The second session of Free Practice for the World Supersport class took place in dry and sunny conditions, the weather very pleasant indeed in the northern Netherlands. Cal Crutchlow was fastest for much of the session, and ended FP2 on top, ahead of Joan Lascorz, clearly on form here in Assen. Slightly better news for the Ten Kate boys, as both Kenan Sofuoglu and Andrew Pitt were closer to the front, Sofuoglu in 3rd, Pitt 7th. Winner at Qatar Eugene Laverty could only manage the 10th fastest time.
Latest World Superbike Results
Ben Spies is proving to be a very quick learner at Assen, taking provisional pole in the first qualifying session at the Assen round of World Superbikes. Once again it was Max Neukirchner who as fastest for much of the session, though Spies was up to speed much quicker on his second session on the track. Neukirchner eventually ended the session down in 7th spot.
The first session of free practice for the World Supersport class at Assen saw Joan Lascorz top the timesheets. Lascorz took over the top spot from British rider Cal Crutchlow two-thirds of the way through the session. Fellow Yamaha rider Michele Pirro set the 3rd fastest time, just ahead of Parkalgar Honda's Eugene Laverty.
Results of World Supersport FP1:
The first session of free practice has just been run for the World Superbike machines, and Ben Spies set the fastest time at his first attempt. He took all session to get to the top, but an impressive session nonetheless. Noriyuki Haga and Max Neukirchner had swapped the top spot prior to Spies taking charge.
Results of World Superbikes Race 2 at Valencia:
Results of the 2009 Valencia World Supersport Race:
Results of the first World Superbike race at the Valencia round:
Only 19 riders started the Superpole session at Valencia, Shinya Nakano having qualified for the session, but unable to participate after breaking his collarbone. During the first 12 minute session, tactics were mixed, with some riders choosing to use one of their two qualifiers, to ensure they got another shot at a decent grid position. For Ruben Xaus that didn't work out well, crashing out on a fast lap before he had the chance to set a time good enough to qualify.
But Xaus wasn't the only big name to be dropped at the first time of asking: both Aprilia's Max Biaggi and Yamaha's Tom Sykes couldn't set times fast enough to get into Superpole 2, and will start from the 5th row of the grid.
Out after Superpole 1: Biaggi, Sykes, Xaus
Ben Spies set the fastest time in Superpole 2, in just a single fast lap. Remarkably, on his slowdown lap, he ran wide and off the track, and was forced to abandon his bike and run back to the pits. There were a lot of people pushing during the session, as Nori Haga almost came a cropper, having a big wobble round the back of the circuit, and Shakey Byrne crashed out while on a very fast lap, having set the 2nd fastest time at the first intermediate point.
Newcomer John Hopkins struggled a little with the qualifying format, finishing 16th, although a couple of fast laps were ruined when the rear started sliding round Valencia's notoriously tricky long downhill left hander before the final turn.
Out after Superpole 2: Ryuichi Kiyonari, Leon Haslam, Jakub Smrz, Shakey Byrne, Broc Parkes, Troy Corser, Brendan Roberts, John Hopkins
In the final session of free practice before Superpole, Max Biaggi set the fastest time on the Aprilia, with this morning's fastest man Ben Spies forced down in third. But the big surprise was the man who as second fastest: Leon Haslam hasn't been able to crack into the top ten so far this weekend, but in this session, the Stiggy Racing rider chopped 4/10ths of his best time so far, coming painfully close to cracking into the 1'34s. Finding that much speed just 15 minutes before Superpole is due to start will be a useful leg up for Haslam.
Going into the qualifying practice session for the World Supersport class, the outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion. In both free practice sessions, local hero Joan Lascorz had ripped up the timesheets, far and away the fastest rider at the track. And at the start of qualifying, this pattern looked like being repeated, with the Motocard Kawasaki man taking the lead from the off. And as the session progressed, Lascorz kept chipping away, extending his lead over the chasing pack.
