HONDA AIMS TO TURN UP THE HEAT AT ARAGON

misano The Honda World Superbike Team heads for the heat of Spain this weekend (29 June – 1 July) for round eight of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Motorland Aragon.

The 5.344km Aragon circuit lies 300km west of Barcelona and 130km south east of Zaragoza in northern Spain and was used for the first time on the World Superbike calendar in 2011.

Jonathan Rea has enjoyed an unbroken string of eight top six results since race two at Assen in the Netherlands in April – a run which has netted the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland two wins and a further two podiums and propelled him to second place in the championship standings.

However, Rea missed last year’s visit to Aragon and completed just five low-speed laps during an abortive test in January 2011, held in sub-zero conditions. The weather is likely to be dramatically different this weekend, however, with temperatures expected to be in the high 30s.

Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, visited Aragon during his spell in MotoGP and the Japanese ace is looking forward to combining that knowledge with recent improvements to his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade to gain two improved results this weekend.

Jonathan Rea is in a rich vein of form

Jonathan Rea is in a rich vein of form

Jonathan Rea
I’m really excited about Aragon this weekend because it’s new for me and I love the challenge of riding new circuits. I just did a few laps for some photos in really unpleasant conditions in January last year but the layout is really cool and, although I’ve done no laps at race speed, there are a lot of different characteristics and the track is quite fun. We’ll need to make the most of each practice session and gather as much data as we can to build a bike for the hot conditions that we’re expecting on Sunday. As usual, I’ll be trying my hardest to get some good results, and I hope that the improvements we’ve made over the last few weeks will allow us to challenge at the front again.

Hiroshi Aoyama seeking improvement at Aragon

Hiroshi Aoyama seeking improvement at Aragon

Hiroshi Aoyama
I had a very fast crash at the Assen test but we felt that we found some development and got a good feeling with the bike, especially with the stability on entering the corner. I hope that we can continue this progress in Spain this weekend. Aragon is a bit like my home race because it is quite close to Barcelona where I live. I have raced there before so I will try my best with my team to make some good races this weekend.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It’s the first time for Jonathan at this track so we will need a slightly different approach to this weekend at Aragon. We know he can learn a circuit quickly though, so we’re not expecting that to be the story of the weekend. We’re looking forward to it because our recent test at Assen gave us some more improvements and we’re excited about bringing them into a race weekend. For Hiroshi, the Aragon circuit will be a little more familiar, although the GP layout is slightly different. We’ll look to combine his knowledge with some steps forward that we found at the Assen test and get two solid results.

2012 World Superbike championship, round eight

Motorland Aragon, Spain – weekend schedule (local times)

Friday 29 June
11.45-12.30 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1

Saturday 30 June
09.45-10.30 Qualifying 2
12.30-13.15 Free practice
15.00-15.14 Superpole 1
15.21-15.33 Superpole 2
15.40-15.50 Superpole 3

Sunday 1 July
09.20-09.35 Warm-up
12.00 Race 1 (20 laps 106.880km)
15.30 Race 2 (20 laps 106.880km)

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