Mahias Ready to Return to Happy Hunting Ground in Aragon
After securing a sensational double podium in Thailand, the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are excited to get back into action at Round 3 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship in Aragon, Spain this weekend. Reigning WorldSSP Champion and joint leader of the overall standings after the first two rounds, Lucas Mahias, is looking forward to returning to the site of his maiden WorldSSP victory last season after finishing in second at the last round in Buriram, missing out on the race win by just 0.048s in a dramatic finish. His teammate Federico Caricasulo showed great pace through the entire weekend in Thailand before recording his first podium of 2018 after finishing in third place and the Italian is hoping to carry his pace and form into the first European round of 2018.
Mahias has been in incredible form during the first two round of 2018, maintaining a 100% pole position record and storming to victory at Phillip Island before just missing out on making it two out of two race wins in Thailand. The 28-year-old French rider was involved in an incredible finish in Buriram as he tried to overtake Randy Krummenacher at the very last corner, just missing out on victory in the sprint to the line by less than five-hundredths of a second. He is excited to be getting the first leg of the European season underway at Motorland Aragon after taking his maiden WorldSSP victory at the track in 2017 with a sensational last corner move, winning by just 0.014s. The man from Mont-de-Marsan is currently level on points at the top of the championship standings with Randy Krummenacher, with both Yamaha riders having collected 45 points from the first two races, and he is keen to reclaim top spot for himself after the duo's excellent battle in Buriram.
Caricasulo has enjoyed a strong start to 2018. A fourth-placed finish at Phillip Island was followed up by a battling ride to third in Thailand to secure the maiden double WorldSSP podium for the GRT Yamaha team. The recently turned 22-year-old crashed out of last year's race at Aragon while battling for the podium but will be looking to continue his impressive 2018 momentum after training hard in-between rounds. After his impressive start to the season, Caricasulo is currently third in the Championship with 29 points, just 16 behind the leaders, and he will be looking to close that gap in Spain.
The first European round of the season sees Alfonso Coppola - last year's Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner and runner-up in the WorldSSP300 Championship - making his debut in the European Supersport Cup with the newly-formed GRT Yamaha Official Jnr Team. The 20-year-old Italian has been working incredibly hard over the winter in preparation for making the step up to the WorldSSP Championship with Yamaha as his prize for winning the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge.
Situated just a stone's throw from the historic street-racing area of Alcañiz and just 100km from the region's capital of Zaragoza, Motorland Aragon is a favourite destination for fans and riders alike. Opened in 2009, the Herman Tilke designed circuit has multiple configurations, with WorldSBK running the 5,077km layout that contains a challenging 17 corners to master. Made up of a mix of long straights, high-speed flowing sections combined with some slower technical areas like Turns 8 & 9 - the reverse corkscrew - with a number of different lines, the Aragon circuit is known for producing stunning racing. This will be the eighth consecutive year the track has hosted a WorldSBK race after it was introduced to the calendar in 2011.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team take to the track on Friday at 10:40 am for Free Practice 1, with Saturday's qualifying set to start at 2:00 pm, and Sunday's race scheduled for 11:30 am.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 45 points
"I really like Aragon and last year I won my first WorldSSP race here! The first European round is where you seem to settle into more of a normal race weekend rhythm, with all the classes taking part and the races becoming more regular. I love racing in front of the knowledgeable fans in Aragon and the track itself is amazing, with loads of elevation changes and lots of fast flowing corners. My team have been working really hard since Thailand and we have a few upgrades to bring to Aragon that should help us fight for victory. My only concern is the forecast doesn't look great at the moment, but whatever the weather we will be ready to fight for the victory!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd - 29 points
"Honestly, I cannot wait to get to Aragon for the first European round of the season! I have been training really hard and working with the team since Thailand to ensure that we arrive in the best possible shape. I feel strong and I am confident with my R6 that we will have a good pace. As always, we will work from Friday morning to find a good setup for the race, and my aim is to go out and fight for the win!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team
"I am really looking forward to making my debut in the WorldSSP Championship on my Yamaha R6! Winning the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge was an incredible experience, but it already seems a long time ago. I have spent the winter training hard and working with the team to make the transition as smooth as possible and I cannot wait to hit the track for the first time on Friday! I would like to thank Yamaha for this opportunity to make the step up to WorldSSP and I my aim is to make the whole Yamaha family proud!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"After the first two races, which are always harder due to the distances involved, we are looking forward to the first European round. We have been working really hard as a team and have some upgrades to bring to Aragon which we feel will make both riders even stronger and allow them to fight for the victory. Lucas really likes Aragon, he recorded his first WorldSSP victory here last year here and he wants to repeat that performance this season. Federico also loves the track he has shown great maturity this season as well as pace and he will look to build on the impressive form he has shown so far this year. Genuinely, I believe both riders are in great shape. We also have Alfonso Coppola making his WorldSSP debut in the European Supersport Cup. He has been working very hard during the Winter to make sure he is as prepared and he is ready to grab this chance with both hands. Federico turned 22 last week and Lucas will celebrate his 29th birthday on Saturday, so we are hoping to give them both something to celebrate in Aragon!"