Press releases from the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after qualifying at Phillip Island:
Rea tops red-flagged Australian Tissot-Superpole
Davies and Haslam on the front row, Sykes and Guintoli in 8th and 9th place.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) will start the opening races of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship from Pole Position after successfully edging out fellow Britons Chaz Davies (Aruba.it - Ducati Superbike Team) and Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils), who will join him on the front row.
Jonathan Rea: “It was a strange way to end the session. From my point of view we did a good job with a race tyre in the high temperatures and the Kawasaki is working very well. We made a good set-up breakthrough in FP4. I am really happy with the first Tissot-Superpole of the season because it is the best possible result from qualifying. I also wanted the chance to use the qualifying tyre, however, because I know the Kawasaki uses the Q tyres very well too. So the lap time could have been quite good. But, this is still the best possible result for me after Superpole.”
Rea’s competition was fierce as Davies and Nico Terol (Althea Racing Team Ducati), could have elevated themselves to pole and second place respectively had not the red flag come out during their quick lap attempt, due to the heavy highside suffered by David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) with four minutes to go - which drew Superpole 2 to an early close.
The Spaniard, who was thrown off his ZX-10R at turn 11, was immediately transported to the circuit’s Medical Centre and then lifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for further checks.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Terol will start from row 2 while Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing Team) completed the top 10.
The Italian rider, along with Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team Ducati) were the two riders able to qualifying to the second Superpole session. Last year’s STK1000 winner, however, was later disqualified due to using two qualifying tyres in Superpole 1 and will start the two opening races of the year from the back of the grid (24th place).
The Three-time World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss will start the two races from the 13th spot.
Cluzel grabs Australian pole after WSS qualifying
Last year’s World Supersport race winner at Phillip Island Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will start from Pole Position in the opening round of the World Supersport championship after posting a lap time in today’s qualifying session of 1.33.379s to grab the number 1 grid spot ahead of former WSS Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who will line up alongside him on the grid tomorrow.
Cluzel improved on his personal best lap in the closing stages to remain at the head of the time sheets at the end of an unpredictable 45 minutes. Cluzel’s team mate Lorenzo Zanetti will start from 3rd on his MV Agusta Reparto Corse debut.
Former Moto2 rider Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) returns to the series in a solid 4th ahead of Kyle Smith (Pata Honda WSS Team), the Englishman able to mount a serious attack on the Pole Position despite falling at Siberia Corner with 18 minutes to go. Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) will complete the second row.
Frenchman Lucas Mahias (Intermoto Kawasaki Ponyexpres) who had been right in the mix during Free Practice will start from 7th after failing to record a time because of an issue with his Kawasaki machine until the final ten minutes. Other WSS rookie Dominic Schmitter (Go Eleven Kawasaki) claimed 9th on his first ride at the iconic Phillip Island circuit and after a heavy crash earlier in the day.
Wildcard rider Aiden Wagner (Oz Wildcard Racing) continues to impress on his WSS debut, the youngster backing up his the top ten result from the tests earlier in the week, ensuring his place on the grid with the 12th fastest time.
Van der Mark fourth in Superpole debut
Michael van der Mark will start tomorrow’s two opening 2015 World Superbike championship races from the second row of the grid after setting the fourth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole at Phillip Island in Australia.
The 22-year-old World Superbike rookie from the Netherlands, who topped the timing sheets after Free Practice 4, fired his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP around the 4.445km circuit in a time of 1m31.613, 0.4s behind the pole position time of Jonathan Rea.
Like all the other riders in the second of this afternoon’s two Superpole sessions, van der Mark was unable to use his allocated Pirelli qualifying tyre after red flags brought the session to an early conclusion following a crash involving Spain’s David Salom.
Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate Sylvain Guintoli continued his adaptation to the CBR machine after missing out on much of the pre-season winter testing. The reigning world champion switched to Honda after the conclusion to last season’s championship but a big crash three weeks ago at Jerez in Spain has limited his track time.
The 32-year-old French rider is adapting his riding style to suit the different characteristics of the CBR but is also confident that a change in settings for Superpole was a step forward. His Superpole time of 1m32.446s puts him in ninth place on the grid for tomorrow’s two 22-lap first round races.
