2012 Aragon World Superbike Winter Test Day 3 Result: Wind Slows Final Day Of Testing

Though the final day of testing at Aragon for the World Superbike teams took place under sunny skies, an oil spill and a strong headwind down the back straight made improving times difficult. The test ended with Tom Sykes as fastest, finishing ahead of 2012 World Champion Max Biaggi by two tenths of a second. Leon Camier set the third fastest time on the Fixi Crescent Suzuki, though matched by Biaggi's Aprilia teammate Eugene Laverty.

The oil spill was caused by Carlos Checa's Ducati Panigale, which locked up on the front straight and dumped a lot of oil onto the track. The riders lost a lot of testing time while the track was cleaned, and by the time the circuit workers were finished the wind had picked up, making it difficult for riders to improve their time.

Kawasaki's Sykes finished the three-day test as fastest overall, with Biaggi in 2nd and Camier in 3rd. The introduction of the 17-inch wheels has failed to slow the bikes, with times easily faster than the fastest race laps set here during the race weekend at July. Sykes set his fastest times on race tires, the bike and the new wheels clearly demonstrating their combined potential.

The teams now head home, but only for a few weeks. The World Superbike off-season is due to culminate in a joint test for all of the teams at Jerez at the end of November.

Day 3 times, courtesy of the official World Superbike site:

Pos. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 Tom Sykes Kawasaki 1:57.6    
2 Max Biaggi Aprilia 1:57.8 0.2 0.2
3 Leon Camier Suzuki 1:58.1 0.5 0.3
4 Eugene Laverty Aprilia 1:58.1 0.5 0.0
5 Michel Fabrizio Aprilia 1:58.4 0.8 0.3
6 Loris Baz Kawasaki 1:58.5 0.9 0.1
7 Carlos Checa Ducati 1:58.5 0.9 0.0
8 Davide Giugliano Ducati 1:59.4 1.8 0.9
9 Alex Hoffman Aprilia 2:00.7 3.1 1.3
10 Josh Waters Suzuki 2:00.9 3.3 0.2


Overall times from all three days of testing:

Pos. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Day
1 Tom Sykes Kawasaki 1:57.6     Day 2
2 Max Biaggi Aprilia 1:57.8 0.2 0.2 Day 2
3 Leon Camier Suzuki 1:58.1 0.5 0.3 Day 2
4 Eugene Laverty Aprilia 1:58.1 0.5 0.0 Day 3
5 Michel Fabrizio Aprilia 1:58.4 0.8 0.3 Day 2
6 Carlos Checa Ducati 1:58.5 0.9 0.1 Day 2
7 Loris Baz Kawasaki 1:58.5 0.9 0.0 Day 3
8 David Giugliano Ducati 1:59.4 1.8 0.9 Day 2
9 Josh Waters Suzuki 2:00.2 2.6 0.8 Day 2
10 Alex Hofmann Aprilia 2:00.4 2.8 0.2 Day 1


Althea Ducati press release:


Aragon (Spain), Wednesday 17th October 2012: the Althea Racing team and Ducati are pleased with the progress that riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano have made on board the new 1199 Panigale Superbike during a three-day test session at Motorland Aragon.

Checa and Giugliano took to the track on Monday where in cool and very windy conditions, totally the opposite of the extreme heat experienced during the July race, they continued with the work that they had begun a couple of weeks ago during testing at Misano. Carlos, whose 40th birthday coincided with Monday’s test, recorded some interesting lap times while Davide spent time testing a new fork.

On the second and third track days (in more settled and dry conditions) the Althea men continued to work with their technicians and Ducati development personnel, gaining confidence with each exit. Davide suffered a small crash on Tuesday but was fortunately unhurt and able to return to the track almost immediately. As well as the new tyres, the team spent time testing various new components relating to suspension, setting and forks.

By making a series of changes throughout the three days the team was able to better understand how the bike reacts and identify the best direction to take as a result. At this point of development it is essential that the riders begin to understand the bike and that the bike is adapted to the needs and style of each rider.

On track along with several other SBK teams, Ducati’s technicians were able to compare the 1199 Panigale’s performance to that of its rivals for the first time and have declared themselves satisfied with the work completed thus far, although there is still a lot to do over coming months. The winter testing programme will continue next month in Jerez, Spain.

Carlos Checa:

“My impression is positive. We’re still a little way off in terms of times but we are here to work on the bike and try things out to better understand what is missing and what we need to go faster. This is all a normal part of development work. The 1199 Panigale is an extreme bike and the riding style needed is different too. We are at the start of the journey; we’re still in the first phase and still have a lot of work ahead of us. The 17” tyres are working well once the track is up to temperature and conditions have allowed us to get a lot of laps in during yesterday and today – the data collected will be useful as we move forward.”

Davide Giugliano:

“We have tried many things over these last days and I am working hard to find my way with the new bike. The Aragon track is very different to Misano where we carried out the last tests and I’ve had a bit of trouble going from one to the other because of those differences. I would say that we can be satisfied with what we’ve got done here and we have a good base from which to progress.”

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I always read about how the "racin' is better" in WSBK, but the posts about MotoGP always have more comments. It's very telling that the current champion of World Superbike washed out of MotoGP over 7 years ago, without ever securing the real world championship.

It makes one wonder why David Emmett covers it? What happened to Jared Earle? I always suspected JE was just a pen name.

Motorcycle racing is such a niche sport. Why fragment the market with two competing championships run by the same company. Just get the merger over with and fire all the old management. Hire some young blood that understands what's happening with how the world now communicates.

