Press releases issued after the first day of practice for the World Superbike and World Supersport teams at Silverstone:
Checa the early leader from privateer Berger
Silverstone (Great Britain), Friday 29 July 2011 - Two Ducati bikes slotted in at the top of the timesheets following Friday's first qualifying at the new-look Silverstone circuit. On a track that is more suitable on paper to four-cylinder power, points leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) led the way with a time of 2 minutes 05.477 seconds, four-tenths quicker than the surprise of the day, the young Frenchman Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team Ducati).
The pace on the first day was fast under overcast skies, with Checa's time on race tyres close to lap record pace (set in race conditions) only 0.218 seconds from the Cal Crutchlow's official 2010 time of 2 minutes 05.259 seconds. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) was the first Brit on the provisional grid, taking third place ahead of Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team).
After going quickest in the morning free practice session, the provisional second row was headed by American wild-card rider John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki), followed by a similar Suzuki GSX-R1000 machine, the Alstare version piloted by Michel Fabrizio. Hopkins has some WSBK racing experience and his wildcard pace gave evidence that he should be a factor at this recently revamped circuit.
Fast privateer Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) was a strong seventh, with the top Yamaha World Superbike rider proving to be Eugene Laverty, eighth fastest. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) is currently down in ninth, a normal position for the Italian after Friday seeing as he prefers to focus on set-up work. The top ten was rounded out by local hero Leon Haslam, the fastest BMW rider on show so far.
James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) went 12th in his comeback ride, one place ahead of his team-mate Ayrton Badovini, while Troy Corser, Haslam's team-mate, was 18th in his comeback ride.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2'05.477; 2. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2'05.870; 3. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'05.899; 4. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'05.937; 5. Hopkins J. (USA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'05.974; 6. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2'06.023; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2'06.029; 8. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 2'06.037; 9. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2'06.044; 10. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2'06.116; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2'06.176; 12. Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2'06.316; 13. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2'06.647; 14. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 2'06.697; 15. Lowes A. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2'06.740; 16. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'06.752; etc.
Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) followed up his Brno race win with quickest time and provisional pole in the first qualifying session for World Supersport. Rea set a time of 2 minutes 09.362 seconds to finish a couple of tenths ahead of Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda). Italian Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) was back up at the front in this first day of action, another couple of tenths behind.
There were two more Honda machines in the next two places, the Hannspree Ten Kate version of Frenchman Fabien Foret ahead of the Harms Benjan CBR600RR of Denmark's Robbin Harms. Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha) and another Brit, James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) took sixth and seventh.
Times: 1. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2'09.362; 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2'09.590; 3. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2'09.804; 4. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2'10.004; 5. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 2'10.414; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2'10.789; 7. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2'10.951; 8. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'10.972; etc.
Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati) continued his impressive form in Superstock 1000 qualifying, setting the quickest time of 2 minutes 08.730 seconds. The Italian, who has been on pole in the last three races, was ahead of two of his compatriots, points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) and Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK Team).
Brno winner Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK Team) was the first non-Italian in fourth place, ahead of Niccolò Canepa (Lazio Motorsport Ducati), Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) and Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda). The international calibre of Superstock 1000 racing continued with Argentinean Leandro Denis Mercado (Pedercini Kawasaki), South African Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) and Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Yamaha Racing France) rounding out the top 10.
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'08.730; 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'09.060; 3. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2'09.497; 4. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 2'09.576; 5. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'10.108; 6. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2'10.572; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2'10.785; 8. Mercado L. (ARG) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2'11.089; etc.
Joshua Elliott (WMT Yamaha) set the provisional pole in Friday's first Superstock 600 qualifying session with a time of 2 minutes 13.688 seconds. The British rider was a full half-a-second quicker than the rapidly emerging Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha), who confirmed his positive early morning form. Russo was ahead of the American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki), Assen winner Michael VD Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team) from the Netherlands and Spain's Nacho Calero Perez (Orelac Yamaha).
Three other winners this year are slightly down the field; Aragon victor Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team) in eighth, one place ahead of points leader Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) and Brno conqueror Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) one place further back.
Times: 1. Elliott J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2'13.688; 2. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2'14.216; 3. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2'14.496; 4. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 2'14.760; 5. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2'14.944; 6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 2'15.059; 7. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2'15.424; 8. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 2'15.491; etc.
Optimistic Ellison on second row
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's James Ellison made a promising start to the weekend in front of his home fans at Silverstone, securing seventh on the provisional grid after the first qualifying session.
His teammate, Pawel Szkopek, was 20th in the afternoon after being caught up in traffic on his hot laps but expects to go much faster tomorrow. The eighth race of the World Supersport Championship starts on 1:30 PM local time in Silverstone in the UK on Sunday.
James Ellison: "It was a good start and I'm quite happy but we still have some improvements to make. Not with the bike, but just with me. Silverstone is a good track for me and I enjoy it but I need to do some more laps. We've got a good race pace and just need to get that soft tyre and a good starting position for Sunday. I'll do my best and see where we finish."
