Factory Aprilia man Eugene Laverty stole provisional pole position from his friend and rival Chaz Davies on his final lap of qualifying at Aragon today.
The current championship leader posted a 1:58.548 best to move ahead of Davies after overcoming a number of small electronic issues during this morning Free practice session and this afternoons qualifying.
Speaking to MCN, he said: “I had to work on the electronics and get it working as I wanted on corner entry which meant we didn’t have that much time to try the other tyres or work so much on the set-up. But saying that we’re pretty close and the times we’re doing are close enough compared to last year’s race pace.
“At the moment the grip is not what we expect from this track, but I think it will get better as we get more rubber down.”
Chaz Davies made an impressive start to his race weekend by securing the second fastest time onboard his GoldBet BMW Motorrad S1000RR. Davies secured his first ever WSB podium at the Aragon circuit last season and clearly feels an affinity with the Spanish track.
He said: “The bike has been working well in our most recent tests so I feel we’re getting a lot closer. The bike has developed as well and we have new electronics here that make the bike more ride able which is making me feel more comfortable.”
Kawasaki man Tom Sykes ended the day third fastest with Italian Marco Melandri rounding out the provisional front row. Jonathan Rea enjoyed a better day onboard his Pata Honda with his team having improved the electronics package after three days of un-scheduled testing in Spain last week.
He said: “The base setting of the electronics is getting better but there is still a lot to do and now we need to start working on a different strategy for corner entry at specific sectors of the track. The throttle connection and fuel mapping is ok, but we still seem to be losing a lot of time to our rivals on the straight which is something we need to resolve.”
Fixi Crescent Suzuki rider Leon Camier was credited with seventh place in qualifying, but is unlikely to take any further part in the Aragon meeting after a heavy crash at the beginning of qualifying. The 26 year old suffered a big highside exiting the fast, third gear, turn ten which saw him land heavily on his left knee. While he appears to have escaped broken bones he suffered a severe cut to his knee which was subsequently filled with gravel after he ended up in the gravel trap. Camier was taken to Alcaniz hospital for treatment.
Leon Haslam finished the day 11th fastest onboard his Pata Honda, one place ahead of Alstare Ducati rider Carlos Checa.
Aragon - FIM Superbike World Championship - Qualifying 1
1. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'58.548
2. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.652
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'58.887
4. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.944
5. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.060
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.144
7. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'59.379
8. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'59.414
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.423
10. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.599
11. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.599
12. Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'00.004
13. Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'00.199
14. Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'00.688
15. Alexander Lundh (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'01.041
16. Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing) Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2'01.658
17. Federico Sandi (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'01.928
18. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Grillini Dentalmatic SBK) BMW S1000 RR 2'03.201
19. Ivan Clementi (HTM Racing) BMW S1000 RR 2'03.233
20. Mark Aitchison (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2'04.169