Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at Imola:
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Imola - Superpole
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport made the promised step forward and will start the second round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship from the first and second rows. In today’s Superpole qualifying at Imola (ITA), factory rider Leon Haslam finished fourth on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team mate, local hero Marco Melandri (ITA), will start sixth on the grid. Throughout all the Superpole sessions, Leon and Marco were inside the top six. In Superpole 2, both riders only needed one outing to securely qualify for the deciding third Superpole.
BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet SBK Team’s rider Ayrton Badovini (ITA) qualified 16th fastest today, while his team mate Michel Fabrizio (ITA) will start from 18th on the grid.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:47.646 min (P3) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.076 min (P8) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:47.458 min (P4)
“The bike has felt good all weekend. We didn't change too much. We found a good set-up on the first day and have been working well. We were struggling a bit with the qualifying tyre which gave us some chatter. I was actually quicker with the medium tyres. We got it a bit wrong with the tyre selection for the Superpole, but we still managed to get on the front row so I'm happy with that. A good start is very important here and Max Biaggi, Sylvain Guintoli, Carlos Checa and Tom Sykes are sure to be competitive in the race. Hopefully we can be battling with these guys and I will try to get BMW’s first win.”
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:47.834 min (P5) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.338 min (P10) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:47.642 min (P6)
“I can say I am happy because after we struggled yesterday I did not expect to make it to the second row. It is a very good result. After the free practice I was disappointed because I lost many tenths in Acque Minerali as I had some issues with chattering. I had to ride very close to the limit and could not keep to the perfect line. For the last session we kept the race tyre, as we remembered that last year on this track nearly everyone was struggling with chattering with the qualifying tyre. It was quite a good decision. For tomorrow I hope that it will be cooler than today because we go well on hard tyres. It is going to be a tough and difficult race, but we will do our best.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“It has been a very positive day for both riders because we improved the lap times compared to yesterday and fixed some issues. We are not only fast on a flying lap, but we are also consistent on the race tyre. It was our target to start from the first row and we believe that we can fight with the top guys for the podium. I want to thank both crews. They have done a good job during this weekend so far.”
Lowes on pole at Imola
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes claimed pole position for round two of the World Supersport Championship at Imola in Italy after a sensational flying lap, which left him almost half a second ahead of his rivals.
Lowes took pole right at the very end of a dramatic qualifying session, which was red flagged in the closing minutes, allowing Sam just one flying lap. Rookie Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda continued his quick adaptation to the Italian circuit in fine fashion and secured a solid, tenth position on the grid.
Bogdanka Honda PTR's Pawel Szkopek broke his right tibia and fibula after a crash in the morning's practice and won't take part in tomorrow's race, which starts at 13:30 CET.
Sam Lowes: "We worked towards the race, made some changes to the bike and it felt really good. The qualifying session was going really well and I knew I could do a faster time but the red flag caught us out a little bit. I thought we left it a bit late but luckily I got one flying lap in and managed to grab the pole position. The bike is working good and it's exactly how I want it. We're capable of a good performance tomorrow so I'll do the best I can. "
Mathew Scholtz: "I'm really happy with qualifying in tenth position and hope that tomorrow we can also finish inside the top ten, which would be a very good result. Today was a lot better than yesterday. It's my first time at Imola but today I felt more comfortable and the lap times were also faster. We found a good setup for the race and I'm confident."
Pawel Szkopek: "Imola has always been a special track for me and having taken my season's best result there last year, I was really motivated and hoped to do very well this weekend. Unfortunately I fell in the morning's practice and broke the tibia and fibula in my right leg but fortunately the doctors told me that it's a clean break. I should get back to being fit to ride the bike again quickly after the operation and with a pin in the bone, so I hope to recover in time for Assen."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "The session was stopped late on and when they went out there was only time for one lap. Sam got out and made a brilliant lap to take pole position and a circuit best ever. It is going to be a tough race and the top six will all be going for the podium. It was a superb effort by Mathew to get 10th never having been here before, he has done a great job. He is really happy and he is getting on well with the team and will continue to improve."
