Press releases from the series organizer and World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Imola:
Rea wins Tissot-Superpole at Imola
Imola (Italy), Saturday 10 May 2014 - Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) has taken Pole Position for tomorrow’s two 19 lap races after a thrilling Tissot-Superpole session kept the large crowd thoroughly entertained. This is the first Tissot-Superpole win for Rea this year, the third so far in his WSBK career and the 45th for Honda in the series.
In Superpole 1, Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) and Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) emerged as the fastest two riders and progressed into Superpole 2 with the ten riders that were automatically seeded after Free Practice.
The final 15 minute session, held in blisteringly hot conditions eventually saw Rea come out on top after several riders took their turn to head the standings. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) will line up alongside Rea with other factory Ducati rider Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and reigning Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completing the second row.
After progressing courtesy of being in the top two in Superpole 1, Canepa was the fastest EVO rider today, making it onto row 3 in 9th position after a solid performance this afternoon.
Times: 1. Rea (Honda) 1'46.289 average 167.182 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'46.554; 3. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'46.555; 4. Davies (Ducati) 1'46.678; 5. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'46.740; 6. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'46.767; 7. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'47.014; 8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'47.715; 9. Canepa (Ducati) 1'48.240; 10. Haslam (Honda) 1'48.242; 11. Camier (BMW) 1'48.371; 12. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'48.196; 13. Goi (Ducati); 14. Salom (Kawasaki); 15. Elias(Aprilia); 16. Badovini (Bimota); 17. Scassa (Kawasaki); 18. Morais (Kawasaki); 19. Iddon (Bimota); 20. Fabrizio (Kawasaki).
FIRST AND SECOND ROW FOR THE APRILIA SUPERBIKES AT IMOLA.
GUINTOLI TAKES A SPOT ON THE FRONT ROW WITH THE SECOND BEST TIME
IT'S THE SECOND ROW FOR MELANDRI AND THE FIFTH BEST TIME
Imola, 10 May 2014 – Starting from the front was essential in the races tomorrow at Imola, the fourth round of World Superbike which promises to be heated down to thousandths of a second, and Aprilia Racing Team hit a bullseye, placing both riders on the first and second row.
Qualifying easily among the top 10 who are automatically admitted to the second decisive session and key players during all the timed practice sessions – as well as in the last free practice sessions prior to Superpole – Melandri and Guintoli never stopped working on race pace, searching for the best setup for tomorrow's races which, with the standings up for grabs, promise to be extremely heated with numerous contenders for the final victory, a fact which is clearly demonstrated by the narrow gaps that separate the top riders.
Concrete and efficient as always, Sylvain Guintoli seemed to be in his team mate's shadows during the sessions prior to the decisive fifteen minutes which would establish the starting grid. In all actuality, however, the Frenchman had focused his work on the races, not falling short when he attacked in Superpole, on the track until just a few moments from the end. The second place he took in the end left the Frenchman completely satisfied: “Another Superpole for us and the starting position here is important since it is quite a twisty track where it is difficult to overtake, so you need to set your pace straight way from the first laps. As always we worked a lot on our race pace, but many of the other riders did the same, so tomorrow should be quite interesting. I want to do my best for Aprilia and for my team. We are in Italy so that pumps me up even more.”
Marco Melandri had two positive days of testing which led him to finding a good feeling on his RSV4. These are good sensations that Marco had all the way through to the decisive Superpole session where he battled with his usual quality, putting the second best time on the boards at one point and then finishing with the fifth best time which places him a the centre of the second row on the grid. The narrow gap of just 45 hundredths behind the first place finisher is an indicator of the balance between the top contenders and Marco's competitiveness.
“The second row is OK. I am gaining confidence in Superpole as well. Even if I made a few mistakes in my good lap which cost me a couple tenths of a second I am still very pleased with the result. It is a good period for us. Starting from the front tomorrow will be important because there are several riders here with a good pace. The races won't be easy for anyone. The true difference will be made after the tenth round. As for our race pace, we have done some good work so after all our efforts we are ready to give it our all down to the end.”
