It was Italian Marco Melandri striking the first blow by topping Fridays practice sessions at Motorland Aragon. Melandri was fastest in the first morning session  turning a 1:58.510 on his BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK BMW S1000 RR.  Photo by Gold   Goose

Photo by Gold & Goose

Following a seven week break since the opening round at Phillip Island, the World Superbike Championship is back underway this weekend for round two of 15 at Motorland Aragon in Spain. It was Italian Marco Melandri striking the first blow by topping Friday’s practice sessions.

Melandri was fastest in the first morning session, turning a 1:58.510 on his BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK BMW S1000 RR. He was the only rider in the 58s in the morning session and no one bettered the time in the afternoon session. His speed is a good indication that Melandri has recovered from his shoulder injury suffered in a crash at Phillip Island.

Second fastest on the day was Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty. Laverty, who turned a 1:58.548, topped the afternoon qualifying session and followed the trend of most riders on Friday being faster in the afternoon session.

Former AMA Pro Racing standout Chaz Davies was third with a 1:58.652 on his factory BMW, followed by Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes with his 1:58.887. Sykes was the last rider in the 1:58 bracket. Fifth fastest on the day was Jonathan Rea, on the Pata Honda, who clocked a 1:59.060.

The 3.32-mile circuit, 17-turn Motorland Aragon is in its third year of hosting World Superbike. The event was previously held mid-season, but this year serves as the first European round of the championship. Coming into Spain, Irishman Laverty and his Aprilia Racing teammate Sylvain Guintoli shared the points lead after both riders scored a win and second-place finish at Phillip Island.

It’s not surprising that Melandri is the leading rider at Aragon. The Italian veteran racer won two races out of four previous races at the circuit, and finished runner-up in the other two.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), had a high-side at Turn 10 early in the session and was transferred first to the Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a left knee dislocation and a wound, then taken to the Alcaniz hospital, where he's undergoing further examination. His participation to the rest of the round is seriously doubtful.

Saturday’s Superpole and the races on Sunday are televised live on BeIn Sports.

Friday World Superbike Combined Friday Times from Motorland Aragon:

1. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.510
2. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'58.548
3. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) BMW S1000 RR 1'58.652
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'58.887
5. Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) Honda CBR1000RR 1'59.060
6. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.144
7. Leon Camier (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'59.379
8. Jules Cluzel (Fixi Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'59.414
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'59.423
10. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.599

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