Press releases from the World Superbike teams after the first day of practice at Miller Motorsports Park:
Checa rules on first day of American action
Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Saturday 28 May 2011 - Carlos Checa continued his brilliant first day form on the Althea Racing Ducati machine at Miller Motorsports Park, the points leader and fastest rider in the first free session this morning blasting his way to a time of 1 minute 48.260 seconds and provisional pole.
With a few drops of rain appearing towards the end of the session, but not sufficient to disturb normal proceedings, the time that Checa set in the early phase was a full eight-tenths of a second clear of the one recorded by the next man, Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia). The young Brit was competitive enough to end the session just ahead of his team-mate and last year's double winner at Miller, Max Biaggi.
Kawasaki Racing Team's Tom Sykes put together a quick lap to earn the final place on the provisional front row, just a tenth behind Biaggi. With the possibility of rain looming for the second day of action the top riders were keen to get a fast lap in one day one to ensure qualification into the Tissot Superpole contest.
Other riders who featured well up in the one-hour session were Aussie Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) in fifth, followed by Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda), Jakub Smrz (Effenbert-Liberty Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike), who make up the provisional second row. Michel Fabrizio, who is suffering from a heavy bout of flu, was next up in ninth for Suzuki Alstare, with Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) completing the top 10.
Wildcard rider Josh Waters took his Yoshimura Suzuki to a fine 15th place, one up on Corser's team-mate Leon Haslam. First time Miller man Marco Melandri was 12th on his Yamaha World Superbike machine. Outside the top 16 for the moment are Spain's Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the still convalescing James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) in 17th and 18th places respectively.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'48.260; 2. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.055; 3. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.306; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.432; 5. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'49.552; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'49.621; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'49.683; 8. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'49.708; 9. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'49.855; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'49.881; 11. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.938; 12. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'50.136; 13. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.140; 14. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1'50.149; 15. Waters J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'50.153; 16. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.159; etc.
CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) DOMINATES FIRST QUALIFYING AT FAVOURITE TRACK MILLER
Salt Lake City (USA), Saturday 28th May 2011: Under cloudy skies, the World Superbikes were out on track this morning for the first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the championship, taking place this weekend at America's Miller Motorsports Park just outside Salt Lake City. Checa, returning to the track where he scored the double in 2008, dominated both of today's sessions and snatched provisional pole based on the results of the afternoon's first qualifying session.
In temperate conditions (air 20C, track 34C), Carlos Checa got straight to work on board his 1198 in first practice. A technical problem forced him to return to the garage after just one lap but unfortunately his bike could not be returned until the end of the session, due to the fact that it came to a stop on the track's infield. Carlos thus had only one bike available to him for the remainder of the session, though this didn't affect his performance in any way. After just one exit consisting of five laps, the Althea rider was already up in first position. He made rapid progress, quickly lowering his times, and was the only rider to duck under 1m49 in this first session, registering a best of 1m48.914. Unfortunately a second technical issue in the final phase prevented him from improving further and forced him to conclude his session a few minutes early. He nonetheless closed the free practice in first place, six tenths of a second ahead of Camier (Aprilia) in second.
The morning's problems resolved, Carlos took charge in the afternoon's first qualifying session. Immediately on the pace, he was at the top of the timesheets from the very first laps. Finding good pace, the Spanish rider was able to further improve on this morning's times, recording a best of 1m48.260 in the final stages. His times remained impressive until the session's close and, with seven tenths of advantage over Camier in second place, Carlos secured provisional pole for Monday's races.
"We made a great start today despite this morning's issues. I was able to find a good rhythm almost immediately and the feeling I have here this year with my bike seems to be slightly better than last year. As I said it's gone quite well today but there is still work to do tomorrow. Results are never a given, also because this weekend it seems that the weather conditions will play an important part. I'm still very optimistic though and we'll work to make further improvements during tomorrow's sessions."
Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing:
"I'm extremely satisfied with today's qualifying result. Carlos and the team confronted the session with optimism after having suffered some technical problems during the morning. This morning's issues were not serious and were promptly identified and resolved by our technicians. Our man Carlos has a particularly good relationship with this track and has shown that he can make a difference. We will however face the rest of the weekend with prudence, respecting our rivals who will surely fight back tomorrow. The unknown is of course the weather which may not be so good tomorrow, but we also prepared for rain. For now we will enjoy this partial, but significant superiority."
FABRIZIO 8TH DESPITE FLU AT MILLER WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 29.
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio fought off the effects of Flu to finish eighth on the first day of qualifying at the Miller Motorsport Park World Superbike fifth-round qualifying in Utah today.
The Italian arrived in America with a high fever, but improved the past two days and was able to get on the bike today. Despite suffering from low energy levels, Fabrizio toughed-it-out and finished first qualifying with the eighth-fastest lap time.
Carlos Checa (Ducati) was fastest at Miller, ending with a time of 1:48.260, nearly eight-tenths-of-a-second ahead of his nearest rival Leon Camier (Aprilia) with Max Biaggi (Aprilia) third and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) fourth.
Michel Fabrizio - 8th, 1:49.855:
"Before I left Europe, both my children had Flu or something like that and very kindly they passed it on to me! I felt very rough when I arrived in USA - my eyes were all bloodshot, my throat was sore and my nose was bunged up. My limbs felt all floppy and all I wanted to do was lie down and rest. But after some medication, I began to feel better and I was able to get on the bike without thinking too much about my condition. I managed some decent lap times and, all things considering, I am content with my position.
"The bike felt OK today and tomorrow we'll just keep on trying to improve it. The track was a little dusty in some places today, but I'm not sure how it is going to be if tomorrow's forecast is correct and it rains. I don't think we've ever run round here in the wet, so if it does rain, it's going to be a new experience for all of us. I hope it doesn't rain and I also hope that my condition improves and feel a lot better tomorrow."
Salt Lake City – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Saturday, 28 May 2011.
Weather conditions: Light clouds in the morning, overcast with some rain drops in the afternoon.
Temperature: Air: 18 – 21 °C, Track: 32 – 34 °C
Number of riders participating: 21 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:48.914 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:48.260 min
There is still room for improvement for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport for Sunday's sessions for the 2011 Superbike World Championship in Salt Lake City (USA): At the end of an exciting day of track activity, works riders Troy Corser (AUS) and Leon Haslam (GBR) provisionally qualified in fifth and 16th respectively.
Fastest lap FP1: 1:50.051 min (P7) / Fastest lap QP1: 1:49.552 min (P5)
"I am quite happy with today. P5 is not too bad. We did long-runs on both tyres, and actually both compounds seem to work. Nevertheless, the engine feels a bit slow due to the altitude, and we are still struggling with stopping the bike. The engine still pushes too much when braking, and I have to hold the brakes all the way into the corner. As a result, my corner exit speed is not good enough. We have improved a bit since the morning, and I am optimistic for tomorrow. It was important today to put us in a good, as the forecast predicts rain. As I said, P5 is not bad."
Fastest lap FP1: 1:50.862 min (P14) / Fastest lap QP1: 1:50.159 min (P16)
"I was really struggling today. The bike felt like it did a couple of months ago. It is strange, as we made some good progress over the last two race weekends. Today we faced some issues we thought we had overcome long ago. We really need to assess the situation and consider a different engine brake control for tomorrow. The weather forecast is not too good, and rain usually highlights our issues. Nevertheless, we cannot control the weather, and we will take it as it comes."
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
"The second session was quite difficult. It was not easy to get lap times in the 1'49s. Troy really did a good job finishing the qualifying in fifth today. Leon struggled massively with the bike, which is a bit puzzling. However, it was important for tomorrow to secure a provisional Superpole position. We now have to analyse the data and see what we have to change for tomorrow."
Checa Takes Provisional Pole for World Superbike
Familiarity breeds success for championship leader
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 28, 2011) — Carlos Checa of Spain, who suffered double heartbreak last year at Miller Motorsports Park when his Ducati broke while leading both World Superbike Championship races, is well on the road to redemption after setting the fastest time in provisional qualifying for Monday's races as part of the BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil at Miller Motorsports Park.
