The former WorldSBK frontrunner and current MotoGP™ pitlane reporter gives us his guide to all the action in Spain
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship goes continental for Round Three of the 2019 season, sending us straight into the winding circuit of MotorLand Aragon. This counterclockwise, 5.1km track is surrounded by state-of-the-art facilities and owns some of the trickiest corners of the championship. But the sensational Spanish circuit holds no secrets for MotoGP™ pitlane reporter Simon Crafar, also a MotoGP™ race-winner and former WorldSBK star. The New Zealander took part in over a hundred SBK™ races in the 1990s and is willing to share with WorldSBK.com some of the key points for the Motocard Aragon Round.
Where the championship truly gets going
“As a rider and working in a lot of teams for a long time, we always feel like the championship really starts when you get back to Europe. It’s more common that ‘strange’ results happen outside of Europe, and they are less known circuits to all the riders. They only ride them once a year; whereas here back in Europe they ride them more often.”
Bautista will feel at home here
“Coming here, I fully expected Álvaro to be a big problem for the other riders and teams here, because he knows it from MotoGP, and the bike looks like it has a speed advantage, he’s small… All these things, when you have such a long straight, such a fast track, he’s going to be very hard to stop here. I’m really interested to see what happens when he gets to, say, Imola, where I’ve seen Johnny ride the best I’ve ever seen him ride, on the Honda. Álvaro doesn’t know that track.”
A track with something for everyone…
“This is a big statement, but for me it’s arguably the best circuit in the world. I know from so many tracks I’ve been to, it’s possible to say that, when you take into account the layout, the safety of the run-off – it’s not gravel, all concrete – then the surface, the facilities – the garages are bigger than anywhere, they’re enormous. Everything’s brand-new!”
“Sure, there’s amazing tracks elsewhere that are truly amazing places, but this track doesn’t repeat anything anywhere. It has something different all the way around. That’s why I say it’s so amazing.”
… even off the track!
“Coming to Aragon as a spectator, I’ve heard people say: “But it’s in the middle of nowhere”. I don’t feel like that, because it’s so beautiful. I’m a country boy, I don’t like the big city, in two days I’m claustrophobic! You come here and it’s absolutely beautiful scenery, outside the circuit it’s amazing. But also, the produce here, amazing and so cheap to eat out. I love coming here! “
WorldSSP300, the missing piece to the puzzle
“It’s fantastic! To have an affordable racing class that young people can get into is the base of what our sport is built on. Without that, you don’t see as many people coming through. It’s super important. Honestly, I wish some of the bigger classes were like that also!
I was speaking to Ana Carrasco this morning, I know her from track days where she goes testing sometimes. She’s super excited about trying to defend the championship. She will know that it’s going to be super hard.”
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