Tom Sykes went fastest during testing on the new 17-inch tires that will be the regulation size in 2013.
World Superbike is returning to a 17-inch rear tire in 2013 and riders were able to test the new configurations Monday during a one-day test at Aragon. Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes posted the top time at 1’57.254 during Session 2 on the new Pirellis. BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri came in behind Sykes at 1’57.313 and BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet’s Ayrton Badovini was third-fastest at 1’57.658.
Testing took place during two sessions and a number of riders, Sykes and Melandri included, spent the morning running different bike settings on the current 16.5-inch tires and moving to the 17s in the afternoon.
“We’ve worked hard today again after a difficult day yesterday, when unfortunately I believe that the wind affected us more than our competitors,” said Sykes. “We did a run this morning to confirm our race pace and I did a 58.8 on lap 17 so it’s a completely different story with no wind. The plan was to test the 17-inch tire in the morning but we wanted to confirm what happened yesterday, then this afternoon we kept the same settings and tested the new size wheel and tires which I was pleasantly surprised with.”
Melandri had a similarly positive reaction; “It was interesting to ride the new 17-inch tires. It was a completely different feeling from the usual Pirelli tires we race now. The bike characteristics look more precise. I hope this is just the starting point and that I will be able to test the new solution before the end of the year just to understand which direction we need to take for next season.”
Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty and Max Biaggi were fourth and fifth on the timesheet and Melandri’s teammate Leon Haslam was sixth.
Riders weren’t as concerned with setting impressive lap times as they were focused on comparing the differences between the current tires and the new configurations for 2013. Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano came out of the sessions encouraged that the switch to 17s will be a constructive move.
“I really liked the new tire and I’d say it’s almost at the level of the 16.5. It is very stable, corners well and has almost all of the positive attributes of the 16.5 inch,” Checa explained. “In terms of performance it seems very good, also because we didn’t change the bike setting but it nevertheless performed well. We have seen a slight improvement with regard to the front, but probably this is a combination of the two, which together provide good balance.”
Giugliano added, “I must say that I really like the 17 inch tire. During today’s sessions I was able to find good sensation, especially at the front which allowed me to improve on my best time set yesterday.”
Others, such as FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier weren’t as impressed. “I tried the new 17-inch wheels and tires this morning and my initial feeling was that the bike felt less nimble. The grip was better, but that made the acceleration out of the turns a bit worse.” Camier went on in the afternoon to post his best lap time of the weekend on the original 16.5-inch tires.
Leon Camier was less impressed with the new tires than others, citing trouble accelerating out of turns and feeling like the bike was “less nimble” than on the 16.5-inch tire.
World Superbike Aragon Test Results 2012:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’57.254
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’57.313
3. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’57.658
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’58.034
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’58.054
6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’58.150
7. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’58.179
8. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’58.201
9. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’58.283
10. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’58.365
11. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’58.816
12. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’58.880
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’58.903
14. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’58.949
15. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’59.512
16. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 2’00.063
17. David Salom (Kawasaki) 2’00.208
18. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki) 2’03.139
19. Norino Brignola (BMW) 2’03.585
20. Imre Toth (BMW) 2’08.447
In World Supersport, Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes posted the fastest time at 2’02.452, over one second ahead of Fabien Foret of Kawasaki Intermoto Step. Third fastest was Valentin Debise of SMS Racing. Rivamoto Junior Team’s Jed Metcher was right behind in fourth and Kawasaki Lorenzini’s Sheridan Morais rounded out the top five. Morais’ teammate and current points leader Kenan Sofuoglu did not participate in testing because he returned to Turkey for an examination of his knee, which may need to undergo surgery. Sofuoglu is expected to be ready to race during the next round at Brno on July 22.
World Supersport Aragon Test Results:
1. Broc Parkes (Honda) 2’02.452
2. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 2’03.516
3. Valentin Debise (Honda) 2’03.779
4. Jed Metcher (Yamaha) 2’03.800
5. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 2’03.890
6. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 2’04.078
7. Andrea Antonelli (Yamaha) 2’04.305
8. Joshua Day (Kawasaki) 2’04.506
9. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 2’04.672
10. Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki) 2’04.817
11. Luca Marconi (Yamaha) 2’04.912
12. Dino Lombardi (Yamaha) 2’05.019
13. Fabio Menghi (Yamaha) 2’05.432
14. Oleg Pozdneev (Yamaha) 2’14.215