A positive qualifying day at Imola for the Ducati Superbike Team
Imola (Italy), Saturday 10 May 2014 – An extremely hard-fought Superpole this afternoon at the Imola circuit brough very positive results for the Ducati Superbike Team and its riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, who qualified third and fourth for tomorrow’s fourth round of the 2014 Superbike World Championship.
In the final timed practice session held in warm conditions this morning (air temperature 24°C, track 42°C), both Chaz and Davide were able to further improve on yesterday’s performances. Thanks to a fastest time of 1’47.511, an impressive eight tenths of a second quicker than yesterday and only three tenths away from the lap record, Giugliano closed the practices in overall first position, while Davies finished in sixth place with a best of 1’48.136, an improvement of almost half a second on his time set yesterday afternoon. Both Ducati Superbike men therefore qualified directly for Superpole 2.
The early afternoon’s free practice session gave the team a chance to make final adjustments ahead of the Superpole. In this short 30-minute session, Davies finished first, Giugliano sixth, both demonstrating good pace.
Superpole 2 – Both riders went straight out on a race tyre and Davide in particular was able to record an extremely fast lap (1’47.172) that allowed him to take an early lead. The Ducati Superbike pair then returned to the track with the qualifying tyre. Both Davide and Chaz pushed hard to make a flying lap and lower their times. While Giugliano closed with a best time of 1’46.555, Davies recorded a fastest lap of 1’46.678. Giugliano concluded the Superpole in third place (missing out on second position by just one thousandth of a second!) and Davies in fourth. Thanks to these results, the Ducati Superbike team will line up on the first and second row of the race grid tomorrow, clearly a strong result for the entire team in front of the home crowd.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 3rd (1’46.555)
“Superpole went really well. We recorded a good time but I’m particularly pleased with my lap time on the race tyre at the start of the session. Of course it’s great to be able to start on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s races here in Imola, it gives me personal satisfaction and is also great for the many Ducati fans here at the track. Tomorrow the races will surely be difficult, there are at least five riders who can fight for the podium. The temperatures will also play an important part, both physically and on the tyres but it will be like that for everyone, so we’re feeling confident.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 4th (1’46.678)
“Today has gone well and we’ve taken another step forward. This morning we had really good pace and although there is still room for improvement I’m happy with how things have been going. The Superpole was also positive and finishing fourth is our best result so far, a result that gives me confidence, coming after some bad luck in previous Superpoles. Tomorrow I’m expecting two tough races, it will be difficult but today I was able to do race distance with the tyre and our pace wasn’t bad. We’re confident and ready to race here tomorrow.”
Rea takes pole position in Italy
Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two fourth-round World Superbike championship races from pole position after setting the fastest time in today’s Superpole sessions at Imola in Italy.
The British rider powered his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP around the 4.936km Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in a time of 1m46.289s, almost three tenths of a second ahead of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli and Davide Giugliano of Italy, who completes the front row.
It is Rea’s fourth career pole position, the last occasion being at Portimao in Portugal in 2011. He received his trophy today from 15-time world champion Giacomo Agostini and the 27-year-old is also confident of his race for tomorrow’s two 19-lap outings at Imola.
His Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, will start the races from tenth place on the grid after some problems in today’s practice sessions. The 30-year-old crashed early in Free Practice 4 after being one of the front runners in the morning session.
Haslam was unable to maximise the additional grip from Pirelli’s qualifying tyre in Superpole, but he is determined to mount two strong challenges in tomorrow’s two races, the first of which goes at 10.30am local time.
Jonathan Rea - P1
Honestly, I didn’t really expect that! I knew we had really good pace and we were working towards the race tomorrow. But this pole position lark doesn’t really have my name on it so I’m really happy. The lap was really good but I just want to thank all the guys in my box who’ve been working incredibly hard. They’re making the CBR better and better and to do it in Pata’s back yard here in Italy is just great. I’m looking forward to two strong races tomorrow and hopefully we can get some good results then.
