Press releases from the World Superbike teams, organizer and track after qualifying on Sunday at Miller Motorsports Park:
Smrz scores his first pole of the season
Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Sunday 27 May 2012 - Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) scored his first Tissot-Superpole win of the season after setting a lap time of 1 minute 47.626 seconds in the last of three sessions. It was his second career pole position in this class, following the one he obtained back in 2009 at Misano. Despite a few spots of rain appearing on the riders’ visors during a dry Superpole contest Smrz rode with full pace right at the end to earn the perfect starting place for Monday’s two SBK races.
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) was second quickest and would have been on pole but for the late push put in by Smrz, a rider who has stamped his authority on the practice sessions since the start of the weekend. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted third best time, with the front row places competed by Checa’s team-mate Davide Giugliano, the Italian looking at ease on his first visit to Miller.
Jakub Smrz: “I am very happy to take the pole because in all the practices we have been doing a good job and my bike has been perfectly prepared. I had a small crash in free practice but we got the bike back in time for Superpole and I am happy that we should have good pace for the races tomorrow.”
Carlos Checa: “I am quite satisfied and I think we did a good job for the race and for the qualifying as well. Smrz was very fast because I expected to take pole position but at the end he went faster and congratulations to him. We got a start on the front row, I feel quite comfortable and I think the sun will arrive. We have had many wet races and sessions this year and this track is pretty nice in the dry, so hopefully tomorrow it will be good weather.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m surprised to be on the front row because we have been struggling here at Miller. Once again the guys have done a great job because we changed something for Superpole to try and make something happen and fair play to the Kawasaki team because on the first lap on a race tyre I knew we had a lot better package.”
Davide Giugliano: “It’s my first time here and when I arrived at Miller, I went around in the car and could immediately see it was a great circuit for me and I really like it. So far the bike has never been as good as it was today but as long as it goes like this, then things are looking good.”
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was fifth, Monza pole man Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert-Liberty Racing) sixth, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) seventh and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) eighth, despite not being able to set a lap in Superpole 3.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) qualified ninth after just failing to get into the final Superpole 3 session. His team-mate Leon Haslam failed to make it out of Superpole one and qualified on the fourth row, in an unlucky 13th place. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) missed out on Tissot-Superpole qualifying but his team-mate John Hopkins was 16th.
The Utah USA Round will have the honour of being the venue for the 600th race in World Superbike, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Rea on row two at Miller
Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two sixth round World Superbike championship races at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in today’s Superpole.
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland qualified comfortably this morning for Superpole and was buoyed by a positive second free practice session. However, in Superpole 3, the qualifying tyre put in Rea’s Honda CBR1000RR performed slightly differently than his first from Superpole 2.
Rea was satisfied with fifth place overall as Jakub Smrz took pole position, with Carlos Checa, Tom Sykes and Davide Giuliano completing the front row for tomorrow’s two 21-lap races around the 4.9km Miller circuit near Salt Lake City in Utah.
Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama continued his familiarisation with the Miller circuit today and continued to improve his lap times throughout the day.
However, Aoyama was unable to qualify for Superpole after this morning’s second qualifying session and the Japanese rider will start from the sixth row of the grid.
Jonathan Rea – P5, 1m48.563s
We got a lot of chatter from the last qualifying tyre, but the first one was really good so we ended up fifth. The bike is working really well around here and the difference between this year and last is massive. It’s clear the guys have got the CBR set up in good shape and hopefully we can carry on this form at a circuit where we expected to have to take a punt. But we’re in the right shape to race for the podium tomorrow and that’s a real motivation for me. We’ve done a lot of work on long distance on our race tyre, so we’re quite confident of its performance and I’m really looking forward to the races. Being on the second row doesn’t put the same pressure on as a front row start, so I hope we can put on a good show tomorrow.
Hiroshi Aoyama – P21, 1m50.963s
We have been able to improve in every session and with some more laps, I’m sure we could be higher. I’m not happy with the position, of course, but I hope we can continue to improve in the races tomorrow and to get into a better position then. We have only adjusted one or two things on the bike this weekend but we haven’t changed very much at all. There are some issues on corner exit so we will focus on this tonight and look for an improvement. Little by little the feeling has improved each session so we’ll keep going in this direction. It’s a shame that the first session yesterday was so wet because I think we could have made some more progress.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Hiroshi has improved quite a bit from yesterday, which is positive. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make it into Superpole but I’m sure he’ll have some good races and pass some people for some better results. He doesn’t really have any big issues other than that he needs to do some more laps. Jonathan has really been on it today, especially in free practice this afternoon when he showed pace that no-one else had. It’s very encouraging for the races. We ended up fifth after Superpole because he had some chatter with his last set of tyres but we’re quite confident that he can race for the podium tomorrow. We’re really happy with the way he’s riding at the moment. Compared to last year, the bike is like night and day, so it’s very positive.
