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.
Standings: 1. Laverty 45; 2. Guintoli 45; 3. Fabrizio 29; 4. Sykes 22; 5. Melandri 16; 6. Rea 16; 7. Haslam 15; 8. Cluzel 14; 9. Camier 14; 10. Davies 13; 11. Neukirchner 11; 12. Giugliano 10; 13. Baz 10; 14. Allerton 6; 15. Clementi 4, etc.
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.
Standings: 1. Sofuoglu 25; 2. Lowes 20; 3. vd Mark 16; 4. Foret 13 5. Salom 11; 6. Scassa 10; 7. Antonelli 9; 8. Zanetti 8; 9. Roccoli 7;10. Kennedy 6, etc.
The top-3 riders from last year will be back contesting the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. Defending Champion Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) will have to deal once again with Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Ducati) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki), who are willing to do their best to take his crown. It’s going to be a trip down to memory lane for Niccolò Canepa, after one year racing in the Superbike class, who will jump on the Barni Racing Team 1199 Panigale. Following the brilliant performance at Magny-Cours last year, South Africa’s Greg Gildenhuys will be alongside Barrier as full-time rider for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet Team.
Italy is again the most represented Country of the 12 in the series, with 9 riders out of the overall 26 entries.
As several protagonists of the past season stepped up to Supersport class and numerous young talents from European Junior Cup (including 2012 Champion Lukas Wimmer) and national championships arrived, the European Superstock 600 Championship gets underway with a new mix of riders ready to fight over the 9 rounds in calendar.
MTM Racing Yamaha riders Gauthier Duwelz and Adrian Nestorovic are likely to play a major role this year, as well as Franco Morbidelli and Alessandro Nocco, selected by the Italian Federation (FMI) to race the Puccetti Racing ZX-6R. After the promotion of last year’s winner Michael van der Mark, the EAB Ten Kate Junior Team confirmed Swiss Bastien Chesaux for another season.
The total of 31 riders representing 14 countries, gives an idea of the continuing appeal of the series.
European Junior Cup
For its third consecutive season, the European Junior Cup now goes under Honda’s wing to provide its 36 entries from all over the world the brand new CBR500R. The new naming of the series “Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda” underlines the prestige and importance of the one-make entry-level championship designed for the young talents of motorcycle racing. This year’s EJC will see the participation of two young female riders, respectively from France and Brasil.