Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after practice on Friday at Monza:
Jules learning Monza fast
PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel on his debut visit is learning the fast Monza circuit quickly and is in provisional 10th on the grid for Sunday's fourth round of the World Supersport Championship in Italy.
Ronan Quarmby on the second PTR Honda is just behind his team mate in 12th. Like Jules he did not improve his lap time in the afternoon but tested settings for race distance. Riders PTR Honda's Martin Jessopp, also on his first visit to Monza, finished 25th but improved from the first session considerably. There are further practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow before the race at 1330CET on Sunday, May 6th.
Bogdanka PTR Honda's Sam Lowes is on provisional pole position - matching the outright fastest lap at the circuit from PTR's Eugene Laverty in 2010 - with his team mate Mathew Scholtz in eighth. That gives the PTR squad an impressive three riders in the top 10 and four in the top 12.
Jules: "I had a clutch problem after five laps and my qualifying was finished which is a shame as I thought I could qualify well. The circuit is really nice and I like it. I was fourth fastest in the morning and I need as much on track time as possible; but anyway we will have tomorrow and I do hope it doesn't rain, I want to qualify in the top three and think it is possible."
Ronan: ">From this morning the bike is completely different. I think there is something wrong and we need to make a change - there were lots of little chassis and handling issues. It feels very different from the bike I raced at Imola so we need to get it back to how I like it. The team is going through the bike now and I hope the rain stays away so we can improve tomorrow."
Martin: "I am a bit annoyed as I had good momentum in the middle of the session and after getting a fresh tyre I couldn't find anyone to get a slipstream from. After that I was held up on my final lap by a slower rider so I wasn't able to make any big step improvements. My ideal time is half a second faster than what I have recorded that would put me much further up the grid and shows the potential we have - I think the top 16 is possible in the dry tomorrow. It's my first time here and I am really liking the track."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "It is the first time here for Jules and he lost time in qualifying due to a clutch problem but he is right on the pace. I think the front row is realistic for Jules. Ronan struggled in qualifying after a strong morning session and we will work with him to sort his bike issues for tomorrow. Martin was showing good pace in the top 16 mid session with an ideal time much better than he finished with and we will work with him to keep improving."
TOP TEN FOR CHECA AND GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) IN FIRST SBK QUALIFYING AT MONZA
Monza (Italy), Friday 4th May 2012: the Althea Racing team and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano were greeted by warm and sunny conditions at the Monza racetrack, where the fourth round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship is taking place this weekend. Checa and Giugliano closed today’s first qualifying in ninth and tenth place respectively at the fastest track on the SBK calendar.
Checa and Giugliano were out on track this morning for the first free practice session of the weekend. With a track temperature of 39˚C, both riders worked to refine the set-up of their 1198 bikes ahead of this afternoon’s first qualifying session, using last year’s data as a base from which to work. Concentrating on preparing the bike itself rather than on lap times, Carlos closed in thirteenth position with a best time of 1m44.4 and Davide in fourteenth place, just one tenth of a second behind his team-mate.
The first qualifying session was also completed in good conditions. Both Althea flagbearers worked hard to improve on the morning’s performances. In the opening phase, Giugliano dropped his time by more than a second, recording a 1m43.4 which positioned him tenth at the session’s end. Carlos’ times began to fall in the second half of the session; the current world champion registered his fastest time in the final minutes, with a 1m43.3 that put him in ninth position, once again a fraction of a second ahead of his team-mate. The results bode well, especially considering the chances of bad, or at least variable, weather that is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
“Considering the track, one of those at which we have always had trouble, I’d say that we’ve grown during today’s two sessions. I’ve even improved in T2, a point of the track that usually gives me problems. There are sections where we can definitely make further improvement but, all things considered, I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done so far.”
“It went quite well today. This morning we worked hard on the bike, knowing that we needed to do as well as possible this afternoon, in case of rain tomorrow. The important thing is that Carlos and I are the first Ducatis, and it’s no surprise that the four-cylinders are all up ahead. The weather looks like being very changeable but I’m feeling ready and confident whatever the conditions over the rest of the weekend.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Monza - Qualifying Practice 1
It was a perfect Friday for BMW Motorrad at Monza (ITA): In the first qualifying practice for the fourth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, four BMW S 1000 RRs were placed in the top 5, with three of them in the first three positions on the provisional starting grid. The Bavarian bike had already shown its potential in the free practice, with BMW Motorrad Motorsport factory rider Leon Haslam (GBR), Michel Fabrizio (ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team and factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finishing as the top 3 and Michel’s team mate Ayrton Badovini (ITA) in fifth position.
