Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams and the series organizers after the first day of practice at Jerez:
APRILIA IS FAST OUT OF THE GATE AT JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA
MELANDRI AND GUINTOLI WORK ON RACE PACE WITH THEIR OFFICIAL RSV4s ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 5 September 2014 - In the two free practice sessions on Friday, the first day of the tenth World Superbike round, Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli were at the forefront.
Marco proved to be fast straight away, taking the best time in the morning free practice session with 1’42.768. In the afternoon session Melandri focused more on fine tuning his RSV4 with race pace in mind, as well as working on tyre duration over the 34 laps he put in. This was a choice which in any case did not keep him from ending the day with the second spot in the combined standings for the two sessions.
Marco Melandri: “I'm very pleased because after almost two months off the bike getting started again is always a little daunting. Instead I noticed that both the guys on the team and I still remember well how to work together and I felt good in the saddle with my RSV4 working great. This afternoon in the high temperatures I focused on pace without trying to improve my time. We are off to a good start, so we'll keep going in this direction”.
Sylvain Guintoli applied the same work method. The Frenchman, currently lying second in the championship standings, improved in the second session to finish in eighth place in the combined standings but only three tenths off the best time, a result that speaks volumes about how even the playing field was on this first day of practice.
Sylvain Guintoli: “We are all really very close. After the long break it was important to find our pace, especially on a twisting and demanding track like this one. In the afternoon I managed to improve my pace, trying to finish the race distance on my tyres. As first days go, it was good. We're working with the race in mind and our claws will come out in Superpole tomorrow and then again in the races on Sunday”.
Haslam finds pace in Jerez heat
Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam set the fourth fastest combined time in today’s two free practice sessions for round 10 of the 2014 World Superbike championship at Jerez in Spain this afternoon.
Fresh from his recent Suzuka 8-hours victory in Japan, the 30-year-old British rider fired his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP around the 4.423km Jerez circuit in a time of 1m42.881s, just two tenths behind provisional pole sitter Loris Baz.
Haslam’s Pata Honda team-mate Jonathan Rea, 27, was tenth fastest on combined times from today’s two sessions, which were run with temperatures in the mid-30s and a track temperature this afternoon of 55 degrees centigrade, but the Northern Irishman is confident of improvement tomorrow.
Following a third free practice session tomorrow morning, Saturday’s two afternoon Superpole sessions will determine final grid positions for Sunday’s two 20-lap Jerez Superbike races.
Leon Haslam - P4
We actually had a few issues in the first session this morning and most of the afternoon one, too, but the boys worked really well and we managed to get a good setting for the end. Hopefully we can keep plugging away but these hot conditions have definitely thrown a few different settings at us. I’ve felt pretty good the last few rounds and a few little issues have kind of determined the results, but at the minute, fingers crossed, everything’s going OK and we’re only a couple of tenths off.
Jonathan Rea - P10
Honestly, if you can look past the actual result, today’s been very productive for us. We started the day with a little problem but session two was good and we were able to try a new weight distribution on the CBR. There were some positives and negatives and we still need to maximise the set-up for that. Nissin have brought some new brake components for me to test and I’m finding a really positive feeling with that. Also my team worked hard on a new engine specification during the break and I’m still getting used to that as it has a quite different power character. Today we worked solely to get a good feeling and we took a little weight off the front in the middle of this afternoon’s session. I didn’t have the best feeling with that but we’ll look at the data tonight. We got a lot of w ork done today and I’m quite satisfied.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Jonathan finished tenth today but we didn’t use any new tyres and concentrated on a few little things with the bike. Tenth might not look so good but we’re quite happy with the progress we made, especially in these hot conditions where we sometimes struggle. With Leon, the afternoon session was a little bit strange. We had a few issues and weren’t really moving forward until we changed the tyre. This transformed the bike and he was able to move up to fourth. Hopefully he can do some more of those fast laps tomorrow.
Van der Mark in control at Jerez
Despite two months away from his Pata Honda CBR600RR, Michael van der Mark began round nine of the World Supersport championship at Jerez in Spain in sparkling form today.
The 21-year-old Dutch rider and current series leader finished on top of the time sheets in both free practice sessions despite, like many other top riders, being unable to improve on his morning time as track temperatures soared to 55 degrees.
Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, 27, was fifth fastest in this morning’s cooler conditions but finished Free Practice 2 in second place, only fractionally slower than his team-mate this afternoon.
