Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams, as well as the series organizer, after the first day of practice at Donington:
Rea second at Donington as Haslam returns
Jonathan Rea set the second-fastest time in this afternoon’s truncated first qualifying session at Donington Park in the UK in preparation for Sunday’s two fifth-round World Superbike championship races.
The Pata Honda rider sat out this morning’s free practice session, which was held in atrociously cold, wet and windy conditions. However, Rea lapped the 4.023km Donington Park circuit in a time of 1m31.560s this afternoon to take provisional second place behind pace setter Tom Sykes, who crashed unhurt as rain fell at the end of the session.
His Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, passed a medical this morning just four weeks after breaking his left-leg at Assen in the Netherlands. The 29-year-old has been undergoing intensive therapy after an operation on 28 April to insert a pin in his tibia.
Haslam also sat out this morning’s free practice, and was able to complete just a few laps in the cold and windy conditions this afternoon before the rain returned, ending the session early.
Jonathan Rea – P2, 1m31.560s
It was OK today but it’s never ideal in those track conditions. We decided to sit out FP1 this morning because I don’t think there was much to be gained in those really, really wet conditions and the weather forecast says it’s going to improve. In qualifying we went out straight away because I wanted some kind of feeling and we have no data from this circuit for the new electronics package. We couldn’t make a lot of gains in the session but I think tonight we can fine tune the engine-braking with the data we got. That’s the area that the bike really revolves around and we need to sort that out before we alter the chassis. I felt comfortable on the bike but it was quite windy out there - to be honest, they weren’t the best conditions to ride in, so I guess it’s work in progress and I’m looking forward to capitalising on what we’ve learned. Tomorrow our bike should be more precise than race-ready, shall we say?
Leon Haslam – P14, 1m33.402s
I wasn’t going to go out if the conditions were as dodgy as they were this morning but if it rains tomorrow I needed to get a banker in. I managed to do that and get in the top 15 in case it rains, and I only got two laps in dodgy conditions. We made a few adjustments to the bike which helped the knee but in that session I had no pain killers, no strapping, nothing, so for me it can only get better from now. I’m going now to get it iced up and have some more treatment and make a better plan for tomorrow morning.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
It’s good to have Leon back on the bike, which he can ride! We are now in the process of making the bike a little bit more comfortable for him, but because of the weather we didn’t do a lot of laps. He finished 14th but we’ll continue tomorrow and see how it goes. Jonathan was fast straight out of the box in this afternoon’s dryer conditions. There’s not a lot more to say about today, which was dominated by the weather. Tomorrow it’s supposed to improve, so we’ll get a better idea in the morning.
BAD WEATHER HINDERS DONINGTON WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - May 24.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's first day of work for the European round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park was severely hindered today by some awful weather at the British circuit.
This morning's free practice was almost a wash-out with only a handful of riders heading out on track in the wet and windy conditions. Leon Camier did just two sighting laps to test some electronics before returning to the garage for the rest of the session. Conditions did improve slightly for the start of first qualifying this afternoon and both Camier and Jules Cluzel were able to head out on to the 4,023m circuit with slick tyres. Camier posted some impressive times - he even led the timesheets at one point - but intermittent rain and very strong winds, coupled with cold temperatures meant that the Englishman couldn't complete his planned work in the session and had to settle for sixth quickest.
Cluzel started the qualifying with a wet setting on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, but quickly came in to change the bike's set-up. He was in 11th place in the standings when a sharp and heavy rainstorm on one part of the track caught him out and he had a slow-speed crash. He re-mounted and returned to the pits uninjured, but due to the weather conditions he was unable to venture back out on circuit to try and improve his time or position.
With the inclement conditions, that saw track temperatures at only 4°C, it was never possible for any of the riders to produce many quick laps. Tom Sykes took today's honours, but with the forecast looking more promising for Saturday, the lap-times to carry forward into the afternoon's Superpole will most likely come from the morning's final qualifying session.
"It's been ok today, but the bike never really felt right out there. We tried a few things with the electronics to get the wheelying under control and there is still quite a lot we can work on to improve things. I don't think we're a million miles away from being where we want to be though, so we're not that worried. We'll make some changes tomorrow and hopefully the weather will be better and we can get some proper work done, because it was absolutely horrible out there today."
