2014 Imola World Superbike Friday Post-Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the series organizer and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Imola:

Rea overhauls Sykes on Day 1

Imola (Italy), Friday 9 May 2014 - As the opening day of on track action at Imola draws to a close, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) heads into tomorrow’s final free practice session ahead of Tissot-Superpole as the fastest rider in the combined classification.

A fire in the adjoining park close to the circuit brought out the red flags after only 7 minutes after major improvements already for Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who had jumped to 9th and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who had both also improved on their morning time.

When the session resumed virtually all of the riders improved, which was to be expected, with Jonathan Rea leading the standings from Sykes and Melandri but another red flag with 12 minutes of the session remaining meant another short stoppage before the session could finally resume.

Eventually with the stoppage reaching almost 45 minutes, the decision to cancel the on track activity for today was made due to a broken drainage cover at Turn 4.

The top ten riders were therefore classified as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the fastest EVO rider Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team).

As it stands Michel Fabrizio (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) is 20th and therefore the final rider to make into Tissot-Superpole. There is of course once final session tomorrow morning for everyone to improve.

Times: 1. Rea (Honda) 1'48.147 average 164.310 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'48.187; 3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'48.261; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'48.323; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'48.329; 6. Davies (Ducati) 1'48.592; 7. Haslam (Honda) 1'48.999; 8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'49.259; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'49.600; 10. Camier (BMW) 1'49.610; 11. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'49.710; 12. Goi (Ducati) 1'49.920; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 1'50.015; 14. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'50.103; 15. Badovini (Bimota) 1'50.228; 16. Elias (Aprilia) 1'50.370; 17. Iddon (Bimota) 1'50.609; 18. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'50.926; 19. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'51.034; 20. Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 1'51.357; 21. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'51.544; 22. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'51.572; 23. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'51.581; 24. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'51.707; 25. Toth (BMW) 1'52.445; 26. May (EBR) 1'54.669; 27. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'55.102; NC. Yates (EBR) 1'56.225.

Strong results for the Ducati Superbike Team on day one of action at the Imola SBK round

Imola (Italy), Friday 11 May 2014 – Day one of Superbike action at the Imola circuit in Italy brought positive results for the Ducati Superbike Team and its riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, fifth and sixth respectively after today’s two timed practice sessions.

The first timed practice session of the weekend saw both Giugliano and Davies score some solid results. In warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 24°C, track 44°C), the Ducati Superbike pairing were immediately at their ease on the Italian track, lapping with consistently fast times from the outset. Gradually improving on these times as the session went on, Giugliano put in an extremely fast lap in the final minutes, recording a best of 1’48.329 to finish at the head of the pack, in first place, two tenths quicker than second-placed rider Rea. Davies was also able to record some impressive lap times, concluding this opening session in fourth place, with a best time of 1’48.890.

Session two took place on an even warmer track (approx. 50°C) but was unfortunately interrupted more than once when the red flag was waved due to a persistent problem with a broken drain cover at the edge of the track. Despite the higher temperatures and interruptions, Davies was able to improve on his best time set in the morning, recording a fastest time of 1’48.592 which positioned him sixth overall. Giugliano was unable to improve on this morning’s already very fast time, closing in final fifth position at the end of day one.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 5th (1’48.329)

“Everything’s going well so far. This morning I already felt very comfortable on the bike and we’re continuing to work in the right direction. This afternoon we didn’t have the chance to improve but we did use the same tyre for the entire session and were consistently fast which is very important considering the hot track conditions. I'm a bit disappointed about the overall position but we still have time to improve tomorrow."

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 6th (1’48.592)

“On the one hand the interruptions this afternoon gave us time to work on the bike but on the other hand we had a few things to test so those final twelve minutes would have been useful. Overall it’s been a good day, in this morning’s session the bike already felt good and then I think we made another step forward this afternoon. We’re still suffering from some vibration problems but we plan to attack that issue tomorrow – if we can work on that and find a solution then I think we can further improve and be competitive here.”

Rea finishes early in P1 at Imola

Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea was fastest on the opening day of the fourth-round World Superbike championship meeting at Imola in Italy today, with the second free practice session this afternoon cut short by 12 minutes.