With similar weather conditions expected at the 4.423km Jerez circuit tomorrow, the afternoon qualifying session to determine grid positions for Sunday’s race, in which the destination of this year’s world title could be decided, will be as important as ever.
Michael van der Mark - P1
I’ve got to be quite happy with that after such a long break. I haven’t ridden the CBR for eight weeks so it took some getting used to again but we were fast from the first session. I had a good feeling with the bike and we tried some other things this afternoon, but the track temperature was a little bit too high. We lost a bit of grip but the overall feeling is good and, after the long summer break, we are up to speed again.
Lorenzo Zanetti - P5
Finally we’re back! This morning was a little strange after two months off the bike but at the end of the session I was able to get into the top five, which was good. Today I had a good motivation because I want to fight for the podium here and I need to work a lot on race distance. I tried a few tyre options today on the front and the rear and I was second fastest this afternoon. OK, Mikey [van der Mark] and me had some problems because the track temperature was so high but at the moment the base setting is really good.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Lorenzo knew what he had to do here and that’s to get back to the top three. In the morning when it was cooler he improved his time at the end of the session. Even when it was really hot this afternoon he managed to go second. From the first lap this morning to the last lap this afternoon Michael has been really fast. He has one or two things to sort but he’s calm and in control, so it’s been a good start to the weekend.
Laverty at the sharp end in Spain as Voltcom Crescent Suzuki returns to action
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki‘s Eugene Laverty rapidly got down to business at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain today claiming sixth in the combined times at the end of the two free practice sessions, a mere 0.2 from provisional pole.
Laverty, refreshed from the eight weeks away, reacquainted himself quickly with his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R at the Andalućian track. Initially working on improvements made throughout the summer break, the Irishman consistently improved on his lap times as the day progressed. The culmination of his efforts was almost enough to see him on the provisional front row, his fastest time of the two sessions – a 1’42.899 set on his final revolution –being interrupted by traffic in the final sector to leave him just 0.2 off the day’s best.
Alex Lowes, building on his testing knowledge of the Jerez circuit, confidently continued his development aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000 setting a 1’43.204 as the eni FIM Superbike World Championship announced its return in dramatic style with the top 11 riders separated by less than 0.6 seconds at the close of play.
With the southern Spanish sun bathing the Circuito de Jerez, the asphalt registered 58°C for the afternoon session, a balmy 29°C high greeting the enthusiastic fans. Kawasaki’s Loris Baz topped the times with a 1’42.677 with the manufacturer’s satellite Pedercini rider Alessandro Andreozzi claiming the fastest EVO.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is on track at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) tomorrow for the final timed-for-qualifying free practice session ahead of Superpole scheduled for 15:00hrs (14:00BST).
“It’s nice to be back at a race weekend again after so long away! Like we thought it’s hot and slippery and it’s suiting my riding style and the bike - we’re right at the sharp end! There’s nothing in it between the front guys. It’s also good to see that we are able to use our new tyre, this year we haven’t been able to so I’m hoping in Superpole that we can qualify on those front two rows and be there at the beginning of the race on Sunday!”
“The times are really close! I tried really hard in the second session and completed two or three more laps compared to everyone else. It’s disappointing when you don’t make big improvements throughout the day but looking through the data we are going to make some good changes for tomorrow. It’s really good to be back on the bike after the long break, we’re only half a second off and I feel like I’m riding well so hopefully with the changes tomorrow should be good.”
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
“Jerez is a very different circuit in the summer than in the winter test months and the 50°C track temperatures make it very difficult to replicate the same amount of grip and lap time that we can generate in the winter. Therefore it is always a balance to understand how much information from the winter test is relevant because really the race track has a completely different character. None of the riders seemed to have suffered from the long summer break as within two 45 minute sessions the top 11 are all within 0.5 of a second and as ever those very small differences will make a big difference in the result come qualifying tomorrow afternoon and the races on Sunday. Both Eugene and Alex are performing well. Eugene really should have been P1 today if he hadn’t been held up in the last sector of his last lap and Alex, whilst the position isn’t what he wants, is only half a second away with some fairly big adjustments to come, to make his job a lot easier for the rest of the weekend.”
Extreme weather conditions for the Ducati Superbike Team today at Jerez
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), Friday 5 September 2014 – Day one of the World Superbike weekend at the Jerez circuit was conditioned by extremely hot conditions. The Ducati Superbike Team, with riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, worked hard today to finish the opening timed practice sessions in fifth and seventh place.