Michael van der Mark - P4, 1m31.613s
This morning was really good and we improved the lap time as well as making a really good run. I was also happy with FP4, not just because I was fastest, but because of the bike and the tyres. I was really looking forward to qualifying but I got to the first corner with the Q and the red flags came out. I really watned to finish the lap but fourth place for my debut is not too bad. Of course, you want it to come in a different way, but I think we are ready for tomorrow.
Sylvain Guintoli - P9, 1m32.446s
The bike felt much better in the Superpole laps that I did on the race tyre and the lap time was coming really easily, even though I wasn’t pushing. I need to find the right balance between aggression and speed and it’s quite different from what I’m used to. I’m working on being more efficient on the CBR and because I didn’t really get proper track time before we came here I’ve been playing catch up a bit. Of course, I’m trying to go fast but I think maybe I’m trying a bit too much and need to chill out a bit and concentrate on enjoying myself. The more frustrated I get the slower I get and, as I said before, I need to get dialled in. We made a big change for Superpole that felt good and hopefully in the warm-up tomorrow we can keep chipping away at the race pace.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Michael really improved throughout the weekend and he and his crew have already worked well on the race distance to get the bike dialled in. He seems to be fast in conditions where a lot of guys struggle. He has a really good pace and in the end this brought him fourth place on the grid in this blistering heat. That was on a race tyre of course and, for his first World Superbike race that’s a really good result. We’ve still been trying a lot of things with Sylvain, but we’ll keep working on that because we have a lot of data from a lot of years to help him get more comfortable with the bike.
Front row start for Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) in tomorrow’s opening races of the 2015 Superbike season at Phillip Island!
Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 21 February 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team took part in the first Superpole sessions of the 2015 Superbike World Championship season, which took place in very hot conditions at the Phillip Island circuit this afternoon; Chaz Davies qualified on the front row, in second place, while Troy Bayliss will line up in fourteenth position.
In the third timed practice session, and thanks to the cooler conditions, both Davies and Bayliss were able to improve significantly on yesterday’s times. Davies, already eighth after yesterday’s sessions, lowered his time a further six tenths to close in sixth (1’37.327) and qualify directly for Superpole 2. Bayliss, beginning to get into his rhythm with his Panigale R and despite that fact that he missed yesterday morning’s entire session, picked up the pace by almost one second, concluding seventeenth (1’32.529) and thus qualifying for Superpole 1.
In the early afternoon, both riders made the most of the short 30-minute free practice session, making small refinements ahead of the Superpole. Bayliss unfortunately suffered a small crash in Turn 9 towards the end of the session but was unhurt in the incident. With times in line with the increased track temperature (43°C), Davies concluded in seventh position, Bayliss twelfth.
Superpole 1: Bayliss took part in the first of the two Superpole sessions. He completed an initial lap on race rubber, thanks to which he was lying sixth with a time of 1’33.268. Back on track with the qualifying solution, the only qualifier available to him in this first session, the Australian rider put in a time of 1’32.201, which allowed him to close the session in fourth place, ensuring himself of fourteenth position on the grid for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races.
Superpole 2: as is usual, Davies also completed one lap on the race tyre, recording an already fast time of 1’31.238 and moving into second. Then, with the qualifying tyre, the Welsh rider was completing his fastest lap when unfortunately a red flag halted the session, after a serious crash for Salom. Davies' impressive lap time was therefore annulled, in accordance with the regulations but the time that he had previously set, with the race tyre, was enough to award him a place on the front row of tomorrow’s race grid, in second place.
Quotes after the day’s sessions:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 2nd (1’31.238)
“This morning we continued with our work, trying a few different options to see how the tyre reacts and I’m feeling well prepared, we haven’t had any real issues there. In qualifying, I planned to get out on the ‘Q’ as quickly as possible in order to complete my lap before any red flags could occur but I didn’t quite finish the lap in time. Anyway, a front row start is obviously a great way to start the season. We’re feeling as prepared as we can be I think, also after testing earlier this week, and I’m looking forward to racing.”
Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #21) – 14th (1’32.201)
“Today was certainly an improvement over yesterday. I’ve had time to get some good laps in and have felt a lot better on the bike. I did have a crash in the free practice, it was a big highside but I landed ok and was fortunately unhurt. I was a little disappointed to not have the chance to participate in the shoot-out but I’m still happy because I haven’t used the qualifying tyre for such a long time, and you need time to build confidence with those tyres. I’m confident that we’ll be able to make further improvement tomorrow. The high temperatures forecast for tomorrow will definitely be a factor but it’s the same for everyone so we’ll just have to see what we can do…:”
THE REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION TEAM STARTS THE SEASON FROM THE TOP SPOTS
HASLAM ON THE FRONT ROW AND TORRES ON THE THIRD FOR THE APRILIA RSV4
Phillip Island (Australia), 21 Feb 15 - A virtually non existent Superpole placed the Aprilia RSV4s ridden by Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres respectively on the first and third row of the starting grid for tomorrow's races which will launch the 2015 World Superbike Championship on the Australian track.
After two days of testing where the Aprilia Racing-Red Devils riders were consistently among the top contenders - yesterday they finished the final session in first and second place - the Italian team was preparing to battle for the top spots.
A crash by Jordi Torres during the morning sessions forced the young Spaniard to skip almost the entire free practice session but he was ready for Superpole. Haslam, on the other hand, was consistently strong in the morning with the third best time.
When Superpole started all the big names took to the track with race tyres, ready to mount their qualifiers at the last minute. But an accident involving David Salom convinced race marshals to first suspend and then cancel the session. At that point they validated the times from the first few minutes, when no one thought they were fighting for positions on the grid yet. Haslam, consistently fast anyway, found himself with the third best time and a spot on the front row, which is definitely a good result.
Jordi Torres gave it his all, with times that were consistently up there with the front runners throughout the Australian weekend in practice sessions to make everyone forget that this is his absolute début with both the bike and in World Superbike. The third row, earned with the seventh best time, is an excellent placement to start from in his new adventure with Aprilia Racing-Red Devils.
Leon Haslam: "Superpole is all about getting used to the flying lap quickly. All the work on the race tyre doesn't count for much, so using one to take the third best time is a good sign. I'm sorry about David's bad accident. Fortunately I heard that he is conscious and moving. For the race we have made some progress, especially improving in the third sector. I'm sure the high temperatures will force us to change a lot in terms of setup, but my team has been working very well and I'm confident. The conditions will be the same for everyone in any case, and I'm pleased with my race pace. Tomorrow should be fun."
Jordi Torres: "This morning we did a good job and we were fast. Maybe in the last free practice I should have taken a few less risks. I actually still need to better understand how the rear tyre slides. The slide that made me crash took me completely by surprise and I didn't have time to react, most likely because we are still in the first round and I don't have the right feeling yet with the bike, but I'm getting there. Obviously I was banking on Superpole to improve, in spite of the fact that I still have never tried the qualifier tyre. Looking toward tomorrow I'll be expecting two hard races in this heat, but I have a good race pace and if I'm able to build some more confidence and look after my tyres we'll be able to set our sights on a good result."
Second row start to the season for Lowes and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes secured fifth place at the Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit today during the inaugural World Superbike Superpole of 2015.
Setting a 1’32.042 on race rubber on his first timed-lap, the British racer was denied the chance to compete on qualifying tyres due to a red flag and subsequent early termination of the session. A steady start to the day had seen Lowes improve on his positions finishing 8th and 4th respectively in the final free practices before a dramatic high-speed crash in the closing minutes of Saturday’s only non-timed session saw Lowes revert to his spare GSX-R1000 for the Superpole qualifying.
Randy de Puniet’s instruction in the Superbike class continued with an ever-improving performance aboard his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki, matching his Friday best with a 1’31.885 in Superpole’s hotter conditions. His advancement to Superpole 2 should have been an inevitability, however the opportunity was lost due to a late-discovered rule-infringement from a competitor demoting him to third in the session, and forcing the Frenchman to start his first World SBK race from 12th.
As the Australian sunshine scorched the asphalt to an ever-rising 58°C, Kawasaki rookie Jonathan Rea claimed the pole position from the red flag.
An evening of preparation awaits the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki squad at the Victoria circuit, ahead of the opening races of the 2015 eni FIM Superbike World Championship season scheduled for 12:00hrs local time (01:00GMT) and 14:40hrs (03:40GMT) tomorrow.