ALTHEA’S CHECA QUALIFIES SECOND, GIUGLIANO FOURTH FOR TOMORROW’S SBK RACES AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Tooele (USA), Sunday 27th May 2012: in cool conditions today at the Miller Motorsports Park, Utah, both Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) were able to put in an impressive Superpole performance, qualifying in second and fourth position respectively for tomorrow’s races.
In the second qualifying session, which took place this morning on a damp track that dried out throughout the 45-minutes available (12˚C air temperature, 17˚C track), Checa was able to consolidate yesterday’s performance. The Spaniard’s best lap time was a 1’48.7, recorded in the final stages on a now dry track. Thanks to this time, more than a second quicker than his best time set yesterday, he concluded second qualifying in second position.
Giugliano on the other hand ran out of time to get in laps on the dried out track, thus closing this 45-minute session in eighteenth place with a best time of 1’50.5. Thanks to the combined results of the two sessions, Checa qualified second for this afternoon’s Superpole, Giugliano sixteenth.
In the final free practice session, current champion Carlos closed at the front of the pack, despite a small crash, recording a fastest time of 1’48.2 while team-mate Davide finished fifth, with a best time of 1’48.9.
Superpole 1: under cloudy skies and on race tyres, Checa made a first exit, managing to record a fast lap of 1’48.4 which put him straight on the top of the pile. Giugliano made a first exit on race rubber, and then returned to the track with a qualifier, recording a fast lap of 1’48.7 which assured him of eighth place.
Superpole 2: in the second phase of the Superpole, both Althea riders needed to make two exits, with a race tyre and then a qualifier. Carlos once again scored the fastest time, 1’47.9, while his team-mate Davide finished in sixth place. Both passed to the final Superpole phase without trouble.
Superpole 3: Checa only made one lap in this final phase, with a time of 1’47.8, enough to obtain second position on tomorrow’s race grid. Without a qualifier left for this final phase, Davide was nevertheless able to make a very fast lap on race rubber, just four tenths of a second slower than his team-mate, to ensure himself of a spot on the front row of the grid, in fourth place, alongside Checa. It’s a more than satisfying result for the young rider who hadn’t seen this track until two days ago.
“I’ve always felt at ease at this track, right from the first year that we raced here. I have a great feeling with this track and today we were able to do good work. I thought I’d taken pole to be honest but Jakub was faster than me today. We’re happy to be able to start from the front row of course and I heard that tomorrow should be sunnier so I hope that helps us to make two great races
“I immediately understood that this would be a track that I would get on well with, and I was right. With regard to today’s results I can say that it’s never gone so good and so I hope that we continue like this for tomorrow races. Superpole went really well and I was able to make a flying lap with a race tyre that’s not considered to be the most high performing of those available and so I’m pleased about that. I feel very well prepared for the races.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Salt Lake City - Superpole
The Superpole qualifying at Salt Lake City (USA) did not go according to plan for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) will start the sixth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship at “Miller Motorsports Park” from ninth place on the third row. The Italian had finished all previous sessions of the race weekend within the top three. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) will start from the fourth row on the grid, finishing the Superpole in 13th on his BMW S 1000 RR.