The Ducati Superbike Team made a strong start to proceedings in the first timed practice session of the weekend, which took place in hot and sunny conditions (air temperature 29°C, track 46°C). Davies was immediately able to get into a good rhythm and was one of the fastest on track until two thirds of the way through the session when he unfortunately suffered a small crash. Chaz was not injured in the fall, and despite missing out on the final phase of track action, the Ducati rider nevertheless closed the opening session in third position, with a best of 1’42.916, two tenths of a second behind Melandri. Taking a methodical approach towards the set-up of his 1199 Panigale along with his technicians, Giugliano’s fastest lap, a 1’43.192, positioned him seventh at the session’s end.
All of the Superbike riders had more trouble in the afternoon, due to much higher track temperatures (60°C). Davide, making a step forward in the final stages, pushed hard to improve both his time and position, closing this first day of action in fifth place, thanks to a best lap completed in 1’42.896. Chaz unfortunately suffered another small crash in the early stages, probably caused by the hotter and therefore more slippery track conditions. Luckily the Ducati rider was able to return to the garage with his bike and then get back out on track soon after. Despite being unable to improve on his best time set in the morning, he was nevertheless satisfied with the bike’s performance in the tough conditions.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 5th (1’42.896)
“Today was a fairly difficult day as these extreme conditions have been putting us to the test. We worked very hard and have been trying various things. It’s not too much for a surprise that there is very little grip in these very hot conditions. But step by step we’re getting closer to those in front. We started out a little cautiously but already this afternoon we’ve improved. We need to continue to work in the same direction and focus on Sunday’s races that will undoubtedly be difficult.”
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 7th (1’42.916)
“To be honest the bike has behaved well and my feeling is generally good. We just seem to have had some issues with traction that caused me to lose the front unexpectedly on two occasions. On this track, and in these hot conditions, this is not a positive because I don’t really know where the limit is. Apart from that, the bike is working well and so I don’t want to change too much. Overall I generally feel like I can complete fast laps quite easily. We just need to work on the front end to give me more of a margin.”
Solid Opening Day For Rivamoto On Their Return To WSS
The World Supersport championship resumed in Jerez, Spain earlier today with Russian rider Vladamir Leonov returning to the action with the Rivamoto Team.
Leonov, started the season with MV Agusta and is still under contract to Yakhnich Motorsport who came to an agreement with Rivamoto for the Spanish round, and it is hoped the final two races at Magny-Cours and Losail.
For Leonov it was not only an opportunity to return to World Supersport competition but also an opportunity to sample life on a Honda for the first time, and throughout the two Free Practice sessions the team worked hard making big steps forward resulting in Vladamir completing the opening day in 18th position overall on the combined classification.
Worth noting is the fact that with the temperatures soaring into the high 30’s for FP2 Leonov and the Rivamoto Honda were one of only a handful of riders to improve their times this afternoon which bodes well for official qualifying tomorrow.
Konstantin Zotov – Rivamoto Team Manager: “We are glad to be back in the paddock. We want to work hard to show our true potential and hopefully get support to allow us to continue for the rest of the season and for next year. We are extremely pleased with our current arrangement and are happy with the improvements that Vladamir has made here so far. We are looking forward to a good remainder of the weekend and hope to make further improvements tomorrow morning before qualifying.”
Vladamir Leonov: “Today the feeling is not so bad considering the Honda is a new bike for me. Tomorrow we will try some new things to improve the feeling with the bike and the grip but overall it has been a positive day. The feeling in the team is already really good. I know the guys and we already have established a good way of working. Tomorrow we will try the best that we can to qualify strong and then have a good race on Sunday.”
Superstock 600 - San Carlo Team Italia on top during free practice in Jerez
Marco Faccani confirmed his top-contender status with the best provisional time, Andrea Tucci shows encouraging progress
Two months after the triumphant weekend in Portimão, San Carlo Team Italia further cemented its leadership in the European Superstock 600 championship in the first day of practice in Jerez de la Frontera.
In the crucial second-to-last round, championship leader Marco Faccani (Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #5) got off the best possible start, posting the best provisional time with a 1’47.454 before concentrating on race pace in FP2.
Andrea Tucci (Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #44) also evidenced positive feedback, and is currently 13th in the combined standings with a 1’49.085 posted in the morning session. The Italian confirmed his pace in the afternoon, where he was ninth, with a 1’49.335, despite the fact that average lap times were about one second slower.
After laying a good foundation, the two San Carlo Team Italia Stk600 riders will try to secure a strong position on the grid during tomorrow morning’s qualifiers. The race will start at 17:50 local time.