Checa, riding his No. 7 Althea Ducati 1098R, clocked a time of 1:48.260/101.39mph around the 3.048-mile Outer Course at MMP to set the provisional pole time. Second fastest was Leon Camier on the No. 2 Alitalia Aprilia RSV4 at 1:49.055/100.65, followed by Camier's teammate and the defending race winner, reigning World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi at 1:49.306/100.42. Kawasaki's Tom Sykes and BMW's Troy Corser completed the top five. The grid will be set during the World Superbike Superpole session on Sunday.
In provisional qualifying for the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship, reigning champion Josh Hayes set the standard with a lap at 1:50:401/99.782mph on his No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF R1, leading a trio of Suzuki GSX-R1000s ridden by Blake Young (No. 79 Rockstar Makita), Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar Makita) and Roger Hayden (No. 54 National Guard Jordan). Larry Pegram's No. 72 Foremost Insurance BMW S1000RR rounded out the top five.
Hayes is two out of two in qualifying this season and he is looking for another pole postion here at Miller, "I'm pretty happy if I'm the guy they are always chasing," Hayes commented, " and if I keep doing my job and working hard, we can keep the string going."
Jason DiSalvo continued his recent run of outstanding performances by taking provisional pole for the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class, posting a lap at 1:55.291/95.550mph on his No. 40 Team Latus Motors Racing Ducati 848. The No. 9 Celtic Racing Ducati of PJ Jacobson was second-fastest at 1:55.616/95.281, followed by the Yamaha YZF R6s of Josh Herrin (No. 8 Monster Energy Graves), Cameron Beaubier (No. 116 GP Bike Parts Racing) and Paul Allison (No. 20 Triple Crown Industries).
"The lap felt comfortable and we had a fairly heavy fuel load," DiSalvo said. "I rode both Team Latus Ducatis this morning, but it was on the 2011 model that we qualified today."
Youngster Benny Solis, riding the No. 35 Red Bull/RoadRacingWorld.com Honda CBR600RR, continued his recent run of success with a provisional pole run in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class, lapping at 1:58.384/93.053mph. In the Vance & Hines XR1200 class, Michael Barnes was the class of the field on his No. 34 Drag Specialties/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200.
The on-track activity continues on Sunday with Superpole for the Superbike World Championship, final qualifying for all four AMA Pro classes and races for the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike classes.. The two feature races for the Superbike World Championship and single races for the AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike and Vance & Hines XR1200 classes will take place on Memorial Day Monday.
Sunday night's scheduled concert will feature Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Blue Oyster Cult. The concert will start at 7 p.m.
The military is a big part of the weekend, with a Tribute Field of 2,011 American flags erected in the track's infield, the Zions Bank Military Acre featuring interactive displays from all branches of the military and a flyover of an Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker during opening ceremonies on Monday. All current and veteran military members are eligible for a 50-percent discount on event tickets, this weekend and every weekend.
In addition, there will be a myriad of activities for families to enjoy, including karting at the Miller Kart Track, rides on MMP's new Zip Line, Jeep rides on MMP's rock-crawling course, a paddock party/autograph session prior to Saturday's concert, pit walks, vendors, other musical performances, stunt bike demonstrations from Britton and BMW Motorrad's Chris Pfeiffer and Chris "Teach" McNeill, carnival rides, numerous vendors and plenty of good food.
To obtain tickets for or information about The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, visit the event-specific website at www.BigMWeekend.com or call 435-277-RACE (7223). For information regarding Miller Motorsports Park, visit the track's website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com.
Challenging First Qualifying for Yamaha World Superbike Team in Miller
The Yamaha World Superbike riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty got straight to work in Miller for today's free practice and first qualifying sessions. The unpredictable Utah skies threatened rain on occasions throughout the day but held off with just a few drops appearing towards the final minutes, yet not disrupting the riders from getting down to business, working on various chassis set-ups ahead of Monday's Memorial Day races.
