Brno, Czech Republic
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at Brno:
On a track with elevations that should suit the more horsey four-cylinders, the amount of time that bikes spend on their sides means that it also suits the thumpy twins. Cold weather coupled with splashes of rain meant that it was going to be an interesting and unusual day qualifying, but nobody predicted just how unusual.
Results of World Supersports qualifying at Brno:
Final Superpole Results:
Davide Giugliano was fastest again ahead of his Althea Ducati team mate Carlos Checa. Qualifier extraordinaire Tom Sykes was unable to match his morning's time, but with three riders under 2'00, Superpole is wide open.
The track had drops of rain in the first sector at the start of the session, but appears to have cleared up quickly.
Kenan Sofuoglu lead Fabien Foret ahead of four Hondas. The Kawasaki riders were the only riders able to lap under 2'04 today, ending Friday's Honda dominance of the top spots. With Jules Cluzel and Sam Lowes unable to go faster than they did yesterday, qualifying could be split across the two manufacturers.
With cold weather and threatening rain, for the majority of the qualifying session, few riders were able to improve on their qualifying times from yesterday. However, as the sunshine came out and conditions settled, with minutes to go, Tom Sykes took provisional pole, beating Davide Giugliano's time from yesterday, a time that stood throughout most of the session, by one hundredth of a second.
Carlos Checa was the only other rider to break under the two minute barrier today.
Davide Giugliano has completed a strong first day at Brno, topping free practice in the morning and then following it up with a provisional pole during the first session of qualifying in the afternoon. The Althea Ducati rider took an early lead, ceding it to BMW's Marco Melandri at the halfway mark, before taking it back with 15 minutes to go despite the rain which had spotted the track throughout. Melandri was demoted to 2nd - just, but less than a tenth of a second - finishing ahead of Eugene Laverty on the factory Aprilia and Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki.
Carlos Checa headed up a pair of Ducatis, putting the second Althea bike into 5th, ahead of Jakub Smrz, while Ayrton Badovini lead teammate Michel Fabrizio, the BMW Italia men taking 7th and 8th.
Broc Parkes sits on provisional pole after the first qualifying session for the World Supersport class at Brno. Parkes swapped top times with Sam Lowes and Jules Cluzel throughout the session, eventually coming out on top. There is very little in it, however: Lowes follows Parkes by four hundredths of a second, while Cluzel is another hundredth behind Lowes. Fabien Foret is the first Kawasaki man, nearly seven tenths slower and the last man to get within a second of Parkes' time.
Davide Giugliano has snatched the fastest time in the first session of free practice for the World Superbike class at Brno. The Althea Ducati rider led a late charge to take over from Max Biaggi, who had in turn deposed Tom Sykes, the Kawasaki rider having led for a large part of the session. Jakub Smrz of the troubled Liberty Ducati squad ended the session in 2nd, at his home race of the season, while Eugene Laverty just edged his factory Aprilia teammate Max Biaggi. Early leader Tom Sykes was dropped into 5th place, ahead of BMW's Marco Melandri and Giugliano's Althea teammate Carlos Checa.
World Supersport at Brno started with Fabien Foret putting in a fast time that stood for almost twenty minutes of the session, until Sam Lowes took his usual free practice spot at the top, followed by fellow Honda riders Broc Parkes and Jules Cluzel. Last weekend's entertainment, Kenan Sofuoglu, was fifth fastest.
The MotoGP schedule for the 2012 season has been tweaked a little, and there is some good news for fans: the season starts seven days earlier, with the Qatar MotoGP round having been moved up a week to April 8th. The move is in response to the Formula One calendar, which sees the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 15th, the date originally planned for Qatar, and so the decision was taken to start the MotoGP season a week earlier.
The other changes to the calendar are merely confirmations of what had been widely expected. The German GP is now officially set to take place at the Sachsenring, although as the contracts are yet to be completed, the date is still listed as being subject to contract. Those contracts are a mere formality, however, as the ADAC and the regional government came to an agreement earlier this month to keep the German round of MotoGP at the circuit in Hohenstein-Ernstthal. The Jerez round has also been confirmed, with the mayor of the circuit stepping in to ensure the 2012 date. Beyond 2012 is another matter, however, as the circuit is still in financial turmoil, stemming from alterations made back in 2001, and with new rounds in Argentina and Texas scheduled for 2013, Jerez could well be dropped after that date.
FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup
John Hopkins has not had much luck as a wildcard rider in MotoGP this season. After a relatively successful race replacing Alvaro Bautista at Jerez, the American has twice received the call up as a wildcard, and has not been able to race in either of them, after Suzuki today confirmed that Hopkins has been forced to pull out of the Sepang round of MotoGP.
Hopkins' withdrawal from Sepang is directly connected to his pulling out at Brno. The American broke his finger during practice in the Czech Republic, ruling him out of the race there. Hopkins then had surgery to fix the broken finger and went on to complete the season in BSB, but the higher stresses of racing a MotoGP bike have caused the plates holding his finger together to come apart, preventing him from bending his finger. As it is his right hand, riding became impossible, and he has been forced to pull out of Sunday's race in Malaysia.
Below is the official press release from Suzuki:
Hopkins forced to withdraw from Malaysian Grand Prix
Publish Date: Saturday, October 22, 2011
John Hopkins has had to withdraw from of this weekend's Sepang GP due to further complications with the broken finger he damaged in Brno earlier this season.