Both factory riders from Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport consistently rode quick lap times, with Marco being quickest and Leon being second for most of the first qualifying practice. Only in the very last minutes did Michel do one faster lap to secure provisional pole position. Only 0.053 seconds behind, Marco qualified provisional second on the grid on his RR with Leon third. Ayrton completed the strong result with fifth position in the first qualifying practice.
Save the date: BMW Motorrad Motorsport is delighted to welcome you to a Happy Hour with music, drinks and snacks on Saturday, May 5, 5:30 pm at the BMW Motorrad Motorsport Hospitality in the paddock. Please find the invitation attached.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:43.171 min (P3)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:42.380 min (P2)
“It was a good day for us. For Monza, we expected to be closer to the top than before, but today it actually went even better than we thought. I am not one hundred percent happy, because over the race distance I still have some issues with chattering. Today we tried put in as many consecutive laps as possible to understand the cause of the issue and how we can solve it. We also collected some good information for the race. Now I just hope that we have a dry race, and I also hope for good weather in the Superpole because this is a very difficult track in the wet.”
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:43.042 min (P1)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:42.523 min (P3)
“I am pretty happy with the day. Today, we got through a few things that we wanted to do. This afternoon, we concentrated on race distance, doing longer runs. We started on a ten lap tyre and did another seven or eight laps on it. Even though we did that the times came easily and were close. It is a nice position to be in. We can now work on the little things and do not need to try to solve big things this weekend. Now we have to wait and see what the weather will be like tomorrow. If it is raining, it will be good to get a setting for the wet and then come Sunday, we will have worked in both conditions and be ready for everything.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“It was a good day for BMW Motorrad, because having four RRs in the top five is amazing. I must say a big Thank You to all the guys in Munich and Stephanskirchen for the hard work they have done. This is the result. It means that the bike is competitive. We have seen already in Assen, and confirmed here, that we have made a step forward. I am really happy about the job done by both riders and their crews today. We knew that these two sessions might be the only ones in dry conditions, so we have been working quite hard in order to evaluate different set-ups and different tyres. We are ready for a dry race. Now we need to keep working hard and be also be prepared for the case that it is wet tomorrow, as the weather forecast is not so good. We also want to congratulate Michel Fabrizio and his team for securing the provisional pole position.”
Fabrizio gets his BMW flying in first Monza qualifying session
Monza (Italy), Friday 4 May 2012 – Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia Gold Bet) led home a BMW 1-2-3 at Monza in the first qualifying session, thanks to a 1 minute 42.325 second lap set with only three minutes of the session remaining. He had earlier equalled the best top speed in SBK history when he clocked 334.8 km/h down the main straight. Another Italian, Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was second fastest and Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) third. The Friday reign of the S1000RR at the fastest circuit on the calendar was only challenged by the Aprilia Racing bike of Eugene Laverty, who was fourth in the overall rankings. BMW Motorrad Italia Gold Bet rider Ayrton Badovini posted the fifth best lap time, one place up on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Local great Max Biaggi went seventh for Aprilia Racing, while the third Aprilia in the field in 2012, the ParkinGO MTC Aprilia of Chaz Davies, ended up in eighth place, making him the last rider to lap within a second of the top spot.
As expected the Ducati riders found themselves outgunned at this particular circuit with 2011 champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) only ninth and his team-mate Davide Giugliano tenth.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was top Honda rider in 11th and both Crescent Fixi Suzuki men, John Hopkins and Leon Camier, followed him on the opening day timesheets. Assen race winner Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) was 15th on the first day at Monza.
Times: 1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.327; 2. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.380; 3. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.523; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.625; 5. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'42.690; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'42.794; 7. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'42.844; 8. Davies C. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'43.228; 9. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'43.393; 10. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'43.408; 11. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'43.410; 12. Hopkins J. (USA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'43.576; 13. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'43.837; 14. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'43.943; 15. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'44.042; 16. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'44.057; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) left it until the very last opportunity to record a lap time that gives him provisional pole after the first qualifying session at Monza. His lap time of 1 minute 47.601 seconds equalled – to the same 1/1000th of a second - the track best, originally set by Eugene Laverty in 2010. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) got to within 0.437 seconds of the previous best lap at Monza as he took the second fastest lap of the first qualifying session. A strong day of work for the Kawasaki riders behind Lowes put Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) and Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) third and fourth respectively, while wild card rider Stefano Cruciani (Puccetti Racing Kawasaki Italia) was an impressive fifth against the series regulars.