"Today we only did a few laps, but I am happy because I feel quite good with where we are. I thought we would be quite far away as I didn't feel too good on the bike; because we started with a wet setting and I then stopped to change it and we lost quite a bit of time. Then it started to rain and Sykes crashed in front of me when I was on an out-lap. I was riding really slowly and saw him crash and I don't know what happened because the bike just slipped from under me. I got back to the garage ok, but it had started raining a lot more and we couldn't go out again. I don't like this English weather today, so I hope it gets better for the rest of the weekend!"
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"It's been a long British winter this year and it feels like it's still continuing here at Donington Park. It's been bitterly cold, extremely windy and felt like it was about to snow at any minute! That said, the track was in a good enough condition this afternoon to get some reasonable data and understand - if not the detailed chassis settings for better conditions - at least how the engine is responding and what we need to do to improve corner exit in a couple of parts of the track. The weather forecast is much better for the weekend; let's hope it's accurate and we can get down to some proper competition as the event progresses."
Team Althea Racing – First SBK qualifying at Donington Park
Typically British weather greeted the Althea Racing team at the Donington Park circuit today. The team took part in the first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship, but rain and very low temperatures made things difficult for Davide Giugliano and his technicians. The morning’s free practice was conditioned by heavy rain and only a handful of riders took to the track. Giugliano was among them but he completed very few laps before suffering a small crash.
The rain stopped during the qualifying sessions which led to a half wet, half dry track. Davide Giugliano was among the first to go out on track and as it gradually dried out the Althea Racing rider lowered his times to record a best of 1’31”940. With less than ten minutes to go Giugliano chose to head back out to try to improve his time but the onset of rain meant that no-one was able to lower their times any further. Davide closed this first qualifying session with a solid fifth fastest time.
Davide Giugliano : “This morning we did practically nothing due to heavy rain. In the afternoon the track was drying and so we were able to start working on my bike. I’m satisfied because despite not pushing very hard I was able to make some fast laps and finished fifth. A position that, if it were to rain tomorrow, would easily put me through to the Superpole. I like this track and the bike’s working well, so all is good for now. We’ll see what conditions are like tomorrow and go from there.”
Donington – First Superbike free practice: 1) Davies (BMW) - 2) Canepa (Ducati) - 3) Neukirchner (Ducati) – 4) Iannuzzo (BMW) – 5) Checa (Ducati)
First Superbike qualifying session: 1) Sykes (Kawasaki) – 2) Rea (Honda) – 3) Melanri (BMW) – 4) Guintoli (Aprilia) – 5) Giugliano (Aprilia) – 6) Camier (Suzuki)
Team SBK Ducati Alstare faces difficult conditions at a wet and windy Donington
Donington Park (UK), Friday 24 May 2013: In cold, wet and windy conditions, the Ducati Alstare trio, Carlos Checa, Ayrton Badovini and wildcard Niccolò Canepa, took part in today’s first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship, taking place this weekend at Donington Park.
The weather, as is often the case at the English track, conditioned proceedings in the opening free practice session, and faced with a track temperature of just 2˚C, each of the three riders made only a brief exit on track, simply to assess conditions and test settings in the wet should conditions prove similar for the qualifying sessions.
Conditions were, as expected, much the same for the afternoon’s qualifying session. The times of all riders began to drop in the second half of the session, once the track had started to dry, but after only a few minutes the rain was back, meaning that very few riders had chance to lap with slick tyres on a dry track. At the end of today’s qualifying Canepa was lying twelfth, Checa fifteenth and Badovini sixteenth.
Carlos Checa: “The important thing is that my shoulder hasn’t bothered me today – I know we’ve only completed a few laps at relatively low speeds but that fact it hasn’t been hurting gives me confidence. I’m not 100% of course but today went well considering that this injury has conditioned recent races. Tomorrow, if it’s dry, our work will start again because today we were only really able to make a few laps with the intermediate tyre, just enough to test settings and for me to get back into a rhythm with my bike.”
Ayrton Badovini: “We’ve got very little done today unfortunately – the conditions didn’t allow us to work as we’d hoped to but then we also had a small technical problem. Tomorrow conditions should be dry and so we hope to be able to get a lot done without interruptions.”
