Lowes was quick to make his mark as the first free practice session got underway in cool conditions this morning, with the Pata Yamaha rider quickly finding his rhythm around the fast and technical 5.077km Aragon circuit. A time of 1’50.819 saw Lowes finish the opening session in second position, but over a second behind the winner of the opening six races, Alvaro Bautista. Another significant step forward in this afternoon’s second and final free practice saw Lowes improve his lap time further, reducing the gap to Bautista to just half a second.
While Lowes enjoyed a strong opening day the same wasn’t true for his Pata Yamaha teammate, van der Mark. After a solid opening practice this morning, the 26-year-old Dutch rider went in slightly the wrong direction with set-up changes ahead of the second session, which he started late due to a technical issue. As a result, van der Mark was only able to make a small improvement to his lap time but he remains confident that a further step forward is possible tomorrow ahead of qualifying and the race.
Today may have been Cortese’s first aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 at Aragon, but the reigning Supersport World Champion was quick to adapt to the demands of racing a Superbike around the technical 5.077km track. Ninth in the opening free practice session this morning, Cortese improved his lap time by almost a second to end the day an impressive sixth on the timesheet.
Melandri endured a difficult opening day in Aragon, with the Italian struggling to find a good feeling with the bike in both practice sessions, despite working through a number of set-up options. The GRT Yamaha rider will sit down with his crew to go through the data tonight, as they work to find a solution to the issues ahead of tomorrow’s all important qualifying.