BOTH MARCO MELANDRI AND CURRENT RANKING LEADER SYLVAIN GUINTOLI FOCUSED ON RACE PACE, CONFIRMING THE PROGRESS DEMONSTRATED DURING THE RECENT TESTS AT JEREZ.
Alcaniz, 11 April 2014 – Never more than today should the standings at the end of Friday’s free practice be read so carefully. At Motorland de Aragon, the scene of the second 2014 World Superbike round, Aprilia Racing Team chose to work on race pace with long runs of several laps to simulate how the RSV4 will react over the 17 laps on Sunday and to take the best possible advantage of the tyres over the long distance. In light of the strategy being employed the sixth best combined time for Marco Melandri and the seventh best for team mate Sylvain Guintoli gave the Italian garage confidence and seem to pave the way for a weekend as protagonists.
Although each took a different route both Marco and Sylvain tackled the second afternoon session continuing to work with used tyres and they confirmed their good feeling during the recent tests in Jerez, approving the developments that have been made on the RSV4 during that time.
However, optimism in no way diminishes Marco Melandri’s goals, satisfied with his work today on the track but still convinced that a few more precious tenths can be shaved off. Especially on the fast lap, a situation that will become crucial in Superpole tomorrow where the starting order for the races Sunday will be decided.
Marco Melandri: “I’m pleased. This is definitely the best day of practice since I’ve been on the Aprilia RSV4. We chose not to use a new tyre this afternoon to see what the best option would be for the races. Both the electronics strategies and the bike setup have been improving constantly so all that’s left now are those areas where we can still improve and we’ll work on those today and tomorrow, but overall I am quite satisfied with today’s results.”
Sylvain Guintoli, winner at Phillip Island in the first race of the season and provisional leader of the rider championship, is of the same opinion. The Frenchman also put in a long series of fast laps using the same tyre, looking for the “delicate” setting that will make the difference at the end of the race. For Sylvain the new solutions introduced at Jerez were also confirmed on the Aragon track, a track which has historically favoured the powerful V4 from Noale.
Sylvain Guintoli: “Two excellent sessions for us today. We were fast and consistent. The improvements we found at Jerez came out here at Aragon as well so that is quite comforting. We worked mainly on race length. We still have some more fine tuning to try tomorrow but the base setting that we reached today is definitely good. The RSV4 really works well here, I hit 327 kph and that is just more good news in view of the Sunday races.”
FRIDAY – COMBINED RESULTS
1. Rea (Honda) 1’58.180
2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’58.417
3. Davies (Ducati) 1’58.575
4. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’58.579
5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’58.717
6. Melandri (Aprilia) 1’58.763
7. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’58.855
8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1’58.971
9. Haslam (Honda) 1’59.103
10. Canepa (Ducati) 1’59.861