On his first outing in Superpole 1, Leon suffered a puncture to his rear tyre and had to return to the pits. With less than eight minutes to go, he put a qualifying tyre on his RR and started his next attempt but he was struggling with this tyre and finished 13th, missing Superpole 2 by only one position. Being seventh, Marco progressed to the second part of the qualifying but while trying to qualify for Superpole 3, he was first held up by another competitor and was then struggling in turn five. The Italian finished ninth, only 0.068 seconds behind the top eight who qualified for Superpole 3. BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet SBK Team’s riders Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini (both ITA) will start tomorrow’s races from tenth and 18th respectively.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:49.009 min (P3) / Fastest lap FP: 1:48.705 min (P3) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:48.422 min (P9)
“It was a very tough Superpole for us. In Superpole 1 we were struggling with the first tyre, and when I put the qualifier on in Superpole 2, I suffered from chatter. I went to the pits and put a race tyre on and was confident I would improve but on my first lap another rider was in my way in the middle of the corner, so I lost time. The following lap, I pushed more and was quite fast in the first sector. But every time we have more grip we struggle a bit with the engine brake so in turn 5, I could not stop the bike, went out and lost the chance to do another lap. Anyway, I am positive about the race. The start can be good for us, because the straight is very long and we can use our powerful engine and I hope to be able to pass as many riders as I can there. During the race you can overtake at some braking points as well.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:49.634 min (P9) / Fastest lap FP: 1:49.897 min (P16) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 1:49.552 min (P13)
“Everything that possibly can go wrong this weekend has. From the first session on we were struggling with the electronics package but this morning the bike felt good. We just used a harder race tyre and did a good race run. I was not far off the pace, which was good. In the free practice we were struggling again with the electronics, and then in Superpole 1 I had the puncture so it was one thing after another. We then went for the qualifying tyre, but had some issues again, and that was kind of the first flying lap I had all day. A crazy day.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“For sure, starting from the third and fourth row is not what we expected but we believe that the grid positions do not represent the potential of our two riders and of our RR. Leon had a tough time. He was unlucky. During this morning’s qualifying practice he felt better on the bike but then he had a lot of bad luck, including the puncture in Superpole 1, so he could not make it to the second Superpole. With a good start he can fight with the top guys tomorrow. Marco has been fast in any conditions in all the sessions so far, and he has a good pace with the race tyre so even starting from the third row, we believe that he too will be able to fight for the top positions. We were unlucky in the Superpole, but we are confident that we can perform well tomorrow.”
Smrz Maintains Dominance in Superpole
Hayes Tops AMA SuperBike Qualifying, Cardenas Wins Daytona SportBike
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 27, 2012) — After topping the time sheets in qualifying practice on Saturday, Jakub Smrz of the Czech Republic maintained his dominance today after finishing first in the Superpole qualifying sessions for the FIM Superbike World Championship, the featured race series in the BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil at Miller Motorsports Park. Riding the No. 96 Ducati 1098R for Liberty Racing Team Effenbert, Smrz was fastest in all three “knockout-style” Superpole sessions and took the pole for tomorrow’s two races with a time of 1:47.626 around the 3.048-mile, 15-turn Outer Course.
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 0.184sec in arrears at 1:47.810. England’s Tom Sykes took the third-fastest time, clocking in at 1:48.062 on the No. 66 Kawasaki ZX-10R. Rounding out the top five were Max Biaggi (No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 Factory) and Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano (No. 34 Ducati 1098R).
“I am very happy to take the pole,” said Smrz, “because in all the practices we have been doing a good job and my bike has been perfectly prepared. I had small crash in free practice, but we got the bike back in time for Superpole and I am happy that we should have good pace for the races tomorrow.”
Two-time and defending series champion Josh Hayes took pole position for Monday’s AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship race, lapping his No.1 Monster Energy Graves Yahama R1 at 1:49.729, which is the fastest lap ever posted by an AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike rider on MMP’s Outer Course. Blake Young took second with a time of 1:50.141 on his No. 79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. Completing the line-up in third and fourth were Team Hero teammates Geoff May (No. 99) and Danny Eslick (No. 69), both on EBR 1190RS machines. Roger Hayden, who was second-fastest yesterday, will start fifth on the grid with a time of 1:50:358 on his No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000.
“I was looking forward to today’s final qualifying, and hoping for a dry track and a little less wind than yesterday,” said Hayes. “We got our wish, and I was able to get down to business. My crew gave me a great bike, and the Dunlop tires were awesome. We’re ready for tomorrow’s race, and I can’t wait.”
Colombia’s Martin Cardenas’ return to the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship after spending last season on a Superbike continues to be impressive. The 2010 series champion won his fourth race of five thus far this season on his No. 36 Geico Suzuki GSX-R600, using a last-lap, last-corner pass on Jason DiSalvo’s No. 40 Team Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675 to take a thrilling victory by a razor-thin 0.101sec. Cameron Beaubier’s return to action on the No. 6 YES/Graves Yamaha YZF-6R following a knee injury resulted in the final step on today’s podium, with veterans Jake Zemke (No. 98 Ducati 848) and Bobby Fong (No. 50 Yamaha YZF-6R) filling out the top five.
“At first, I think all of us were pushing hard, but not in excess,” Cardenas said. “Then Jason got up front and he put his head down and gapped us a bit. I was planning to make my move at the (Turn 5) hairpin, but it didn’t work out and I thought the race was lost then, because he was very fast in the last sector. I got a very good drive and we went side-to-side and I braked as hard as I could and passed him.”
