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Aragon WSBK: Sykes chases Biaggi in opening practice



Sykes and Laverty are giving Biaggi a hard time at the sharp end
Sykes and Laverty are giving Biaggi a hard time at the sharp end

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Image by Paul Sturman

Former World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi has set the the pace in this morning's opening World Superbike free practice session at Motorland Aragon, going fastest after four minutes and then retiring to his garage for half an hour with only a handful of laps on the board.

The Roman Emperor didn't have it all his own way, however, as both Tom Sykes and Biaggi's Aprilia team-mate Eugene Laverty were both in the hunt. Irishman Laverty was right behind the Italian for the whole session but he was demoted to third place by Sykes, whose last circuit was enough to put him into second on a 1'59.024, two-tenths slower than Biaggi.

Another late charger was Chaz Davies, who leapt from outside the top ten into fourth place with a 1'59.656 and that was enough to push Marco Melandri into fifth place but the troublesome Italian is only one one-hundredth behind the Welshman and a tenth ahead of Ayrton Badovini.

Suzuki's Leon Camier also put in a fast lap early which was enough for sixth but he was dropped a place by Davies' time. Leon Haslam did enough for ninth place but is eight-tenths off the pace while Michel Fabrizio had pace at the beginning of the session but crashed out.

Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa is suffering with a lack of top speed. The Spaniard tops out at 191mph while Laverty and Melandri are joint-fastest at 201mph so he is struggling down in tenth place and 1.2s off the pace with Liberty Ducati man Sylvain Guintoli, who is even slower through the speed trap, two places behind.

John Hopkins crashed at session end and his time was enough for 13th place while Jonathan Rea is the last of the Brits in 15th but he had never ridden the Aragon circuit before this morning, so expect a leap up the charts in first qualifying this afternoon.

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