First rain, then sun, then more rain. The weather kept everyone on their toes on Friday at Aragon, but there is one certainty, or rather Marco Melandri. At a track at which he's won twice in the past, the Italian leads the way on day one. His Ducati shines, but the Kawasaki is hot on its heels, with Rea just 0.039 of a second behind his rival.
Friday was not quite as simple for the Italian as it might appear.
“In the first session, I had the same stability issues as in Buriram. Luckily, I had greater confidence in session two, finding better grip. I can't say we've solved the problem, but we've taken a step forward”.
The Aruba rider appears calm, despite his battle-ready competition.
“I think we've started the weekend on the right foot. In practice, I found the limit, and changing the fork has given me positive feedback. I can now better exploit the acceleration”.
Of course, race 1 is still to come and anything could happen.
“Conditions are very complicated here. I expect quite cold temperatures, so the tyre choice won't be simple, neither will the setting. We'll need to take a risk come Saturday, I'd prefer to go with the soft tyre, though we already know it wears out more quickly”.
Melandri aside, the top four also includes the Ducati of Chaz Davies, almost half a second behind his team-mate.
"The unstable weather has slowed us down a little. But in FP2 we were able to put together a good number of laps, with positive results. We're trying to improve stability, we made some changes to the setting for FP3 but unfortunately a last minute problem prevented us from riding in the early part of the session when the track was still dry”.
the rider still sees the glass half full.
“I'm quite confident about the direction we've taken and the speed. in the past, we have raced with similar settings, with great results. The FP4 will be very important. I expect a great battle”.