Marco Melandri took to the track for the first time, spending the morning's free practice session getting familiar with what the technically demanding track has to offer. The Italian encountered a lack of grip and experienced instability on taking the tight corners which inhibited him from putting in ideally fast laps. Melandri completed the first day on the American circuit in 12th place. Team-mate Eugene Laverty also had a relatively challenging first day in Utah. This morning's free practice saw him trying out his Yamaha R1 on a track where he has fond memories. After experiencing problems with the front of his machine at the early stages of the afternoon's qualifying session, the Irishman managed to put in a fast lap to complete the day in eighth position.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 12th, 1'50.136
"I was hoping to have a better first qualifying day today. I quite like the track but it's certainly not easy. I've experienced some difficulty with the bike which is unfortunately not the same issue I encountered in previous races. We spent this afternoon's session trying out different set-ups but we still have some work to do to find the best solution. Let's hope it remains dry tomorrow so we can continue to work on finding a suitable race set up."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 8th, 1'49.708
"I ended up in eighth position which isn't bad. It's important to be in the top two rows especially seeing that it's threating rain for tomorrow. I was outside the top 16 for a while as I was having difficulty with the front of the bike. We worked on improving the set-up and put in a good time towards the end. I'm sure we have made a break through with the bike today. I was having trouble making the apex in this morning's free practice but now I'm confident we are heading in the right direction."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"We didn't expect to have an easy weekend in Miller. It's technically very demanding and it's the first time here for Marco, so he has to get to know the track. As we can see from today's results these suspicions have been confirmed. On experiencing a lack of grip and difficulty taking the curves, Marco spent the afternoon working on the bike's chassis set-up but there's still some work to be done. The team will spend this evening analyzing and interpreting the layout together with Marco so he can improve his style of riding and be able to better approach the highly technical track tomorrow.
Eugene did pretty well, completing the session in eighth. He managed to put in a good lap time and improved his ability to take curves after working on the front set up. He still needs to improve on closing the corners but I'm confident that on doing so he can be on the front row ahead of Monday's races."
Provisional second row for Rea at Miller
Jonathan Rea set the sixth fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session for round five of the World Superbike championship, which takes place at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA on Monday.
The Castrol Honda rider, took his CBR1000RR around the 4.907km circuit just outside Salt Lake City in a time of 1m49.621s as Spain's Carlos Checa took provisional pole position.
Rea's team-mate Ruben Xaus set the 14th fastest time without resorting to a softer tyre to improve his time further. With rain forecast for tomorrow, both Castrol Honda riders expect to participate in Superpole to determine final grid positions for Monday's two 21-lap races.
Jonathan Rea – P6, 1m49.621s
I can certainly see a light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the problems we've had here. I'm in a very good rhythm here after the test and that's allowing me to give some really precise feedback to the guys in the team to help pinpoint the exact areas where we're struggling. I guess you could say we're looking forward to tonight and analysing the data to make a plan for tomorrow. We're still losing a lot on speed and while the gearing is working in some places, we've got really low rpm in others where we need the speed. I think, all in all, Carlos looks to be in a different league but our target has to be the podium on Monday – we're all working hard towards that and I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings.
Ruben Xaus – P14, 1m50.159s
Today has been one of my happiest days on this bike. We've made some good progress, and it was helped by being here on Sunday and Monday. We made no big changes during the test, but we did that today and improved by one second. I also stayed with the hard tyre all through the session, while some of the other guys put in the softer tyre for a lap time. The track temperature dropped this afternoon which created some problems, but we kept improving in the changing positions. I hope it stays dry, so we can keep making progress, although the forecast is not good. But it's been a great sporting day for me, and we witnessed some really top level sport when my team Barcelona won the Champions' League final, so that has made me very happy, too!
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
Last year we obviously had a difficult time here at Miller so this season we chose to use it as our nominated test track. Unfortunately, the two days we had here gave us a really dirty track and it was very wet for much of the time. Despite that, it was a useful two days and, after the first day of work this weekend, we are really starting to see some signs of improvement. We are certainly not where we want to be yet, but we're not quite pulling our hair out like we were a bit last year. So, we're counting on being competitive come Monday.