Aragon WorldSBK test: Less-sick Sykes tops the times

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Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes topped the WorldSBK test timesheets at Motorland Aragon today by just 0.020s from team-mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea as the Huddersfield man felt less ill than he had all weekend but the reigning champion was still in poor shape.

Both riders have been struck by some sort of virus which also laid low half the Pata Yamaha garage, among others, but the pair soldiered through today in warmer conditions than the race weekend to set lap-record equalling times on race tyres.

Testing aspects on their bike which are difficult to look at throughout a race weekend, they focused on confidence with the ZX-10RR for the pair. Putting in 70 laps in total Sykes set a best lap time of 1’49.386 to put him on top.

“I did not use a qualifying tyre today and that is what makes me happy. The standard race tyres performed incredibly and the bike was working nicely. I am still feeling a bit second hand, although I had a slight improvement today on my stomach problems. It is amazing how even with such a small improvement I feel night and day better, physically, on the bike today,” said Sykes.

“I did not intend to do that many laps but I was enjoying myself and overall it was a nice test. We made so many small changes to the bike, working hard with Showa, and I am happy with the progress. We are always learning, always improving. Today the track was in great condition and the Ninja ZX-10RR was working really consistently. It puts a bit of a smile on the end of a difficult weekend.”

With a big list of items to test, Aruba Ducati’s Chaz Davies didn’t have much chance to celebrate his first race win of the season. Himself and his team-mate Marco Melandri spent the day working through electronics and engine settings as well as chassis feeling. However the team suffered a blow in the morning session when Melandri crashed and had to sit out of the rest of the day. Davies was then out alone on track and completed nearly 100 laps of the Spanish circuit, ending the day in third overall, less than two tenths off the pace.

Alex Lowes ended in sixth position as he spent his day around MotorLand working with his gearing, as well as comparing chassis’ on board his YZF-R1. Alongside his Pata Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark, who put in a strong top four performance at MotorLand with a lap time of 1’50.074, the pair worked with some solutions to their electronics issues, on top of working with their suspension.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) appeared to make some improvements with his RSV4 RF, as the Irishman made it into the top five following a steady start to the season back with the Italian manufacturer. Working on the general feeling of the bike overall, he will take away the steps made today into Assen, with a time of 1’50.306.

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team have a mountain to climb following the start of the season, and following another steady weekend at the Pirelli Aragon Round spent the test working on their rear tyre and anti-wheelie control. Putting in a long stint at the end of the day, they both ended in the top ten. Stefan Bradl’s time put him in seventh – a 1.50.886 – while Nicky Hayden ended in ninth overall.

Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres spent the day at his home circuit without the backing of his home fans, but working through different chassis solutions as well as electronics development. Securing a top eight position, the Catalan rider had a strong day out on track, as he shared the testing duties with Markus Reiterberger, who put in the 16th fastest time.

Hoping to put some serious issues behind him, Leon Camier worked his way through the day in a methodical way, looking at many small aspects of his Italian machine. Working through them all in short two lap stints, the British rider put in 73 laps around MotorLand, with an overall lap time of 1’51.047.

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