Press releases from the series organizer and some of the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Assen:
Rea puts Pata Honda ‘in the ball park' at Assen
Jonathan Rea sits in a provisional front row position after today’s opening free practice sessions for the two third round races of the 2014 World Superbike championship at Assen in the Netherlands on Sunday.
The Pata Honda rider lapped the 4.542km Dutch circuit in a time of 1m35.880s in warm sunshine this afternoon after topping this morning’s opening free practice, which was held in cool, overcast conditions after overnight rain.
Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate Leon Haslam was tenth fastest today, as Italian rider Davide Giugliano took provisional pole position. The 30-year-old British rider is confident of improvement in tomorrow’s practice sessions ahead of the afternoon’s Superpole to determine final grid positions for Sunday’s two 21-lap races
Jonathan Rea - P2, 1m35.880s
It’s been a dry, sunny afternoon at Assen, which we needed because the forecast is saying the weather is going to be changeable over the weekend, so it’s good to get some dry laps under our belts. The CBR has moved on a lot since last season and we arrived here with a set-up from Aragon; but I suffered a bit from a lack of front-end feeling and the bike felt quite foreign. We’ll go back to more of a front set-up from last year’s race which I was quite comfortable with. On the engine brake side we still need to make some progress because in the later stages of my runs I was getting pushed into the corners a bit. We’ll check the data tonight to see if that’s coming from the electronics or the chassis but for day one I think we can be quite satisfied. We’re on the pace but we can st ill improve the bike. I hope the weather conditions stay stable for the weekend, as much for the fans as for us. We’re expecting a lot of home support for the Pata Honda team so we’ll aim for the front row tomorrow, while working on a good race set-up.
Leon Haslam - P10, 1m36.709s
We started with quite a different engine brake strategy this morning because it was too inconsistent at Aragon. It took quite a bit of setting up and we’re still getting used to it a bit. It’s not working too bad but when we put a new tyre in it didn't feel quite right. I’m not sure if that was a bad tyre or we just couldn’t maximise what we had, so we’ve still got a few things to sort out. We’ve made a few changes to the chassis today, but it’s interfering with what we’re trying to get from the electronics, so there’s more to do there tomorrow, as well. There’s still a way to go but we’re not a million miles away and we’re making progress.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
It’s been quite a successful day for Jonathan – first this morning and second this afternoon. We’ve got some work to do and some things to sort out, but it’s looking OK for now. Leon’s start was quite difficult this morning, but we made some progress with him this afternoon. We’re still not there but I’m confident that tomorrow we can find some things so he can improve. Hopefully the weather will stay dry and we’ll see what comes.
Giugliano blitzes the field on opening day
Assen (the Netherlands), Friday 25 April 2014 - With the earlier overcast conditions burned away, the sun was shining for today’s second free practice at Assen ahead of the 3rd round races on Sunday.
With almost everyone improving courtesy of the warmer temperatures it was Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) who goes into tomorrow with the accolade of holding the overnight fastest time despite a late surge from reigning Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), and fellow Brits Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
Giugliano would eventually end the day in the gravel after losing the front into the final chicane in the last minute of the session. Unhurt, he will be ready to fight for the Tissot-Superpole tomorrow.
Behind Giugliano, Rea was classified 2nd ahead of Sykes and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who also fell in the final few minutes.
Davies was eventually classified 5th ahead of Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the Aprilia Racing Team pairing of Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri who put in several long runs during the afternoon session. Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) grabbed the final spot in the top ten.
Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) was once again the fastest rider within the EVO category ahead of Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Bimota Alstare) who continues to impress this weekend on only his second ride for the returning Italian manufacturer.
If it rains, as expected tomorrow, the final place in the Tissot-Superpole will be Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki), although all riders will be hoping for a repeat of today’s weather to allow them a fighting chance to make it through.
Times: 1. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'35.396 average 171.403 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'35.880; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'36.146; 4. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'36.219; 5. Davies (Ducati) 1'36.417; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'36.449; 7. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'36.467; 8. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'36.670; 9. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'36.697; 10. Haslam (Honda) 1'36.709; 11. Canepa (Ducati) 1'37.042; 12. Camier (BMW) 1'37.139; 13. Elias (Aprilia) 1'37.240; 14. Badovini (Bimota) 1'37.436; 15. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'37.638; 16. Iddon (Bimota) 1'37.876; 17. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'38.113; 18. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'38.122; 19. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'38.128;20. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'38.264; 21. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'38.296; 22. Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 1'38.550; 23. Bos (Honda) 1'39.367; 24. Andreozzi(Kawasaki) 1'39.594; 25. Toth (BMW) 1'40.189; 26. Yates (EBR) 1'41.209; NC. May (EBR) 1'42.180; NC. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'42.863.
Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike Team close day one at Assen in first position!
Assen (The Netherlands), Friday 25 April 2014 – The third round of the Superbike World Championship got underway today at the Assen TT Circuit, with the Ducati Superbike Team and rider Davide Giugliano making the best possible start to proceedings. The Italian rider closed day one of action in first place overall, his teammate Chaz Davies concluded fifth.
