2016 Chang Thailand WSBK Friday Post Practice Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and the teams after the first day of practice for the Thai round of World Superbikes at the Chang circuit:

WorldSBK: Van Der Mark tops Thai Friday

Dutch Honda rider leads the sprint to Superpole in Buriram

A fastest lap of 1'34.770 saw Honda WorldSBK Team's Michael Van Der Mark go quickest on the first day of the MOTUL Thai Round at Chang International Circuit in Buriram. Second fastest was Pata Yamaha's Sylvain Guintoli, followed by Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres completing the top three.

This morning's session saw Leon Camier go quickest on his MV Agusta as a flurry of lap times came in at the end of FP1, and the British rider posted a 1’36.047 effort to go just under three tenths of a second quicker than Nicky Hayden (Honda WorldSBK Team) and World Championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), followed by the second respective Honda and Kawasaki riders, Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes.

FP2 saw times tumble at the top of the table and a rush of activity towards the end of the session. With Sykes topping the timesheets around a quarter of the way in with a lap down into the 1’35 bracket, the Kawasaki Racing Team riders initially set a 1-2 in the session ahead of Chaz Davies’ Ducati in P3.

Van Der Mark then became the first to post a lap under 1’35 and the time proved good enough to stay at the top of the timesheets until the end of the session, with Yamaha’s Guintoli the only rider to come within two tenths of the Honda rider’s lap, 0.182 seconds off. Spaniard Jordi Torres set a late charge for P3, the Althea BMW rider recovering from his elbow injury in testing to rejoin the fight at the front, just ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes.

The top ten from Friday gain automatic entry to Tissot-Superpole 2 on Saturday, with the qualifying sessions then deciding the final grid positions for both races. Lights go out at 4pm local time (9am GMT) on Saturday for the first WorldSBK race of the weekend as Jonathan Rea looks to try and tackle the challenge of becoming the first rider since 2003 to win the opening four races of the season.

Rea And Sykes Fifth And Seventh After First Day In Thailand

FIM Superbike World Championship riders for KRT, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, made their first laps around the Chang International Circuit in Buriram today aboard their new Ninja ZX-10R machines. On a track surface which proved inconsistent in places they placed fifth and seventh respectively after the first two qualifying sessions, being more concerned with race preparations in hot conditions than going for a fast time.

Under the new rules for the 2016 season they now have just one more 15-minute session before Superpole 2 qualifying starts, and then race one is scheduled at 16.00 hrs local time on Saturday 12th March.

With this new schedule in mind all preparations were on evaluating tyre choices and machine set-up, to face the first of two 20-lap WSBK races in what should again be high track and air temperatures.

After track resurfacing work had been carried our recently there were three patched sections of track that proved to be more slippery than the rest, making for a reduction in pace relative to last year for all riders and modifying some aspects of pre-race planning.

Rea concentrated his efforts on building for the races in three long stints. He even sat out the first 40 minutes or so of the first session as track conditions were so inconsistent.

Sykes used some of his two hours of track time evaluate a few set-up items in preparation for the first race on Saturday and declared himself pleased with the outcome of this strategy.

Jonathan Rea stated: “I made three long runs today and no in-outs. The difficult part about today is that the tarmac is so dirty in some areas. I am happy we did almost a full race simulation but I had to come back to the pits with four laps to go, which was not ideal. Aside from the grip level I am enjoying riding here, the circuit layout and just being back here. Last year the bike set up we brought from Phillip Island we did not have to change so much in Thailand. It seems that although the track is completely different here, the Phillip Island settings work quite well again. We have gone a little softer today to try and find grip in the slippy conditions but as more rubber goes down on the track it is going to get faster and faster. It is easy to get lost so we will be patient and check the conditions again in the first practice session tomorrow.”

Tom Sykes stated: “We have quite a good set-up. We were just trying two or three things in the last part of the second session and sacrificed lap time for this. Now our questions have been answered for tomorrow so we know where to go on the set-up and then we need to focus on pace. In the last ten minutes we kept the same tyre on the bike and tried some new things. We can go to sleep and know with 98% certainty what bike set-up we will go with in the race tomorrow.”

