2012 Moscow WSBK Saturday Roundup: Twins Versus Fours Distilled

Moscow Raceway is twelve slow corners followed by a long, uphill straight with a thirteenth turn at the end. The last corner should be the scene of plenty of outbraking manoeuvres as the four cylinder bikes try to make up for sectors one and three, the Ducati friendly parts.

Unless of course it rains.

Carlos Checa has been quick all weekend and today's pole position, his first of the year, just affirms how quick he is here. If he's not contained on Sunday, he could run away with the race, followed by his team mate Davide Giugliano. Even Tom Sykes was unable to contain Checa in qualifying. Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam, along with Sykes, will be hoping for a good start from the front row, as if Checa can get away first, he could easily put some distance between himself and the fighting pack behind him.

Further back, Hiroshi Aoyama and John Hopkins were pleased to get into Superpole two, with Aoyama having never even participated in Superpole before. Aoyama's more successful team mate Jonathan Rea managed sixth place behind the BMWs of Haslam and Marco Melandri. He was one of a few riders to reuse their qualifying tyres, and his first tyre was used in the first two Superpole sessions. His second qualifier, used in the last session, caused him problems with chatter that meant he couldn't match his Superpole 2 time.

Max Biaggi in seventh doesn't sound too confident, acknowledging that there are racers faster than him this weekend, but the championship leader recognises that he will need a good start not to be left behind, something he's not always shown an ability to do.

Last man on the second row is Giugliano, who could have easily qualified on the front row, as could have Sylvain Guintoli in fifteenth. Giugliano crashed while Sylvain played a bad tyre strategy. Either man have to make the most of their bikes, along with the surprise package of Lorenzo Zanetti, who has gone fast all weekend.

As nobody has ever raced here on a motorbike, tyres are a great unknown and the first race will be an extended test session for some riders. It's hard to predict how the races will pan out, but as long as there is no rain, it looks like a battle between the slow agility of the twins and the straight line speed of the fours. The two halves of the track equal out the advantages of both types of bikes, so it should come down to the rider.

Unless it rains.

The World Supersport qualifying brought few surprises, with the top four riders trading the top four places throughout most of the weekend. Kenan Sofuoglu's aggressive style against Sam Lowes's supremacy on the brakes, Jules Cluzel against Broc Parkes. Fabien Foret, Vladimir Leonov and Sheridan Morais will be waiting in the wings for a mistake from any of the lead men. 

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