What's lacking most is characters in racing.That's what makes it so much harder to think about what could have been with Marco Simoncelli.

Conspiracy theories, you gotta love them.
Nice cover DE, but one has to wonder why you waste so much of your precious time creating a fake twitter account, with a fake avatar, and chatting with it?
So I guess it's flattering, it means that motomatters reached this critical size when it's big enough to generate its own conspiracy theories!

Some people need to get real. The interesting thing to come out of the test is that the lap times with 17" aluminum wheels are faster than with the 16.5" magnesium .

Now in an era when " cost cutting " is the buzz word(s), that is something that should be welcomed, as it has positive real world applications.

Moto GP should take note, it could be the key to breaking the ****** BS / Dorna cartel and opening up the tire situation AND provide cost savings that could open up the playing field, break away from the spec formula.

But the vested interests in Moto GP would never allow that.
This shows why WSB cannot allow its " business model " to get neutered by that corrupt Spanish gnome.

Motogp & WSB are separate champions because MGP used to be based on prototype 500cc two strokes and WSB remains true to it's roots production based racing since 1987/88.

I do fear Dorna will do all it can to dumb down WSB because they continue to get it right. While the top 4 in MGP are in a class of their own, the rest is debatable.

I think that it is debatable, for the least, to say that WSBK remains true to its origins/ideas.

When it all began, the majority of bikes used were special, limited production models (a-la 1098R), with optional Kit parts for specific racing-use (though prepared "regular, mass-production" equivalent model of same sportbikes could be also be allowed, if existent). There was the Honda RC30, Ducati 851, Bimota YB4, Yamaha OW01, Suzuki GSXR-RR, Kawazaki ZXR-R, to name the more numerous and famous. Only the big teams were using their "own developped Kits", although with the manufacturer Kits as base for their own.
Costs were not even comparable, they were much cheaper, even if we make the respective currency translation from the era.
With the exception of Ducati and Bimota, there were no other "Official" or "Works" bikes, rest was top privateer teams. Even these top privateer teams had little backup from the factories when it all started and for a number of years. Yet these still shared podiums and fought for victories.

While most will say that the WSBK formula hasn't changed all that much, we have to recall that all associated racing components, plus the fierce competitiveness did change. The world has also changed since then. A LOT.
Like was said above, it was an interesting concept at a time when 2-strokes completely dominated all classes in GP's and had their own National and European GP equivalents (good times those).
4-stroke sportbikes were getting extremely popular at that time (remember the GPZs and initial GSXR750s fever?), a target for most motorcycle enthusiasts with racing ideas, so it was also a point of focus for formulas that didn't exhist. No wonder it was an imediate success for SBK, even at national levels.

Problem is, WSBK was -and is- victim of its own success, especially from the mid 90s and on, when direct involvement of bigger manufacturers became really proeminent.
Escalation of costs began, engines began being changed every race (actually more than trice per weekend), fully specialized chassis only sharing the form from the original, etc, etc.... i.e, enter the 'big bucks' corporate business world.
What we have since recent years (perhaps not so recent) is a production-based formula that became too prototype, and is already clashing with GPs regarding both the costs and the huber-tech "unobtanium" (and there's no limit for engines used per season, remember?). Out of control.
This was not the initial idea of the SBK formula.

If we rule out the exhotic (japanese or italian) limited production models used back in late 80's to early 90's for WSBK, the current Superstock, aka 'STK', is sharing quite some resemblances to that original WSBK idea/concept -and equivalent budget. Perhaps more so than what we are seeing now in WSBK, if compared to its inception days.

Regardless of competitiveness, it's got to a point where it turned out to be detached from the initial idea, especially regarding costs (ultra expensive for privateers), wildcard presences, national championships (most are now STK based, when once upon a time they were SBK), etc.
Don't let the WSBK duels on the races fool you, there's a big crisis cloud over WSBK as well. It's not just MotoGP.

PS: sorry for the long post and "rant tone"... it's just that these are the most ridiculous times that I have memory in all my life. The modern western world doesn't have money to buy "peanuts" yet people still crave and corrupt for even more "caviar" than before. Delusional, if not plain ridiculous.
Changes with semi-compromises for lower costs are not just welcome, they're necessary; "cheaper racing" doesn't translate into "bad racing", perhaps it's the opposite. The past has already taught us that.
We always hear that we humans always adapted, or else we would die. Same principal should also be applied to racing. If there is a time for that, this is it.

Great post..

Teams for WSB. Homologated hot rods.

Manufacturers for MotoGP. Prototype. Brand awareness. Real world trickle down development.

How does WSBK get it right?

I'm curious. So many people say WSBK have it right and Dorna will eventually have it wrong. I wonder if anyone can be specific?

Luc Marqs is absolutely spot-on.

The homologation requirements for Superbikes need to be lifted to rule out limited production bikes in favour of motorcycles of MASS production.

Then we need rules that limit costs. Limiting engine tuning and bringing in engine use limits would be a start. Yes, it is true, for man, many years now some of the Superbike World Championship teams have been plugging in new motors for practice & qualifying, then for each race. At one stage in the 1990s Ducati crankcases were only good for around 750 racing kilometres...


hehe When Francis Batta speaks... he tells it like it is.
And I bet he still had a lot more to say!

It was amazing what this guy and his team (+riders) acomplished in WSS even before the WSBK adventure. That is the inventive and practical spirit the sport needs right now.

That enterview should be on every motorcycle newspaper and mag, on paper or internet form.

Thanks for the link, David!