The first session of timed practice took place this morning in dry conditions albeit under cloudy skies (air temperature 16°C, track 18°C). Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano worked methodically throughout the session, gradually improving on their lap times especially in the final stages. Giugliano concluded the session third, with a fastest lap of 1’36.8, while Davies recorded a best of 1’37.6, closing in eleventh position.
In the afternoon session, the times of almost all of the Superbike riders dropped on the warmer track (33°C). Already in his first exit, Giugliano was able to improve by three tenths on his best time recorded during the morning’s session, but his fastest lap came in the final minutes when he put in an extremely impressive 1’35.3 which projected him to the top of the standings, half a second ahead of second-placed rider Rea. Davide suffered a small crash in the final seconds, as he headed into the final chicane, but was fortunately unhurt. Chaz also continued to improve during the afternoon, taking a significant step forward in the final stages and lowering his best time set in the morning by over a second. The British rider closed in overall fifth position thanks to a fastest lap of 1’36.4.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 1st (1’35.396)
“The warmer track temperature this afternoon helped us to pick up the pace but it was mainly down to the work we put in throughout the day. We’ve worked a lot on my bike, carrying out a general check this morning before testing a few electronic updates that Ducati has provided us with this weekend. The bike is working really well and I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve made today, except for the small crash that is – I was pushing too hard going into the chicane but luckily I didn’t hurt myself.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 5th (1’36.417)
“Today hasn’t been too bad. We improved the bike quite a lot this afternoon but we still have a lot to do tomorrow. The bike seems to be lacking stability through the fast sections and so we need to work on that, continuing to make the kind of progress we made today again tomorrow. The chances are it’ll rain at some point tomorrow so we may well have to start over and work out which direction to take with a wet set-up.”
Ernesto Marinelli – Ducati Superbike Project Director
“We’ve made a positive start to the weekend. Davide was immediately at ease today, demonstrating his fast pace this afternoon which is very encouraging. Chaz has improved a lot this afternoon too, though he is still having a few difficulties through the bumpy sections which seem to destabilize the bike more than they should. There’s still more to do tomorrow and we need to see what the weather will bring – forecasts indicate that we may have to swap over to a wet set-up tomorrow… It’s nevertheless very nice to be back at the front and this spurs us on for the rest of the weekend.”
Van der Mark second fastest on opening day at Assen
Dutch rider Michael van der Mark set the second fastest time in today’s practice sessions at Assen in the Netherlands in preparation for Sunday’s third round World Supersport race on Sunday.
Even though the Pata Honda rider was unable to improve his lap time in this afternoon’s warmer and drier conditions, the 21-year-old put his Honda CBR600RR in a provisional front row place just eight hundredths of a second behind Frenchman Florian Marino.
Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti ended the day 12th fastest but the Italian is positive about adjusting his braking style for tomorrow’s qualifying to suit the characteristics of the 4.542km Dutch circuit.
Michael van der Mark - P2, 1m38.989s
I had a good feeling today which started immediately when I got on the bike this morning. The set-up felt really good for the first free practice and then we put in a new tyre 10 minutes before the end of the session. I made a really nice lap time that was faster than my qualifying time last year, so that was pretty good! We changed some things on the bike for the afternoon because we had one or two little problems. Although I didn’t really make a fast lap time, we found some really good race pace and consistent lap times, which were coming quite easily. This is good for the race but I think for qualifying we just need to find a bit extra on the setting to push for one really fast lap.
Lorenzo Zanetti - P12, 1m40.057s
The weekend started not too bad this morning. Everything felt quite OK this morning, and this afternoon I got quickly to the same lap time as this morning. I don’t know why but, when I wanted to push and improve the time, it didn’t come. It started to get difficult to ride because normally I like to ride with a lot of brake pressure, but maybe it doesn’t suit this track. Maybe we can change something on the bike for the track and also find something in me so that we have a solution for tomorrow.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Michael was fast in the first session, which came surprisingly easy, without too much adjustment on the bike. We worked on race pace this afternoon but he was unable to improve on his morning time. It was only by a tenth or so, and it’s been a pretty good start for him. The morning was OK for Lorenzo and this afternoon we continued with the used tyre. He struggled to get a rhythm with it and also, when we put in a fresh tyre at the end, he wasn’t able to improve. We have some work to do there and hope for dry weather tomorrow in order to help him move forward.
Sunshine for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki as Lowes holds top four on Assen day one
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer Alex Lowes leaves Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ with the fourth fastest time at the end of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship’s first day in the Netherlands.
Lowes ran a consistent pace at the Dutch circuit throughout both Friday sessions on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, briefly holding the top spot with less than 10 minutes to go in the afternoon practice, with a time of 1’36.219. The Englishman’s time was enough for fourth fastest in the combined standings having circulated well within the top eight for the duration of the day. A small crash in the last two minutes of the second session saw Lowes unscathed and positive ahead of the remainder of the weekend.