“Not as easy today, but we’ve still ended up in a good grid position. I made a mistake in the warmer temperatures in FP4 and tucked the front at turn one and enjoyed a 200kph body-slide but I’m 100% ok, and have to say a big thanks to the guys at RST for making me such strong leathers - the bike wasn’t as lucky! The boys did a great job getting the spare bike set up for Superpole but it was the first time I’d ever ridden it and didn’t go as fast as I would have liked on the race tyres but needed to play my way back into it after the crash. The target for tonight is to see how we can improve the GSX-R for today’s hot conditions which have completely changed the character of the track. Thanks to all the team for doing a great job, whatever the conditions tomorrow I’ll be giving it everything and looking for two really good finishes.”
Randy de Puniet:
“Not an easy day, but we worked well to adjust the bike and FP4 was really good, I had a good pace but I knew for me that Superpole would be difficult because I struggle with my injuries to push for a one-time attack, needing some time to warm up on the GSX-R. I should have been able to move into Superpole 2 but one rider in front of me used two qualifying tyres, unfortunately they did not discover this until later so I finished in third and was out and I am disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to go out again in Superpole 2. I will start the race in 12th, it’s not the best place to start but I hope to feel good, I just need to wait for two or three laps to feel good on the bike and hope that I don’t lose too many positions, can stay with the group and keep a good rhythm. It will be two difficult races tomorrow for me but I am here which is the most important thing, and I will try to take as many points as I can.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The Australian summer has hit Phillip Island today and whilst the blue skies are great for the surf beaches, for us it’s created some challenges to achieve the same level of performance that the GSX-R was capable of when it was slightly cooler. The team will be looking at ways to give the bike back some of its front grip and to help the riders have a slightly easier job.
“Alex made his first very small error in a long time, he never does it by halves and chose probably the fastest corner in motorcycle racing to do it, but we are just so glad that he is 100%, which is the most important thing. Considering the crash the qualifying position of fifth is fair and gives us a good chance to get involved with the front group tomorrow.
“Randy’s condition is still far from perfect, Chris Vermeulen just told him he looks 64 rather than 34 and I’m not sure that helped but it’s certainly true! However, he has improved again today, back in the 31’s even in the hotter temperatures, which was good for fifth position in FP4, but he got unlucky in Superpole. He should have been put through to Superpole 2 but one of our competitors broke regulations and used two qualifying tyres in the first session so it didn’t happen. The target for Randy tomorrow is to finish the races in as good a position as we possibly can, hopefully the rear tyre life of the bike will help us, along with his experience, to grind out two decent results.”
FOURTH ON THE GRID FOR GINO
Sat, 21 Feb 2015
CIA LANDLORDS INSURANCE HONDA’S Gino Rea will start the first round of the 2015 World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island in Australia from the head of the second row in fourth place.
Leaving his best lap until the very end, he was frustrated not to make the front row. Gino said: “Lap time wise I am happy to close to 0.2seconds off the leader. Position wise I was chasing the front row and it is frustrating as we had the potential to achieve it.
“I did not get the session together the way I wanted and wasted the tyre. To get the best out of the Pirellis you need to make the time in the first two or three laps. I did my best lap time on the eighth lap that is a good sign for the race. Overall I am happy but we will keep working to make another step improvement tomorrow.”
Riccardo Russo climbed the time sheets to 10th place to head the fourth row, with Martin Cardenas improving to 14th. Kieran Clarke, on his comeback after a long lay off, took a decent 21st after crashing in the morning session.
There is a morning warm up session before race the starts at 1310 local time on Sunday 22nd February.
CIA Landlords Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Gino is a bit disappointed. In all three runs he never had a clear lap. He did his best time on lap eight of a tyre and that shows we are in the hunt to challenge for a win in the race. Bearing in mind he is not 100% fit, he has done a good job.
“Ricky is also disappointed as he wanted to be higher up the grid. He recovered from a tough day yesterday and is now ready to challenge deep inside the top 10 in the race.
“Martin is in the 1m34seconds laps for the first time. He is right there with a group of riders very close together and along with Ricky can challenge for the top 10.
“Kieran lost some confidence after a crash this morning so did well to nearly match his best lap time this afternoon. He will use the race to build more confidence and improve as the season goes on.”
Smith on second row for Supersport debut
Kyle Smith will start his first World Supersport championship race from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in the final qualifying session for tomorrow’s first round of the 2015 season at Phillip Island in Australia.
The 23-year-old British rider continued to make progress with his Pata Honda CBR600RR machine and was well-placed in the qualifying session this afternoon before crashing unhurt on the exit of turn six at the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit.
