Rinaldi leads Lecuona by a tenth on the first morning of Aragon test

Tuesday, 29 August 2023 11:14 GMT

The Italian rider put in a series of fast laps towards the end of the first four-hour session to secure top spot on Tuesday morning

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) surged to the top of the times on the first morning of testing at MotorLand Aragon as some of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field headed to Spain. The Italian finished just over a tenth clear of his rivals to secure first place on Tuesday morning with the #21 one of only three riders to lap in the 1’50s bracket. He was ahead of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), who had been looking good for top spot right until the end of the session, and Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) in third.

Rinaldi had been outside the top three as the first session concluded but two fast laps, including his best of 1’50.818s, moved him up the order. He first moved into third place before jumping up to first ahead of Lecuona. The #7’s best time was 0.132s slower than Rinaldi but came shortly after Honda made some changes to the rider positioning on the CBR1000 RR-R. Petrucci took third place, 0.150s down on Rinaldi, with the #9 helping the factory Ducati team with their testing programme. The top three were the only riders in the 1’50s bracket.

Reigning Champion Alvaro Bautista’s ( Racing – Ducati) best time was 1’51.179s to claim fourth, 0.361s down on his teammate. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) finished as the lead BMW rider on Tuesday morning as he secured fifth, with the top five separated by less than 0.5s. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) ensured both of Honda’s race riders were in the top six as he posted a 1’51.304s, less than half-a-second down on his teammate’s best time.

Seventh belonged to Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) as the Dutchman continues to find full fitness following his comeback at Most, with the #60 directly ahead of teammate Scott Redding. Van der Mark’s best time was a 1’51.789s with Redding 0.157s slower. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) made it a hat-trick of BMW riders between seventh and ninth as he took the latter position, around a tenth down on Redding. Florian Marino (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) completed the top ten with a 1’52.373s.

Adrian Huertas (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) enjoyed a solid first outing on WorldSBK machinery as he set a 1’52.502s, finishing a tenth down on development rider Florian Marino. The Spaniard completed 50 laps during the first four-hour session, making him one of the busiest riders on track in the morning. Only Bautista (53) and Team HRC’s Tetsuta Nagashima (54) completed more. Nagashima was just ahead of Huertas in the timings, lapping 0.054s quicker.

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