Eugene Laverty finished the day with a fastest lap of 1’36.467, holding seventh in the tightly contested times. Confident with the changes made to the Suzuki GSX-R1000 since Aragon two weeks ago, Laverty is looking forward to tomorrow’s Superpole qualifying and the subsequent races on Sunday.
An unexpectedly warm and sunny Assen TT Circuit saw temperatures reach 24°C for the afternoon’s second practice session, after an overcast morning had threatened to retain its cool and blustery conditions. Ducati’s Davide Giugliano posted the fastest time of the day of 1’35.396.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is confident the pace shown across the two practice sessions can be improved upon for tomorrow’s final timed free practice at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) ahead of Superpole qualifying at 15:00hrs local time (14:00BST) and will allow them to challenge with the front runners on race-day.
“I’m happy enough, we did some longer runs and then one shorter today on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki which felt pretty good, but there is plenty to improve on. It’s nice to be at a track that I know, and because of that I can relax a bit and enjoy it a lot more. It’s been a mega first day and we’re not too far away. I’m looking forward to making a couple of changes and also improving myself to adjust where this bike is better on the track compared to what I’ve been used to in the past.”
“The first practice we were really strong, not quite as strong in the warmer afternoon practice so we still need to improve. I’m struggling with corner-entry grip but the Suzuki GSX-R has definitely improved a big step compared with Aragon, I’m much happier with the character and I think we can be really strong here and be in contention for the podium.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The first day here at Assen has been very positive, not least that the expected rain stayed away and it was an enjoyable day to be at this fantastic racetrack. The team’s done a very good job to make quite a fundamental change to the GSX-R since Aragon - back at the workshop in the UK - which has given both the riders better front feeling and more immediate confidence in the bike, and that’s reflected in the consistency and lap times. Wet or dry we are looking forward to being competitive over the rest of the weekend. Obviously we are very glad that Alex is 100% ok after his crash at the end of the second session and we live to fight another day tomorrow.”
A WORKING FRIDAY FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM AT ASSEN.
Assen, 25 April 2014 - First practice sessions at Assen, third round of the 2914 World Superbike season. Favoured by the good weather conditions, the factory derivative riders engaged in a close battle on the track that is confirmed by the rather similar times all the top riders in the class put on the boards.
For Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli it was a day marked by hard work on tyre longevity and finding the best setup solutions. The areas they need to focus on are primarily going into turns and consistency, essential characteristics on a flowing track like the Dutch one.
Eighth in the combined standings of the two sessions today, Sylvain Guintoli is focused first and foremost on working in view of the races, concentrating on tyre wear and understanding how they perform as conditions vary. The characteristics of the Dutch track, basically divided into two completely different sections, require fine tuning of both the electronics package and the chassis setup.
Sylvain Guintoli: "We did quite a bit of work today. Assen is not an easy track to interpret. You have to get a clear understanding of where you need to control power and where you can push it to the limit. This is a process that takes time in order to fully understand how the tyres work and to act accordingly. It looks like the conditions for the first session tomorrow will be similar to those for Race 1. We'll have to take advantage of that so we can be ready on Sunday".
The expected variable weather doesn't particularly worry Marco Melandri (in ninth place), confident that he has identified the points he needs to work on with his mechanics.
Marco Melandri: "We have a lot of work left to do tomorrow but we have a clear idea of which areas we need to improve. Especially going into turns and braking the bike is very twitchy and we need to work on that. I would like to be able to get some more laps in to work toward finding a solution".
STEADY START FOR TEAM BIMOTA ALSTARE IN ASSEN
Team Bimota Alstare made a steady and very positive start to the first day of practice in Assen today.
At only their second WSBK outing, the team ended the day just over half a second outside the top ten.
Ayrton Badovini - 14th, 1:37.346 - 3rd EVO Class
“I am both happy and unhappy today. I am not happy because we had a small problem with the front end (braking) and because of that I didn’t have a lot of feeling there. But, I am happy because the bike is getting better all the time and, if we can find a good setting, I am sure we can improve a lot. I am looking forward to more progress tomorrow.”
Christian Iddon - 16th, 1:37.876 - 5th EVO Class
“Generally today was pretty good. I like the track and feel comfortable riding it. The chassis feels very strong and stable and my only real problem today was getting the right setting for the rear shock. It’s not a big problem, but if we can get that sorted out, then I will be able to go a lot faster. I am very happy with all the work the team has done today and we’re definitely progressing for sure. I haven’t a lot of experience on a Superbike, so I have to learn how to ride it - as well as learn a new bike. At my last exit, I think I was a bit too aggressive and that is not the way to get round this track fast. You need to be smooth here and then the lap times will fall."
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but I am happy with what we are doing and the progress we are making all the time. We knew this job was going to be hard, but we’re really enjoying the challenge and we’re determined to give it everything we’ve got. Hopefully, Ayrton and Christian will get good bike set-ups and then we will see how competitive they will be.”