The next two rounds on the calendar, this test could be one of the most important in terms of the Championship race…
Just days after the Motul Portuguese Round at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is back on track for testing at MotorLand Aragon on the 13th – 14th August. The next two rounds on the calendar, this test could well be the most important test of 2020, as track and weather conditions are likely to resemble that of the rounds. With unpredictability in the air, the MotorLand Aragon test is vital for getting the edge on the opposition.
Headlining and hosting, the Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK are ready to maintain their 2020 Championship advantage, after bouncing back from a difficult Jerez with a Portimao triple, achieved by Jonathan Rea. The Ulsterman’s form at Aragon sees him with a most recent win in 2018 and second in the last four races to Ducatis. KRT will work on refining their set up and working in small areas to improve their bike, in order to bring the fight to their Italian counterparts. For 2019 Aragon podium-achiever Alex Lowes, he seeks to be back on the podium for the first time since Phillip Island and this crucial two-day test at Aragon, where he debuted for KRT, will give him the time required.
The ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati team have dominated MotorLand Aragon in recent years; eight victories – including five for Chaz Davies and a hat-trick from Alvaro Bautista in 2019 – mean that the upcoming test gives them time to fine-tune setting changes and make sure that both Scott Redding and teammate Davies hold on to Ducati’s mantle of the ‘bikes to beat’ at the Spanish circuit. Redding struggled at Portimao but found his feet in Race 2 and having already tested at Aragon with Ducati – albeit in bad weather – he should be able to be on the pace from the off. For Chaz, he’s an Aragon specialist and is much better form after the first rounds this year in comparison to last. This test could further consolidate his domination at the venue. Both riders will be working on set-up.
A stunning weekend at Portimao saw Yamaha take up the majority of the podium positions, although they weren’t able to get a crucial win and thus slipped back in the title race. Going to Aragon, the team haven’t been to the circuit since the winter tests, so it’ll be vastly different. It’s also the first time the team will have been to the track at this time in the year, so previous data may not be the most indicative. Both riders will aim for a good base set-up in order to fight at the front of the races. With it being one of the team’s weaker circuits, testing will be vital and although they’re not going to be trialling new components, they’ll seek confirmation of Barcelona findings.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) leads Honda into the Aragon test, buoyed by a first top five result of the 2020 season. He and teammate Leon Haslam have tested at Aragon extensively already, as recently as just a couple of weeks before first round back after the pause. The Honda CBR1000RR-R SP could be a bike to watch out for in the upcoming test, with Bautista finding pace in hot conditions, as well as using his vast swathes of track knowledge to push the Honda’s development onwards. For Haslam, the test gives him another opportunity to work on finding pace in the hotter conditions, something he struggled with at Portimao.
With neither Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) or Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) present at Aragon, the opportunity arises for Maximilian Scheib (ORELAC Racing VerdNatura) and Sylvain Barrier (Brixx Performance) to close in on their Independent rivals. Both riders know the track and it’ll be all about ideal settings for the races ahead. Barrier tested at the track back in July, whilst he is coming off the back of his first point-scoring ride of the year in Race 2 at Portimao. The team’s aim is to develop both themselves and the bike, making for strong, competitive foundations for 2021. The OUTDO TPR Kawasaki squad will be there, although without Sandro Cortese, as he recovers from injuries sustained at Portimao.
Also, in attendance and representing the WorldSSP field will be class rookie Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), who will focus on set up with tyre pressure and also with the clutch. Locatelli has won five WorldSSP races in 2020, and aims to continue his winning streak.
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