2012 Aragon WSBK Friday Roundup - No Track For Old Ducatis
Aragon, it would appear, is a horsepower track. To get on the front two rows today, you had to either be on a BMW, be on an Aprilia or be Tom Sykes. It also helped that the Aprilias, BMWs, Kawasakis and Suzukis tested here last weekend, with Max Biaggi being fastest after putting in 90 laps, and took the first nine provisional places. Testing works, it seems.
Biaggi, usually someone who takes his time to get up to speed, was fastest in the morning and second fastest in the afternoon, behind Marco Melandri. The Italian pair also shared wins and second places here next year, so it is easy to imagine either or both of them winning, which will consolidate Biaggi's lead in the championship, help Melandri's title challenge and push Carlos Checa, currently two seconds off the pace, into the clutches of Leon Haslam.
Some tracks are described as Ducati tracks while others don't favour the Italian V-twins, but every track seems to be a Tom Sykes track. Third in the championship on a bike not many would openly choose, he's taken five pole positions in 2012, with the other two starts being from second and third. It's a safe bet he will start from the front row, even if the faster bikes try to stop that from happening.
Both the Factory BMW guys are near the front, along with the Goldbet BMWs and both Factory Aprilias, with Eugene Laverty putting on a stronger show than we're used to in 2012. This track is one where Laverty could shine if he doesn't crash out of Superpole, or otherwise rule himself out of a podium. Chaz Davies on the Parkin Go Aprilia is also making the most of the bike's natural advantage here, ahead of Leon Camier on the Suzuki. Last year, Camier was on the podium on his Aprilia, but this year his Suzuki isn't as threatening as that bike. At least he's been faster than all the Ducatis.
Jonathan Rea also struggled to get a decent laptime, suffering from the heat, the single bike rule and not having visited Aragon last year. His bike suffered a technical fault early on, sidelining him from most of the afternoon's session. For once, Hiroshi Aoyama wasn't far off Rea's placing, even if he was still over a second slower.
In World Supersport, the track suited the CBR600RRs, much like it suited the Aprilias and BMWs in the larger class, with Broc Parkes and Sam Lowes topping the sheets with Jules Cluzel and Fabien Foret, albeit on a Kawasaki, also going well.
With the temperature testing the riders and their teams, nobody seems to have made any glaring mistakes yet, but there's always tomorrow. While the MotoGP riders will race at Assen on Saturday, we will be qualifying as usual.