Due to a clash with the RedBull MotoGP Rookies Cup dates Rory had missed the last two races in the RFME CEV Spanish National Championship from Alcaraz but was now back to pick up where he left off in Jerez.
Temperatures at the Motorland Aragon Circuit were incredibly hot at 37deg, with 58deg track temp which made it very difficult to find the best settings for tyres and suspension to work for race distance.
Aragon is an amazing purpose built circuit hidden in the depths of central Spain, it is a spectacular venue with many fast flowing curves with an elevation change of over 50 metres.
FP1 went well with Rory familiarizing himself again with the Racing Steps Foundation/KRP Honda Moto3 and learning the circuit.
FP2 was also good with positive steps in learning the track, knocking off seconds from FP1.
With some changes being made to the bike setup, Rory finished Q1 in 5th position. For Q2 Rory was able to better his time quite early on in the session but with almost 20 minutes still to run he had a mechanical error on the bike and coasted to a halt down the back straight and that was qualifying over, he was pushed back to 7th for the two race starts.
As Rory rolled up to the grid, he found out that he had been promoted to 5th on the grid as one rider had suffered a mechanical failure and another had been penalized for a technical infringement of the rules.
With a reasonable start he stayed in 5th position for the first lap. The three riders in front got a better start and had opened up a slight lead from 4th 5th and 6th placed riders who also opened up a gap from 7th to 12th. Rory took 4th and led the group for several laps then ran wide and dropped back to 6th, he regrouped and soon was battling for 4th again. The group of three jostled positions over the remaining laps then 2 laps from the finish 3rd position came up for grabs as the rider had a mechanical error and had to retire giving way to a fantastic three way battle for 3rd place. Going into the last lap Rory led his group in 3rd but when they reached the long downhill back straight he had been drafted past by both riders, with true grit he out braked them and tipped in to the final 180deg left hander and powered it to the line in 3rd just 4.3 seconds behind the winner, his best position so far in the Spanish championship and his first podium for Racing Steps Foundation and KRP.
Race 2 got off to a better start with Rory firmly on the rear wheels of the leaders in the middle of a 7 pack of riders.
For four laps the pace was incredible, the group of 7 riders became 5 then Rory made an attempt at passing for third into turn one on lap 5 but went too deep and ran onto the astroturf and lost all his momentum needed to run up the hill for turns 2,3,4 and 5 when once again trying to make up lost time ran wide exiting turn 5 and he dropped completely off the back of the group but still in 5th place. After several laps of trying to bridge the gap his rear tyre started to struggle with the high 50’s track temperature so with a big gap to 6th place behind he brought it home over the line in 5th place.
Rory said: I’m really happy with how it has gone this weekend, my team have worked incredibly hard with the bike getting it to just how I like it, we had a small technical problem in qualifying but we still qualified well and I tried my hardest to make up places in the races, I have learnt a lot this weekend and think I have made a very positive step forward in understanding the bike and the other riders.
Over all a great weekend at Aragon for Rory, Racing Steps Foundation and KRP.