of those circuits where you have to be in a good smooth rhythm and at the minute I am not too confident getting the bike into the corners. It is something we are going to work on. The times are pretty close for the majority of them, around mid 1’50s, to low 1’51s. Round here, you have to be at that rhythm to be in the fight. I feel that we will be there, that is not an issue. I just have to get my confidence set, especially on corner entry.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) placed 13th today, making him the best Kawasaki Independent Rider. He was followed closely by Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) in 14th and Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) in 15th.

Promising opening day for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at MotorLand Aragon


MotorLand Aragon

The first day of action at the Motorland Aragon circuit was a positive and promising one for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team as both riders tried find their base settings aboard the BMW S 1000 RR.

The BMW pair got off to relatively solid start during this morning’s FP1 session with Tom Sykes finishing in P7, Reiterberger +0.768 slower in P12.

As the day progressed into the afternoon showers looked increasingly likely, which interrupted the final session of the day. Both Sykes and Reiterberger made changes from the earlier outing including head angle, pivot angle and minor shock adjustments.

During FP2 Tom had a minor tip off going into T1, however managing to remount he would then go on to place himself into P4 ahead of tomorrow's’ qualifying session.

Markus was on form during FP2 as he challenged for the top 6 positions. The changes made from FP1 seemed to have worked for the German as he went -0.2 quicker from his previous best lap, putting him into P8 on the opening day.

The focus for the team now changes to day 2, where the BMW Motorrad team will battle for grid positions ahead of Race 1.

Shaun Muir – Team Principal

"A good day for both riders here in Spain, we have made a good step forward from Thailand which is positive.

Tom had a little tip off at T1 during FP2 which lost him 15-20 minutes of the session which unfortunately meant we didn’t get to try everything we wanted, however he managed to get a quick lap in at the end which showed the changes we made were in the right direction.

Markus, I am really happy with. He put some good solid laps in today and made a promising step from FP1 to FP2. He has a good setting from FP2 into FP3 and qualifying which will hopefully bode well for the race.

Moving into tomorrow, we have to be realistic in qualifying. top 6 is achievable for Tom and equally top 8 for Markus. Come the races I will still maintain that top 10 for both riders is our goal and we will continue to work hard to achieve that."

Tom Sykes (GBR)

“I am really enjoying riding my BMW S 1000 RR here in Aragon, again we are still losing a lot of time in the final sector along the back straight however we are very strong in the corners.

The second session we ended up in fourth which is quite good really considering many things. Rather than trying out long runs during the day I opted in making a few chassis and electronic changes so we had quite a lot to do. I had a small crash in T1 which set us back a little, but I am happy with information from today, I am expecting we put this together into an ever better package for tomorrow."

Markus Reiterberger (GER)

“It was a productive day and we again have gathered a lot of information. We tested some new parts which have had a positive impact. In the first practice I struggled to get a proper feeling and lacked a bit of grip which often ran me wide. That had improved for the second session, we made a change to the bike so from now we will try to build on the positive results to fine-tune and to further improve for tomorrow.

In general, I am really happy with the second practice but we need to continue working to make another step as I still don’t feel 100 % confident when braking for the corners. But as soon as we have found the solution there I am convinced that I can be really fast. We continue the hard work and a big thank you to the entire team!”

Motorland Aragon-Friday Free Practices

Great debut for the Go Eleven Team on the first "European" day of this exciting SBK World Championship!

Eugene proved to be at his best from the first laps, completely resetting the Thai misadventure. He improved his fastest lap little by little, lowering his personal race pace until a 1.50.356 was signed, a few cents from the Top 3.

The great agility in changing direction, the ease of riding of this new Panigale V4-R combined with the very clean driving style of our rider, author of a sensational T4, brought the Team to P5!

The Go Eleven technicians still have some shots in the barrel for the next sessions, in order to close the remaining gap, on the Superpole lap, and aim for the first row.

Tomorrow you will have to be glued to the TV until the last lap of the race, there will be surprises!

Free Practices 1: P 6 1.51.069 +1.377

Free Practices 2: P 5 1.50.356 +0.749

Eugene Laverty:

"We have made another step forward compared to Thailand and to end the first day in 5th position is fantastic for the entire team. We have regrouped after the disappointment of Thailand and come back fighting. I’m aiming for the front two rows of the grid tomorrow and confident that we can fight for a top six finish in the races."

