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FIRST AND THIRD ROW FOR Aprilia Racing in the second round of world SBK

Third best time for championship leader Sylvain Guintoli.

Seventh place – and a few regrets – for Melandri, ready to redeem himself in the races tomorrow.

Aragon, 12 April 2014 – The Aragon Superpole places Guintoli and Melandri in a position to be key players in the races tomorrow despite today’s times. In fact, the top seven riders are all within just over half a second of one another (0.584 to be precise) as a testament to the extreme balance that promises to characterise the races for the first European round of the 2014 WSBK season.

Because of these extremely small gaps it only took a few mistakes to keep Melandri from starting in the front positions. After qualifying for Superpole with the best time and with a feeling astride his RSV4 that has been building since the Jerez tests two weeks ago, Melandri made a few crucial mistakes in the first sector of the track.

This compromised the champion from Ravenna’s time in the decisive lap but had absolutely no effect on the good sensations he has had since Friday: “All in all today was an excellent day. Unfortunately I missed the mark in the most important lap, the Superpole lap. We had made some changes that I didn’t really like and even going back when we put the qualifier on I didn’t feel confident enough to push hard, making a few too many mistakes in the first section of the track. In any case I am pleased in view of the races. I’ll be expecting two close battles but we’re ready”

Guintoli, the Frenchman who leads the championship after his win and podium at Phillip Island, had a more straightforward day. In every practice session he had been working on his race pace in view of the races Sunday, only pulling out the stops for a fast lap in the decisive session. His third best time (1’56.675) places him on the front row at less than three tenths behind Sykes’ leading time and puts him in a position to make a play for the podium from the start of the race.

Sylvain Guintoli: “After a lot of work throughout the weekend on used tyres it was nice to finally put a new tyre on and push to the limit! The qualifying session, with the bike light and performing well, is my favourite time to ride. We improved again today. At the beginning of Superpole I put in a really good lap straight away on a race tyre. With the qualifier I shaved a bit more off but Sykes made a comeback as Mister Superpole. In any case I’m pleased with the position. The front row is excellent, especially if we consider our good race pace.”

ARAGON – SUPERPOLE

1. Sykes (Kawasaki)                        1’56.479

2. Baz (Kawasaki)                             1’56.675

3. Guintoli (Aprilia)                         1’56.769

4. Giugliano (Ducati)                        1’56.825

5. Rea (Honda)                                1’56.972

6. Davies (Ducati)                             1’56.977

7. Melandri (Aprilia)                        1’57.063

8. Laverty (Suzuki)                            1’57.736

9. Lowes (Suzuki)                             1’57.975

10. Elias (Aprilia)                            1’58.180