Smith managed to bring his machine back to the box with enough time remaining in the session for his Pata Honda crew to fix the bike and send him out with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
He was able to put thoughts of the crash behind him and improve his time but not his position, setting a time of 1m33.977s, 0.5s behind the pole time of French rider Jules Cluzel.
Kyle Smith - P5, 1m33.977s
I’m really, really happy to take a second row start in my first World Supersport qualifying session. I’ve had some pretty good results in the past from the second row but I think this morning actually went better than this afternoon. I pushed a little bit too hard in qualifying and had a crash. I managed to get back on and went a bit better when the guys fixed the bike, but I think I was trying a bit too hard. But, that happens sometimes and all in all I’m feeling really good. We’ve got a little trouble with tyre life which we’ll work on some more tomorrow, but this track has always thrown up tyre problems. I’m quite aggressive on the throttle and like to spin the rear but that really doesn’t help here, so I need to work on that. I’ll try to get a good start and be smooth a nd concentrate on not wearing that tyre out before the end of the race.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Kyle continued with his good pace today and did a good run this morning. We still need to work to get more life out of the tyres, but he did a 33.6 this morning. This afternoon he had a small crash but was OK and did a 33.9 for fifth on the grid. Considering this his is very first weekend at Phillip Island and his first on the World Supersport CBR, I think he’s done a really good job and he can be battling for a podium position tomorrow.
Rea Starts Kawasaki Career With Superpole Win At PI
2015 season Kawasaki Racing Team signing Jonathan Rea took his Ninja ZX-10R to pole position after Superpole 2 was cut short by a red flag incident, meaning Rea scored his first Kawasaki Superpole win at the first attempt. Tom Sykes (KRT) was unlucky to not have a real chance to set a fast lap early on because the second Superpole session would not run its full course.
Rea set his pole lap on a race tyre and like the rest of the main riders was set to make another lap on a qualifying tyre. After David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) suffered a fast and hard highside crash the Superpole 2 session was red-flagged and eventually not restarted, leaving Rea on pole and in the perfect starting place for Sunday’s two 22-lap races. Salom underwent medical checks at the circuit after his crash and has not suffered serious injuries.
Sykes was left disappointed to not have the chance to set a fast lap of his own as he was preparing to go for his ultimate lap time when the red flags came out. Because the session was not restarted to run its full planned 15-minute duration he is now faced with a third row start on Sunday. Tom was particularly disappointed because he had realistic ambitions of being on the front row after finishing second in the free practice session that precedes Superpole.
The 4.445km long Phillip Island circuit is expected to offer its usual tough challenge to all comers on Sunday, especially as temperatures are expected to be hot and the track temperatures correspondingly high.
Jonathan Rea: “It was a strange way to end the session. From my point of view we did a good job with a race tyre in the high temperatures and the Kawasaki is working very well. We made a good set-up breakthrough in free practice four. I am really happy with pole position because it is the best possible result from qualifying. I also wanted the chance to use the qualifying tyre, however, because I know the Kawasaki uses the Q tyres very well too. So the lap time could have been quite good. But, this is still the best possible result for me after Superpole.”
Tom Sykes: “I feel very strong for the two races tomorrow but starting from this position on the third row of grid is obviously not what we wanted. I do not know about having a second chance to set a good time, it was just having a chance. I am a little bit speechless. I saw David have a very, very big crash and my first thoughts were with him but the final grid order is completely mixed up because everybody was building up to use a qualifying tyre. I am on the third row and this gives us a lot more work to do on our tyres. We will do the best we can tomorrow now.”
The heavy crash experienced by David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) looked severe but David was conscious afterwards, talking, moving his limbs and not seriously injured – although heavily beaten up in the trackside gravel.
He qualified an eventual 11th, having made it into Superpole 2 directly, after ending combined qualifying eighth quickest earlier in the day.
Local wildcard rider Jed Metcher had the honour of qualifying in front of Aussie legend Troy Bayliss before Superpole, taking his Race Centre – Demolition Plus Ninja ZX-10R to 16th at that stage, and the ending up 15th on the grid after Superpole’s final qualifying results were declared.
Front Row Placing For Sofuoglu At A Hot Phillip Island
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R rider Kenan Sofuoglu secured second place on the starting grid for tomorrow’s 18-lap WSS race at Phillip Island, with a lap of 1’33.521. His team-mate Marco Faccani was 15th.