Pawel Szkopek: "Silverstone is a type of track I really like. It's fast, flowing and a lot of fun. It was a strong start today. I didn't get to do a clean lap this afternoon as a couple of guys got in my way but we're really happy. My ideal lap time is almost seven tenths better and we know we can still go faster so I can't wait for tomorrow."
Simon Buckmaster: "James has started the weekend well and was running top four for most of the session. I know he has good race pace but will need to dig deep to find that one fast lap in qualifying to give him the grid position equal to his race pace.
"Pawel is 20th but having never ridden here before he has improved all day and is showing good potential to give himself a points scoring opportunity in the race."
Silverstone – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 29 July 2011.
Weather conditions: Overcast.
Temperature: Air: 19 °C, Track: 21 – 23 °C
It was a productive Friday for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport at the ninth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship in Silverstone (GBR). After a two-day test at Lausitzring (GER) the team brought some new parts to the circuit. While factory rider Leon Haslam (GBR) qualified provisionally tenth, his team mate Troy Corser (AUS) returned to the bike after missing the last round of the championship in Brno. He finished the first Qualifying Practice 18th.
The two riders from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team, James Toseland (GBR) and Ayrton Badovini (ITA), finished in 12th and 13th respectively.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:07.100 min (P7)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 2:06.116 min (P10)
"I am pretty happy with today's results. The bike has been stable all day, which is really positive. This helped us focussing on setting up the S 1000 RR for the circuit. I was second until five minutes before the end of the session. When everybody fitted the softer tyre I was the only one not to be quicker than before. However, I am not concerned – this is nothing we cannot solve for tomorrow, so I am really confident.
"Here in Silverstone my helmet has a special design which is dedicated to Sparks. Sparks funds research into serious conditions affecting the health of babies, children and mums-to-be. I have worked with them for a few years, and this helmet will be auctioned at the end of the season."
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:07.064 min (P6)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 2:06.890 min (P18)
"I am happy to be back on the bike after my crash at Aragon. I still feel some pain in my wrist, but only when I am braking. In general, I don't think it affects my riding too much. The bike felt good and easy to ride this morning – the engine is much smoother which is good. We made some changes later, but it didn't pay off. I think we still have some work to do to optimize the bike's traction."
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
"The field is quite close – the gap between the second and the 18th is only one second.We can be happy with today. Troy suffered from chattering, and we have to sort this out for tomorrow. Leon was second until the final outing. Unfortunately we changed the bike's set up, and apparently we did not benefit from it. Nevertheless, we are optimistic for tomorrow."
Provisional Silverstone front row for Foret
Fabien Foret set the fourth fastest time in today's opening qualifying session for Sunday's eighth round World Supersport championship race at Silverstone in the UK.
The French ace, who secured a podium last time out at Brno in the Czech Republic, went second fastest in free practice this morning, and in spite of set-up and tyre issues this afternoon Foret was still able to take a provisional front row position.
His compatriot and Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Florian Marino, slipped to provisional ninth after going sixth fastest in the opening free practice session. The 18-year-old is confident of improvement tomorrow.
Fabien Foret – P4 2m10.004s
I was quite happy with this morning's performance, but we tried to change the setting this afternoon to cope with the bumps here and it didn't work. We ended up going back to the rear setting we started with and we were abl e to improve the front a bit. But when I tried to push at the end, the tyre didn't seem to work as well as earlier, so I couldn't improve. Tomorrow should be OK though.
Florian Marino – P9 2m11.181s
Ninth position does not look so good but I am quite happy at the moment. I am learning some better lines around Silverstone. We had a good test at Assen last week and the bike is definitely giving me a better feeling. The only problem was when I put in a softer tyre this afternoon because it didn't improve the grip so I could not go faster. But I am confident that we can improve again tomorrow.
ANOTHER PROVISIONAL POLE FOR CHECA AND ALTHEA RACING, THIS TIME AT SILVERSTONE
Silverstone (UK), Friday 29th July 2011: first qualifying of the ninth round of World Superbikes took place this afternoon at England's Silverstone track and it couldn't have gone better for Althea Racing and rider Carlos Checa, who dominated from start to finish to take provisional pole for Sunday's races.
The Althea Racing rider, championship leader after the first eight rounds, faced first free practice with his usual determination, lapping fast right from the outset and topping the timesheets after just twenty minutes. He remained inside the top five for the duration of the session, closing with a best time of 2m07.1, recorded in the final stages. This time meant that he concluded practice in final fifth position.
In the afternoon's first qualifying session, Carlos made a very convincing first exit, almost immediately recording a 2m06.0 and lowering by a full second his best time set this morning. This time remained the overall quickest until ten minutes from the end of the session when the Spanish rider was able to further improve with an incredibly quick lap (2m05.4). Consistently fast throughout the entire session, Checa closed the qualifying session four tenths of a second ahead of any other rider.