Leon Haslam - P10
Yeah, it was a pretty rubbish afternoon. I felt we were making some good progress up until the second session today when I had a problem with the shifter on the outlap which caused a bit of a highside. I couldn’t quite get the gear and it threw me off and we lost the whole session. I had a familiar problem in Superpole with the extra grip from the qualifer and ended up going slower than I did on the race tyre. We’d made some good progress this weekend, but had a bad afternoon.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Pole position for Jonathan, and his last one was a very long time ago! Well done to him and his team. There are four or five riders who can be fast in the race and will be battling it out tomorrow, but no-one is outstandingly strong and I think he is one of the contenders. After a good morning session Leon unfortunately had a crash in FP4. Luckily he wasn’t hurt but it put his progress on hold a bit. He had some problems with the qualifier too so we’ll have to see how he can do tomorrow.
Imola: Niccolò Canepa and Team Althea snatch first position in SBK EVO qualifying
The Althea Racing Team and rider Niccolò Canepa, current leaders in the Superbike EVO category, are ready to take on tomorrow’s races at Imola. The weekend began on Friday with the first two timed practice sessions when Canepa recorded a best overall time of 1’50.015 that positioned him thirteenth. The team concentrated all of its efforts on finding the best possible set‐up for the bike and selecting the best tyre compound.
This morning, Saturday 10 May 2014, Canepa concluded the third timed practice session with a best time of 1’48.689, classifying second among the EVO riders, right behind Leon Camier but with a very past pace which confirms the Team’s hard work and the talents of rider Canepa, who is able to make the most of the new set‐up. In Superpole 1, Canepa set a fantastic lap time of 1’48.359 which propelled him to the top of the standings ahead of Leon Camier, second. This meant that the The Althea Racing rider gained entry to Superpole 2 together with the big names of the Superbike category. It was in this session that Canepa really demonstrated his full potential, earning an impressive spot on the third row of tomorrow’s grid, just behind some of the Superbike riders, with a time of 1’48.240 which places him ninth on the grid, the best performance by an EVO rider this afternoon.
Niccolò Canepa: “On Friday we immediately started to work on identifying the best feeling possible at the front of the bike, something that initially caused us some problems. I’ve been able to constantly improve my performance in each session, and then take ninth place on the grid, which means that I will be up there with the best riders. I have good memories of Imola, where I feel comfortable and I want to continue to give the best of myself in order to maintain my lead in the standings and gain as much positive experience for the future as possible . I always have so much support here in Imola and so I’ll be doing my best not to disappoint the fans.”
Genesio Bevilacqua: “It is always very emotional coming to race here at Imola. This track has always given Team Althea great results.
Niccolò is fitter than ever and is now a fixed presence among the “Full Superbike” riders. It’s a great result to start on the third row here, as it serves to demonstrate both how hard my Team is working and the increasingly strong feeling that our rider has with the fantastic Ducati Panigale 1199 EVO. We are well aware that in tomorrow’s races there are some very strong competitors but we also know that we can fight for the positions that count.”
Disappointing close to promising day for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racer Eugene Laverty will start tomorrow's races at the Imola Circuit in Italy on the third row after completing this afternoon's Superpole qualifying in eighth place despite an encouraging morning's work.
Laverty had showed promise on the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R throughout the morning's two free practice outings, almost breaking the 1'48 barrier to hold fifth in the last of the timed sessions ahead of qualifying for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship's fourth round. The Irishman's expectation for the Superpole however, was not fulfilled, and a frustrating time of 1'47.715 left him settling for eighth on the grid for Sunday's two races at the Italian track.
Alex Lowes had a similar rollercoaster of a day. Continuing his development with both the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and the notoriously tricky Imola circuit, Lowes impressed in the morning's free practices, consistently hitting the 1'48.1 mark, his lap times echoing his growing confidence. Unfortunately the potential would remain untapped as a possible technical issue resulted in the team's decision to withdraw the bike for the Superpole session. The Englishman will start tomorrow's races from 12th place on the grid but his growing form and confidence with the track guarantee that he is certainly up for the challenge.
