BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri struck first at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, the Italian besting Aprilia’s Max Biaggi by .365 of a second to earn provisional pole position for Sunday’s two World Superbike races – round eight of the 14 round series.
Biaggi, who turned 41 on Tuesday, snatched the top spot from Melandri only to suffer a crash late in the session. The 2010 World Superbike Champion was able to rejoin, but could do nothing to stop Melandri from stealing provisional pole with his 1:58.608 coming at the end of the session. Biaggi had held the top spot in the opening practice session this morning.
This year’s Superpole King Tom Sykes ended up third on the factory Kawasaki, the Brit just .150 of a second behind Biaggi and a tick over half a second off Melandri’s best.
Then came Eugene Laverty on the second factory Aprilia. Laverty held the top spot early in the session before giving way to Melandri, Biaggi and finally Melandri again.
Melandri’s factory BMW teammate Leon Haslam ended the day fifth ahead of two more BMWs – the BMW Motorrad Italia Gold Bet S1000 RRs of Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio.
Chaz Davies ended the day eight on his ParkinGo Aprilia, the Welshman just .001 of a second ahead of FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier. Defending World Champion Carlos Checa won both races at Aragon last year, but was only 10th today – and the only Ducati in the top 10.
John Hopkins rode the second Crescent Suzuki to 12th.
Jonathan Rea suffered with mechanical issues in the session and ended up 14th.
1. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1:58.608
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1:58.973
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:59.123
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1:59.263
5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1:59.396
6. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1:59.751
7. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1:59.770
8. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 2:00.146
9. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 2:00.147
10. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 2:00.401
12. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 2:00.570