In hot conditions at the 4.445km circuit, and with track temperatures reaching 59°C, Sofuoglu worked hard in the single qualifying session, taking a desired front row starting position and declaring himself ready to race on Sunday. He was only 0.142 seconds from the rider in front.
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) was seventh on his Ninja ZX-6R while Switzerland’s Dominic Schmitter (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki) placed ninth on the grid for the first round of the new season.
PJ Jacobsen, Mahias’s team-mate, qualified in 13th place and Faccani was disappointed to be 15th, after some impressive testing performances.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “This is a satisfying qualifying result, on the first row, especially after some issues we had last night and again this morning. We achieved a good lap time and we tried out best. The team worked very hard. Tomorrow’s race should be held in very warm conditions, which will make it a very difficult race for everybody. Of course race day is my day and I think the tyres will be the main point to focus on. If we can manage the tyres well then I think we can win the race.”
Marco Faccani: “We have tried a lot of solutions on the bike to save the tyre but we need to keep working on that. There was not a lot of grip in the heat and I have a lot of chatter entering the corners. We have to choose the best solution for us to finish the race in a good way. Some of the riders in front are faster over one lap but I never had a tow from any other rider; I always rode on my own. Our race pace is good in a long run.”
UNUSUAL SUPERPOLE AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island - 21 February 2015 – Superpole: Second row for Nico Terol with the sixth fasatest time and fourth row for Matteo Baiocco who rounds out the top ten.
Superpole 2 interrupted by a red flag resulting from a serious crash for David Salom (Team Pedercini), which invalidated all of the riders’ laps made with qualifying tyres. In the race Nico Terol will line up on the second row with the sixth time, while Matteo Baiocco will open row four with the tenth time.
A great job by the Tteam Althea Rcaing riders who continued to make progress right from the first session on Friday, working consistently on race pace, trying different tyres and various solutions to try and find the best possible setting for the races. Nico Terol was immediately able to get to grips with the Superbike World Championship that is totally new for him. Constantly close to the top of the timesheets, Nico is using his experience and his technical and sporting ability, recording consistently fast times and closed the third timed practice session in third position. Matteo Baiocco who had a few more difficulties adapting to this new championship, demonstrated session after session that he is building confidence with the bike and with the track, gradually progressing and qualifying for Superpole 1 with the thirteenth fastest time (1’32.156).
Superpole 1 was interpreted well by Matteo, who used the qualifying tyre to iuts full potential. Completing a perfect lap (1’31.639) that moved him up into first place, he gained entry to the second Superpole, proving he is on the right track towards building confidence and facing his first race with the right rhythm and a touch of extra trust that he still missing.
Superpole 2 was interrupted before the end due to a serious accident for David Salom at the ‘Swan’ turn, the fast corner before the straight, and as a result the red flag was waved while riders were completing their fast lap. At the time of the forced stop, Nico was lapping in second position while Matteo was in hypothetical sixth. Positive signs that prove that Team Althea are growing lap after lap and quickly gaining confidence. The Superpole thus ended like this: sixth fastest time, and second row, for Nico Terol and tenth fastest time, and fourth row, for Matteo Baiocco.
Comments at the end of the day:
Nico Terol: “I’m pleased because we have done and are doing a great job. I’m getting on great with the Ducati Panigale R, I made a fast lap with the qualifying tyre and although I made some small mistakes I was very fast. When I saw the red flag along the straight due to Salom’s crash I knew that my lap wouldn’t be valid but I’m happy anyway. The team’s work on the bike has been fantastic, we’re making rapid progress, I’m continuing to build confidence and the second row is very positive anyway. Two races in one day will be new for me, let’s see how we go tomorrow, but I’m confident because we’re working in the right direction.”
Matteo Baiocco: “I had a few issues during the qualifying sessions, but I was able to improve lap after lap anyway. We still have a lot to do, I’m lacking some experience but I’m optimistic. We’re making small steps forward and I’m pleased to start in the top ten. I made a great Superpole 1, I had good feeling, I made a good lap that allowed me to enter Superpole 2. It was a pity about the interruption while we were all on our fast laps., I was going well and am sure I could have improved further. That’s ok anyway, we’ll start from row four and can make two good races I think.”