SUPER-FAST R1 IS OFF THE RACE PACE GIPRO
MORE COMPACT & MORE RESPONSIVE THAN OTHER GEAR INDICATORS
When Yamaha duo Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes qualified second and third in Superpole, the whole paddock took a sharp intake of breath. Could this be the breakthrough weekend? Especially as the team had received an engine upgrade and other parts.
The ultimate answer was no, but the signs are clear – it will be soon.
In race one Guintoli tailed Tom Sykes for a time but dropped back with grip issues to finish ninth. In race two he started more conservatively from the front row to save his tyre but still dropped back as he found spin and not drive - and tenth place.
For Lowes, race one put him eighth, race two ninth, and in each case 25 seconds back from the winner. He recovered from being down in 18th in race two to romp back into the top 10, but so far the WSB Yamaha team are struggling to find consistency.
Lowes said: “In the second race I rode very well apart from a few problems at the start. The results are not where they need to be but we’re learning.”
Guintoli was clear what his issues were in race trim, after setting a blistering pole time of 1m 49.583s. He said: “In race one during the first laps I felt quite happy behind Tom. I was even looking to attack him but then the grip dropped massively.”
Questioned if WSB was no longer a Kawasaki-dominated championship Davies replied with a grin, “I hope not - I am trying to keep it interesting. It does get boring when it is one manufacturer. It is not boring for the rider. I can vouch for that! It needs to be a close championship from everybody’s point of view and at different circuits there will be other guys popping up as well. It does seem to be us three at the moment but other guys will be in the mix too.” Chaz Davies was able to exploit more power and less weight thanks to a new exhaust and bigger radiators first tested at Valencia in the week leading up to the Aragon race weekend.
Ducati are making the most of WSB’S new 115decibel noise limit with their new titanium Akravovic exhaust system reducing mass and increasing power. Although the team were reluctant to give exact figures, MCN understands they have reduced the weight of the bike by close to 3kg and given it as much as a 5bhp increase.
Ducati did confirm that the bike now needs to have additional ballast added to reach the 168kg minimum weight limit.
Ducati’s Superbike Project Leader Ernesto Marinelli told MCN: “We’ve been working on the exhaust for a long time. We planned to have a package to bring to the first European round.”
The other performance improvement at Aragon was, of course, Davies himself. Marinelli heaped praise on his engineers, but ultimately singled out Davies as the main ingredient for the victories.
“I think at this track Chaz can find half-a-second from inside himself. It is similar to Laguna, another track that suits his strengths.”