A broken drainage cover at turn four at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari caused a red flag and, with track workers unable to repair it, the day’s activities were abandoned.

Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, who had been preparing to return to the track with fresh tyres when today’s session was cancelled, was seventh fastest overall in today’s two free practices at the 4.936km Imola circuit.

A full World Superbike schedule is expected to run at Imola tomorrow, with Free Practice 3 going at 09.45 to determine which riders will take part in the afternoon Superpole sessions.

Jonathan Rea - 1st

I really enjoyed being back at Imola today. The bike is clearly working quite well here but we still need to make some good improvements, especially getting the power down off the slower corners and final turning with engine brake. But for our first day we’ve got to be happy because our pace is OK. The ultimate lap time I didn’t think was very fast compared to the race or the test here last year. But the track is quite fresh and there’s not a lot of rubber down – there haven’t been any big meetings here before us. Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you’ll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit. We’ll work hard tonight to refine the bike even more and hopefully go with that pace.

Leon Haslam - 7th

This morning felt pretty good and I did the whole session on the harder tyre. I felt we could have got into the 48s with our last tyre but I got held up a bit. This afternoon I got a couple of laps together on the SC0. I went slightly quicker but couldn’t really get a good lap together and then the red flag came out. I just didn’t really get a chance to go for a good lap time on a softer tyre. Generally, I felt really happy this morning and just didn’t get a really good go at it this afternoon.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

The day was cut short by 12 minutes but Jonathan was in P1, which is good. He did a little run with some good lap times but still we have to improve in some sectors. If you’re P1 you cannot complain too much, though – there’s work to do but it was a good day for Jonathan. On Leon’s side of the garage it was a shame that the session was cut short because we had just put in new tyres and he was ready to go. I’m sure he would have improved his lap time but it didn’t happen. The morning was a little better than this afternoon, when he struggled a bit with the grip, but overall a positive day.

A day of interruptions in Italy for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki started its Italian campaign at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola today with mixed fortunes after a series of red flags delayed the opening track action for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.

Eugene Laverty finished the day's sessions in eighth place after the second free practice was red flagged and eventually suspended with 12 minutes 40 seconds remaining, due to a broken drainage cover at turn four. The Irishman's fastest time of 1'49.259 was set on his ninth, and final, lap of the session aboard his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, despite only recording 19 revolutions for the entire day. Laverty was just about to return to the track with fresh rubber when the second red flag was brought out and all further track activity was cancelled. The morning's initial practice was all but redundant for the Suzuki racer, after an electronics issue saw him set just three flying laps, but with the situation resolved the team was confident of improving further as the afternoon progressed.

Alex Lowes started work at the iconic Italian circuit in great form, learning the track quickly and completing the morning's session in the top 10. The afternoon practice continued the British racer's education, setting his fastest lap of 1'49.710 on old tyres before also pitting for a new set as the session was adjourned, leaving him in 11th place heading in to tomorrow's final timed free practice qualifier.

With air temperatures reaching 28°C by the afternoon, and the track hitting 47°C, the Imola circuit was bathed in sunshine for the day's activities. An initial delay from a previous class saw the second session take to the track 35 minutes behind schedule, while a fire just behind the fences at Tamburello and the cracked drainage cover brought out two red flags before the eventual suspension, leaving Honda's Jonathan Rea in control of the times.

Tomorrow's forecast predicts an equally warm and clear day with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki back on track at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) for the final timed free practice session. Laverty and Lowes are confident their respective GSX-R1000's are on-course to secure the desired places ahead of the all-important Superpole at 15:00hrs (14:00BST).

Eugene Laverty:

"How many timed laps did we do today, maybe six proper flying laps? We didn't get anything done in the first practice with the electrical problem we had, and then in the second practice the activity was cancelled with 13 minutes left. The bike is feeling quite good considering we haven't done any laps yet and we're not too far away, so I'm looking forward to actually starting some real work tomorrow morning!"

