2011 WSBK Miller Sunday Press Release Roundup

Press releases from the World Superbike teams after Sunday's rain-drenched qualifying at Miller:


Team Suzuki Press Office - May 29.

Team Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio was unable to master the tricky conditions in Superpole today at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City and will have to start tomorrow's 21-lap races from the fourth row of the grid.

Yesterday's rain continued unabated and practice, qualifying and all three Superpole sessions at the American venue in Utah took place on a soaking-wet track. As this was only the second time that Fabrizio had ridden the GSX-R1000 Suzuki in the wet, he was cautious and preferred to try and find a good wet set-up than push harder and risk crashing.

Spaniard Carlos Checa (Ducati) continued to dominate proceedings today, though he had to work hard in final Superpole in order to secure his fourth Pole of the season. Second was fellow Ducati-mounted Jakub Smrz with the Yamaha pairing of Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty third and fourth.

Michel Fabrizio - 15th, 1:2:03.397:

"I am disappointed not to have got into Superpole 2, but I am not feeling fully-confident with my bike in the wet. I am not happy to be on the fourth row of the grid because I will have a lot of work to do tomorrow if I am to have any chance of good results.

"This is only my second time on this bike in the rain and I had to learn a lot in a very short time. We need to improve the bike's wet set-up and then I think my confidence in it will grow. At the moment, my confidence in the wet is not so good and I just need more time in these kind of conditions.

"Turn One is a long way from the start line, so I need to make good starts and be in the lead group. If that doesn't happen, it's easy to lose a couple of seconds in the next section of the track and then it will be very hard to catch up. So, I am hoping for good starts, but more than that, I am hoping that it will be dry tomorrow!"

Checa once again leads them away

Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Sunday 29 May 2011 - Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) put in a 1 minute 58.315 second lap on a drying track to take his fourth Tissot Superpole win of the 2011 season and give himself the best possible starting slot for raceday on Monday.

Only just behind was Jakub Smrz (Effenbert-Liberty Ducati), deposed by Checa with no time left to go faster. Yamaha World Superbike team-mates Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty completed the front row, mastering the damp conditions well when it counted most. This is the first front row start for Melandri in WSBK racing and was particularly welcome after he struggled in some earlier sessions at a track he had never seen before first practice. Laverty has now earned three front row starts in the past three races.

Carlos Checa: "I really like this track, but the bike doesn't so much! We had some problems that we solved and I hope for tomorrow everything is going to be fine. We've been working quite well in the dry, and finally when it was getting dry I was able to get more grip and that's the main reason I was able to fight for the pole. It's a nice surprise!"

Jakub Smrz: "Carlos is good today so he deserves pole position. I think we made a really good job today, the bike was better in the wet, there were no problems to be fast. Hopefully it will be the same in the dry and I hope to fight for the best possible position."

Marco Melandri: "For sure I didn't expect to be on the front row today. On a good wet we are pretty well set up and also the dry, so I had a bit of luck to have the Superpole with difficult conditions, because I could push a bit more. But for sure it's going to be tough to make all the race like that with the tyre."

Eugene Laverty: "It was very difficult with the wet conditions and we had to do a lot of work. But both Marco and I brought the Yamaha up in the wet. I'm confident for tomorrow in both conditions that we're in good contention for a podium finish."

The second row is headed by Sylvain Guintoli, Smrz's team-mate, with the top official BMW rider on show Troy Corser who went sixth. Late faller in Superpole 3, Max Biaggi, was seventh for Aprilia Alitalia and impressive BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike rider Ayrton Badovini was eighth.

Row three is reserved for riders who missed out on Superpole 3, with Aprilia Pata veteran Noriyuki Haga going ninth overall, just ahead of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) who went tenth as the track dried out slowly. Aprilia Alitalia rider Leon Camier was lucky to get back into the fray after a fall early in Superpole 1, but he made it back to the pits to take his second bike into Superpole 2 and then qualify 11th overall. Leon Haslam had a tough day again on his BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR, toppling over in Superpole 2 and being unable to make it further up the order than 12th.

After a surprise exit from Superpole 1 Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) was only 13th on the grid with his team-mate Ruben Xaus only one place behind. Former double champion James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) battled against his still injured right hand to go 18th on the grid, limiting his laps in the wet conditions after he missed out on the top 16 after final regulation qualifying.

Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'58.315; 2. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'58.390; 3. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'58.609; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'58.860; 5. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'59.069; 6. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'59.262; 7. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'59.736; 8. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'59.827; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'00.303; 10. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'00.477; 11. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'00.643; 12. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2'01.127; 13. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2'03.232; 14. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 2'03.382; 15. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'03.397; 16. Waters J. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'04.156; 17. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'50.195; 18. Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.306; 19. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'50.646; 20. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.717; 21. Rolfo R. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'51.586.

Salt Lake City – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.

Sunday, 29 May 2011.
Weather conditions: Persistent rain until start of Superpole Qualifying.
Temperature: Air: 7 – 8 °C, Track: 11 – 12 °C

After a long day of work in rainy and exceptionally cold conditions, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport left the track disappointed. Factory riders, Troy Corser (AUS) and Leon Haslam (GBR), will start the fifth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at Salt Lake City (USA) from the second and third rows respectively. Troy finished the Superpole Qualifying sixth, and Leon 12th. It rained persistently until the start of the Superpole Qualifying. While Troy made it into the third and final session, Leon crashed in turn six on a quick lap close to the end of the second session.

Troy Corser:

Fastest lap QP2: 2:11.940 min (P14) / Fastest lap FP2: 2:02.660 min (P2) / Fastest lap SP3: 1:59.262 min (P6)

"Overall I am happy with where we finished in Superpole. This morning we were having some issues as track conditions were really bad. We simply couldn't get any grip, and that was reflected in the poor lap times. So we made some changes and used some of Leon's information. He was finding a lot more grip than us and instantly the bike felt a lot better. The weather conditions improved slightly and we were able to make it into Superpole 3, finally qualifying on the second row. I am happy with the level of consistency from the bike and the tyres, we are able to run at a good pace and I am looking forward to the races tomorrow."

Leon Haslam:

Fastest lap QP2: 2:06.351 min (P3) / Fastest lap FP2: 2:03.002 min (P4) / Fastest lap SP2: 2:01.127 min (P12)

"We have been struggling with inconsistency in the electronic settings. The setup we used this morning in heavy rain worked really well, and I felt confident with the bike. Sadly come Superpole the conditions changed, the track began to dry and the settings we had simply weren't working. The bike became harder to ride and I ended up crashing trying to push my way into Superpole 3. It's quite frustrating because I felt really good this morning. With regard to tomorrow, it will all depend on the weather conditions, as we definitely have the pace in the wet."

Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):

"We started out the day well. Unfortunately it stopped raining a little early today. Our performance looked really promising until the track dried. In Superpole Qualifying Leon faced the same issues as yesterday – he struggled with the engine brake settings. This issue also caused his crash in Superpole 2. We have to continue working on this issue to make him feel more comfortable on the bike. Troy put in a good performance today, and starting from P6 is not too bad. I am confident for tomorrow. The distance to the first corner is quite long, and if Troy and Leon are able to start the race well, everything is possible."


Salt Lake City (USA), Sunday 29th May 2011: extremely poor conditions for the World Superbikes at the Miller Motorsports Park today but despite the difficult circumstances, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) picked up pace in every phase of the Superpole to snatch pole position in the final seconds of the last stage of an extremely close fought session. A fantastic, though perhaps slightly unexpected result for the Althea Racing team that today celebrates its fourth pole of the 2011 season.

The Superbike riders faced temperatures of just 7C and persistant rain during this morning's second qualifying session. Despite this, all riders went straight out on track to test wet settings in light of the strong possibility of rain for tomorrow's races. Carlos made a total of fourteen laps, recording a best time of 2'07.7 which left him in fourth position at the close of the session, an encouraging result in such wet conditions. The wet weather meant that no rider was able to improve on yesterday's first qualifying times and Checa thus qualified in first place for the Superpole, based on yesterday's results.

Superpole 1: track conditions improved throughout today's Superpole, though the track surface was still extremely wet for the first phase. With no qualifying tyres available, due to it being a "wet" Superpole, riders lapped continuously during the fourteen minute session. Carlos completed six laps, the last of which was his fastest, enough to place him eighth at the end of the phase.