ALTHEA RACING AND CHECA SCORE THIRD PLACE IN TODAY’S HARD FOUGHT SUPERPOLE AT IMOLA
Imola (Italy), Saturday 31st March 2012: Althea Racing riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano both took part in this afternoon’s Superpole session at the Imola track. 2011 World champion Checa was very strong in each of the three phases and his performance was rewarded when he secured third position for tomorrow’s two 21-lap races. Giugliano, still getting to grips with the Superpole format, completed a solid first phase but unfortunately crashed in the second, closing therefore in twelfth position.
The two Althea Racing riders were back on track this morning for the second qualifying session, determined to do their best and reserve spots in this afternoon’s Superpole. All of the riders needed a couple of laps in which to ‘warm-up’ after which times began to tumble once more. Carlos made his fastest lap at the very end of the 45-minute session, lowering his best time set yesterday by half a second and positioning himself fourth as a result (his best time was a 1m47.8), just behind Sykes, Guintoli and Haslam.
Davide had a little trouble this morning but was nevertheless able to improve slightly on yesterday’s time, closing in sixteenth position with a best time of 1m48.6 that assured him of a place in the all-important Superpole.
During the early afternoon practice session, Checa evaluated his race pace, completing a series of consistently fast laps, one of which (1m47.3) was the overall fastest time of the session, and of the weekend up to that point. He therefore closed practice at the top of the timesheets. Giugliano had some difficulty due to a gearing problem and only completed a handful of laps as a result. His technicians chose to get straight to work to resolve the issue in time for the Superpole that began just one hour later.
Superpole 1: in the first of the three phases, both Althea riders went out on race rubber. Carlos immediately put in a fast lap, followed by another even quicker lap which assured him of first position at the end of this initial phase. Davide, less satisfied with his opening laps, went back out and made a second exit on a qualifying tyre, with which he was able to record the eighth fastest time, meaning that he too passed safely to the second phase.
Superpole 2: With twelve minutes available in this session, Carlos, still on a race tyre, made only one lap which placed him second. Davide on the other hand ran off track due to a technical problem and then returned to the garage to change tyre. This time out he unfortunately crashed while following Biaggi, thus closing today’s Superpole in final twelfth position.
Superpole 3: trying the qualifying tyre for the first time, Carlos made the fifth fastest lap time. With only four minutes to go, his technicians made a rapid tyre change and, once again on race rubber, the Spaniard was able to register the third fastest time, behind Sykes, polesitter, and Guintoli also on a Ducati.
“I used race tyres for the first and second phases of the Superpole, turning to the qualifier only at the start of the final phase. I wasn’t able to put together the lap I wanted and so, with minutes to spare, I went back out on a race tyre and made the third fastest time (though unfortunately it wasn’t a clean lap). We’re satisfied, as it would have been difficult to beat Sykes here today - congratulations to him. I expect two exciting races tomorrow and would say the forecast is good is far as we’re concerned.”
“I’m a bit disappointed of course because I thought I could have done a lot better this afternoon. Unfortunately in the first exit (of the second phase) a technical problem caused me to run off track. Then, with that resolved, I went back out on a qualifier and I was pushing hard to make the flying lap. Maybe I overdid it, because I crashed as I was following Biaggi. We’ll start from the fourth row of tomorrow’s grid so I’ll need to make a great start and give it my all if I want to make up some places and put together two solid races.”
Sykes takes Tissot-Superpole win number two in two attempts
Imola (Italy), Saturday 31 March 2012 - The best possible starting position was taken by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) for the second round in succession after he set a new track best of 1 minute 46.748 seconds in Superpole 3. This was Sykes’ fourth career Superpole win and the second at Imola, as he took the pre-race prize on the previous model of Ninja ZX-10R here in 2010. Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) was second, after a late charge from Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) was ultimately unsuccessful. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was fourth and first BMW rider in the final pre-race rankings, while Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) made it to the head of the second row, fifth overall. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went sixth at his home circuit.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was seventh but suffered a very fast high-side crash, walking away after a heavy impact on the tarmac. The last place on the second row went to Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Some big names missed out on the optimum starting spots on the first two rows, as Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) experienced a technical issue in Superpole 2 that held back his final push and went to 11th on the grid, while early fast man Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) was only one place up on the Irish rider, tenth.
Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team Ducati) made his team proud with a fine ninth at his home race, while a troubled second superpole session saw Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) run off track and then finally crash, finishing 12th on the grid. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) was top Suzuki rider, 15th.
Tom Sykes: “To get two Tissot-Superpole wins on the roll is fantastic. I dug deep after the second Superpole because I knew the times would be fast. On my fastest lap in Superpole 3 I had a lot of feedback from my Kawasaki. A couple of times I arrived past the limit, but the feel was good so I could finish with a good lap. A few of us have very consistent race pace so there will be a big fight over full race distance.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “I am happy with our work this weekend. This circuit for Ducati is fantastic, it is a brilliant track and took me about two years to learn it. I am just getting used to it and enjoying myself here so I think tomorrow will be a good race. There should be a be a big fight and I am going to do my best to take the first victory for the team.”
Carlos Checa: “I feel quite good after practice and third position is positive, considering that Tom did a really good lap time and I could not get that kind of lap. We expect our pace to be much better in the race. We are in a good starting position for the race and I think we have good pace for the race tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam: “It’s been a good weekend so far and we have been making progress with the BMW in the past few weeks. My leg is getting stronger day by day but in the evenings it is a little bit sore. To be fair, on the bike it is not that much of a problem. By Assen, the next race, I think I will be fully fit.”
Times: 1. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'46.748; 2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'47.221; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'47.423; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'47.458; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.611; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'47.642; 7. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'47.643; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.740; 9. Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.108; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'48.137; 11. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'48.299; 12. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.650; 13. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.267; 14. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.382; 15. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.415; 16. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.631; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) secured pole at Imola after the final session was halted and restarted with just a few minutes left on the clock. Lowes’ time of 1 minute 51.436 seconds is a new track record in the class. As the final chance came for one fast lap Lowes overhauled long time leader on the time sheets Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini). Morais’ team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu pushed himself to third despite recent left knee and right foot injuries. Fourth was class rookie and Imola novice Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) with Ten Kate Racing Products Honda rider Broc Parkes fifth. Phillip Island podium man Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) took sixth place.
Times: 1. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'51.436; 2. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'51.901; 3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.028; 4. Cluzel J. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.100; 5. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.167; 6. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.264; 7. Tamburini R. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.406; 8. Roccoli M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'52.743; etc.
Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia) will start from pole in Sunday’s Superstock 1000 race after setting the fastest time in the second qualifying session on the brand-new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Lorenzo Baroni (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet STK Team) was originally credited with second but cut the chicane and was docked that lap, promoting Markus Reiterberger (Team alpha Racing BMW) to second, with Baroni now third. The front row line-up has been completed by Baron’s team-mate Sylvain Barrier. The top Kawasaki runner was MRS team rider Loris Baz, fifth.
Times: 1. La Marra E. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'50.403; 2. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.734; 3. Baroni L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.743; 4. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.819; 5. Baz L. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'51.160; 6. Savadori L. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'51.770; 7. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'52.056; 8. Massei F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'52.459; etc.
Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) won the Superstock 600 event by a large margin of 2.534 seconds after 11 laps of front running action at Imola. The series regular was unchallenged at the end, with Nacho Calero Perez (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) second and closing but still well down at the flag. A distant third was EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda rider Michael van der Mark. As this is the first round the points positions are a mirror image of the race positions, with Russo on 25, Calero Perez on 20 and van der Mark on 16. Fourth spot in race and championship went to wildcard rider, Nicola Jr. Morrentino (Elle 2 Promotion Yamaha).
