Rome (Italy), 26 June 2012 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship came away from its mid-season point at Misano Adriatico with a double win for Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) and now arrives in Spain for the start of the second half: seven rounds and 14 races still remain in the run-in for the 2012 world title battle.
The MotorLand Aragon circuit, 140 kms east of Zaragoza, is the venue for the production-based championship for the second time and the only previous edition last year saw Italians Marco Melandri, at the time on a Yamaha, and Max Biaggi share the glory. For Biaggi it was his first win of the year, but this time the five-time world champion comes to Aragon as points leader and with three wins to his name. The Aprilia rider has led the championship since the opening round in Australia and his double win at Misano, together with some errors by his chief rivals, have given the Roman Emperor a chance to increase his points lead. The RSV4 has already shown it can adapt well to the characteristics of the MotorLand circuit, and the Noale-based team has already tested twice here, once pre-season and then two weeks ago, perfecting the bike set-up for the race.
Biaggi, who celebrates his 41st birthday today, is not yet in a position to break away from the pack because with 350 points still up for grabs anything can happen from here onwards. That is the main objective of 25-year-old Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team), who has moved into the second place slot, 38.5 points behind Biaggi. The talented young Northern Irishman did not take part in 2011 due to an injury he picked up at the previous round but following Misano Rea has also had the chance to further develop his CBR1000RR in two days of testing at Assen.
The Spanish-based Kawasaki Racing Team is gearing up for its home round, with Tom Sykes having carried out three testing sessions in Spain. The Tissot-Superpole specialist (five wins out of seven so far) is 46 points behind Biaggi and will be aiming to repeat his win at Monza, the only one for the ZX-10R this season.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport are looking for a good result again after Misano, where Marco Melandri could only score a DNF and a fourth place, the Italian currently lying 55 points behind his rival Biaggi. The German squad also opted for Aragon as its test-track, and Melandri and team-mate Leon Haslam both put in a lot of laps there last week.
It’s home territory for Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) who has to make up for two crashes at Miller and Misano, which have set him back some 60 points from the top. The reigning world champion knows that he cannot make any errors from this point onwards if he wishes to take a second title for the Ducati team. Last year Checa crashed here while attempting to keep the pace of Melandri and Biaggi, but luckily it had no effect on his triumphant season. A few days ago at Misano, Checa tested the new Ducati 1199 Panigale for the first time, a bike he might end up by racing in the 2013 championship. All eyes will also be on his team-mate Davide Giugliano, who following a podium at Misano returns to the track where he dominated the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup round last year on his way to the title.
In the Manufacturers battle reigning champions Ducati have just a 1.5 point lead over Aprilia, with BMW 25.5 points off the top.
Points (after 7 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 210.5; 2. Rea 172; 3. Sykes 164.5; 4. Melandri 155.5; 5. Checa 150.5; 6. Haslam 123; 7. Guintoli 103; 8. Laverty 95; 9. Giugliano 80; 10. Smrz 75.5; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 222.5; 2. Aprilia 221; 3. BMW 197; 4. Honda 176; 5. Kawasaki 170.5; 6. Suzuki 56.5.
Misano has also given a definitive shape to the World Supersport mid-sized category with a second win of the year for Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini), who now has a 22-point lead over his closest rival Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda). The Aragon round, which for Supersport is the seventh of 13, could be a decisive one for Sam Lowes, the 22-year-old Brit from the PTR Bogdanka Honda team who is always quick in races but who slipped 30 points down due to a crash at Misano that ruined his third pole position of the year. Sofuoglu, who has already won the title twice, is back on perfect form again following his early season mishaps: his rivals will now have to give twice as much, without making any mistakes, if they want to catch the Turkish champion. It’s a positive moment also for Alex Baldolini, the former Moto2 rider who at Misano gave the Power Team by Suriano its maiden podium and Triumph its first in a couple of years.
Points (after 6 of 13 rounds): 1.Sofuoglu 106; 2. Cluzel 84; 3. Lowes 76; 4. Foret 63; 5. Baldolini 54; 6. Parkes 53; 7. Tamburini 38; 8. Morais 37; 9. Quarmby 34; 10. Iannuzzo 32; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 131; 2. Honda 131; 3. Triumph 67; 4. Yamaha 52; 5. Suzuki 6.
Aragon will be the fifth of 10 rounds in the calendar for the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup contenders. Frenchman Sylvain Barrier has taken control at the top again by winning at Misano and thus allowing the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet team to regain ground on Barni Racing Team Italia, which runs the new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Lorenzo Savadori and Eddi La Marra, two youngsters backed by the Italian Federation have not been able to capitalize on home advantage in the three Italian rounds so far and are 11 and 14 points respectively behind the Frenchman. This Italo-German battle could also include the young 18-year-old Markus Reiterberger of the BMW Alpha Racing team, who is yet to get onto the podium.
Points (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Barrier 75; 2. Savadori 64; 3. La Marra 61; 4. Reiterberger 41; 5. Baroni 40; 6. Bergman 33; 7. Baz 30; 8. Massei 30; 9. Guarnoni 26; 10. Coghlan 22; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 84; 2. Ducati 74; 3. Kawasaki 60; 4. Honda 30; 5. Aprilia 15.
In the Superstock category reserved for under-22s the battle is raging at the top between the 19-year-old Italian Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) and his Dutch rival of the same age Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda Team) who closed the gap with a win at Misano. With six rounds still to go Russo and van der Mark are separated by just two points and it’s all to play for between the two of them. Russo has been limbering up by winning round 4 of the Italian CIV domestic series and is now close to the title, but he’ll have his work cut out to hold off the flying Dutchman. The other podium finishers, Nacho Calero Perez, Gaulthier Duwelz, Bastien Chesaux and Christian Gamarino have all shown potential on occasions, but have failed to string together a series of positive results.
Points (after 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 81; 2. Vd Mark 79; 3. Calero Perez 50; 4. Duwelz 42; 5. Vitali 33; 6. Gamarino 27; 7. Chesaux 26; 8. Egea 24; 9. Coveña 23; 10. Schacht 18; etc.
KTM European Junior Cup
The Aragon programme will be completed with the fourth round of the European Junior Cup, the one-make trophy reserved for under-19s racing with KTM 690 machines provided directly by the Mattighofen-based manufacturer. Christian Vidal arrives at his home round as leader with 26 points to his name, but not far behind are the two race winners so far, Austrian Lukas Wimmer (Misano) and Poland’s Adrian Pasek who won the opening encounter at Assen. The race at Monza was cancelled due to appalling weather conditions.
Points (after 3 of 8 rounds): 1. Vidal 26; 2. Wimmer 25; 3. Pasek 25; 4. Demoulin 24; 5. Orellana 21; 6. Hartog 20; 7. Wielebski 20; 8. Lewis 19; etc.