Superpole 2: times dropped slightly and Carlos was able to make a very fast lap in the final minutes, closing this second session in second position, and progressing safely to the final stage.

Superpole 3: getting into a good rhythm, the Spanish rider lapped in under 1'59, improving his times with each lap. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Checa nailed the final sector, snatching pole by beating Smrz's best time by 0.075 of a second. With this lap time, Carlos and the Althea Racing team celebrate their fourth pole of the 2011 season.

Carlos Checa:

"Considering the conditions, this was the most difficult and most surprising pole of the season so far. I really didn't expect to do it on the wet seeing as we were struggling to make the top eight this morning. I would have been happy with the front row for tomorrow but the pole is fantastic, and also unexpected! We had a good setting and I gained confidence in each session of the Superpole, improving as the grip began to pick up. Maybe I could have pushed a little harder in certain sections of the track but I didn't and it was an amazing surprise when I realised I'd made pole! Tomorrow we hope for drier conditions, but of course I will give it my all whatever the weather."

Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager di Althea Racing:

"It was a very emotional afternoon for the team. Carlos, after a few laps in which he adapted to the wet, was able to select a good setting for the Superpole. He took his fourth pole of the season and this time in extremely tough conditions.

This demonstrates the sheer strength of this great rider and his belief in our team. We have worked incessantly to provide him with the necessary conditions to be able to go fast. My biggest thanks must go to the team today, as well as to Carlos of course. Tomorrow we expect to score two strong results in order to keep our rivals at a distance. They now have something else to consider: Checa is fastest even on the wet…"

Top Ten For Sykes In Superpole At MMP

WSBK, Salt Lake City, USA, 30 May 2011

After one dry day and one wet day of qualifying Tom Sykes made it into the top ten in Superpole, only just missing out on a second row start. Joan Lascorz was 17th and unlucky to not make the top 16.

Sykes had been an impressive fourth on day one in dry conditions and was happy in wet qualifying today; an improvement on his expectations after previous experiences in the wet this year. Sykes is now in a position to be in the mix on raceday from the third row, but the question will be what kind of track and ambient conditions Tom and Joan will find when raceday dawns.

Lascorz failed to qualify for Superpole by only 0.036 seconds and now starts each of Monday's 21-lap Superbike World Championship races from the fifth row. Only 0.059 seconds separated the 12th place rider from Lascorz - in 17th place – in the combined qualifying timesheets, before Superpole began.

Pedercini Team Kawasaki Superbike riders Mark Aitchison and Roby Rolfo were 19th and 21st respectively.

Sykes had also entered a MMP kart racing competition as part of the publicity build up to race weekend. Keen leisure kart racer Tom performed well and finishing inside the top five alongside three team-mates - one media representative, one race fan who won his drive in a competition organised by the circuit and one member of the US military.

Tom Sykes: "A very wet day today but in the dry yesterday I was happy to be top four; that was great. We had a good steady day of progress and ended up at the sharp end in the dry. This morning we were safe in qualifying in the wet which was particularly good because we had some big problems with balance in the wet earlier this year. This time around we were in the top ten throughout the day, which I thought was a good effort from everyone involved. Tenth in Superpole was OK and ultimately we closed the gap on the other guys considerably, because we were four or five seconds off the leader at one stage. We made improvements when it mattered. I am disappointed to miss the second row, however. I had thought I had been given the chequered flag at the end of the session and that I had to pull in. As it turned out I hadn't been flagged, it was just the flagman I saw at the side of the track. I would have gone for a better lap and a second row start if I had seen the situation really clearly. I would have went all or nothing on that final lap."

Joan Lascorz: "I just do not feel comfortable on the bike and we had some problems with the bike moving around in the dry, but only depending on which tyres we used. I missed out on Superpole by just a small margin but that will make it hard at the start of each race for me. Right now it does not matter to me whether it is dry or wet on raceday. I am not sure what will be possible once we get into the races and I have to be clever in the first few laps to make up some places."

Melandri and Laverty Impress with Front Row positions in Miller

Despite the wintery conditions and heavy rain in Miller Motorsports Park, Utah today Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty put their heads down on their Yamaha R1's and impressed in this afternoon's Superpole to complete the sessions in third and fourth respectively, securing two front row places for the Yamaha World Superbike Team on tomorrow's grid. Heavy down pour during this morning's second Qualifying session prevented all riders from improving on yesterday's first qualifying times.

