2011 WSBK Donington Day 2 Press Releases

Press releases issued by World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the second day at Donington:

Donington – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.

Saturday, 26 March 2011.
Weather conditions: Cloudy and cold, but dry.
Temperature: Air: 7 – 10 °C, Track: 5 – 9 °C
Number of riders participating: 19 from 12 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) 1:28.794 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:28.099 min

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will start the second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2011 at Donington (GBR) from the front row. Local works rider, Leon Haslam (GBR), secured the second best qualifying result ever for the team, finishing second in today's Superpole Qualifying. His team mate Troy Corser (AUS) will start tomorrow's races from tenth position.

Leon Haslam:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:29.472 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:28.968 min (P2) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:28.365 min (P2)

"I am really looking forward to tomorrow now. We wanted a front row start and we have got that. We definitely made good progress from Australia to this event. Hopefully it is a dry day tomorrow, and I will try to beat the others this time. In a race anything can happen, but we are making steps in the right direction. If we can get a good start and have consistent races, we will be in with a good shot."

Troy Corser:

Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:29.476 min (P8) / Fastest lap FP: 1:29.861 min (P10) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:28.836 min (P10)

"We had no serious issues, but there were some small vibrations in the rear tyre on the second qualifier. We are still just trying to find a good set-up. The cold weather was no problem, just a bit hard on the tyre. It seems to be tearing up quite a bit with the cold, but that is okay. Overall I am happy, but not with the qualifying result. The race tyre is quite good and consistent. We just need to get a good start and then we will see what is possible."

Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):

"On the whole I am happy with how Superpole has turned out for us. Troy was unlucky; he was suffering from some vibration issues which prevented him from taking full advantage of the qualifying tyre and stopped him from progressing into Superpole 3. Even so, heading up the third row is not so bad. We know Troy can get good starts and his race pace is good so we are confident. With regard to Leon we are all really happy. He has good pace on a race tyre and he will be pushing for the front tomorrow for sure."

Marino ninth on Donington grid as Foret rides through pain

Florian Marino will start tomorrow's second round World Supersport championship race from row three of the grid after setting the ninth fastest time in this afternoon's final qualifying session at Donington Park in the UK.

Pole position was taken by first round winner Luca Scassa, as Marino's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate Fabien Foret rode through 16 laps of pain to 12th place on the grid after sustaining a serious injury to the ring finger of his fright hand in a practice crash yesterday.

Foret underwent an operation to put two screws in his finger yesterday evening and the 38-year-old French rider missed the whole of this morning's second free practice session while a splint was made for him at the Clinica Mobile.

Marino, 18, made steady progress today, improving his lap time as he continues to learn more with his new team and becomes more accustomed to Honda's CBR600RR Supersport machine.

Florian Marino – P9

Today was OK and we continued to improve the bike but we must work on the last sector still. I am losing almost 0.5s there every lap and although the small corners look easy, it's quite difficult to get them right and find the line as I'm shifting around on the bike. The rest of the lap is quite good and I'm one of the faster guys. So I'm on the third row for tomorrow and I must make a good start this time and get as close to the front as I can. Then we'll see how the races develops.

Fabien Foret – P12

I guess you can say I'm happy that I can do a 1m32s lap of Donington with one hand, but it's not so good really. Physically, I can't really ride the bike properly. Maybe tomorrow I could ride for three or four points but it's a big risk. I don't really know how things will be tomorrow. I will speak with Ronald and maybe wait until tomorrow to make a decision.

Ronald ten Kate – team manager

Fabien's run of bad luck that started in Australia seems to be continuing here. He doesn't really have many uninjured fingers remaining on his right hand. The latest damage was bolted back together yesterday but he's obviously still in a lot of discomfort, so we'll give him another night's rest and make a decision tomorrow morning whether or not he can ride. There are far happier faces on Florian's side of the garage – he's doing really well again, chipping away and improving his time every session. He seems to be ready to race tomorrow so hopefully he can avoid a start like the one he had in Phillip Island and hang in there with the front guys in the race.

Second row for Rea at Donington

Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow's two second-round World Superbike championship races at Donington Park in the UK from the second row of the grid after setting the eighth fastest time in this afternoon's Superpole qualifying sessions.