Times: 1. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'47.601; 2. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.038; 3. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.419; 4. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.696; 5. Cruciani S. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'48.808; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1'48.817; 7. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1'48.910; 8. Scholtz M. (RSA) Honda CBR600RR 1'49.188; etc.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) set the provisional pole time at Monza, very close to the track best, with a 1 minute 46.340 that kept him ahead of Lorenzo Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia). Barrier’s team-mate Lorenzo Baroni (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) pushed his way to third, one place ahead of Savadori’s team mate Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing). A late charge from Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) made him the top ZX-10R rider on display, fifth, with Christoffer Bergman (BWG Racing Kawasaki) right behind. Barrier was injured in a fall during the session and was declared unfit but he will go under medical review in the morning.
Times: 1. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'46.340; 2. Savadori L. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'46.776; 3. Baroni L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'46.917; 4. La Marra E. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1'46.973; 5. Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.237; 6. Bergman C. (SWE) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.342; 7. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1'47.792; 8. Lussiana M. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.814; etc.
Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) and his team-mate Luca Vitali stormed to the top of the first qualifying session at Monza, ahead of lap record holder Nacho Calero Perez (Team Trasimeno Yamaha). On a good day for R6 riders Franco Morbidelli (RCGM Team Yamaha) put himself fourth in a session that was red flagged and had to be restarted to complete the final six minutes of qualifying time. The first Honda rider home in the opening qualifying session was top all-round competitor Michael Vd Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda). Tony Covena (Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki) proved to be the top Kawasaki rider on show, seventh and 0.6 seconds behind the lead at this early stage.
Times: 1. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.356; 2. Vitali L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.410; 3. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.529; 4. Morbidelli F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.750; 5. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1'51.964; 6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.991; 7. Covena T. (NED) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.006; 8. Chesaux B. (SUI) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.131; etc.
European Junior Cup
Adrian Pasek took the honours in the first outing for the European Junior Cup class riders, a category in which all the riders are on identical KTM Duke 690 single-cylinder machines. Joshua Harland from the UK posted second and like Pasek his was a result taken very near the end of the session. Previous leading rider Jean-Francois Demoulin, from France, was third. Lukas Wimmer from Austria went to fourth in the first session, with the top five rounded out by Spanish competitor Javier Orellana. Kevin Chili, son of SBK legend Pierfrancesco Chili, was placed sixth.
Lowes on provisional pole at Monza
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes took provisional pole position ahead of the fourth round of the World Supersport Championship at Monza - having also topped the morning free practice at the famous high-speed Italian circuit.
Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda took eighth in the opening qualifying on his first visit to Monza and targets more progress tomorrow during the second qualifying session.
Bogdanka Honda PTR's replacement for Pawel Szkopek, UK's Kieran Clarke, started the weekend in 32nd overall and aims improvements ahead of the Sunday's race which starts at 13:30CET.
Sam Lowes: "I'm happy with today. We worked on the race settings but went out on a soft tyre in the end to put a fast lap in. As for tomorrow, a lot depends on the weather but we worked both with the hard and the soft tyres today, and we're not far away. We'll change a few things on the front for tomorrow if it's dry but it looks like it will be wet so we have to wait and see. Wet or dry, it will be the same for everyone. I'm enjoying Monza and actually find it quite easy to do good laps so I can't wait for the next two days."
Mathew Scholtz: "Today went really well. It's my first time here and today was my first day on the track so I was learning my way around but I'm really happy with eighth on the provisional grid. We found a good setup and will only be making a few small changes for tomorrow. I hope to take it from here, keep improving and go faster in the second qualifying. It's only the first day but Monza is already one of my favourite tracks. It's fast, flowing and really fun to ride."
Kieran Clarke: "It has been an eventful start to the weekend. Monza is a really nice circuit and it's been really good to get back on a 600, but it's been a while since I last rode one. The Bogdanka Honda PTR team did a really good job getting the bike to suit my style and with five more minutes in the afternoon we could've gone a good deal faster, but that's something for tomorrow now. I'm looking for more progress on Saturday and a good starting position for the race. On Sunday my aim is a point scoring position."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "It's been a very good first day for both Sam and Mathew. Sam equalled the circuit best and that puts us in a strong position for second qualifying. Mathew on his first visit to Monza is showing impressive form and we will build on that to get him the best race position possible."
POSITIVE START FOR CRESCENT FIXI SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 4.
