Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two eighth round World Superbike championship races from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth fastest time in today’s Superpole at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

British rider Tom Sykes took his sixth pole position of the season as Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, just missed out on Superpole qualification by six hundredths of a second in this morning’s second qualifying practice. The 30-year-old Japanese rider will start on row five.

After missing most of yesterday’s first qualifying session, Rea spent further time this morning familiarising himself with the challenging 5.344km Aragon circuit. The 25-year-old began the weekend at a disadvantage to most of his rivals, having not tested or raced at the Spanish track.

However, with temperatures once again in the mid-thirties, Rea was happy to take sixth place on the grid for tomorrow’s two 20-lap races, which are expected to take place in significantly cooler conditions.

Jonathan Rea – P6, 1m57.822s (Superpole 2)

I’m quite happy really, because we’ve not been here before and to get sixth place at a new circuit, plus the technical problem we had in Q1 yesterday, when we lost half an hour of track time, is pretty good. Superpole 3 was my target and to be one place in from the outside of the track going into turn one is a pretty good gate. The bike’s working OK but, because of the lack of set-up data from last year, the gearbox is not perfect for this track. It’s getting more comfortable to ride now and the set-up is good and the guys are working really well. We have a bike that we can take from track to track without changing too much now, and that’s allowed me to learn the track here without chasing a set-up. Yes, we’ve put laps on tyres, but I haven’t done a long run yet, so we’re going into the race a little bit blind. It’s supposed to be cooler but I think our preferred race tyre should cope with that so I think we can sleep easy tonight. I’ve achieved today’s goal and I’m ready for two long, hot races tomorrow.

Hiroshi Aoyama – P18, 1m59.686s (Qualifying 2)

I was in a Superpole position until the last minute of qualifying this morning, and it is a pity that we lost that place. Although we could not improve yesterday afternoon, we were able to go quite a lot faster this morning. This was partly because of the lower temperature and also because of some small adjustments, which helped. In the end I was still missing a bit of feeling from the front so I could not do that little bit more that was needed. We worked some more on this part this afternoon but again the temperature went up so I couldn’t improve. We’ll work on the front feeling again for tomorrow morning and also for the races.


Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We couldn’t make enough progress with Hiroshi and ended up one step behind the others again. He is able to go out and make a promising time but then we can’t seem to help him to improve, so he missed out again on Superpole. On the other side of the garage, Jonathan and his crew did a really good job. We had some misfortune with a technical problem yesterday, when we lost more track time to our competitors, who have been testing here a lot. Today he just chipped away at the lap time and in the end he got a brilliant sixth place on the grid. He’s still finding pace, so I think we can fight for the podium tomorrow.


2012 World Superbike championship – round eight, Motorland Aragon, Spain

Final qualifying results:

1 Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m56.552s

2 Max Biaggi (ITA) Aprilia 1m57.260s

3 Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m57.592s

4 Leon Haslam (GBR) BMW 1m57.710s

5 Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m57.784s

6 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Honda World Superbike Team 1m57.822s

18 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda World Superbike Team 1m59.686s

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