Alex Lowes:

"Today was good, obviously frustrating at the end because we had a plan for the session. I worked really hard on old tyres, learning the track and feeling more comfortable, and I was hoping to improve at the end on new tyres which I didn't get the chance to do. So it's frustrating when you don't get the session that you want, but obviously everyone lost those last 12 minutes. I think I'll make a big step tomorrow after sleeping on it tonight. It's a fun track to ride so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"It's great to be in Italy and at the fantastic Imola race track, but today was a strange day at the office. We lost a whole session this morning with a glitch on Eugene's bike which obviously put him a session behind the rest of the guys, but we were improving nicely this afternoon. We were about to run new tyres for the end of the session but then it was all over so there was no chance to improve further.

"For Alex, he has done a great job at what is effectively another new track for him. He has been chipping away and set his best time on tyres with 20 laps, again we were about to run new ones at the end of FP2 to set a decent qualifying time and get him inside the top ten, but these things happen. Safety has to be the priority and we hope the weather stays consistent in the morning, we'll get out there and push hard to make sure both bikes are in the top 10 for Superpole tomorrow afternoon."



Imola, 9 May 2014 - On a decidedly summer day the World Superbike engines roared to life at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola. For the Aprilia Racing Team, reigning Manufacturer World Champion, it was a very promising début: Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli were protagonists straight away in the two sessions today, demonstrating great determination and an excellent pace. The only black spot on the day was a red flag 12 minutes from the end of the second session when the riders were getting ready to test the last solutions.

Marco Melandri, playing on his home pitch, ended the day with the third best time in the combined standings. The young man from Ravenna improved consistently until arriving less than two tenths of a second from the ranking leader. Efforts will be focused on two fronts tomorrow: continuing the search for the best settings in view of the race and finding speed on the flying lap in order to do well in Superpole. In fact, one of the characteristics of the Imola track is difficulty overtaking.

Marco Melandri: "I am really quite pleased. For us today was like a new, positive beginning. I feel good on my RSV4 and I am able to ride very smoothly. Today we did a lot of work in preparation for the race, trying to understand how the tyres behave and working on our electronics strategies. Tomorrow we'll continue in this direction, also looking for speed on the flying lap for Superpole. The interruption in the second session didn't even create any big problems for us. We already have a good base to build on".

It was also a decidedly positive day for Sylvain Guintoli, winner at Assen and fourth best time today. The Frenchman put in a lot of laps at Imola and showed that he is consistently fast. There are a few regrets about the time lost in the last session, which could have led to further improvements. For Sylvain and his team tomorrow promises to be a rather intense day.

Sylvain Guintoli: "We started off well. As usual we are working on race pace, but my initial feeling with my RSV4 is very good. With all the red flags that interrupted the practice sessions there are still a few things left to test. I hope we can get some consistent time to work tomorrow and finish what we have planned. In any case our times are promising and I'm confident that starting from the good work we did today we'll be able to improve even more".

Baldolini Happy With Progress Made On Imola WSS Return

Alex Baldolini made a welcome return to the World Championship paddock aboard his private MV Agusta at Imola today, claiming an encouraging 14th position after the completion of the opening two free practice sessions.

Riding for the newly formed ATK Racing, it was the first time in 2014 that Baldolini had competed against the World Supersport regulars and the first time for him to check on the possible performance levels with his new team.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying session, he declared himself both happy with the bike and the progress that had been made on track today.

Alex Baldolini – ATK Racing MV Agusta: “I’m happy very happy with this first day. We improved step by step during the two practices and considering the bike is new for me I am satisfied with the lap time that we achieved. I have only ridden the bike for 90 minutes under competitive conditions compared to the other riders who have already done four races this year. We still have some teething problems, which is to be expected but the whole team is working very hard and I am very happy with all of their work. I will try some more things in the final free practice in the morning and then push to qualify as best as we can.”

Zanetti and van der Mark in the Imola mix

Lorenzo Zanetti finished as the third fastest rider after today’s opening free practice sessions at Imola in Italy for round four of the World Supersport championship.

His Pata Honda team-mate, Michael van der Mark, finished fourth fastest this afternoon at the 4.936km Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, just two hundredths of a second behind the Italian.