Sylvain Barrier (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was next best Kawasaki qualifier, in 15th place. Go Eleven Kawasaki rider Roman Ramos was 17th with Pedercini Racing Kawasaki rider Saeed Al Sulaiti 21st from 25 riders.

Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano in 8th and 9th position respectively after day one in Buriram

After taking two podiums in the season opener in Australia, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team headed to Thailand for round two of the WorldSBK championship. During the first two free-practice sessions, Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano had to deal not only with the typical hot conditions (35 degrees in the air, 45 on the track surface), but also with scarce grip on the tarmac, especially in the morning session. However, both Davies and Giugliano managed to make significant strides throughout the day.

Davies took eighth place in the provisional standings, 0.832 seconds behind current leader Michael Vd Mark (who posted a best lap of 1:34.629). Giugliano closed the opening day right behind his teammate, in ninth position (+0.850). Both riders are within less than three tenths of a second from virtual first row and gained direct access to Superpole 2, which will start at 13:55 local time (CET +6) in anticipation of Race One at 16:00.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 1:35.461 (8th)

“This morning the track was really slippery, especially in the re-surfaced areas, so I didn’t want to take any risks. In the afternoon, we managed to improve our lap times significantly right away, but we still have work to do on the setup and honestly I didn't ride at my best. Tomorrow’s FP3 will be crucial to make a few adjustments, and we have some ideas for this purpose. There’s not much track time available before Superpole, but it should be enough to understand our potential, and we’re not too far from the frontrunners anyway.”

Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #34) – 1:35.479 (9th)

“It’s still early to make evaluations, but overall I’m happy with my progression, especially considering that I’ve never raced on this track, which theoretically shouldn’t be among the most favorable ones for us. During FP2, I had a small issue with the gearbox and I wasn’t able to brake as precisely as I would have liked, but I still managed to clock laps in the 1:35 mark on used tyres. In terms of pace, we’re more competitive than what it would appear on a single lap. Still, during tomorrow’s Superpole, I’ll try to get that in the bag as well in order to make the most of any opportunities during the race.”

Althea Racing’s BMW S 1000 RR bikes power into Superpole 2 at the Chang track

Buri Ram (Thailand), Friday 11 March 2016

The second round of WorldSBK got underway today in Buri Ram, at the Chang circuit, with the first two timed practice sessions, each an hour in length, valid for qualifying.

The riders of the Althea BMW Racing Team first had to deal with the oppressive heat (29°C) that, despite a light wind and with an air temperature 10°C lower than yesterday, never let up.

The track proved tricky with certain sections having been resurfaced in recent days, causing all riders to suffer from a lack of grip.

During the morning’s session, Markus Reiterberger completed 25 laps, working on the setting of his BMW S 1000 RR and recording a best of 1’37.197 that placed him eleventh.

Jordi Torres was unable to make the most of the hour as he suffered a crash when he hit the kerb at turn 1 in the first part of the session. Completing only 16 laps as a result, the Spaniard closed the session in eighteenth place but was, luckily, unhurt in the incident. The plucky rider was quick to react in the afternoon session and, once the engineers and technicians had worked hard on the bike, the BMW S 1000 RR with no. 81 projected itself into third place (1’35.217, just 588 thousandths of a second from the leader), gaining entry into Superpole 2 as a result.

In the second session, Markus Reiterberger improved on his morning’s best time by almost two tenths, closing with a satisfactory tenth position. The German will also compete in tomorrow’s Superpole 2 alongside his teammate, as they strive to set the fastest possible time and climb the grid.

Jordi Torres

“This morning the track was very dirty, as if no-one’s ridden it for a long while. I touched the outside kerb at turn 1 and crashed on the third lap, something I didn’t expect and, although I didn’t hurt myself it meant I lost some time. The mechanics worked hard and did a perfect job, in fact in the second session we were able to record the third fastest time. I’m pleased, although this is not a clear reference because the two new sections of asphalt are preventing me from keeping a constant pace and from being precise. We’re on the right track thanks to my mechanics’ hard work, but we have more to do.”