Rea's Spanish team-mate, Ruben Xaus, was unable to progress beyond the first stage of Superpole and will start from the fourth row as his compatriot, Carlos Checa, took his second pole position of the season.

Rea improved the setting of his CBR1000RR after yesterday's tyre problems and was fastest in this morning's second free practice session. However, he and his crew opted to use one of his two qualifying tyres in Superpole 1, which meant he was left with no qualifier in the final shoot-out with which to improve his time.

In seeking to improve his own set up for Donington's sweeping curves and stop-start hairpins, Xaus went the wrong way and the 33-year-old was unable to improve on his best time from yesterday.

The first of tomorrow's two 23-lap races around the re-invigorated 4.023km (2.5 mile) Donington Park circuit will start at 12.00 local time, with the second outing at 15.30.

Jonathan Rea – P8

Today was not so bad really, although I guess we could have gone a bit faster in Superpole 1 on the race tyre so that we didn't have to use a qualifier. But we wanted to make sure of getting into the last eight and I then had to go out on a second-hand qualifying tyre which ran out of grip pretty quickly. We've worked hard all day trying to cover all the bases for tyre options. With the temperature changing, we need to know which of the three combinations works best in all conditions but the track temperature tomorrow will really dictate which one we use. We still need to find some time in the final corner – I need a little bit more engine braking at the end of the turn and a bit more punch to get out. I feel OK in the first three sectors though but it's going to be a very tactical race. The ones who've worked hardest over the weekend will be the ones who choose the right tyre for the race conditions. Hopefully we've done our homework.

Ruben Xaus – P16

For me, this weekend is like another pre-season test. We tested during the race in Phillip Island in 30 degrees and now the conditions are much colder so we must test some more things here at Donington! The way the bike behaves is completely different here to Australia. Yesterday we were OK and had some problems in the final section of the track. We tried to improve that today, when it was much colder, and we went the wrong way and I couldn't improve. We had grip and braking problems. As the crew said: "We know the bike, but we don't know you so well yet." Of course, I know myself, but I don't know the bike so well yet! I'm much happier than I was in Phillip Island though, because there we were lost. I hope tomorrow we can make two good races and get some good top ten points and go to Assen with even more good information.

Ronald ten Kate – team-manager

We're definitely in better shape than we were 24 hours ago. It seems we have quite some pace, but tomorrow will be all about tyres so we won't really know how much pace until the races are done. I believe we have found ourselves a race tyre so considering yesterday's set back I'm quite satisfied with Jonathan's second row start. On Ruben's side, we went in the wrong direction today. Luckily we realised that and we'll turn things around for tomorrow when the aim will still be for him to finish inside the top ten.

Front row confidence for Lowes

PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes will start from third on the front row of the grid in tomorrow's second round of the World Supersport Championship at Donington Park and is confident he can challenge for the victory.

In bitterly cold conditions Portuguese Parkalgar Honda racer Miguel Praia crashed out before he had an opportunity to set a fast qualifying lap and will start from 20th on the grid. The race takes place at 1330GMT tomorrow, Sunday 27th March.

Sam: "I had a crash at Craner Curves mid-session and that meant I didn't have an opportunity to improve my lap times. Anyway, I am not hurt and am starting from the front row which is important. I think on race pace I can compete right at the front and it will be full gas - we are in good shape."

Miguel: "I crashed at the same place as Sam just as I was going out to do a fast lap which is disappointing as I think I could have improved my times. Just before the crash I was running in the 1m 33secs comfortably which is a good sign for the race. I need a good start and if I can run those lap times again then I will be fighting in the points for sure."

Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Both Sam and Miguel crashed which is unfortunate but thankfully neither is hurt and the damage to the bikes is not extensive. Sam is in great shape and on race tyres over the full distance is looking strong, so we expect him to be challenging at the front.

"Miguel is happy with his bike and should have qualified much higher than 20th. He needs a good start and a cool head for the race tomorrow to score decent points."

Cold Weather Conditions Provide a Challenging Superpole for Yamaha World Superbike Riders

Donington park today saw a frustrating and challenging Superpole session for the Yamaha World Superbike riders, Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty. Bitterly cold weather conditions and a track temperature of over 19 degrees less than yesterday's first Qualifying session saw all 16 riders on the track struggle to complete the Superpole in ideal times.