Camier back on track in mixed conditions at Aragon; Kiyonari faces the Spanish track for the first time

On a day of rather cold temperatures and with very light rain falling at various points during the afternoon’s session, Leon Camier was back aboard his CBR1000RR after being declared fit to race by the Medical Centre yesterday afternoon.

Conditions were not ideal for team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari either, facing the technical Spanish track for the first time. The Japanese rider was unable to improve on his morning’s lap time.

The two riders hope for stable weather conditions tomorrow, so that they can improve on both their bike set-up and performance, which saw them round out day one in 16th and 17th place respectively.

Leon Camier 2

16th 1'52.364

“Of course, I’m not fully fit yet. It will take some time to get back to normal, despite not having needed an operation. That said, we are not where we want to be with the bike’s set-up either. We made a change for the second session, but it didn’t take us in the right direction. The positive thing is that we understand where we need to go with the bike in order to be faster but at the same time it’s not so easy to achieve the right setting. It takes time. Hopefully we will be able to make some steps tomorrow if the weather stays fine”.

Ryuichi Kiyonari 23

17th 1'53.800

“This morning I rode the Aragon track for the first time, and I must say I enjoyed it, even if it was a challenge at first. There are a lot of blind corners and to find the references and good lines took some time. I was feeling quite good towards the end of the session anyway. The afternoon session was disappointing as we were not able to make an improvement in terms of bike set-up. Weather conditions did not help of course but this was the same for everyone. Tomorrow we will start again with a positive mentality and do our best to improve”.

Delbianco back in action at Motorland Aragón

Alcaniz (Spain), Friday 5 April 2019

The Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain is hosting round three of the 2019 Superbike World Championship this weekend, the first free practice sessions of which played out today.

The Althea MIE Racing team, on track with rider Alessandro Delbianco, took part in the day’s two practices. During the morning, in cool but dry conditions, Delbianco completed a total of 15 laps as he continues to build confidence with the CBR1000RR SP2. At the session’s end, a best time of 1’54.890 saw him position eighteenth. Later in the day, the Italian rider was able to lower his previous reference by just over a second, setting a fastest time of 1’53.883 during the final stages to round out the day in eighteenth place.

The Althea MIE Racing Team will be back on track tomorrow for the all-important Superpole followed by Race 1, getting underway at 2pm local time (CET).

Alessandro Delbianco

“A ‘normal’ Friday I'd say, during which we have continued to work hard. I was able to ride the bike a little better than usual, which made for more positive feedback, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to make another step tomorrow. The aim this weekend is to complete three good races together with Camier and Kiyonari on the factory Hondas, and continue to gain ground.”

WorldSSP: De Rosa and MV Agusta top first day of free practices in Spain

Rain in Spain sees FP2 being somewhat academic, meaning results from a dry FP1 indicate the form of WorldSSP riders at MotorLand Aragon

The World Supersport championship was the final class to take to the track at MotorLand Aragon for the Motocard Aragon Round of the season. Unfortunately, the heavens opened at the end of the WorldSBK FP2, so the track was wet for the WorldSSP riders. With no improvement in the times, our best understanding of who has the pace going into the weekend comes from the morning session.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) topped the timesheets and beat a pack of Yamahas behind him. With 16 laps set, De Rosa will be hopeful of the track time in the morning helping him improve the settings of his machine. Behind him, championship leader, Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA). The Frenchman is hoping of extending his advantage over the field, after winning the WorldSSP race in Thailand. Completing the top three, Austrian rider Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing), who continues his quest to become the first ever Austrian on the WorldSSP podium.

Outside of the top three, it was Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). The Italian rider was 0.416s from the top spot, whilst he had close company with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) just 0.054s behind. Joint championship leader Randy Krummenacher was somewhat off the pace in FP1, down in sixth position and more than half-a-second from the leading MV Agusta F3 675 of Raffaele De Rose.

The World Supersport championship was the final class to take to the track at MotorLand Aragon for the Motocard Aragon Round of the season. Unfortunately, the heavens opened at the end of the WorldSBK FP2, so the track was wet for the WorldSSP riders. With no improvement in the times, our best understanding of who has the pace going into the weekend comes from the morning session.

