BMW’s Marco Melandri has taken provisional World Superbike pole position at Motorland Aragon in scorching conditions which have seen the track temperatures soar to a tyre-blistering 60°C with air at 37°C, making rubber selection difficult.
Melandri, who was also fastest through the speed trap at 199.4mph, lapped at 1’58.608 which was fourth-tenths faster than Max Biaggi, himself only fractionally quicker than Tom Sykes in third although the self-styled Roman Emperor did crash at turn 16 late on in the session but re-joined the circuit.
The session was filled with little drama, only BMW and Aprilia machinery topping the timesheet. Eugene Laverty was fastest out of the blocks, only to be deposed by Melandri after six minutes. It took Biaggi half an hour to go quicker than his countryman but Melandri was having none of it, going back past his fellow ex-MotoGP man with six minutes left on the clock.
Laverty, meanwhile, slipped down to fourth but is only a tenth behind the Kawasaki of Sykes while a late charge from Leon Haslam saw him hop up to fifth ahead of Ayrton Badovini, himself nipping ahead of Michel Fabrizio and Chaz Davies, who has found form in Spain, in the final minutes.
Leon Camier ended the day in ninth, one place ahead of reigning champion Carlos Checa whose top speed is down to 188mph in the searing heat. His team-mate Davide Guigliano is in 11th, one place ahead of JohnHopkins.
Jonathan Rea had to content with a mechanical problem on top of a lack of track knowledge as he finished in 14th place.