Niccolò Canepa: ‘Conditions were extremely difficult today, it was so windy and the track was soaking wet so this morning we were unable to get anything useful done. In the afternoon it was raining at first, then it stopped but when I went out with a slick tyre it came on to rain again almost immediately and I didn’t have chance to complete any dry laps. Today really only allowed us to collate some useful data and now we’re ready to work tomorrow in (hopefully) dry conditions.”
A DAY ON STANDBY AT DONINGTON DUE TO POOR WEATHER CONDITIONS.
GUINTOLI, FOURTH IN THE QUALIFIERS, AND LAVERTY, NINTH, ARE ANXIOUS FOR TOMORROW TO GET THEIR WEEKEND STARTED.
Donington Park, 24 May 2013 – The first day of Superbike practice sessions at Donington only fuel the eternal observations concerning English weather. The rain and cold in the morning convinced most of the riders to skip free practice, especially since the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday call for a significant improvement which would basically negate any benefit from taking laps on a wet track.
Sylvain Guintoli, ranking leader, and Eugene Laverty chose not to take any risks, staying in the garage for the duration of the first session. A glimmer of rain free weather, on the other hand, convinced them to tackle the difficult qualifiers in the afternoon to begin the usual work of collecting information on which to base their strategies tomorrow. The session, held on an almost completely dry track, was marked by a few light rain showers that kept the riders from putting any noteworthy times on the boards. The Aprilia Racing Team riders finished in fourth (Guintoli) and ninth (Laverty) place, without taking any senseless risks.
Tomorrow's sessions, which precede Superpole, will in any case be quite important to make up for the time lost today and to be sure they turn up on the starting grid with weapons primed and ready for the races on Sunday.
Sylvain Guintoli: “The conditions today were really difficult, with rain and cold. I decided to stay in the garage for free practice like many of the other riders. On the other hand, we were able to lap in the afternoon as the track improved without taking any risks, if only to make sure everything is OK for tomorrow. With my attempt at a wheelie at the end of the session I discovered that the electronics work great! Our weekend will begin tomorrow. I'm anxious to get to work because I like this track and I count on doing well on Sunday”.
Eugene Laverty: “Very British weather, no doubt about it. In the second session the track wasn't in the best conditions, with a few rain showers and some spots that were still wet, so we didn't push to the limit. The information we were able to gather was still useful, especially in terms of electronics settings, which will be helpful to set up our work tomorrow on the RSV4. Let's hope the forecast is right and we can lap on a dry track”.
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team - WSBK - Donington - Qualifying Practice 1
Today's track action at British "Donington Park Circuit" was limited due to extremely difficult weather conditions. The fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship started with cold rainy weather as well as stormy winds which caused air and track temperatures of just a few degrees Celsius. Consequently, BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team's factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR) opted - like most of the riders - to just do as many laps as necessary and to spend the rest of the day in the garage. In this morning's wet and cold free practice, Chaz was one of only five riders who completed a timed lap, setting the fastest time while Marco stayed in the pits. For this afternoon's first qualifying practice, the weather improved slightly and the track dried. For 30 minutes, the action unfolded, before it started to rain again. Marco qualified for the provisional first row, finishing third on his BMW S 1000 RR. Chaz set the eighth fastest time.
Fastest lap Free Practice: DNS /Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:31.571 min (P3)
“I am quite happy with today, even if the weather conditions were really bad with the strong wind and many wet patches on the track, some of which you could hardly see in advance. I was quite fast without pushing hard. I hope that the weather will be better over the next few days as today the conditions were really at the limit. With such a strong wind it is very difficult to find the right point to start braking, this can vary by some metres. Overall I am confident that in the race we will be within the top group.”