The stars of tomorrow shone brightly in today’s race for the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport series. Hayden Gillim, riding the No. 69 RoadRace Factory Yamaha YZF-R6, led all but two laps to win the 13-lap race, edging the No. 85 Riders Discount/Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600 of Jake Lewis by 1.062sec. Dustin Dominguez took third on his No. 68 Castrol/GE Capital Triumph Daytona 675, followed by Colombia’s Tomas Puerta (No. 12 Yamaha VZF-R6) and Stefano Mesa (No. 37 Yamaha YZF-R6).
In the final qualifying session for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series, Tyler O’Hara stayed atop the standings again today, besting yesterday’s time by 2.5sec with a pole lap of 2:07.725. Kyle Wyman will start Monday’s race second after clocking in at 2:08.551, and Michael Barnes was third-fastest at 2:08.999.
Tomorrow marks the final day of the BigM Weekend, 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 series.
“Quest for 200” Update: 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 second Superpole session for the FIM Superbike World Championship, Marco Melandri set the fastest speed at 196.05 mph on his No. 33 BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000RR on his way to the ninth-fastest qualifying time.
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 final day of the event are priced at $40 for General Admission and $50 for Grandstand Seating. Tickets for kids aged 6-12 are priced at $5 for General Admission and $10 for Grandstand Seating. 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).
FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI READY FOR MILLER WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 28.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki has completed all its preparations for this weekend's sixth round of the World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in America with John Hopkins and Leon Camier now ready to race.
Hopkins will start from the fourth row of the grid after qualifying in 16th place during today's Superpole. He produced an impressive lap right at the end of this morning's second qualifying session to give him the seventh fastest time and secure his place in this afternoon's qualifying shootout. Unfortunately he was eliminated in Superpole 1 as he struggled with some tyre issues and will need to make one of his characteristically-good starts during both of tomorrow's races to push him through the field on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.
Camier had a tough second qualifying session as he too had some grip issues from a new tyre and was unable to improve on his time from the first day, leaving him missing out on Superpole. He posted the 20th-quickest time which will give him a fifth row start on race-day. Camier is upbeat about his chances for the races on Monday following a very good showing in the final practice session that saw him post the sixth-quickest time. Camier will be aiming to get a good start to be amongst the front-runners early on and is confident that good finishes are obtainable
Today's Superpole was held in dry, but overcast conditions, with air temperatures only getting up to 15°C. Jakub Smrz on a Ducati set the best time to secure Pole Position for tomorrow's races, with Carlos Checa, Tom Sykes and Davide Giugliano making up the remainder of the front row.
Hopkins, Camier and the rest of the World Superbike field will be racing on Monday this week for the only time this season on the calendar - to coincide with the American celebrations for 'Memorial Day'. The first race is due to get underway at 12.00hrs local time (19.00hrs BST) with race two scheduled for 15.30 local time (22.30hrs BST) on Monday May 28th.
"On race rubber I'm pretty happy with the bike's set-up, but when we put the Qualifying tyre on in Superpole 1, the chatter was so bad I could hardly ride the bike. It was quite frustrating because I had qualified seventh quickest up until then and I was looking forward to getting a good grid position. The Qualifying tyre in Superpole 1 felt strange right from the start and I knew it was a problem from the first turn. It's a shame because I had got to know the circuit pretty well and was feeling good about it. The fourth-row of the grid is not a great place to be, but I am confident I can get into the mix if I get the best starts possible."
"It was wet at the start of this morning's timed qualifying and it was only towards the end that the track began to dry out. That's when everybody put on soft rubber and started going quickly and that's what I tried to do as well. We put in a soft tyre about five or six minutes before the end but I got held up by traffic on the first lap. As soon I sorted that out, I began to push hard, but the bike started going all over the place and was hard to control. There was not enough time left to put on another one and so I lost the chance of getting into Superpole, which is particularly annoying as I was certainly quick enough in the afternoon untimed session. Afterwards we found out that the tyre had a fault and that caused it to go out of round. Like John, I'm also going to have to make the best starts of the season."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"I cannot believe what happened today and I really don't know what to say, except that I am gutted. Tyre problems prevented both riders from being on the front two rows of the grid, which is where they should've been considering their performances in today's untimed and Qualifying sessions. I'm very pleased with John for putting in a strong performance and getting into Superpole, but his qualifier in Superpole 1 caused a lot of chattering and he said that there was no grip. It was a shame about Leon's tyre this morning because I'm sure he would've qualified for Superpole and done very well. From his and John's lap times in qualifying and the afternoon free practice, I am confident that we would've had both of them in the top eight for sure. Tomorrow's another day and if John and Leon can get good starts, I'm sure that they'll be capable of mixing it with the top guys and bringing home some good results."