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Preview World Superbike-Supersport, Aragon, Spain
Posted by: newsla on Apr 08, 2014 - 07:26 PM
Preview World Superbike-Supersport, Aragon, Spain


The second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship takes place at Motorland Aragon this coming weekend with Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) hoping to benefit from the work done in recent tests.


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Having successfully completed two on track tests at Cartagena and Jerez in Spain during the extended period since round one at Phillip Island in Australia back in February, the Pata Honda pair return to the Iberian peninsula with their full SBK spec CBR1000RR Hondas for the Motorland races. Both riders will try and improve on their opening weekend results, which delivered Rea to seventh in the championship standings, and Haslam into 11th overall. Each rider scored top six race results at the opening round, with Rea sixth and then fifth. Haslam made up for a first race non-finish with a sixth place in race two.

Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) left Australia with a third place and a win in the opening races to lead the Championship with 41 points.

At the recent test sessions in Spain, Pata Honda's British riding duo concentrated on chassis settings and new electronics strategies and plan to make sure that these advances will allow full competitiveness over a scheduled 14-round, 28-race, season. These tests were particularly important because after the second round of the year private testing will be banned. The next available tests will consist of a singe day at Imola after the race in May, and then a dedicated two day test at Portimao in Portugal, between July 21 and 22.

The 2014 Superbike World Championship season features varied machinery from a greater number of manufacturers than ever before and also has SBK Evo class machines on the grid; machines which have Superstock engine and electronics systems, but a full Superbike rolling chassis.

The 5.344km Motorland SBK circuit has been on the schedule for three years and provides one of the longest straights in modern-day motorsport, as well as corners of a great variety, particularly in terms of camber and elevation changes. A challenging and beautifully appointed venue, it has delivered race wins for three different manufacturers so far, with Honda looking for its first podium finishes on this layout.

The long wait for the second round of the championship after the opening races in Australia on February 23rd has seemed interminable for some riders. Now the action comes thick and fast, with a round every second weekend after Aragon for six consecutive rounds up until the Portuguese event at Portimao in July. The USA race at Laguna Seca takes place only one weekend after that to cap off first half of the season.

Next up after Motorland Aragon is the Pata Honda team's home round, at Assen in the Netherlands, on 27th April.


A host of Honda CBR600RR riders will be present at Motorland Aragon this weekend for the second round of the 2014 FIM Supersport World Championship, with Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) determined to get into the fight for podium places after suffering bad luck at the first round in Australia in late February.

With van Der Mark no scoring in his eagerness to try and win the first round, and his team-mate Zanetti eventually ruled out of the race with a left middle finger injury that required a skin graft to repair, neither scored points first time out. The Pata Honda riders are keen to get back to a track that holds no fears for them, especially after a good test at the end of last year. Michael was second in the Aragon race in his WSS rookie season in 2013, while Lorenzo was sixth in only his second ever WSS race.

Top Honda rider at the present time in the 2014 WSS championship is one-off rider at Phillip Island, Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda), who scored third in an intense five-lap sprint in round one. In doing so De Rosa earned a full time spot with his team for the remainder of the season. He now looks to maintain his top CBR rider status at Motorland, as he joins Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) and Nacho Calero (CIA Insurance Honda).

Kennedy will return to action still suffering the effects of a broken and pinned right ankle, suffered after a crash in testing before the Phillip Island round. He raced at Phillip Island but was forced out with a technical issue. Calero scored his first points in Australia and is now 13th in the championship, as he looks to advance his career again at his home round in Spain.

Riccardo Russo (Team Lorini Honda) was eighth in his first ever Honda WSS ride in this racing division, while his new team-mate Marco Bussolotti (Team Lorini Honda) also took a points score, in 14th place. Bussolotti tested at Imola recently, to get more familiar with his WSS machine after spending the last three years on a Superstock 1000 bike.

Fraser Rogers (Com Plus SMS Racing) was another one of the five Honda riders who finished inside the top 15 at Phillip Island, and he scored a single point for his efforts. He heads to Aragon on the hunt for more points.