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:53.943 min (P1)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:32.103 min (P8)
“Today the aim was just to ride around and to spend most of the time assessing the conditions. We did not do too many laps today, neither this morning when it was wet nor this afternoon when it was damp to dry. We just tried to get a basic feeling for what to expect from the bike for tomorrow. It seems not too bad; there are just a few things we need to work on regarding the power delivery. Now I am looking forward to ride in some stable and hopefully dry conditions in the next days. According to the forecast it will be dry tomorrow and on Sunday so that should give us a better chance to do some decent work on the bike tomorrow.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Nearly the whole day was wasted as apart from the rain, the temperatures were on the limit. All riders were affected by the low temperatures. They could not make use of the two sessions today as it was too risky. Only in the afternoon, in a short time when it stopped raining and the track started to dry, Marco and Chaz could go out to check if the bike worked properly. We hope that the weather conditions will be better over the next few days, as the forecast predicts. Or we hope that at least the temperatures will rise a little bit. Tomorrow we will continue the work which we could only start with today.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“As we expected, we experienced very difficult weather conditions today. In the morning, the big issue was not the water but the low temperature. Chaz took the opportunity to shake down the bike after Monza, but it was difficult for him to get feedback from the tyres and the track. In the afternoon, the weather was still far from being perfect, but both riders made two runs to start working on a dry set up. As the track time was limited they just got the first impressions on the bike. Chaz started to work on the chassis and the electronics; he is looking for improvements regarding the power delivery. Marco had a good feeling with the bike and wants to improve the rear end of the bike. The lap times are far from where they should be. Now we hope for better weather conditions tomorrow to evaluate our potential on this track.”
Opening Day 5th For Kennedy At Donington
Dubliner Jack Kennedy made the most of his previous Donington Park experience in today’s first qualifying session for round 5 of the World Supersport championship by taking provisional 5th on the grid.
The Rivamoto Honda rider got his weekend off to a perfect start by winning the pre-race media event yesterday in front of the local media and fans who braved the wet and windy conditions to see Jack complete the organisers very own version of ‘It’s a knockout’.
Today’s two sessions were also held in difficult conditions, with rain showers hitting the Derbyshire circuit throughout the day.
After completing only a handful of laps in the morning, Jack left it quite late in proceedings to take to the track in official qualifying and as expected, improved his times with every lap as conditions improved.
With the blustery conditions making it difficult for everyone, Jack once again timed his final assault to perfection climbing to 5th with his final effort.
The forecast is looking brighter for tomorrow’s final session and Rivamoto are confident of an equally solid result.
Jack Kennedy – Provisional 5th on the grid: “The conditions were very tricky but I am happy with how the session went and with the direction we went with in terms of setup. 5th is good but it means nothing if it’s dry tomorrow, but we have a good feeling with the Rivamoto Honda and it’s a good time if it is wet tomorrow.”
Jeremy McWilliams – Team Manager: “Jack put in a good banker with his final lap. He is happy with the set up and it’s good to have both riders fast enough to qualify well at this stage. The only reason we went out was to safeguard a decent starting position should the weather not improve tomorrow.”
Final qualifying is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 1605 local time.
Top 10 For Baldolini At Donington on Suzuki Debut
Alex Baldolini returned to the top ten with a determined ride to tenth position in the opening qualifying session of the World Supersport championship at Donington Park earlier today.
The former podium finisher (Misano last year) is already feeling ‘at home’ having returned to the Suriano Team who have switched to Suzuki machinery after campaigning Triumphs last year.
Conditions at Donington were typically British with gusty winds and rain showers hitting the Leicestershire circuit throughout the day.
Despite the tricky conditions, Alex rode brilliantly to secure 10th position on the provisional grid.
The weather tomorrow should be better and Alex is eager to replicate today’s result in the dry.
Alex Baldolini: “The conditions today weren’t the best for trying a new bike but we are improving lap by lap. The engine is a lot stronger than when I tested it last year, it’s smoother and has more power. It will be interesting to see how we go in the dry, I made a small mistake today at the hairpin on my last lap but overall I am satisfied.”
Solid Start At Donington For Schacht
Denmark’s Alex Schacht had a solid start at Donington Park earlier today, powering his Racing Team Toth Honda to 25th on the provisional World Supersport grid in difficult conditions.
Alex, who has never ridden at the English circuit before improved throughout both of today’s sessions and is confident of further improvement tomorrow.
The mixed conditions didn’t help the former Superstock 600cc front runner who was hoping for a dry track.
Final qualifying is scheduled to take place at 1605 local time tomorrow and is expected to be less windy as well as dry.
Alex Schacht – “The first practice and then qualifying were difficult as I haven’t been here before and the weather was awful. At the start of qualifying I had a good pace but it was hard to improve, especially with the wind so strong. Tomorrow should be dry and I am looking forward to it.”
