Latest World Superbike Results
In a session that was slightly slower than this morning's free practice, Sam Lowes once again pulls out a provisional pole position, bettering his time at the flag, even if the time is three hundredths off his morning's time. Broc Parkes was unable to match his morning's blistering speed. Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu is over two seconds off the pace in 15th place.
Max Biaggi did fewer laps than most riders, but set a fast lap early on that proved to be unbeatable, even by qualifying sensation Tom Sykes. Eugene Laverty showed that the factory Aprilia was fast quickly by setting a time that was good enough for second place until Sykes's at-the-flag fast lap and World Supersport champion Chaz Davies put his privateer Aprilia in fourth place. This has very quickly become a game of beat the Aprilia.
Broc Parkes was within under half a second of his own lap record from last year at the end of the first Free Practice session. Sam Lowes was half a second slower while Fabien Foret was a further half a second off. Expect the lap record to be broken today or tomorrow.
On the weekend where the Misano World Circuit was formally renamed in honour of Marco Simoncelli, the World Superbike championship gave us the kind of racing of which Simoncelli would be proud; close, aggressive and with just a hint of over-exuberance.
Rain threw qualifying into disarray and made for a mixed-up grid formation, with top riders missing out on front-row places. Temperatures played potential havoc with tyre choice as riders were made to give serious consideration to tyre choices and strategy. Poor qualifying from the front-running ex-MotoGP contingent also gave the first laps of both Superbike races a sense of urgency not normally seen, and hot tempers would push the envelope of risk-taking.
Aggressive overtakes, including some questionable ones, dominated the action as riders charged to the front from throughout the grid, causing some upsets and potentially affecting the championship.
If a racer gains places while leaving the track, he has to concede those places quickly or get penalised with a ride-through. Race Direction will hold a yellow board with the rider's number and the number of places they need to give up to avoid the ride through. With a confusing start, including a rider clipping another on the grid, a few riders made off-track excursions on the first few corners.
With the championship favourites qualifying poorly, there was a lot of uncertainty going into this race. Tyre choice was predicted to be a major factor, with Carlos Checa saying yesterday “the tyre choice will be key.” He was proved right.
Today, Misano World Circuit finalised its association with the late Marco Simoncelli by formally adopting and unveiling its new name: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. While this was announced last November, only today was the name and logo, designed by Aldo Drudi, unveiled.
With the weather rearing its ugly head once more, World Superbikes looked like it could be threatened once more. However, the skies cleared at the right time and we were treated to an unusual dry wet Superpole that tested strategy and mettle.
Twenty minutes into qualifying and the only change was that Sheridan Morais had finally recorded a lap time.
It had to happen; Rain came to Misano. While the rain had finished by the time Superpole started, it was declared a wet Superpole, which gives us two twenty-minute sessions instead of the three shorter ones we would get with a dry session.
Jules Cluzel snatched the fastest time at the chequered flag, with a time that would have put him in eight yesterday, in a session that riders looked to be using to chase settings instead of fast times. Roberto Tamburini went within a tenth of a second of his tenth position qualifying time and managed to go second fastest.
With few riders able to match their best times set yesterday for the first half of this qualifying session, it looked like finding a setup in today's conditions was tricky, but at the halfway mark, Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea lead the way to faster times, even if they were still over a second off Troy Corser's 2010 fastest lap of 1'35.001.
Then, the Ducatis, first Davide Giugliano, then Carlos Checa, rose to the top, and it took Sykes, who finally seems to have found a setting, to unseat them, finally going within a second of Corser's fastest lap with a 1'35.935 for provisional pole.
With the places for Superpole decided, another Tom Sykes pole position no longer seems unlikely.
That Carlos Checa, double-winner here last year, would dominate the qualifying session was not a surprise, nor was the fact previous winners Jonathan Rea and Max Biaggi were up top as well. That Sam Lowes would lead a very familiar-looking provisional front row in World Supersports was also not a surprise, considering this year's form. For surprises in today's sessions, we have to look further back in the pack, like seeing Tom Sykes not being the fastest Kawasaki in either session.
In the first qualifying session, Carlos Checa staked his claim on provisional pole very early on, half a second faster than pole-ninja Tom Sykes by the halfway mark. Towards the end, Jonathan Rea got very close to Checa's time, but nobody could beat it.
Max Biaggi, Marco Melandri and Davide Giugliano gave the locals something to cheer about in 3rd, 4th and 5th ahead of Sylvain Guintoli and Loris Baz, fastest Kawasaki of the day.
After Jules Cluzel and Sam Lowes banked a brace of 1'39s, a few drops of rain were reported in the first half of the track, but this didn't slow anyone down. Broc Parkes split the pair with 13 minutes remaining, beating his time set this morning, shortly followed by Kenan Sofuoglu.
These four then swapped places for the remaining times, while Stefano Cruciani and Fabien Foret dipped their toes in the 1'39s, both beating the fastest time set this morning.
At the flag, Sam Lowes grabbed provisional pole time with a lap time of 1'38.987, a quarter of a second clear of Kenan Sofuoglu.