Markus Reiterberger

“The two sessions didn’t go badly, we’ve qualified for Superpole 2 and this is good but I’m not pleased with tenth place and would have preferred to be higher up. At the start of the session I was in fourth and then fifth and this would have been a better result. We’re only about 8 tenths from the front however, which means we’re fairly close. I felt good on the bike today but it’s the first time I’m riding in hot conditions like this and I’m not used to it.”

Genesio Bevilacqua

“I have to say that, after round 1 at Phillip Island where we took steps to prepare as well as possible, here we have started to see a glimmer. Both riders have behaved very naturally, deepening their knowledge of the bike by completing long runs. The bike was not in the best condition but the initial indications have proved positive. With both Torres and Reiterberger we immediately tried to keep pace with the frontrunners. Torres was able to do so, but I’m very pleased with both of them. The team has really worked well, but there is still a great deal to do; we’ll see what happens tomorrow in Superpole but I have a feeling we’re on the right track.”

Van der Mark heads WorldSBK field on day one in Thailand

Round 2 – Thailand

Chang International Circuit, Thailand

The first day of action for round two of the 2016 FIM Superbike World Championship has drawn to a close at Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the Honda WorldSBK Team. At the end of Friday’s two free practice sessions, Michael van der Mark sat on top of the timesheets, while Nicky Hayden claimed a very encouraging sixth place in what was his very first day of riding at the Thai venue. Both riders will spearhead Honda’s attack for pole position tomorrow directly from Superpole 2.

Michael van der Mark took a safe approach to the morning session, given the less-than-ideal conditions of the track. As free practice one progressed and the asphalt gained more grip and cleaned up, the 23-year-old Dutchman got up to speed aboard his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, eventually ending up fourth. In the afternoon, the 2014 WorldSSP Champion and his crew managed to make an important step forward in terms of bike setup, which translated in the first place in the combined times courtesy of an impressive 1’34.629s lap-time.

Nicky Hayden spent most of the first part of the morning session learning his way around the circuit. He and the team were able to immediately find a good base set-up for his Fireblade machine as the American elevated himself to second place; a result that could have been even better without a small mistake at the last turn, during his final attempt before the chequered flag. Despite a small technical problem encountered in free practice two, Hayden was able to bounce back in the final stages of the session to claim sixth place.

After a 15-minute third free practice session scheduled at 10:45 local time (GMT+7), the second round Superpole 2 and race one will get underway at 13:55 and 16:00, respectively.

Michael van der Mark 60

1st / 1'34.629

I’m very happy with how today has been. In the morning, the track was quite dirty so I decided not to take any unnecessary risks at the beginning. It was almost impossible to be consistent given the conditions, but obviously it was the same for everyone. In the end I was able to make up some positions, although the result was not exactly what I was looking for. We made a lot of changes to the bike before the afternoon and from the first moment I felt much more comfortable. Later on, we made another big change that turned out to be a good one and then the fast laps started to come. With some small further adjustments, we were able to move up to first place on the final lap and that was it. As I said I’m really happy and looking forward to tomorrow morning; we will use this little time to focus more on our race pace.

Nicky Hayden 69

6th / 1'35.344

This morning, the track was a bit dirty but it is something that happens at venues where there isn’t constant racing going on throughout the year. We got up to speed fairly quick and kept improving throughout the session but a small mistake on the last lap did not allow me to take first place. In the afternoon we kept the used tyres from the previous session on, trying to get a few laps in and see how I’d feel. As the session went on we went for new tyres. Obviously I’m a little disappointed for that small mistake in the morning and even this afternoon I’d have hoped to make an even bigger step forward, but things were generally pretty smooth. We just had a small problem with a sensor on the bike that cost us a little bit of time, but overall to be sixth at a brand new track cannot be considered a poor result. We got what we wanted, we’re in Superpole 2 and now it’s all about keeping on improving, qualifying well and to be ready for the races.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

