MotorLand Aragón is a multifunctional complex near Alcañiz, Spain, a town of 16,500 inhabitants and one of the most well-known of the Aragona region. It has a long-seated tradition of motor racing thanks to the historical Alcañiz Gran Prix, held for many years at the town's racing tack.
MotorLand Aragón, designed and built by the well-known German architect Hermann Tilke in conjunction with former driver Pedro De La Rosa, was opened in 2009 as a response to new safety requirements enacted by the motorsports governing body. Since 2011, it has hosted the FIM Superbike World Championship: in the configuration used for the modified bikes the circuit is 5077m long as compared to the normal length of 5344m.
One of the main features of the Aragon track is the highly aggressive asphalt, especially for rear tyres: this happens because the surface is extremely rough which combined with the moderately high temperatures that occur in April, can severely affect the performance of the rubber compounds.
The actual position of the Motorland Aragón circuit, located on an elevation and with many rises and falls, brings natural air-currents that can blow sandy residues onto the track, intensifying the abrasiveness issues.
The sand brought by the wind prevents full contact between the tyre surface and the asphalt, causing the vehicle to lose traction as it moves and slide towards the centre of the bend.
To prevent wear and the tearing of rear tyres when cold, Pirelli has come up with a number of solutions to gain more stability when racing and optimal grip at each stage of the race.
The situation for front tyres is completely different: this choice must take into account the problem of wear and other issues more strictly connected with the technical design of the track.
The two straight stretches, the one leading into the pits and the one on the opposite side of the track, more than one kilometre long, end with the need to brake violently, while the characteristic steep slopes (up to 7.2%) of MotorLand Aragón increase the load on the front: in order not to add extra strain to the tyres and cause excessive vibration, Pirelli has worked to find solutions that provide support both at top speeds and when going into a bend. This happens due to the sudden changes of direction which are relatively frequent on the Aragon track on account of the seventeen bends in total.
The last edition of the Aragón Round saw the Union Flag dominate the Spanish skies, thanks to Jonathan Rea's fourth victory of the season (Kawasaki Racing Team) crossing the finish line just 0.051 ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Rea's victory, achieved with a breathtaking manoeuvre to take the lead on the last blend to the detriment of rival and fellow Brit.
The second race saw Welsh rider Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing-Ducati SBK Team) at the top of the winners' podium, winning over Rea and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team-Red Devils) with a two-second lead on a dry track. The clear win in Race 2 was incredibly important for Davies, his first riding a Panigale R in the Superbike World Championships and the first for Ducati since 2012.
The MotorLand Aragón circuit will also see the 2016 season debut of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and, for the fourth consecutive season, the WIL Sport European Junior Cup, a championship open to young adults aged 14 and over.