Results: 1. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 21'04.967; 2. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2.534; 3. Van der Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR; 4. Morrentino N. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 10.627; 5. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 11.049; 6. Chesaux B. (SUI) Honda CBR600RR 11.219; 7; Morbidelli F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 19.334; 8. Casalotti S. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 20.789; etc.
Points (after 1 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 25; 2. Calero Perez 20; 3. Van der Mark 16; Morrentino 13; 5. Egea 11; 6. Chesaux 10; etc.
CAMIER AND HOPKINS FIRED-UP TO RACE
Team Suzuki Press Office - March 31.
Crescent Fixi Suzuki's Leon Camier and John Hopkins will start tomorrow's Imola World Superbike second round in Italy from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid, confident of making good starts and fighting for top-10 positions.
Both riders lost time in this morning's qualifying session - Camier had a small low-side and Hopkins suffered a technical issue - but fortunately uninjured, Camier qualified for Superpole with the seventh-fastest lap. Hopkins, however, managed just eight laps in total in the same session which was not enough to get up to speed and make Superpole.
Leon Camier - 15th, 1:48.415:
"I lost time in the qualifying session this morning after a slow-speed crash. The rear end was chattering and I just lost the front. There was no problem with me, but the bike had to be rebuilt and that meant I lost the rest of that session and also about 10 minutes of the next one.
"I'm happy with the chassis, but I am looking forward to further engine developments from Yoshimura. I went out on a race tyre in Superpole but made a little mistake so came back to the pits for a 'Qualifier.' Even before I reached the first turn, the bike was wobbling and then chattering as I went into the corner; I've no idea why, but there was nothing wrong with the bike! I came back to the pits, but wasn't able to get back out in time on another tyre to set a decent lap in time to progress to Superpole 2."
John Hopkins - 19th, 1:49.790:
"I was looking forward to this morning's session and putting in the laps, but the bike had a technical problem and I wasn't able to get out on the track for as much time as I would've liked: That messed up my qualification for Superpole, but sometimes things happen like that. The team put in a new engine for the second session and after a few laps I started to become more-and-more comfortable with the bike. We made a few suspension changes, which made the bike more stable, and I was really getting back in the groove by the end of the afternoon.
"I've had a long lay-off and, although I am physically fit, I need to get bike-fit as well. The more laps I do, the sooner I'll be able to get on the pace. I normally make good starts and that's my aim tomorrow; that and picking up a decent number of points."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I feel very positive about Leon. He's put in the laps and has a pretty good race set-up. At one stage today he was third quickest and that's very encouraging. Unfortunately, he had a bit of a tip-off and lost time. The team then did a great job to get the bike rebuilt and ready for the afternoon session and Leon was able to run for most of the session. I was looking forward to his Superpole but he didn't feel comfortable on his Qualifier tyre. There was a lack of grip and quite a bit of chatter which was enough to prevent him getting into Superpole 2.
"I had set a target for John - to get into Superpole - and would have been really happy if he had managed it. If it hadn't been for the problem in the morning, which resulted in the engine having to be changed, I think he might even have done it. This is a very physical track and John is still getting back to race fitness after a long spell off the bike, but I am very pleased with his progress and attitude. He's a good starter, so who knows what'll happen tomorrow, but I can see him picking-up places in the opening laps for sure. I feel the Suzuki is showing its potential and is capable of being competitive. That's down to the all the good work done by the team and our partners Yoshimura."
Jonathan Rea on second row at Imola
Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two second round World Superbike championship races at Imola in Italy from the second row of the grid after setting the seventh fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole qualifying sessions.
Pole position was taken by British rider Tom Sykes as Rea and his Honda World Superbike team continued to seek an optimum setting for his Honda CBR1000RR around the fast, undulating 4.936km Imola circuit.
Rea was forced to use one of his two qualifying tyres in Superpole 1 when it looked as though his first lap time might not be enough. Consequently, having progressed from Superpole 2 comfortably, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman went into the final session on race tyres.
Rea suffered a big highside crash in the last few moments of Superpole 3 but was able to walk away unhurt and continue his preparation for tomorrow’s two 21-lap races.
His Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hirosh Aoyama, did not qualifying for Superpole, despite significantly improving his time from yesterday. The Japanese rider will start tomorrow’s races from the sixth row of the grid.
Jonathan Rea - P7 1m47.643s
It’s been a bit frustrating today because it seems that we’ve improved the pace from last year, but the pace to win the race is now much faster. Pirelli have brought a new tyre which is bringing some more time, but, for me, I’m a little surprised that we’re not as competitive as we’d hoped. For Superpole we made quite a good change to the bike but I got caught out with a crash at the end when I put a race tyre back in the bike. I had quite a good split and, yeah, just used a few per cent more gas out of turn five and had a big highside, so I think I’m quite lucky to escape without injury. The bike’s working OK, but it’s quite hard to know what the race pace is going to be tomorrow because quite a few riders have been working on different strategies with tyres. Second row is not so bad, though - I’ll just try to get a good start and go with the front guys tomorrow.
Hiroshi Aoyama - P23 1m50.670s
It’s been a difficult day for me. We improved things a little bit but it was not enough - we needed to find about two seconds but we still have some work to do. We have quite a lot of different problems so it’s difficult for me to put all the sectors together for one good lap. I don’t know the track so well and, of course, I am still learning the bike. Our main problem is stability under braking and getting the bike stopped. We’ll try to get the bike a little more calm and under control for warm-up because the movement under braking is affecting the whole lap.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
I think we made some good steps on Jonathan’s side today, but a lot of other guys are quite fast too. We worked on the feeling with the front - changing springs and ride height. We’re a bit quicker than last year but need to find a little bit more. We’re still on the second row, though, and it seems Jonathan is OK after his big crash, so we’ll try to race with the fast guys tomorrow. With Hiroshi we’re playing too much catch-up. He’s new to the bike and new to the track, but we’re still making steps. He’s found nearly two seconds today but everyone else is getting faster too. He missed out on Superpole but we have an idea to give him a better bike for warm-up and we saw in Phillip Island that he can fight his way forward, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Front row for flying Jules
PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel secured a brilliant front row start fourth place for tomorrow's second round of the World Supersport Championship at Imola in Italy on his first visit to the track.
Ronan Quarmby on the second PTR Honda will start from 11th after improving his lap time by nearly half a second. Martin Jessopp continues his steep learning curve and reduced his lap time dramatically to take 18th on the grid. Their stablemate Bogdanka PTR Honda's Sam Lowes took pole position. The race takes place at 1330 CET tomorrow, Sunday, April 1st.
Jules: "I am happy. It was difficult this morning but then at the end of the qualifying I followed Sam for one lap. I fell a little behind and there are corners he is faster than me - two places for sure. I need to improve these corners with my Chief Mechanic and will speak with him this evening - I can improve my lines a little as well. I think it is possible for the podium but I am not thinking about this. If I finish fourth or fifth then I will be happy."
Ronan: "I am disappointed to have improved my lap time but dropped to 11th on the grid. It is very tight on times so I know we can be competitive and will be looking to get a great start and to hang on to the riders in front and see what position we can achieve. I got seventh place from 14th on the grid at Australia so 11th is not so bad and I'll be going for the top six."
Martin: "I got my lap time down again this afternoon, although not by as much as I wanted. I am fairly happy; I wanted to be in the top 16 and I am just on the back of that so it is OK because traditionally I am not a great qualifier. I need to get a good start in the race, avoid any problems and then work my way through and get some decent points. I have my tyre sorted out but there are still a few things we will try in warm up - I am looking forward to the race."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Fourth on the grid for Jules is a fantastic achievement on his first visit here. He had a little help from Sam when he followed him and that shows how the PTR Honda team works well together. Jules is suffering from a bit of chatter as he is going faster and he has some things to try in warm up to improve. Ronan has done a good job but needs to get a good start and get with the leading group. Martin has improved a lot and has a good chance to be fighting for the points tomorrow."
Chaz Davies of the ParkinGO Aprilia team speaks about his day: