Press releases from the World Superbike teams, Infront and Miller Motorsports Park after the first day of practice in Utah:
Smrz Fastest in World Superbike Qualifying Practice
Hayes Tops AMA SuperBike, ‘Quest for 200’ Continues
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 26, 2012) — Jakub Smrz of the Czech Republic, riding the No. 96 Ducati 1098R for Liberty Racing Team Effenbert, recorded the fastest lap in Saturday’s qualifying practice for the FIM Superbike World Championship, the featured event of the BigM Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park.
Following a wet morning practice session in which he was also fastest, Smrz sailed to the top of the timing sheets in a dry qualifying practice with a lap at 1:49.842. Defending World Champion Carlos Checa of Spain, who won both races at Miller Motorsports Park last year and in 2008, was second-fastest on his No. 7 Althea Racing Ducati, just 0.070sec in arrears at 1:49.912. Italy’s Marco Melandri, riding the No. 33 BMW S1000 RR for BMW Motorrad Motorsport, was third-fastest at 1:50.038. Rounding out the top five were Max Biaggi (No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 Factory) and Checa’s teammate Davide Guigliano (No. 34 Ducati 1098R).
In the first of two qualifying sessions for the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship, two-time and defending series champ Josh Hayes was the man to beat, posting a lap at 1:51.046 on his No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha R1. Roger Hayden was second-fastest at 1:51.514 on his No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, with teammate Ben Bostrom third at 1:51.954 on his No. 23 Jordan Suzuki. Blake Young (No. 79 Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Larry Pegram (No. 79 BMW S1000 RR) completed the top five fastest riders.
Youngster Benny Solis was fastest in the in first qualifying for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike series, clocking in at 1:56.201 on his No. 20 Kneedraggers.com/Triple Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6. Colombia’s Martin Cardenas, the 2010 series champion and three-time 2012 race winner, was second at 1:56.252 on his No. 36 Geico Suzuki GSX-R600, followed by Jason DiSalvo on the No. 40 Team Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675 at 1:56.584. Tommy Hayden (No. 8 YES/Graves Yamaha) and Dane Westby (No. 5 M4/Lucas Oil Suzuki) were fourth- and fifth-fastest, respectively.
Hayden Gillim, riding the No. 69 Road Race Factory Yamaha YZF-R6, was the man to beat in qualifying practice for the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport series, lapping the 3.048 Outer Course at MMP at 1:59.002. Defending champ James Rispoli was second at 1:59.326 on his No. 1 Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R600, with Dustin Dominguez third at 1:59.352 on his No. 68 Castrol/GE Capital Triumph Daytona 675.
In the first qualifying session for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series, Tyler O’Hara’s 2:10.281 lap bested Michael Barnes (2:11.265) and Kyle Wyman (2:12.066).
The BigM Weekend continues tomorrow. There will be second qualifying sessions for all four AMA Pro Racing series and races for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike and Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport series. The FIM Superbike World Championship will have a final qualifying practice before their unique, knockout-style Superpole session. The two feature races for the Superbike World Championship and single races for the AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike and Vance & Hines XR1200 series will take place on Memorial Day Monday.
A big part of the weekend is “The Quest for 200.” It is anticipated that, this year, a World Superbike rider will surpass 200 mph on Miller Motorsports Park’s 3,500-foot front straightaway for the first time. Should that happen, it will make Miller Motorsports Park the fastest natural-terrain road racing circuit in America. In today’s Qualifying Practice for the FIM Superbike World Championship, Michele Fabrizio set the fastest speed at 191 mph on his No. 84 BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000RR, but he only achieved the 13th fastest lap.
As is fitting on Memorial Day weekend, America’s armed forces are being featured, with a Tribute Field of 2,012 American flags erected in the track’s infield and the Zions Bank Military Acre featuring interactive displays from all branches of the armed forces. The United States Marine Corps color guard will present the colors during the opening ceremonies on Monday, prior to a flyover of an F-16 Fighter Jet, a combined effort by the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base. Colonel Sarah Zabel, Commander of the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base, will offer comments during opening ceremonies and the National Anthem will be performed by the 23rd Army Band. All current and veteran military members are eligible for a 50-percent discount on event tickets, this weekend and every weekend.
In addition, there are a myriad of activities for families to enjoy, including karting at the Miller Kart Track, rides on MMP’s Zip Line, 2-up rides on the racetrack from the Yamaha Champions Riding School, Ford Raptor rides on MMP’s off-road desert course, thrill rides in Dodge Chargers and Challengers, pit walks, vendors, non-stop entertainment from local bands and performing groups in the paddock, stunt bike demonstrations and plenty of good food.
Tickets for the event are priced at $40 for General Admission and $50 for Grandstand Seating on Sunday and Monday. Tickets for kids aged 6-12 are priced at $5 for General Admission and $10 for Grandstand Seating all three days. Kids aged 5 and under are admitted free of charge.
To obtain tickets for or information about The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, visit the track’s website at www.MillerMotorsportsPark.com or call 435-277-RACE (7223).
Smrz leads the way after mixed weather conditions
Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Saturday 26 May 2012 – Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) pushed as hard in dry conditions as he had in the wet free practice session this morning to take the overnight fastest lap time of 1 minute 49.842 seconds. The man from the Czech Republic had been quickest in the wet opening session, after a thunderstorm had arrived at Miller at an inopportune moment.
A good day for the Ducati riders saw Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) go second, heading up the BMW Motorrad Motorsport machine of Marco Melandri and the Aprilia Racing entry of Max Biaggi. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) and Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) continued the good Ducati form in going fifth and sixth respectively.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was the first Honda rider home, in seventh, with Eugene Laverty joining his team-mate Biaggi in the top eight places.
Tom Sykes crashed out on his Kawasaki Racing Team official bike and was an unusually low ninth after the first qualifying session. The cosmopolitan nature of the championship was demonstrated fully as the FIXI Crescent Suzuki of Leon Camier took the English rider to tenth, making it all six manufacturers in the early top ten.
In his comeback ride from injury David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was 15th after the first official session, while another rider making a return to the fray, local man John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was ranked 17th.
The 24-strong field of riders will face a further qualifying session tomorrow morning and then the top 16 will go forward to Tissot-Superpole to determine their final grid positions.
Times: 1. Smrz (Ducati) 1'49.842 average 160.824 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'49.912; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1'50.038; 4. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'50.091; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'50.280; 6. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'50.312; 7. Rea (Honda) 1'50.358; 8. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'50.428; 9. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'50.433; 10. Camier (Suzuki) 1'50.520; 11. Davies (Aprilia) 1'50.561; 12. Haslam (BMW) 1'50.730; 13. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'50.877; 14. Badovini (BMW) 1'51.042; 15. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'51.055; 16. Berger (Ducati) 1'51.070; 17. Hopkins (Suzuki) 1'51.512; 18. Canepa (Ducati) 1'51.590; 19. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'52.002; 20. Holden (BMW) 1'52.108; 21. Mercado (Kawasaki) 1'52.288; 22. Aoyama (Honda) 1'52.390; 23. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'52.953; 24. Turpin (Ducati) 1'54.994.
CHECA RESERVES PROVISIONAL SECOND POSITION FOR MONDAY’S RACES AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Tooele (USA), Saturday 26th May 2012: team Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano faced extremely mixed conditions today at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. After a wet free practice session, Checa and Giugliano closed in second and fifth place respectively in a dry first qualifying session.
In the first free practice session of the weekend, which took place this morning on a very wet track (air temperature 10˚C, track temperature 11˚C), Checa was not wasting any time and went straight out despite the conditions, making constant progress during the 45 minute session. The current champion made a fastest lap of 2’05.3, which put him in fifth position at the end of the session.
Giugliano used the session to familiarize himself with what is for him a totally new track. It didn’t take him long and by the end of the session he too had recorded a 2’06.0 which positioned him seventh at the session’s end.
Later in the day, the Althea men returned to the track for first qualifying. Conditions had improved with a track temperature of 20˚C. Checa projected himself almost immediately to the top of the timesheets, recording fast lap times throughout the session. The Spanish rider set a best time of 1’49.9, thanks to which he closed first qualifying in second position. His team-mate Davide continued to improve with the passing of each lap, as he gained confidence with the track. He recorded a fastest lap of 1’50.2, which positioned him fifth at the end of today’s action.
“In the morning we worked to refine the bike instead of pushing to make fast times on the wet. To be honest the wind was more annoying than the rain and so we hope that the wind levels drop a little tomorrow. I think we should be able to make two good races, we have a good reference from recent years of course and I think that we need to make the most of that, to grow and take a satisfying result. Tomorrow we’ll continue with the work but I can say that I’m feeling really good.”
“I don’t think we did badly, to be in the top five at a track I didn’t know is pretty good. I’ve shown that I have strong pace, only a few tenths from the leaders and I feel very good at this track. We’re very happy. We’re still working on the bike to get it just right and tomorrow we hope to be able to go faster again. With regard to the conditions, we seem to be pretty used to the wind this year but we’ll see how it is tomorrow. If we continue working this well, we should be able to reach solid results come race day.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Salt Lake City - Saturday
On a cold and windy Saturday at “Miller Motorsport Park” (USA), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport qualified for the provisional first row. The circuit in Tooele/Utah, host of the sixth round of the 2012 season, welcomed the teams with some heavy rain in the morning, cold temperatures and gusty winds. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished the closely fought first qualifying practice in third. Marco´s team-mate, Leon Haslam (GBR), qualified provisional 12th. The first twelve riders were separated by just 0.888 seconds. In Friday’s free practice session, Marco was second and Leon twelfth. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team rider Michel Fabrizio (ITA) finished the first qualifying practice in 13th with his team-mate Ayrton Badovini (ITA) in 14th. The Superpole will take place on Sunday and the race starts Monday.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:04.832 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying P. 1: 1:50.038 min (P3)
“It has been a pretty good start to the weekend, as my RR worked consistently well under different conditions. Finding a good line was really tough in today’s qualifying as the wind was really gusty and coming from different directions every single lap. In the morning it was raining very hard but I am happy with our performance today. After Assen it was important for me to understand how the bike works in the wet, and we now know why we were not fast in the wet there. Now we will focus on Superpole.”
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:07.191 min (P12)/Fastest lap Qualifying P. 1: 1:50.730 min (P12)
“I face similar issues to last year. We have issues with the engine brake, and we need to work on our electronics side to resolve this. Set-up wise I am riding the same as at Donington. Maybe it is the altitude here at Miller that makes the bike change the way it is working. I am confident that my crew and I will solve it. Thanks to all of them.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“The weather conditions made this a tough day for us. The Salt Lake weather gave mixed conditions today with heavy rain in the morning and with a dry track and strong and gusty winds in the afternoon. I am glad that the bike performed well in both dry and wet conditions. Marco’s initial feedback was positive, which is a positive sign as Marco struggled here last year. Leon is still struggling. He had similar issues in the wet and the dry when entering the corners. We are working on the engine brake and the gearing to try to improve his feeling.”
Rea positive after day one at Miller
Jonathan Rea was seventh fastest in today’s opening qualifying session for round six of the 2012 World Superbike championship at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA.
The Honda World Superbike Team rider lapped the 4.9km Miller circuit just outside Salt Lake City in Utah in a time of 1m50.358s, half a second off provisional pole sitter, Jakub Smrz.
Rea sat out the opening 20 minutes of this morning’s free practice as torrential rain and high winds battered the Miller complex. The rain abated for the afternoon qualifying session, but the winds continued to affect top speeds down the 1.2km start-finish straight.
The morning conditions were far from ideal for Rea’s team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama to learn the track. The Japanese rider has never visited Miller and spent much of the day acclimatising himself to the layout, ending qualifying in 22nd place.
Jonathan Rea – P7, 1m50.358s
I’m quite satisfied really. This morning was totally wet so we had no reference. Then we struggled a little bit in the beginning of this afternoon’s session but we didn’t change much on the bike because I thought it was me that needed to change. It’s quite a strange circuit because you have to flow round here and be smooth, and I was being a little bit too smooth. We went with the harder tyre to start with but it was clear from everyone else that the softer tyre was bringing a better time. When we put that in it brought the lap time, but the important thing is that we’ve got a clear direction to go with the bike. We’re struggling a bit to finish the corner and it’s not steering the best. There are a lot of changes of direction here and were having issues in those areas. But it’s good when all the comments add up to one clear direction. No doubt the pace will hot up tomorrow and hopefully we can go with it.
Hiroshi Aoyama – P22, 1m52.390s
The morning was wet and I went out straight away because I wanted to learn the track. But in the wet I could only learn the distance from corner to corner and the changes in elevation, so I only got an impression of the track. This afternoon was dry but a bit dusty and the grip was not so good. But at least I got a better feeling for the track and learned a bit. It’s an interesting track because there are many medium speed corners where you must carry speed and find the good line. At the moment I can’t finish the corner so well, so I need good speed and good lines to make a good lap. I hope it’s dry tomorrow so I can continue learning and set up the bike a little. We didn’t change much today, just made as many laps as possible.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
This morning was wet so Jonathan waited a bit to go out but, when he did go, he was immediately fastest. He only dropped down the order at the end when the track started to dry and he was already back in the box. Hiroshi needed all the laps he could get but the track was new to him and the conditions were not good. This afternoon was dry and Jonathan struggled a bit at first but he improved a lot to get seventh at the end. We’re quite positive about tomorrow because the problems we had last year we don’t have now. Our issues now are just more normal set-up work. Hiroshi just needs more laps and the balance of the bike is not quite right, so tomorrow we hope to find some more speed.
CAMIER CLOSE TO PROVISIONAL POLE
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 27.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier made steady and impressive progress during the first qualifying session for the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in America today.
Camier (P10, 1'50.520) finished only 0.678 seconds off the quickest time of the day at the end of his 16 completed laps around the 4,907m American circuit. He improved consistently throughout the 45-minute qualifying session as he constantly made steps with his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.
John Hopkins is making a welcome return to the team this weekend after missing the last event due to injury. He made a solid start today as he began a steep learning curve to understand the circuit on his first visit to Miller Park, as well as pushing to get race-fit for this weekend's races. Hopkins finished the first qualifying session in 17th place with a time of 1'51,512, but is convinced he will improve in tomorrow's second qualifying to secure his place in Superpole.
Today's first practice session was held in wet conditions, but fortunately the track had dried in time for this afternoon's Qualifying. The strong winds made it difficult for all riders and with the air temperatures only getting up to 15°C - and the track reaching 20°C - conditions were never very favourable. Provisional Pole was set by Jakub Smrz on a Ducati.
Camier and Hopkins will have a further qualifying session tomorrow morning (09.45hrs local time - 16.45hrs BST) to attempt to qualify for the 16-place Superpole shootout in the afternoon, which will see them push for the best grid positions for Monday's races.
"We had a few problems at the end of this morning's wet session and the start of qualifying this afternoon, but the boys fixed them and I was able to put in a pretty decent number of laps. Generally, I feel good about how the day went because I know that there's a lot more to come from me and the bike. On my fastest lap of the day, I made a mistake, so there's definitely room for improvement tomorrow. The wind was very strong this afternoon and it affected the bike a lot - especially going into turns one and two. If the wind drops or changes direction tomorrow, I'll have to completely change my braking markers, but whatever happens, I hope that it will stay dry. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, because we've got a new-spec Yoshimura engine and I'm sure that it will be a step up."
"It's a big shame that this morning was wet as learning a new track in those conditions is not the easiest thing to do. Then, as the afternoon was dry, I had to learn the track all over again! Considering all that, I was pretty close to a top-16 place and I'm pretty confident of being much higher up tomorrow because there's a lot of room for improvement. I think Miller is a good track and it suits my style. I'm still learning it, but there's a lot more to come for sure."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Obviously it would've been better for both our riders - particularly John - if the conditions had been dry this morning, but I am reasonably satisfied with things today. Leon had a good session this afternoon and we know he'll improve a lot tomorrow. John is learning the track but he's got the bike more-or-less dialled-in and he'll be raring to push harder tomorrow and get higher up the standings. If it had been dry in both sessions, I'm sure John would've finished in the top-16 and I am confident that's where we'll see him tomorrow."