Marco Faccani (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #5) 1st, 1'47"454
"This is definitely a good start. We began on a positive note this morning on new tires, as I found a good pace right away while trying to get re-acquainted with the track where I raced last year in WSS. In the afternoon the grip was lower, so we focused on small modifications aimed at finding a more constant pace on used tires. I’m happy as there’s no reason not to be able to do well tomorrow. I’ll attack in qualifiers, then decide the strategy for the race".
Andrea Tucci (San Carlo Team Italia - Kawasaki ZX-6R #44) 13th, 1'49"085
"I’m hopeful after the progress shown in the afternoon. We managed to improve the setup in between sessions, making significant steps forward. Up until the final minutes in FP2 I had the fifth best time, then other riders put new tires on while we opted to save them for tomorrow’s qualifiers. I’m happy with the work we’ve done. I managed to do basically the same times in the afternoon despite a slower track, reducing the overall gap from the top. I’m confident I can come back to levels more adequate to our potential tomorrow".
Cristiano Migliorati (Direttore Sportivo - San Carlo Team Italia STK600)
"We came back on a roll. Despite the long summer break and no tests, Marco proved he’s still in top form. In the morning session, despite the fact that it was a shakedown for the whole team, he’s posted a strong lap time. In the afternoon, despite the heat and less grip, he lapped constantly in the 1’48 mark on tires more than 30 laps old. He basically took them to the distance of three races! Andrea had a more difficult start, but he quickly reduced the gap with a positive approach. We’re hopeful about tomorrow, we can chase first or second row with both riders, then discuss the best strategy for the race".
Supersport World Championship
After the summer break, with three round to go, the Supersport World Championship came back on track for the first two sessions. The 'San Carlo Talenti Azzurri FMI' representatives, Roberto Tamburini (Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #5) and Alessandro Nocco (Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R #10), riding for Puccetti Racing, showed good potential. Tamburini is ninth in the combined ranking, about a second slower than current leader van der Mark, thanks to a 1’45.488 posted in FP1. After crashing out in FP1, European Superstock 600 runner-up Nocco came back strongly in the afternoon with the tenth best time (1’45.929) of FP2, eleventh overall. The third Kawasaki fielded by Puccetti Racing, in the hands of three-times champion Kenan Sofuoglu, was second overall. The Turk found himself comfortable in his new team right away, and is only 0.527 seconds behind van der Mark with a personal best lap of 1’44.871.
Baz storms to first place on opening day
Jerez (Spain), Friday 5 September 2014 – Temperatures soared into the 30s for Free Practice 2 leaving many to think that few riders would better their times from the morning’s session. This was looking the case until the final 6 minutes when several fast laps completely changed the running order.
After topping FP1 Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) was unable to improve but with only one rider bettering the Italian’s time from this morning he remained in a solid 2nd overall.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the biggest improver, jumping from 5th to the top of the timing sheet with a lap time of 1.42.677. The Frenchman is looking confident over a number of laps at the technical Spanish circuit and on today’s performance looks set to feature highly in the races on Sunday.
Behind Baz, Melandri and Sykes there was other significant improvers namely Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who elevated himself into contention in 4th, ahead of Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and 2013 race winner Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who completed the top 6.
Chaz Davies fell from his Ducati for the second time in as many session and dropped to 7th ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) who was 10th.
In the EVO fight Team Pedercini’s Alessandro Andreozzi closed to within 1.3s of the fastest time of the day with an impressive 1.44.031, the Italian claiming a 12th place overall.
Currently the final participant in Superpole 1 is the returning from injury Imre Toth (Team Toth BMW) but with FP3 still to come tomorrow morning there is still a chance for others to make it through.
Times: 1. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'42.677 average 155.077 kph; 2. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'42.768; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'42.813; 4. Haslam (Honda) 1'42.881; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'42.896; 6. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'42.899; 7. Davies (Ducati) 1'42.916; 8. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'42.995; 9. Elias (Aprilia) 1'43.067; 10. Rea (Honda) 1'43.079; 11. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'43.204; 12. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'44.031; 13. Barrier (BMW) 1'44.343; 14. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'44.363; 15. Canepa (Ducati) 1'44.389; 16. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'44.468; 17. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'44.860; 18. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'44.919; 19. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'45.133; 20. Toth (BMW) 1'46.087; 21. May (EBR) 1'46.614; 22. Rizmayer (BMW) 1'46.657; 23. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'47.525; 24. Yates (EBR) 1'47.617.