A bright but exceptionally cold Motorland Aragón greeted the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team this morning as Alex Lowes and Sylvain Guintoli took to the track for the Pirelli Aragón Round’s opening day of practice. Securing 10th in the combined times, Lowes heads in to Saturday morning’s FP3 comfortable with his direct qualification into Superpole 2 while teammate Guintoli will battle for position in the earlier Superpole 1 session after missing his chance to set a fast lap and closing the day in 14th.
Lowes used Friday morning to evaluate electronic updates and engine control settings to his YZF-R1. Steadily progressing through the one hour session, the British rider concluded his first free practice holding the fifth fastest time – a 1’52.378 – despite the low circuit temperatures (Air 10°C Track 17°C) and content with the continued development. The afternoon saw him continue the progress made before a crash at turn 8 at the end of the session cut his prospective P3 lap short. His earlier time of 1’51.639 was still enough to secure his promotion into Superpole 2 – at 10:55 local time tomorrow – and the fight for the grid’s front four rows before the afternoon’s 18 lap contest.
Quickly up to speed with his Yamaha from early in the session, Guintoli completed the morning’s practice in seventh with a 1’52.622. The afternoon allowed the Frenchman to continue his evaluations, as he worked on chassis settings and tyre-life. With the session cut-short, the potential fast lap was not to materialise and Guintoli will have to take his place in Saturday’s Superpole 1 – on track at 10:30 local time – hoping to advance to the fight for pole, while the action really heats up for the weekend’s first WorldSBK race at 13:00.
10th / 1’51.639 / 34 laps
“A challenging day but we have worked through a lot of items in the two hours on track and there is more to come tomorrow. It’s a shame that the small crash put paid to what could have been a good lap, but these things happen. The team are working hard to evaluate the data gained from today’s progress, so we will keep working as we have been and look forward to pushing hard in the first race tomorrow afternoon.”
14th / 1’52.013 / 38 laps
“The only thing missing from today was the fast lap at the end on the soft tyre. We decided to concentrate this afternoon on testing the tyres for the race and unfortunately at the end we ran out of time to set a lap. We have worked well with the engine brake strategy and a lot more with the chassis, because it seems tyre-wear could be an issue here, so we need to be as efficient as we can for the race. Unfortunately we worked less on outright pace, that was a bit of a risk and we got caught out so we have work to do. Tonight and tomorrow morning we will try to improve our rhythm and work hard to get through Superpole 1.”