The soaring Italian temperatures reached 29°C for the afternoon's 15 minute shootout, with Honda's Jonathan Rea claiming pole position on a blistering 51°C track surface.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will regroup overnight in preparation for tomorrow's first race at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST), the second instalment scheduled for 13:10hrs local time (12:10BST).
"Another really difficult day! My aim was to be on the first two rows for Superpole to give myself a chance to start, and again I'm on the third row. It makes it difficult for ourselves but aside from that we have some work to do. The bike is not working very well, corner entry is the biggest issue and we need to get some flow with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki to allow it to handle the way I need it to. We'll see what the races bring but I will be giving it my all."
"I feel a lot more comfortable on the track today, the bike's improving, I'm improving and I feel like I've worked really well this weekend. To be seventh before the qualifying session was good, we were just unlucky I didn't get to go out and be further up the grid. It's going to be difficult tomorrow but I'm going to do my best, enjoy it a lot and hopefully I can take some experience and some good points ready for my home race at Donington. I do generally feel like I'm riding better, I think I'm doing a good job and I'm looking forward to the races even though I know how hard it's going to be after a difficult day today."
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"There is no hiding behind it, the qualifying result today was a disaster and we felt we had the potential to do much better. I feel particularly bad for Alex because he has progressed really well over the course of the weekend, to a point where he was very close to the 47's in free practice and I really believe he could have qualified very strongly. A yet undefined potential gearbox issue is always a huge concern because, should there be a failure, the rider cannot do anything to control the situation. It was extremely hard to tell Alex that we wouldn't be able to go out in Superpole but it was the only choice as a team that we could make. The rider's safety and those of the other competitors has to be a bigger priority than any other, the guys are looking at it now and hopefully we will find a definitive and solvable fault so we can remedy it for race day tomorrow.
"Eugene's qualifying was just simply disappointing. From 48.0, and fifth place, in FP3 this morning we expected that forward momentum to continue, but if anything we went backwards between that session and qualifying. That said, the lap-by-lap pace on race tyres is a different story and with both the guys I think the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki can do a much better job in the races tomorrow."
Muresan Just Misses Top Ten For H-Moto In Imola Qualifying
The Hungarian H-Moto team are ready to challenge for their first points of 2014 at Imola tomorrow in the third round of the FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup with riders Robert Muresan and Riccardo Cecchini qualifying in 11th and 30th respectively.
For Muresan, tomorrow represents a real opportunity to challenge for the top ten as the Romanian continues to show some real pace in the opening races. Cecchini on the other hand will be looking to put a free practice crash behind him and first race finish of the season in front of a patriotic Italian crowd. The young Italian has already impressed the team greatly with his feedback and his ‘never give up’ attitude in his rookie season.
The race tomorrow is set to run once again in hot temperatures which could have a big bearing on tyre life, but with the hard work in free practice during which both riders saved tyres, the weather could be a good thing.
Robert Muresan - “It was a perfect day. We kept improving all of the time and I hadn’t been held up in the final minutes I am sure that we could have stayed in the first three rows as we were running 7th. I am confident for the race tomorrow and I think if it hadn’t been for the slower riders that held me up right at the end today we could have found at least half a second so tomorrow as long as we keep the bike on two wheels we should be in the top ten in the race.”
Riccardo Cecchini - “My shoulder was quite sore to be honest and I had a few problems trying to change direction. Then I had a problem with the rear brake. Nevertheless tomorrow I will do my best to finish in a good position.”
Final practice, qualifying and Superpole – Saturday 10th May
After yesterday’s interruptions, Team Bimota Alstare looked forward to a full day of practice and qualifying without any disruptions and, by and large, that’s what happened. There was one red flag incident, but Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon were able to string together a number of laps and try different ideas in today’s hot conditions at Imola.