The pole looked to be in the bag, but Lascorz hadn't counted on the wiles of Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow. In the dying minutes of the session, the Briton put in two blistering laps to smash Lascorz' pole record from 2008, and take pole for himself, with an exceptional lap of 1'35.865, pushing Lascorz down to 2nd on the grid. But as has been the case all weekend, Crutchlow and Lascorz have been a cut above the rest of the field, with third place man Ant West nearly 8/10ths behind Lascorz on the Stiggy Honda. Lascorz' Motocard Kawasaki team mate Katsuaki Fujiwara completes the front row of the grid.
The session was a troubled one for several riders, with Andrew Pitt, Eugene Laverty, Matej Smrz, Joan Lascorz and Doni Tata Pradita all crashing out, Pitt managing to do so three times. The time lost to crash damage left Pitt down in 9th, heading up the third row of the grid, two places ahead of his Ten Kate team mate Kenan Sofuoglu. Clearly, Ten Kate is still having teething problems with the 2009 CBR600RR. Winner of the last race Laverty, meanwhile, will start from 13th.
Full results of the qualifying practice session for the World Supersport round at Valencia:
Ben Spies confirmed his form by taking provisional pole position at Valencia this morning, putting him in prime position for Superpole this afternoon. But Spies took top spot by just a fraction, Regis Laconi getting his DFX Corse Ducati to within 5/1000ths of a second of Spies' Yamaha, and pushing Max Biaggi's Aprilia down to third.
The session was a difficult one for the Aprilias, with Shinya Nakano's Aprilia blowing a seal and spewing oil all over the track, causing the session to be red flagged briefly to clean it up. Even worse for Nakano, the oil on his back tire caused the Japanese rider to highside nastily, breaking his left collarbone in the process and ruling him out of the rest of the weekend. Biaggi fared little better, being sidelined twice with technical problems.
The BMWs, on the other hand, showed some signs of improving, Troy Corser jumping up to 6th place in the standings, ahead of Ducati's Noriyuki Haga, who was unable to improve his time from yesterday.
The problem is that the times are so close that a couple of hundredths can move riders up or down the standings several places. Team Pedercini's David Salom is the first rider to be over a second behind Spies' time, but this leaves him down in 21st place, and out of Superpole. Series newcomer John Hopkins is just 0.847 off Spies, and has only just scraped into Superpole. But on a new bike and new tires, and after having ridden the bike for little more than an hour before arriving at Valencia, that's not bad going, especially as he is just over 1/10th behind his team mate Leon Haslam.
The final grid positions will be determined by this afternoon's Superpole session, scheduled to kick off at 3pm.
Aggregate World Superbike result after QP2:
Joan Lascorz continued his domination at Valencia during the second session of free practice. In the cool of the morning, the Spanish Kawasaki man led for much of the session, but Britain's Cal Crutchlow kept Lascorz honest, taking over the top spot for the latter part of practice. Lascorz then pulled out a record-breaking lap in the last minutes of practice to take back top spot. Lascorz finished a third of a second ahead of Crutchlow.
The track had clearly warmed up for the first qualifying session of World Superbikes at Valencia, and the times dropped considerably. Not only were the times a lot different, but the timesheet was completely shook up as well. Max Biaggi topped the Friday afternoon qualifying session on the Aprilia RSV4, with Yamaha's Ben Spies having much improved his times, up from 17th in the morning session just over a tenth behind. Spies took second place by the narrowest of margins, edging out Xerox Ducati's Noriyuki Haga by just one thousandth of a second.
Joan Lascorz continued where he left off from last year at Valencia today, dominating in practice at the track where he won a convincing victory last year. The Lascorz was light years ahead of the rest of the field, with Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow the only rider to get within a second of the Glaner Motocard Kawasaki. Katsuaki Fujiwara's third fastest time suggests that the Kawasakis are pretty fast here at Valencia, though Lascorz is over a second faster than his team mate.
After the Ducatis dominated the early part of the first session of free practice, they were eventually ousted by the Hondas at the end of practice. Ten Kate's Ryuichi Kiyonari was fast for much of the session, but it was Carlos Checa who eventually took top spot, ahead of the Suzuki of Yukio Kagayama and the Aprilia of Max Biaggi.