Crescent FIXI Suzuki's World Superbike riders John Hopkins and Leon Camier spent the opening day of practice and qualifying at Monza in Italy learning the circuit and also testing new bike settings.
Monza first-timer Hopkins - now fully-fit and recovered from his pre-season injuries - and team mate Camier, made sure of a provisional Superpole place tomorrow afternoon after finishing well within the top 16 today and will both work on testing new settings on their Yoshimura- powered GSX-Rs tomorrow morning, confident of improvement.
Today's quickest time was set by Michel Fabrizio on a BMW as he led home a BMW 1-2-3 at the fastest circuit on the calendar, which also saw the Italian equal the highest speed ever recorded in World Superbikes as he clocked 334.8kmh down the main straight.
Hopkins and Camier have one more qualifying session tomorrow morning, followed by the important Superpole in the afternoon where Crescent FIXI Suzuki will be going all out to secure the best grid positions for Sunday's two races.
John Hopkins - 12th, 1:43.576:
"I've never been to Monza before, so I spent part of the day learning the track. In truth, it's not a hard track to learn, so once I got it dialled in, I began working on my brake markers. I feel happy because I managed to put in some decent lap times and now I can play with the set up of the bike and try and improve it. We got the Crescent Fixi Suzuki handling well by the end of the afternoon session, but I'm sure there's more to come if the weather stays dry. Physically I feel great and I'm looking forward to more time on the bike and some good races on Sunday."
Leon Camier - 13th, 1:43.837:
"This morning we tried a lot of different things and made a few experiments. Some of the stuff we tried worked and some didn't, but we understood more about what happens with the changes and we got some ideas about which directions to take. We went towards a more conventional gearing set-up this afternoon and continued our work improving the electronics. The speed trap shows that our bike is down on power compared to our rivals, but I could put in some pretty good times by slipstreaming. Tomorrow, we'll see if we can get a bit more power and top speed - both very useful at a track like this."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I'm happy because we accomplished our first mission, and that was to have both John and Leon in the top 16 and provisional Superpole. If the weather forecast does what it says and it rains in tomorrow's qualifying, the times set today will be OK for Superpole. We knew that this weekend would be very hard for us because this track is all about power and speed. Considering that it's John's first time here, I think he's done a good job. I think he would've been higher up the standings today if he hadn't overshot a turn. Hopefully, it will be dry tomorrow and we can continue to improve the bike, but if it rains, then our next step will be to get as high up the grid as we can."
Difficult opening day at Monza
Honda World Superbike Team riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama both had a frustrating time in today’s opening qualifying session at the fourth round World Superbike championship event at Monza in Italy.
Rea posted the 11th fastest time after being quickest through the speed trap in this morning’s free practice session. Meanwhile, Aoyama, on his first visit to the high-speed Monza circuit, ended the day in 20th place.
Provisional pole position was taken by local rider, Michel Fabrizio, as the rain that had been forecast for this afternoon and the rest of the weekend stayed away.
Jonathan Rea – P11, 1m43,410s
It seems that this morning’s top speed, when everyone got excited, was recorded in a braking zone, but because the bike is now really stable under braking, I’m able to brake later than some of the other guys. Right now, though, the bike is still a little slow. I’m sure we can find a few tenths here and there, but to race at the pace of the guys at the front for 19 laps is going to be quite difficult. We’ve some work to do tonight, for sure, but we’ll do that work and see where we can find some more speed. I think one area is definitely coming off the last corner, because the final sector is not my best, so we can probably improve both me and the bike there.
Hiroshi Aoyama – P20, 1m44.686s
It’s been a tough first day because in free practice this morning we had a technical problem with the gear shifter which made it very difficult when I was trying to learn the track as well. Also, near the end of the session, I missed a gear and crashed on the left corner of the first chicane, which cost me some important track time as well. We still had a problem shifting this afternoon so I am not so happy with my first day at Monza. I hope we can have some more dry time tomorrow to give me a chance to make it into Superpole, but we have some work to do as well.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
We brought Jonathan’s Assen setting here to see where we were, because we made quite a change to the set-up at that last race. We’re definitely quite strong on the brakes, which is so important here, and we adjusted the balance of the bike a bit today, but that’s not quite right yet. We’re losing some time in the fast corners, so we’ll work on that this evening. For Hiroshi, we had some shifting problems and he had to learn the track as well. This afternoon, we fixed the problem a little, but he had to do more laps while we tried to find a better setting, so it wasn’t easy.