Having spent the first two days of track action in Spain improving his machine set-up, and his overall riding position, 2017 World Champion Mahias has made some important steps, all of which should count in his favour not only at this round, but in the future.
Without the help of a slipstream from another rider down the long back straight at Aragon, Mahias set a lap time of 1’54.446. This single lap pace was only 0.474 seconds behind the pole position rider.
Trying possibly a little too hard in Superpole, Okubo finished up ninth after setting a personal best lap of 1’54.894. He will start from the same third row of the grid as his team-mate Mahias for the 16-lap contest.
Sunday’s race at the 5.077km long circuit in the North East of Spain will be the third of the 12 round season, and will begin at 12.15 local time.
Lucas Mahias stated: “My lap time is not bad because I rode alone and I did not have any slipstream on the long straight. For me you can lose three tenths there, so if you take three tenths from my lap time, we would be in the top three or four positions. Sure, I am a little bit disappointed because we worked well, the position on the bike is good, but the position on the grid is seventh. I am taking only the positive points away from today. I have started to go fast riding alone and have a good feeling. This is the most important thing for the rest of the season. It is possible to overtake in the race because I am fast in the small corners and maybe with the slipstream of some others it will be possible to get to the leading group.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I think today maybe I was thinking too much about qualifying, and maybe being too aggressive. I understand this now so I will relax tonight and change the approach tomorrow. The qualifying itself was OK and my feeling on the bike was not so bad. If I get a good start and a good track position in the first or second lap I think it is possible to get on the podium in the race.”
Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) qualified 11th in Superpole, with his new team-mate Kyle Smith in 13th place first time out on the Kawasaki. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) was 19th in Superpole and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) 22nd. Gaetan Matern (Flembbo Leader Team Kawasaki), in his first WorldSSP weekend, was 25th. Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) has had to withdraw from the Motorland race due to an old wrist injury, and has just undergone successful surgery in Spain.