Michael had an impressive day today, especially in the second session. In the morning he did not really push because of track conditions, but as the asphalt cleaned up and got more grip he started to get up to speed. We didn’t do anything too clever with the bike setup, just normal adjustments that proved to be very effective. He was very quick, especially in the last sector and that is a very good sign, if we think of the difficulties we encountered here a year ago. Nicky had a great start this morning and in the afternoon we managed to work on the bike a bit more, in terms of gearing and geometries. A sixth place is definitely a positive result and we have some good ideas to improve more tomorrow. We will also compare the data coming from Michael’s side, which surely will help. It has been a great start to the weekend; now we need to build upon these performances and get ready for race action.

Guintoli and Lowes Turn Up the Heat for Pata Yamaha in Thailand

Free practice

Sylvain Guintoli and Alex Lowes claimed second and fourth positions respectively for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team at a hot and humid Chang International Circuit this afternoon. Securing their direct qualification into tomorrow's Superpole 2, Guintoli and Lowes put on a confident display as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returned to Buriram for round two's opening free practice action.

With the track newly resurfaced, both Yamaha riders began the first session carefully, evaluating the conditions on their respective YZF-R1's. The Frenchman completed the morning in seventh, his best lap a 1'36.884, while his British teammate's 1'36.994 followed closely behind in ninth.

As the track temperatures soared to 45°C, the afternoon's times tumbled. Lowes hit the mark early in the second session jumping to second with his first fast lap and holding fifth for the opening 20 minutes. At the half way point Guintoli advanced his time to 1'36.0 to take a top-five position. The final minutes of the afternoon proved even more fruitful for the Yamaha riders; Lowes' fastest lap - 1'35.224 - saw him eventually close the session in fourth, while Guintoli became one of only two riders to break the 1'35 barrier, securing second with a 1'34.811 on his final quick lap.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team returns to Buriram at 10:45hrs local time tomorrow for the final 15 minutes of free practice ahead of Superpole qualifying and the first race of the weekend at 16:00hrs local time.

Sylvain Guintoli

2nd / 1'34.811 / 35 laps

"It's been a good first day here at Chang International! We progressed a lot from this morning, so to progress so much in so little time is really positive. The race rhythm is good, as is the pace on one lap, so we will just carry on working as we are this weekend. To be P2 straight away, for us on a new track where we have only had two sessions, is very positive. We will take the base point from there and just continue having fun, as I really love this track!"

Alex Lowes

4th / 1'35.224 / 43 laps

"The grip on the track was really low this morning, and it feels a lot different from last year, so today was really about learning a new circuit with the new bike. We've completed plenty of laps without really needing to change the YZF-R1 that much, so after the two sessions it feels pretty good. I'm hoping to make a good step forward tomorrow, mainly with the feeling in the front, but we're already in Superpole 2 so we'll see what we can do tomorrow to qualify well for the afternoon's race."

Paul Denning – Team Principal

"It's been a very interesting day's work here at the Chang International Circuit and despite the sweltering temperatures it's a real pleasure to be back at such a well organised event and at a great facility. Some sections of the circuit have been resurfaced since last year and, I imagine through lack of use, were like ice in FP1 this morning. Gradually though the grip has come back in to the surface and the riders could start to get through a normal programme.

"With Sylvain and Alex in second and fourth places respectively going in to Superpole, we've probably been more competitive than expected but it's great to see that the YZF-R1 can work well in this temperature, and at a completely different character of race track compared to Phillip Island. Lap time is one thing, racing is another but it's been a solid start to the weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can achieve tomorrow."

Free Practice1 & 2 report –2016 World Superbikes Round2

Chang International Circuit, Friday March 11th

Josh Brookes:

FP1 – 1’37.509

FP2 – 1’35.504

“I’ve learned the track quickly but it was very slippy this morning because of the recent repairs to the track. The lap times were about five seconds slower than last year, so there wasn’t much I could do in FP1 except wait for the track to rubber in.

