Rome (Italy), Tuesday 9 April 2013 - eni FIM Superbike World Championship lands in Europe for the second round of 2013 season, that will take place this weekend at Alcaniz’s Motorland Aragon. The spectacular and challenging track in northern Spain, favourite destination for testing of numerous WSBK teams, entered the calendar in 2011 and, after being halfway through the season for two years, it is now the first round to be held within the European borders.
Following the dominant performance of Phillip Island, Aprilia Racing Team is called for a repeat performance on a track that suits well both RSV4 1000 Factory and the current Championship leader Eugene Laverty: the Irishman has always finished within 2nd and 6th place and missed the win last year courtesy of Marco Melandri, who got the better of him at the last lap of Race 2.
Sylvain Guintoli, on the other hand, never managed to finish within the top-10 here. The Frenchman, though, has already shown an excellent feeling with the Italian vee-four machine, as he is currently tied up in points on top of the standings with his team mate.
The current king of Aragon is without a doubt Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who has won 2 races out of 4 and was 2nd when not on top of the podium. The only one able to match his performances was Max Biaggi but the current World Superbike Champion, now moved to the commentary box.
It won’t be an easy task for the Italian rider, since he is still recovering from a shoulder injury, that was aggravated by the unfortunate crash of Phillip Island Race 1. After a first test carried out only by Welshman Chaz Davies (who scored his maiden WSBK podium finish last year at Aragon) and primarily focused on evaluating the latest electronics installed on the factory BMW S 1000 RR, the team underwent a further two days on track at Jerez last week, this time with both riders.
Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), whose braking error during the first Australian race lead to the collision with Melandri and resulted in an injury for both, will partake in his home race. With no points under his belt at the moment, the Spaniard is eager to make some ground in the standings. His team mate Ayrton Badovini will attempt to participate despite still recuperating from a fractured bone in his left foot.
High expectations for the Kawasaki Racing Team, who has done well over last week’s three-day test at Aragon – as they shared the track with numerous teams, including FIXI Crescent Suzuki and Pata Honda World Superbike. Tom Sykes set the fastest lap of the test and proved to be back near full fitness. Sykes and Baz are now ready to keep the flag flying high for the Barcelona-based team.
Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel will show up at Aragon boosted by new engine-spec on their FIXI Crescent Suzuki machines, already evaluated on the Spanish track on April 2-4 with some positive feedback. Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam’s hard work is not over yet, as the British duo did a further two-day test to check out the new electronics developed by Honda for their CBR1000RR at Alcarras.
The Supersport World Championship is back at Aragon and it will be once again a chase of the leader and defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who won the Opening Race at Phillip Island. The controversial outcome of last year’s race is all water under the bridge as Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret are now team mates under Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki colours.
2012 race winner Sam Lowes is the number 1 candidate to challenge Sofuoglu’s leadership, but the young Brit landed badly on his left hand during a three-day test at Aragon last week and won’t be 100% for the upcoming round. Lowes and Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) were joined on track by Pata Honda World Supersport duo of Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti, Luca Scassa (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), Kev Coghlan and Vladimir Ivanov (DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki) and Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda).
PTR are looking for redemption after a nightmare Season Opener, that saw Sheridan Morais held back by technical issues on his CBR600RR. Last year’s STK600 runner-up Riccardo Russo will make his World Supersport debut this weekend with the San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki.
WSBK Press Office