The rain began to ease just in time for the first heat of today's Superpole, which took Laverty and Melandri comfortably into the second Superpole heat in third and fifth place respectively. As the session progressed the track conditions continued to improve enabling the riders to produce faster times in the remaining two heats. Laverty maintained a place in the top four throughout the second Superpole and managed to put in a flying lap in the dying minutes bumping him up to third while team- mate Melandri went through to the final heat in eighth position. The third and final Superpole of the day saw the two Yamaha World Superbike rookies put the hammer down to record consistently fast laps on a drying track and claim a well-earned front row position ahead of tomorrow's races. Melandri will start in third place on the grid, behind Checa and Smrz, with team-mate Laverty just beside him in fourth.

The fifth round of the WSB championship will take place tomorrow, Monday which is the celebrated "Memorial Day" in the USA. Race one will be held at the usual time of 12.00 and race two at 15.30, U.S. local time, eight hours behind Central European time.

Marco Melandri

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 3rd, 1'58.609

"I actually didn't expect to secure a front row place. I'm really happy and I want to thank the team for their hard work over the weekend. Yesterday didn't go as well as I'd have hoped and this morning was also very difficult in the heavy rain. We changed the set up and made great progress before this afternoon. I don't know what the weather will be like tomorrow and a lot depends on that. I'm really pleased with today but tomorrow could be another story. I hope luck will be on my side!"

Eugene Laverty

Yamaha World Superbike Team - 4th, 1'58.860

"I'm quite content with the day. This morning's qualifying in the wet conditions didn't go so well, I was quite low down in the standings and I didn't have the right feeling with the bike. We worked hard all afternoon and continued to move in the right direction. I'm confident that we'll be up there fighting for the podium in both wet and dry race conditions. I'm on the front row which is great and it's important to get away in the long run into the first corner. Hopefully I can catch Checa, but it would be nice to be on the podium."

Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager

"I'm quite content with the day. This morning's qualifying in the wet conditions didn't go so well, I was quite low down in the standings and I didn't have the right feeling with the bike. We worked hard all afternoon and continued to move in the right direction. I'm confident that we'll be up there fighting for the podium in both wet and dry race conditions. I'm on the front row which is great and it's important to get away in the long run into the first corner. Hopefully I can catch Checa, but it would be nice to be on the podium."

Checa Prevails in World Superbike Superpole Session

Herrin Wins AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Thriller

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 29, 2011) — Spain's Carlos Checa checked off another box on his "to-do" list during the second day of on-track action for The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil at Miller Motorsports Park on Sunday, earning pole position for Monday's feature races for the FIM Superbike World Championship in the Superpole session.

In wet but drying conditions, Checa clocked a time of 1:58.315/92.78 mph around the 3.048-mile Outer Course at MMP on his No. 7 Althea Ducati 1098R, snatching the pole from Jakub Smrz of the Czech Republic on the final lap. Smrz' No. 96 Team Effenbert/Liberty Racing Ducati clocked in at 1:48.683. Marco Melandri, making his first appearance at MMP on the No. 33 factory Yamaha YZF-R1, will start third after posting a lap at 1:58.609, and his teammate Eugene Laverty (No. 58) will fill out the front row with a qualifying time of 1:58.860. Smrz' teammate Sylvain Guintoli, BMW's Troy Corser, defending World Champion Max Biaggi and Ayrton Badovini will complete the second row on the grid. The top six riders were covered by 0.947 second.

Checa, who won both races here while riding a Honda in 2008 and led both races last year for the Althea Ducati team before succumbing to mechanical woes, is well suited to the Utah track but has his sights set on redemption after his double heartbreak of 2010.

"I really like this track," he said, "but the bike doesn't so much! We had some problems that we solved and I hope for tomorrow everything is going to be fine. We've been working quite well in the dry, and finally when it was getting dry I was able to get more grip, and that's the main reason I was able to fight for the pole. It's a nice surprise!"

The AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship held its final qualifying today for Monday's feature race in rainy weather. Chris Peris demonstrated his skill in the wet by posting the fastest time of the session on his No. 8 Iron Horse Racing BMW S1000RR at 2:06.705/86.942mph, but defending series champ Josh Hayes' provisional qualifying time of 1:50:401/99.782 on his No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 from Saturday will put him on the pole for Monday's race. Blake Young will start second on his No. 79 Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, lining up alongside fellow Suzuki riders Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar Makita) and Roger Hayden (No. 54 National Guard Jordan).

The AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike Championship's feature race was the last session on track today, and it was worth the wait. On degrading wet-weather tires in drying conditions, Josh Herrin emerged victorious on his No. 8 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 with a 0.161-second margin of victory after a last-lap pass on the No. 9 Celtic Racing Ducati 848 of P.J. Jacobson to cap a titanic late-race battle between the two young riders. Cameron Beaubier took the final podium position on his No. 116 GP Bike Parts Racing Yamaha, ahead of Cory West (No. 57 Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600) and Dane Westby (No. 5 M4 Suzuki).

Cory Alexander captured his first career victory in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Championship early on Saturday, riding his No. 5 Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600 to a dominant 18.873-second margin of victory in a very wet race that was marked by a number of crashes. Colombia's David Gaviria finished second on his No. 700 Team LTD Yamaha YZF-R6, with Travis Ohge taking the final podium spot on his No. 40 GP Bike Parts Yamaha. Tomas Puerta (No. 40 Team LTD Yamaha) and 17-year-old Elena Myers (No. 21 Suzuki Scoop Fans Suzuki) completed the top five.

In final qualifying for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Championship, Joe Kopp set the fastest time in wet conditions at 2:17.178/80.304 on his No. 3 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200, but Saturday's provisional times will keep Michael Barnes on the pole position with his No. 34 Drag Specialties/Vance & Hines entry.

Monday will be the final day of activity for The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, with 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 taking place. The first World Superbike race will start at noon, followed by the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 race at 1:20 p.m., the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship race at 2:00 p.m. and the final World Superbike race at 3:30 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.

Weather interrupts Castrol Honda's Miller progress

The Castrol Honda World Superbike team suffered its worst qualifying session of the season at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA this afternoon. Jonathan Rea and Ruben Xaus qualified in thirteenth and fourteenth places respectively for tomorrow's two fifth round races.

Despite perisistent rain and much lower temperatures, yesterday's pace setter, Carlos Checa, took pole position for both Monday's 21-lap races.

As the cold and wet weather swept across the 4.907km Miller circuit near Salt Lake City in Utah, Rea and Xaus were unable to find the ideal set up for their Castrol Honda CBR1000RR machines. Although the rain began to relent as Superpole began and lap times started to fall on the drying Miller circuit, both riders were eliminated after the first Superpole session.

With further rain showers forecast for tomorrow, both Rea and Xaus will work with their crews tonight, analyzing their data in a search for the rear grip that they complained eluded them both today.

Jonathan Rea – P13, 2m03.232s

I'm very disappointed with that qualifying result because we just couldn't get the bike working today. We were struggling with grip in the wet conditions, especially on corner entry and when the bike is leant over. It was a combination of problems that included engine braking and clutch, and we weren't able to get a handle on it. However, we're not going to bury our heads in the sand – we'll go through everything in detail tonight and get a plan together for whatever the conditions are going to be tomorrow. It's not going to be easy from where we are on the grid but I'm hoping that we can fight for at least a top five placing. If the conditions are mixed, then a whole lot of other factors will come into play, so we'll see how things are in the morning and play it by ear.

Ruben Xaus – P14, 2m.382s

Yesterday was good, but today it rained and it seemed like Jonathan and I had the same problems. The main issue for me is the first touch on the gas, when the bike loses grip and tries to come round. It happens on all the left corners and, on the three right-handers, it's quite dramatic the time we're losing. We have some work to do now and the team will work calmly and methodically tonight to find a solution, which needs to be quite big I think.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

Today's qualifying results are, of course, really disappointing – we were all expecting and hoping for a lot more than that. Miller was not the best track for us last year, and this time around it has proved to be more than challenging. We've struggled today in the wet, which has surprised us because normally these are conditions in which we do quite well. Last night it appeared that we had found a good direction, but now, after today's conditions, we definitely need to make a big step. We came testing here to turn things around but we seem to be struggling even more, so we definitely need to pull a big one out for tomorrow.


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