Melandri completed the first heat of Superpole in fifth position, just over three tenths of a second from pole. The second heat saw Melandri put in a series of impressive times on his YZF – R1, unfortunately he was obstructed on his flying lap by another rider and subsequently ended the session in ninth position overall, just missing out on his chance to participate in the third and final heat. As a result he starts tomorrow's two World Superbike races on the third row of the grid in ninth position.

Team mate Laverty was victim of a cold track losing the front end of his bike on turn three of his out lap. The Superbike Rookie luckily walked away unhurt and managed to get back out with five minutes to go and push back up from 16th to 12th position. Unfortunately he missed out on the opportunity to partake in the second heat of Superpole by just one place after being bumped to 13th in the dying seconds.

Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team

9th, 1'28.803

"I'm disappointed to be starting on third row of the grid tomorrow, but that's what happens in Superpole. I'm just sorry that it was another rider's fault. Biaggi showed his true professionalism today, he cut in front of me even though he clearly had seen me and that's not how a World Champion should be riding. I'm going out there tomorrow even more determined than ever and I believe our race pace is good. "

Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team

13th, 1'29.312

"It wasn't an ideal Superpole today, Phillip Island went problem free and we finished fifth there so we were hoping to do much better here. We saw how cruel Superpole can be sometimes, we are starting from 13th on the grid tomorrow, however I'm confident I can get through the pack. Marco is just ahead of me on third row and he's strong on the first lap so I've got to tuck in behind him and slice through together. Whatever set up we choose I feel confident I can ride the track to its maximum."

Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager - Andrea Dosoli

"It's definitely not the starting positions we were hoping for after the impressive times we had in free practice and qualifying practice. Unfortunately Eugene lost the front end and had a significant crash and lost some valuable time, luckily he was unhurt. He wasn't confident to go back out on the qualifier so he used the race tyre and that didn't provide a fast enough lap to get him through to Superpole two. I believe if Marco and Eugene can get off the grid well then they can definitely provide a good race. The weather conditions are extreme and after the sunshine yesterday we are back to the typical British weather for this time of year. It's due to be cold again tomorrow and maybe we should try to avoid racing in the future in such cold conditions."

Scassa and Davies Dominate Qualifying to Deliver a One Two for Yamaha on the Grid

Despite the cold weather conditions in Donington Park today the two Yamaha ParkinGO World Supersport riders, Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies completed today's qualifying session in first and second position, respectively.

After dominating yesterday's qualifying session, Scassa proceeded to put in a serious of impressive laps on a much colder track to secure pole position ahead of tomorrow's World Supersport race. Scassa brought home his first victory of the 2011 Championship in Phillip Island and is now heading into the second race of the season with the intention of providing a replica performance.

Team mate Chaz Davies was also on form finishing this morning's first practice session in fourth and then making further set up improvements ahead of the afternoon's final World Supersport qualifying session. Davies was clearly at home on the 2009 Championship winning YZF-R6 making full use of the improved settings to top the time sheets in the second session. His combined times means he heads to tomorrow's race on the front row of the grid, just behind his team mate in second position.

Luca Scassa, Yamaha ParkinGO Team

1st, 1'31.232

"Today was very important, we worked a lot on our race pace. We didn't use the softer tyres to get a good time in, instead working on preparation for tomorrow's race. Chaz also attempted to get pole position and he almost succeeded! Yesterday the track had much better grip than today, I think Chaz did a great job to get in such good laps and he's definitely in with a good chance tomorrow. I think we have the best race pace, so we'll see what happens. I can't wait till the lights go green. "

Chaz Davies, Yamaha ParkinGO Team

2nd, 1'31.250

"We made some great improvements this afternoon. We didn't get the times I hoped for this morning so I discussed it with the team and decided on a new set up in order to be able to muscle the bike around easier. They worked hard and we got what we were looking for. Considering the cold conditions, being just behind Luca in second place ahead of tomorrow's race is very good so I'm happy."



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Yes! A Kawi on the front row! I've been a long-suffering Kawasaki owner with nothing to root for on the international level for a long time. Great to see Sykes with a good qualifying lap. He needs to do a race-full of good laps to put it on the box. I'll be rooting for him!