We still have some trouble with the electronics parameters which we had in Phillip Island, so we’ve been trying variations of those. The brakes are playing up a bit too, because of the heat and the long braking zones.

We’re making some small suspension changes too, but the focus is still on electronics and getting those to work together with the other changes we make. The team are trying a few different things on the bike, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if they make a difference.”

Karel Abraham:

FP1– 1’37.727

FP2 – 1’36.201

“We’ve made progress on the set up, but in both sessions we had some technical problems that cost us quite a lot of track time. I still managed a good lap time though, and like Phillip Island we are aiming for good consistency.

It’s only a short free practice before Superpole tomorrow, so we have to work really hard to get to a level where we can make good progress.

For tomorrow’spractice the aim will be to improve my time, so if I can make P12 then it will mean Superpole 2, and that would be a good step forward. Everyone else will be pushing hard, but I believe we can get quicker lap times for sure.”

De Angelis and Savadori will start from Superpole 1 in Thailand

Buriram, 11 March 2016 - The first day of the second Superbike weekend for Iodaracing Team ended after the two free practice sessions carried out on the circuit Buriram in Thailand. The riders Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Salvadori, are continuing their apprenticeship in the premier class of the derived series bikes after the Phillip Island debut. Both riders had never ridden before on the Thai circuit that presented to them in very difficult conditions for the heat and the slippery asphalt.

In the first free practice session of the morning, both De Angelis Savadori, have focused on learning the track. Unfortunately, some technical problems have slowed De Angelis and for this reason he lost much of the session waiting at the pit box. Savadori and De Angelis have closed the first free practice session, respectively, with the 19th (1.38.881) and 16 th lap time (1.37.981). For the records, the best maximum speed of the session in 300.8 km/h, was scored from Lorenzo Salvadori.

During the second free practice session, Lorenzo Savadori had a technical problem with his RSV4RF, for which he could not use it into much of the time available, than Alex De Angelis tried to recover the lost time in the first practice session, but he had to back into the pits for a new issue to his Aprilia. After the last round of tests, the two Iodaracing riders have improved their references. Alex De Angelis clocked 1.37.203 (18th time) while Lorenzo Savadori stopped the clock in 1.37.327 (19th time).

Both Alex De Angelis and Lorenzo Savadori after the free practice session of tomorrow, will face the Superpole 1 to trying to improve their lap times and thus to get a better place on the grid ahead of Race 1.

ALEX DE ANGELIS # 15 - 18th - 1.37.203 - "I was unlucky because this morning, just out of the box I had a problem with the bike that made me lose a lot of time. In the second session the bike was suddenly struck dumb making me lose more than 40 minutes of testing. It's an uphill beginning because I would need to run a lot to get to grips with the track and the bike also given the lack of winter testing. Tomorrow I hope to have a better day. "

LORENZO SAVADORI # 32 - 19th - 1.37.327 - "Pity about the problem that stopped me in the second free practice. I like the track a lot, but I need to ride to improve. Tomorrow I will do my best in the last free practice before Superpole 1 trying to recover in the lap time. In the first session today I was able to run well enough, but the track was not in top condition. There was very dirty and the sweltering heat I did not help me to ride as I wanted . I lack experience in these conditions on this track, I have to take advantage of every output at best. "

WorldSSP: Wildcard Wilairot fastest on Friday

Local rider Ratthapong Wilairot tops combined times on the way to Tissot-Superpole session

Wildcard Thai rider Ratthapong Wilairot locked out the top of the timesheets on Friday in Buriram to outpace reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu and rival Jules Cluzel.

In FP1, Championship leader Randy Krummenacher was the only rider to pass through the 1’40 barrier, while local fans were delighted to see wildcard rider Ratthapong Wilairot (A.P. Honda Racing Thailand) inside the top three and ahead of PJ Jacobsen (Honda World Supersport Team).