Both riders qualified for Superpole 2 and Ayrton was heading towards Superpole 2, but was overtaken right at the end of the session. He finished 16th fastest and Christian 19th, but both are looking forward to tomorrow’s pair of 19 lap races and challenging for the top EVO spot.
Ayrton Badovini – 16th, 1:48.909
“I am not completely happy because I couldn’t find a good setting for my bike today and so I could not push as hard as I wanted to. The bike is working OK on race tyres but we need more time to try different things so that we can improve it.
On my first lap in Superpole, my qualifying tyre didn’t give me much grip or traction and I think I went just as fast on my race tyres – so that is a positive for the races tomorrow.
I had a crash today, when the exhaust touched down and I was flicked off the bike. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any injury, but the mechanics had a lot of work to do. But they managed to get the bike ready for the next session and I want to give them a big ‘thank you’ for that.”
Christian Iddon – 19th, 1:49.997
“It was a pretty frustrating day for me. We tried a lot of different things, but didn’t make the progress we expected. It is a shame because the whole team worked so hard and I feel a bit bad because I couldn’t give them better results.
We will go through all the data tonight and see how we can improve the bike. I did my good lap times on race tyres, so that is one thing that is a positive ahead of tomorrow. I like this track and, if we can get the bike to work better, I think I can get some good results.”
Zanetti secures front row start for home race at Imola
Pata Honda rider Lorenzo Zanetti will start tomorrow’s fourth-round World Supersport championship race from the front row of the grid after setting the third fastest time in this afternoon’s qualifying session at Imola in Italy.
The 17-lap race around the 4.936km Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is the home round for the 26-year-old Italian rider who is aiming to secure his first World Supersport victory at Imola tomorrow.
His Pata Honda team-mate and last round winner, Michael van der Mark, will start from the outside of row two tomorrow, finishing today’s 45-minute qualifying session in sixth place.
Zanetti revealed a special tribute helmet to Ayrton Senna for this afternoon’s qualifying session. The Brazilian driver is one of Zanetti’s racing heroes and last week the Imola circuit marked the 20th anniversary of his fatal accident in the 1994 F1 race here.
Lorenzo Zanetti - P3
I’m happy because I’ve never started so fast on a Friday and then been able to work really well with the team for the whole weekend. I’ve been in the top three for every session and this is really positive. At one time during qualifying I thought I could be in pole position but I ran into some traffic, but it’s OK. The target was the front row for tomorrow because I have a really good rhythm. We haven’t really changed the bike very much, so now I just want to concentrate on tomorrow and try to re-make the Assen race for the team here at my home race.
Michael van der Mark - P6
It was difficult to make a really fast lap today. I think our race pace is not too bad but we need to find a little step, and putting in a new tyre and finding a single flying lap didn't come so easily in qualifying. I found the limit of the bike many times so we need to do a bit of work tonight to see where the problems are and get a better set-up for tomorrow. Of course, the race is different and I will be better then, but I'm not happy with being sixth on the grid because I really wanted to be on the front row. For sure the guys will find something tonight and hopefully we can fight for the podium.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Lorenzo has been really fast in all sessions and was the fastest guy on race pace this morning. He wanted pole position really badly but he got the front row with third place with a really good job today. He will be really strong tomorrow and can be in the mix for a win. Michael struggled a little in one sector this morning but his pace on used tyres is also not so bad. His ultimate lap time was not quite enough and he ended up in sixth place. But anything can happen in the race and it’s not been a bad day at all.
Superstock 600 - San Carlo Team Italia conquers Imola with a second win by Faccani
The Italian dominates on his home circuit, Tucci is 8th
With two wins out of three races, San Carlo Team Italia kicked off his bid toward the 2014 European Stock 600 championship with a bang. At the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Marco Faccani enjoyed a sensational race about a month after his stunning debut in Aragon, where he also won.