Riding at his ‘home’ circuit, Zanetti was fast out of the blocks in this morning’s opening session, finishing with the third quickest time, while van der Mark, fresh from his debut World Supersport victory at his own home round at Assen in the Netherlands two weeks ago, was third.

Both Pata Honda riders are confident of further improvements to the settings of their Honda CBR600RR machines in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying sessions and are targeting front row starts for Sunday’s 17-lap race.

Lorenzo Zanetti - 3rd

I think I arrived here with a good motivation after Assen. I said to my crew yesterday that I wanted to start at a good level and try a race simulation immediately because I’m focused and concentrating on my home race. I want to fight for a win here because Michael won his own home race at Assen and I want to try the same here! Of course, it’s difficult because there are always four or five very fast riders at the front but I’m really motivated and I started fast this morning in first place. I improved my time this afternoon on an old tyre– it had ten laps on it already, and I had to pass a slower rider on my fast lap so I think I could have been higher. But anyway, I have a really good rhythm and tomorrow I will just concentrate on qualifying on the front row which is really important for t he race.

Michael van der Mark - 4th

I’m satisfied with today, although we struggled a bit with the set-up. In the end I think the lap time isn’t that bad and the pace is quite OK. Tomorrow we must improve some areas on the bike and I must improve some lines in certain corners but we can’t complain at the end of the first day. We know it’s a difficult track for us but, with Lorenzo third and me fourth, I think we can be really happy so far.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

Lorenzo was really fast straight out of the box this morning. This afternoon he also continued to be one of the fastest guys on track, finishing in third position. We hardly changed the bike for him so we hope he can continue like this tomorrow. Michael wasn’t completely happy first thing so we made some small changes which worked out well this afternoon. He got a comfortable fourth position and he had a pretty good day, too.

Dorna joins Telethon to support biomedical research

Imola (Italy), Friday 9 May 2014 – Dorna WSBK and Telethon are pleased to announce their agreement that was presented today at the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari" of Imola, during the fourth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.

Fondazione Telethon is one of the biggest biomedical charities in Italy, founded in 1990 under the initiative of a group of patients affected by muscular dystrophy. The goal of the foundation is to find a cure for rare genetic disorders thanks to high level scientific research, selected from the best international procedures.

"Dorna pinpoints social responsibility to be massively important and as a company it is constantly involved in charity work. From today onwards we will be fully supporting the Telethon cause" said Daniel Carrera, WSBK Championship Director from the SBK Paddock Show stage.

Today, in front of the media and the crowd attending the event, the person in charge of managing the Telethon B2B area, Carlo Fornario, received a symbolic 50,000 euros cheque from Dorna WSBK COO Stefano Pacchioli, who commented: "The Dorna WSBK and Telethon combination is perfect. We worked side by side during the last months to make this agreement happen and we are very proud of it. We wish all the best to everyone involved in Telethon's activities after our small, but hopefully fruitful contribution, that is the first step of our joint effort. An online auction is also already underway, with some unique memorabilia donated by the protagonists of the Superbike World Championship, which we hope it will be largely participated." - http://www.charitystars.com/product/vivi-l-esperienza-superbike-di-imola

Carlo Fornario, Telethon B2B Manager, commented: “We are thankful to Dorna WSBK for the interest shown and we are confident that our presence within motorcycle racing, and specifically in the Superbike World Championship, we will reach an even larger crowd. Thanks to the open-heartedness of millions of people Telethon was able, in 24 years, to invest 394 million euros in over 2400 research projects that helped finding 27 therapeutic strategies for 25 rare genetic disorders, which were previously considered incurable.“

One of the many volunteers of Telethon, Sandro Ratazzi, took part in the press conference giving both a testimonial and attending as a big fan of motorcycling in general. Ratazzi is affected by the LGMD (Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy), a pathology that affects muscles and reduces moving abilities. With his presence at the event, Sandro underlined the importance of such an initiative to support medical research. His passion for motorcycle racing and his experience as a volunteer gave him the will to deal with a physical limitation.

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