Experienced ex-Moto2 rider Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda) showed a lot of promise and pace in Australia, but fell in the race itself and was unable to score any points, a situation he intends to put right at Motorland on raceday.

The Rivamoto Honda team has announced its withdrawal from the Motorland Aragon race as no replacement for the outgoing Bryan Staring has been found.


Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
"I had a great test at Aragon at the tail end of last season, just after I had started to feel healthy again on my injured leg. I am looking forward to going back there because it is a circuit I really enjoy. I struggled a little bit in the first laps there last year, but my pace in the middle and end of the race was good. The base of our bike compared to last year, and even compared to the test last winter, is quite a lot higher. I am excited and I feel quite optimistic to go back there. In Australia we did not show our full potential partly because of the nature of the circuit there. Aragon is more of a conventional European style circuit, which is more my style. It suits the bike. We cannot talk about any big goals but we should aim for the podium there at this point of the year. I have done a lot of test laps recently and it is clear the boys are working hard and are 100% behind it all."

Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team)
"Aragon has not been an awesome track for me in the past but I am looking forward to it because we made some good progress in our electronics since round one. We have made some good steps in the tests we did in Spain. I am looking forward to see how much we have progressed when we get to Aragon and where we can go from there. The circuit penalises us a little bit because of its long straight but there are also lots of corners so there is no reason why we cannot be battling at the front. Aragon takes a little bit of a different riding style compared to what I normally have, so I have to actually adapt myself more rather than change any settings on the bike. We did a little bit of testing there in November and we got down to a good pace then."

Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"We did a few laps of Assen recently just to get a little bit of track time in but Lorenzo was not there. In Australia we were really competitive and fell in the race because I tried to win. In Aragon we tested there last winter and we have a good set-up. I am looking forward to it because it is a track I like. Given the improvements we made in the winter they should work really well at Aragon so I think we should be able to fight strongly there. We have improved much more because it is easier to ride because of the electronics and software updates we have had. The ride-ability is much better than last year. Everything feels much safer because it is easier to go fast. It is a really big improvement, we have a good basic set-up now and compared to last year the bike feels better everywhere."

Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team)
"I am feeling a bit better now and I had a short ride on my friend's bike just to see how the movement of my injured hand would be. I will not be 100% for Aragon but I am healing quickly and I am keen to get back on my bike. I want to get back to a good feeling very soon and then try to fight for a podium. That is my target, although I know it will be difficult after a month and a half off my bike and after surgery on my left middle finger. I was lucky not to break my finger but I lost a lot of skin so I had to have a skin graft. Fortunately in Melbourne there is one of the best clinics for hand surgery and that was important. We tested at Aragon last year and it went well so I just need to come back, regain my feeling, and fight for the podium if it is possible."

Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda)
"I am really happy to be with CIA Insurance Honda and looking forward to challenging for the podium again at Aragon. It will not be easy as there are many good riders and I am still learning my bike and team. But for now I want to try and stay on the tails of the guys at the front and get the best result I can."

Marco Bussolotti (Team Lorini Honda)
"I am very pleased with the work done at a recent Imola test which allowed us to take a big step forward with regard to both the chassis and the feeling with the bike. Moreover, we were able to improve the delivery of the engine while I continue to adapt more and more to the riding style that the 600 requires. At Aragon it will be important to use our new reference points on the track but once that is done, given the progress we have made, I think we can look to better results."

Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda)
"I was disappointed to crash out of the opening round, especially when a good finish seemed possible. I want to make this right in Spain. I am still learning my Core PTR Honda, it is different to a Moto2 machine, but already I am fast. Now I need to understand the limits and tyres better. I want to finish at Aragon and I want to finish high up the points."

Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda)
"My recovery is a bit slower than I had hoped and my physiotherapy is actually very painful. I think it is because the bone I broke is the main anklebone. After the crash at Phillip Island I had the option of having surgery and recover quickly or not have surgery and take a much longer recovery. Two screws were fitted through my ankle this time. We are not going to do any testing before the round, but I'm back at the gym, and training in the pool as well. I feel well physically and I don't think the ankle will give me any trouble at Aragon."

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