After leading throughout free practice and qualifiers, and taking pole position with a 1'53"938 that marks the new record of the category, Faccani did not let down the high expectations during the race. Riding his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #5, he started strong and quickly built a three-second lead over his rivals, which he calmly administered during the second part of the race.
Faccani thus made the "grand slam" (pole position, victory from start to finish, and fastest lap), cutting his gap with championship leader Niki Tuuli (second today) to two points only. Andrea Tucci, who turned 19 today, also showed his resiliency during the race. The Italian Superstock 600 champion took eighth place with grit and determination, scoring 8 precious points that grant him third place in the overall rankings.
San Carlo Team Italia will be back in the European Stock 600 championship on June 21st at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, where the Italians led by Cristiano Migliorati are expected to be protagonists once again.
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #5) 1st
"It was a perfect race. Win like this, after such a positive weekend, is fantastic. After the start, I managed to pull away a bit in the first three laps, and then decided to simply control the situation. When I saw the others were getting closer again, I picked up my pace once again to keep them at bay. I couldn't be happier. Thanks to the team, my bike was just perfect today".
Andrea Tucci (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #44) 8th
"I certainly can't be happy with my result, I had much higher expectations. Unfortunately, during the race, I lacked the usual feeling with the front, which didn't help in both braking and corner entry. I was at the limit constantly, especially when I was trying to get past other riders. I have to congratulate Marco for his victory. My mind is already in Misano".
Cristiano Migliorati (Sporting Director - San Carlo Team Italia STK600)
"We always try to optimize our teamwork, so our feedback is half positive and half negative today. We're happy for Marco and sad for Andrea. Faccani realized a feat similar to the one he pulled in Aragon, with pole position, fastest lap, and a win. He couldn't have done more. Tucci is still trying to understand, together with us, the issues he suffered during the race and which didn't allow him to perform at his usual level".
Supersport World Championship
During the qualifiers in Imola, the fourth race of the season, San Carlo Puccetti Racing confirmed the positive indications gathered during the Friday sessions. With MV Agusta returning to pole position with Jules Cluzel, Roberto Tamburini posted a 1'51"711 that led his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #5 to fourth position in second row ahead of tomorrow's race (11:40 local time). Rookie Alessandro Nocco kept making positive strides on the track where he scored his maiden win in the European Stock 600 championship last year with San Carlo Team Italia. The Italian enjoyed his best WSS qualifying result so far with a best lap of 1'53"234 (18th). Working in perfect harmony with the team led by Manuel Puccetti, he hopes to come back strong during the race and score his first points on the world stage.
Prosecco DOC to stay on the WSBK podium
Barcelona (Spain), Saturday 10 May 2014 – The sparkles of Prosecco DOC will be continuing to be up on the podium alongside the protagonists of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. Prosecco will enhance the prize-giving ceremonies after each race of every WSBK category, during every round of the season. The bottles, labelled by Consorzio or one of its associated companies, will be handed over to the top 3 riders by the Prosecco girls.
Prosecco DOC will also be present in the "SBK Pit Lounge", the VIP hospitality area for the SBK partners, where every guest will receive a glass of Prosecco DOC as a welcome drink, as well as every media person attending the racing weekend.
Marc Saurina, WSBK Commercial and Marketing Director: “A great reward for us is to witness the continuation of our partnerships in light of the effort we put into providing worldwide visibility for our sponsors. Thanks to an ever more globally spread calendar, the Prosecco DOC brand will be able to reach new and strategic markets."
Stefano Zanette, President of Consorzio di tutela del Prosecco DOC: “Our goal is to further increase the popularity of our brand, so people from all over the world can enjoy Prosecco DOC even more than before. We chose to renew this partnership because the eni FIM Superbike World Championship is a series that ensures maximum visibility for our brand. Not only in Italy, where the TV audience numbers from last April showed that WSBK was the most watched motorcycle racing series, but also globally. World Superbike reaches some strategically important markets for Prosecco DOC, and we would like people from all over the world to appreciate our extraordinary wine, in a responsible way, and enhance their favourite moments with it!”