Krummenacher’s teammate and reigning World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu started quietly in 13th position, before the Turkish rider took the top spot back for much of the afternoon as he improved to a 1'39.565. Thai wildcard entry Ratthapong Wilairot, who scored a top 5 last year in Buriram and whose brother Ratthapark won the WorldSSP race on home soil last year, then improved his lap time in the dying minutes to go fastest overall with a 1'39.435.

MV Agusta's Jules Cluzel improved on a challenging FP1 to go third fastest on combined times, with the Frenchman hoping for a good points haul in Thailand after a difficult race in Australia. He begins the Motul Thai Round in the same position as Sofuoglu, with both rival riders yet to score despite both having shown great pace.

The top ten from Friday’s times go through to the Tissot-Superpole 2 session to fight for the top grid spots on Saturday ahead of the WorldSSP race on Sunday, with lights out for the second race of the year at 14:20 local time (7:20am GMT).

Positive start at Chang for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda

Fri, 11 Mar 2016

Top ten positions following Friday’s free practice 2 at the Thai round of the World Supersport Championship mean that CIA Landlord Insurance Honda riders Kyle Smith and Luke Stapleford go through to the Tissot Superpole 2 to fight for the top grid spots tomorrow.

Kyle in 6th position said: “It’s been a positive day. I didn’t find it too difficult to achieve the lap times, the race runs have been consistent and, even though we are a bit off the lap times of last year because of some track re-surfacing, the position is good overall. I am more comfortable on the tyre further into the race distance run than when the tyre is new but we will work on that for tomorrow. I am looking forward to the race.”

Luke very quickly got used to the circuit finishing in 10th position and will be looking for more improvement in SP2 tomorrow. Hikari Okubo experienced some discomfort from the injury to his hand he sustained in Phillip Island finishing in 17th. Despite this he is improving all the time and could have a realistic chance of getting into SP2. Stefan Hill’s times were improving throughout the sessions and he is closing the gap to the pole time considerably. Currently 23rd, Stefan will be aiming to qualify in the top twenty in SP1 tomorrow.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “We are in a good position after today with both Kyle and Luke in SP2. This is a big improvement from the last round which, of course, we were all expecting. Kyle’s race pace looks fantastic and Luke is right there. We will hopefully see more improvement again tomorrow. Our aim is to launch a serious challenge for Pole Position”.

Challenging opening day in Thailand for Jacobsen and the Honda WorldSSP Team

Round 2 – Thailand

Chang International Circuit, Thailand

PJ Jacobsen and the Honda WorldSSP team gained a spot in tomorrow’s WorldSSP Superpole 2 at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, as the 22-year-old American finished ninth in the combined times of today’s two free practice sessions. The day started really well for Jacobsen, who after the first hour of action was in third place aboard his Honda CBR600RR #2, despite far-from-ideal track conditions.

In free practice two, last year’s World Supersport runner-up and his crew encountered a slightly more difficult time in finding the right set-up for the bike to adapt to the change in conditions. Nevertheless, Jacobsen was able to improve his lap-time by half a second by clocking in 1’39.973 on his penultimate attempt in what was an ultra-close afternoon session. Today’s timesheets were topped by local rider Ratthapong Wilairot aboard the Ten Kate Racing-supported Honda CBR600RR fielded by Team AP Honda.

The team is analysing the data in order to be ready for tomorrow’s on-track action, which starts at 11:15 local time (GMT+7) with free practice number three.

Patrick Jacobsen 2

9th / 1'39.973

The second session didn’t go as planned, unfortunately. We tried some changes to the bike that did not work as we’d have hoped. We ended up the opposite way in a couple of areas but that’s part of racing. The bike felt pretty good in the morning and we now know that all it needs are some small changes especially with regards to engine braking. If we can manage to do that tomorrow, I’m confident we will be able to battle for the front row.

Pieter Breddels

Technical Manager

In the morning, lap-times came quite easily despite the dirt found on the track. We left the bike almost untouched and we managed to end up third. In the afternoon we tried some different settings at the front that for some reason did not give us the improvement we were looking for. We have some work to do on the bike but it’s clear that we can be much quicker than this.

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