19th For Nemeth In Donington First Qualifying
Hungarian Balazs Nemeth had an encouraging start to the 5th round of the World Supersport championship at Donington Park, UK today.
In mixed blustery conditions, the Complus SMS Honda rider completed just 3 exploratory in this morning’s free practice sessions as the rain began to fall as the riders took to the track.
The weather for qualifying was equally grim, but Balazs, who is typically fast in the damp, posted some impressive early laps at the Derbyshire circuit.
Having been placed well inside the top ten for most of the session, the likeable rider from Budapest perhaps left it a little too long to return to the track as it began to dry, eventually qualifying a provisional 19th for Sunday’s race.
Tomorrow’s final qualifying session will start at 1605 in hopefully much warmer conditions meaning it’s back to the beginning for everyone in terms of set-up.
Balazs Nemeth – Complus SMS Honda: “I only completed 3 laps this morning because the rain was getting worse and we didn’t want to risk a crash. This afternoon I had good speed in the beginning but in the end the track was drying quite fast. I think I maybe waited too long in the box before trying again to make a better lap so in the end I was 19th. It’s not so bad though as it is supposed to be dry and warmer tomorrow so everyone is starting from the beginning again.”
Difficult Day At Donington For Davies
Aussie hotshot Matt Davies had a difficult opening day at Donington Park where he has so far failed to qualify for the 5th round of the World Supersport championship.
Coming off the back of his best race of the season so far at Monza, Matt is confident of big improvements tomorrow when a complete reverse of today’s wet and windy conditions are expected.
This morning’s free practice session saw Davies complete a handful of laps as the rain began to fall. This afternoon’s first qualifying session was equally tricky with blustery winds as well as further rain greeting the riders as they went out.
Despite his performance, Matt is optimistic of turning things around in final qualifying which is scheduled to take place at 1605 local time tomorrow.
Matt Davies – PTR HONDA: “It was a tough day. I was lacking a bit in confidence but I know that tomorrow we will do better. The PTR Honda was great today, and I will do my best to get a good result in qualifying.”
Marconi qualifies 12th in tricky conditions
PTR HONDA'S Luca Marconi is 12th on the provisional grid for Sunday's fifth round of the World Supersport Championship at Donington Park in the UK, after battling cold, wet and drying track conditions.
David Linortner showed promising form to qualify provisional 16th as his confidence continues to grow after his first points score of the season in Monza. Sheridan Morais in 21st, was not on a fast lap at the end of the session when track conditions were at their best. He is aware the forecast for tomorrow is much better and confident of a big improvement.
Nacho Calero and Matt Davies are 28th and 30th, it was the first time for both here on a Supersport machine and they have never ridden in such cold but wet conditions. Both will use this experience to be more competitive in similar conditions next time. There are further practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow before the race takes place on Sunday, May 26th at 1330GMT.
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Luca in 12th is not far off his best ever qualifying position and that is positive. David in 16th is also good as that is one of this best qualifying performance of the season to date and shows he is now riding with confidence after scoring points at the last round.
"Sheridan has qualified safely in 21st after not being on a fast lap at the end when track conditions weren't their best. He has proved he has the same pace as the front group but needs a better qualifying if he is to trouble the podium as we know he can.
"Nacho and Matt having never ridden in such cold and wet conditions struggled but will take this learning experience for the future. We expect both to be much more competitive tomorrow in better conditions"
Donington Park: Cold day, MV F3 675 warming up
Donington Park, 24th May 2013
Heaps of rain, circuit on the limit and low temperatures in Donington Park, haven’t kept off the MV F3 675 of the ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse Team to be aggressive and quick from the morning session.
Roberto Rolfo, was already on the top with 4th position in free practice just doing 5 laps. The rider from Torino has been competitive at the cold track getting an excellent position before the torrential rain started.
Top 10 position as well for Christian Iddon; ninth at the end of the session with only 4 laps done before the rain. The English, rookie on the Supersport World Championship, has been very fast at the home circuit that has seen him already on the podium last year on a 3 cylinder.
The afternoon qualifying has been more battled thanks to a better weather but difficult for the strong winds. The British has managed to get between the best, finishing in sixth position; good result for tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Roberto Rolfo, very fast and between the top 5 from the start of the session, with the circuit drying up has preferred to end the 45 minutes with the wet tyres and set up, finishing in 15th position, positive result for tomorrow’s final qualifying.
The ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse team has searching the best time and the set up of the bike; both with positive results for tomorrow.
Christian Iddon (6th)
The feeling and the set up of the bike are really good. The rain or cold temperatures don’t bother us but yes the strong wind. I was getting different feedback from the bike at the same point of the track on different laps.
Nevertheless I am quite satisfied of today. The important thing for me is to improve step by step.
Roberto Rolfo (15th)
I am very satisfied of the bike, feeling and results from today. During qualifying, when the rain stopped, I decided not to go into the box and finish the session with the wet tyres and set up.
I have lost some positions but I am not worried. It has been a very positive day.
Sykes pushes over the limit in Day 1 at Donington Park
Donington Park (Great Britain), Friday 25 May 2013 - Following the morning's wet Free Practice, Qualifying 1 for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park saw improving conditions, that led to a nearly full dry situation towards the end of the session. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) set a 1'30.278 lap-time to finish on top, with a big margin (1.282 seconds) over 2nd place Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). Sykes has made the difference at Donington Park today, as the remaining 9 to complete the top-10 finished within a second of each other.
His encouraging start of the weekend was hampered by a late crash at Turn 4 that damaged his Ninja ZX-10R, but the works Kawasaki rider walked away from the gravel uninjured. A Few seconds before Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) lost control of his GSX-R1000 at the exact same spot.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) kept his momentum up after Monza's success by finishing 3rd , followed by Aprilia duo of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing), Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) placed Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). Melandri's team mate Chaz Davies was 8th ahead of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty.
Local hero Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) fought against the pain to complete an outstanding total of 8 laps (14th place). The rider from Derby was declared fit to ride but his conditions will be reviewed again before tomorrow's Qualifying 2. Haslam fractured his left leg at Assen and despite still recovering from the injury, he is doing his very best to tackle the whole round.
Leon Haslam: “I wasn’t going to go out if the conditions were as dodgy as they were this morning but if it rains tomorrow I needed to get a banker in. I managed to do that and get in the top 15 in case it rains, and I only got two laps in dodgy conditions. We made a few adjustments to the bike which helped the knee but in that session I had no pain killers, no strapping, nothing, so for me it can only get better from now. I’m going now to get it iced up and have some more treatment and make a better plan for tomorrow morning.”
Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'30.278 average 160.424 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'31.560; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1'31.571; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'31.792; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'31.940; 6. Camier (Suzuki) 1'31.978; 7. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'32.094; 8. Davies (BMW) 1'32.103; 9. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'32.242; 10. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'32.261; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'32.677; 12. Canepa (Ducati) 1'33.174; 13. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1'33.205; 14. Haslam (Honda) 1'33.402; 15. Checa (Ducati) 1'33.530; 16. Badovini (Ducati) 1'34.198; 17. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'34.405; 18. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'38.050; NC. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1'37.334.
Despite wet track conditions, low temperatures and strong winds blowing, World Supersport riders were on track this afternoon for the first qualifying session of Round 5 at Donington Park. While some of the front-runners in the standings kept in the respective garages for most of the session, the rest of the field put up a good challenge as the tarmac conditions improved slightly during the 45 minutes.
Current Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) waited until the very last minutes to enter the track and top the timesheets - courtesy of a 1'43.642 lap-time - ahead of reigning and defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who's seeking retribution after last round's DNF. Lowes mastered perfectly the Leicester track in difficult conditions, putting a 1.116 seconds gap between himself and the 3-time World Champion in the process.
Although being declared fit to ride, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) decided to stay out of trouble and didn't get on track. South African Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team Suzuki), joined this weekend by new team mate Alex Baldolini, finished 3rd followed by 2007 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda) and the winners of yesterday's hilarious Pre-event Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'43.642 average 139.739 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'44.758; 3. Scholtz (Suzuki) 1'45.294; 4. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'45.309; 5. Kennedy (Honda) 1'45.718; 6. Iddon (MV Agusta) 1'45.770; 7. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1'45.873; 8. De Rosa (Honda) 1'46.133; 9. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1'46.141; 10. Baldolini (Suzuki) 1'46.228; etc.