Raffaele De Rosa (MV AGUSTA Reparto Corse) topped the timesheets and beat a pack of Yamahas behind him. With 16 laps set, De Rosa will be hopeful of the track time in the morning helping him improve the settings of his machine. Behind him, championship leader, Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA). The Frenchman is hoping of extending his advantage over the field, after winning the WorldSSP race in Thailand. Completing the top three, Austrian rider Thomas Gradinger (Kallio Racing), who continues his quest to become the first ever Austrian on the WorldSSP podium.

Outside of the top three, it was Federico Caricasulo (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). The Italian rider was 0.416s from the top spot, whilst he had close company with Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) just 0.054s behind. Joint championship leader Randy Krummenacher was somewhat off the pace in FP1, down in sixth position and more than half-a-second from the leading MV Agusta F3 675 of Raffaele De Rosa.

Seventh was held by Isaac Viñales (Kallio Racing) who was top Spanish rider at the close of day one of WorldSSP action. 2017 WorldSSP champion Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was eighth and a second off of the pace set by De Rosa. Ninth position belonged to Corentin Perolari (GMT94 YAMAHA), as the Frenchman continued to progress through the session. The top ten was completed by Dutch rider, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer), however he will not be competing for the rest of the weekend because of an injury that had only being detected at Aragon, despite occurring at Phillip Island.

The top three at the end of the wet FP2 session were Lucas Mahias, ahead of Randy Krummenacher and Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing). Despite times being way down, it remains important to gather data, as wet practice may become useful should the weather take a turn for the worst on Sunday race-day.

With the Europe Supersport Cup returning at the MotorLand Aragon circuit, it was Xavier Navand (DK MOTORSPORT) who was top in that category. The 19-year-old Frenchman was just 2.7s off of the top spot in an impressive debut.

Cluzel Leads the Yamaha Charge on Opening Day in Aragon

Free practice

GMT94 Yamaha's Jules Cluzel was the best placed of the Yamaha WorldSSP riders on the opening day in Aragon, with the winner of the last race in Thailand ending the day second on the timesheet following a rain disrupted free practice 2 this afternoon.

Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Thomas Gradinger made the most of this morning’s opening practice to secure third place on the timesheet with a time of 1’55.352 and, like all but one of the WorldSSP riders, the Austrian’s attempt to improve his time this afternoon was thwarted by the arrival of rain showers around the 5.077km Aragon circuit.

Evan Bros. Bardahl Yamaha’s Federico Caricasulo was fourth today, with teammate Randy Krummenacher two places further back in sixth. Kallio Racing Yamaha’s Isaac Viñales was seventh, ahead of GMT94 Yamaha’s Corentin Perolari in ninth and Loris Cresson in 16th position.

WorldSSP300: KTM dominate in WorldSSP300 as Meuffels tops day one at Aragon

Both groups were headed by two KTMs as the WorldSSP300 field complete first track action of 2019

The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship returned to action at the MotorLand Aragon circuit during the Motocard Aragon Round of the season. The curtain-raiser is set to be a thriller, with two groups vying for the top time.

In group A, it was 2018 MotorLand Aragon race winner Koen Meuffels (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) who led the way at the end of play on Friday. The young Dutch rider returning to a circuit which holds good memories for him. Behind him, Jan-Ole Jahnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team) was close behind him, whilst popular Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama (Semakin Di Depan Biblion Motoxracing) completed the top three. Manuel Gonzalez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) and replacement rider Marc Bayen Luna (Kawasaki GP Project) were fourth and fifth respectively.

Group B featured some big names such as Scott Deroue (Kawasaki MOTOPORT), Maximilian Kappler (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) and Dorren Loureiro (Nutec – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) making it just as competitive as Group A. At the top of the session was 18-year-old Dutch rider, Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), with a time just 0.3s off the lap record; one that would’ve been good enough for second when combined with Group A. Behind him by 0.186s was Maximilian Kappler, whilst in third position was Scott Deroue, the Dutch rider starting his season positively.

Outside of the top positions in Group A, the reigning champion, Ana Carrasco (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP) in eighth, whilst in Group B, three-time podium finisher Borja Sanchez (Scuderia Maranga Racing) was 12th, whilst 2018 podium finisher at Imola, Kevin Sabatucci (Team Trasimeno) was 17th.

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