Latest World Superbike Results
A day of cold weather but clear skies and dry track gave us qualifying sessions that broke lap records and hinted at the promise of tomorrow's racing.
World Supersports qualifying took place on a cold dry day, with riders breaking last year's lap records.
Superpole 1 was, for the first time in a while, a dry Superpole, meaning three sessions, with 12 going through from the first one, and 8 qualifying for the last.
Jonathan Rea set the fastest time, in spite of missing most of yesterday's free practice due to an early spill. He set the time at the end of a session that was topped by Carlos Checa for the majority of the time. Leon Haslam, who used to run race schools at this track, beat provisional pole man Jakub Smrz, although Smrz's earlier qualifying time of 1'28.740 is still the fastest time of the day.
Jules Cluzel and Kenan Sofuoglu topped the leader board ahead of the usual Sam Lowes and Broc Parkes while Billy McConnell and wildcard Glen Richards head off the South Africans Ronan Quarmby and Sheridan Morais. The weather promises not to be a factor in the afternoon qualifying, but Sam Lowes has a bout of food poisoning, probably caused by the Thursday white water rafting he did as part of a press-friendly event, that could affect his strength.
Jakub Smrz, yesterday's fastest man, was once again on top, snatching provisional pole from Tom Sykes at the last minute. Carlos Checa and Leon Haslam round out the front row with Marco Menadri, winner here last year, and Leon camier heading off the second row. None of the replacement riders made it through to this afternoon's Superpole.
Before we quickly gloss over the inevitable mention of the weather, it would be unfair not to mention the current reason for the increase in popcorn sales in the Superbike paddock. Jakub Smrz put his Effenbert-sponsored Ducati on provisional pole while his sponsor's future is uncertain. After a rather odd press release that seems to have been written while angry at one of their bikes braking down on the warm up lap at Monza, the Czech brewer refused to bring their hospitality suite to Donington. The Liberty Racing teams look set to continue racing for the remainder of the year, and may even be a bit embarrassed by their heated press release, but time will tell if it will be under the same sponsor's banner. The bikes at Donington sported the Effenbert livery and the garage was still decked in their colours, but no word yet on brolly dollies or other promotional activities.
Jakub Smrz returns to his familiar place at the top of the timing sheets ahead of Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa. Rain threatened the session, but luckily didn't stay around for long enough to be too much of a problem.
Sam Lowes keeps the pressure on and is almost a second faster than Kenan Sofuoglu in the first qualifying session. Last week's race winner Jules Cluzel is third ahead of Australian Glen Richards, riding as a British Supersport wildcard. While the temperature is dropping, it looks like we may end up with our first dry weekend in a while.
Tom Sykes opens the World Superbikes practice at Donington with a 1'30.756
As has been the case every weekend this year, Sam Lowes leads the way in Free Practice. This weekend, he's over a second faster so far.
Riders lined up for a World Superbike race. After two warm up laps ahead of a 17-lap race, most of the riders on the starting grid were gesticulating to officials and the start was delayed as black clouds loomed in the distance.
With the World Supersport race being potentially cancelled due to the wet conditions, after sending the sweepers and a track heater (a tractor with a fan heater on the back) round the track, the race was eventually started as a wet race.
World Superbikes at Monza requires more considerations for safety than other tracks because of the three 300kmh sections. Weather plays a huge factor in safety but conditions in the Superstock 1000 race hinted at a good day of racing.
With the combination of mixed conditions and a naturally fast track causing wet tyres to discard chunks of rubber down the 330kmh straight, qualifying at Monza was destined to be unpredictable.