Saturday’s World Superbike Superpole and World Supersport final qualifying sessions from Philip Island were cancelled after a serious accident in the Australian Supersport race resulted in the death of Australian rider Oscar McIntyre. The 17-year-old collided with fellow racers Luke Burgess and Michael Lockhart on the second lap of the Australian support race and died despite receiving immediate medical treatment at the scene. Because of the seriousness of the accident, the event organizers decided to cancel Superpole.
2012 Philip Island WSBK Round Up - Tragedy In Support Class Forces Superpole Cancelation
With the final qualification session scratched, tomorrow’s grids will take shape from Saturday’s QP2 session. Tom Sykes will start from pole, accompanied by Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa, and Jakub Smrz.
Despite Sykes’ great run on the Kawasaki, Sunday’s race looks set to come down to Biaggi and Checa. The former MotoGP rivals have set very similar race paces all weekend. While Biaggi put in a string of 1’31s in qualifying that Checa couldn’t quite match, the Spaniard threw down a dozen 1’32s in FP2 that the Roman couldn’t touch. We look to have a duel on our hands.
Past those two, a battle for the podium is shaping up. Polesitter Sykes and QP1 leader Jonathan Rea look to have the pace to hang onto the leaders’ coattails for the opening few laps, but not much longer than that.
The wildcards could well be Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty and BMW’s Leon Haslam. Laverty is coping with a number of hand injuries, as well as a heavy bump to the head and feet sustained Friday, while Haslam underwent surgery Thursday to screw his tibia in place. Neither have put in a large number of laps, but both have been able to set lap times that could earn them considerable points considering their conditions.
Haslam’s BMW teammate Marco Melandri, managed to improve his slow start to life with the Bavarians. Melandri moved up to third in the afternoon’s free practice session after failing to get higher than ninth all weekend. Despite the improvement, Melandri is still struggling with clutch and front-end setup, jeopardizing corner entry.
ParkinGO Aprilia’s Chaz Davies would’ve started Sunday’s races from 15th place in his World Superbike debut, but the reigning World Supersport Champion fell at the notoriously nasty Southern Loop. Davies suffered a broken wrist and looks set to miss the remainder of the weekend.
We at MotoMatters.com wish to convey our condolences to the family of Oscar McIntyre.