"Today went well. We have already improved with respect to last year. With the soft tyre we were able to make some very fast laps and we're satisfied. The problem may arrive tomorrow as temperatures will probably be warmer and we'll have to see how the tyres go in different conditions. All in all, seeing as this is one of the more difficult tracks for us, we are happy. We just have to minimize the disadvantage that we have along the straight but I think we can do it; we'll see tomorrow but I'm pretty confident."
FABRIZIO 6TH ON SILVERSTONE OPENING DAY
Team Suzuki Press Office - July 29.
Team Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio finished the opening day of practice and qualifying at the Silverstone World Superbike Championship ninth-round in the UK with the sixth-fastest lap of a day, as the top-12 riders were separated by less than a second.
Like many times this year, Silverstone is a new track for Fabrizio and his Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000; and he and the team spent most of the time working on finding a good set-up for the bike. By the end of the day, he and the team was happy enough with what it had achieved, but will spend tomorrow looking for further improvements ahead of Sunday's pair of 18-lap races.
Series leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) led the charge today, posting a lap of 2:05.477. Second quickest was Maxime Berger (Ducati) with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) third and Leon Camier (Aprilia) fourth.
Michel Fabrizio - 6th, 2:06.023:
"I am not happy, but I am not unhappy about how things worked out today. As usual we spent most of the time trying to find a good set-up for the bike, so we tried many things and made many adjustments. We also tried to find a good grip-level and, at the end, we felt that we had gone in the right direction and hopefully we will continue to improve tomorrow.
"This is my first time here on a four-cylinder bike, so I took things pretty steadily in the morning and just tried to get comfortable with the bike. My right foot is a bit of a problem. I think that the discomfort I am feeling, between the smallest toe and the one next to it is a relic of my crash in America. I am really not sure if there is a small fracture there or maybe a cyst has formed, but it does get a bit uncomfortable on the bike sometimes. To make things easier for me, the team made the right footrest shorter and that has taken some of the pressure off the outside of my foot. I certainly felt more comfortable with the shorter footrest and once I am racing, it is not a problem anyway.
"Hopefully the conditions will stay dry and I will improve tomorrow, both in practice and Superpole qualifying. It would be good to be on the front-row of the grid, but my first aim is to be in final Superpole. After that, we shall have to see."
Provisional front row for confident Sam
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Sam Lowes is second on the provisional grid for Sunday's eighth round of the World Supersport Championship at Silverstone and is confident he will be fighting for victory on Sunday in front of his home crowd.
Miguel Praia on his Parkalgar Honda is 16th but riding well and just one second behind fifth place. The race starts at 1330GMT on Sunday 31st July, after further practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow (Saturday).
Sam: "I did my fast laps by myself and comfortably in qualifying. I am relaxed and enjoying my riding. There is plenty more to come from me and my Parkalgar Honda - and it is only Friday, so we will try some more things tomorrow. I am very motivated to do well this weekend at my home race and for all the fans."
Miguel: "My position does not seem so good but my lap times are very close to those in front of me, I am just 0.4secs from 10th place. We improved my Parkalgar Honda in the afternoon from the morning session and I really like the track, I am looking forward to tomorrow and seeing how much we can improve."
Simon Buckmaster: "Sam started the weekend well and is showing the pace to contend for victory. Gino got his usual tow and it took him to pole position and then he held Sam up on his last lap, but we are not worried about this. We have more improvements to make for tomorrow and we are looking forward to it.
"Miguel is disappointed with 16th but he is only 0.4secs off the top 10 and I know there is a lot more to come from him."
Challenging First Day at Silverstone for Yamaha WSB Riders
Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty took to the British track at Silverstone today where they encountered overcast skies and air temperatures of 19 degrees. Both riders got down to business in this morning's free practice, familiarizing themselves with the long and historic track on their YZF-R1s
Eugene Laverty made improvements on his R1 set-up as the afternoon progressed to complete today's first qualifying session in eighth place, just five tenths of a second off Checa at the top of time sheets and less than two tenths from Berger in second. The Northern Irishman encountered some difficulties in the morning's free practice session, struggling turning in corners, a similar issue to that experienced in Brno. After some adjustments to the chassis set-up to improve the geometry of his machine, the 25 year old managed to improve his times and feel more confident ahead of his home race on Sunday.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 8th, 2'06.037
"Today was a solid first day at Silverstone. It was very close with the top 12 riders all under a second. Carlos was fast and has got the edge on everyone at the moment. I'm contempt with day one here. We are losing time on two sections of the track, having difficulty with changes of direction. We need to improve on that but we seem to know what we have to do resolve it and I should then be able to make a jump to the front. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 14th, 2'06.697
"Today was a very difficult first day. I was hoping to do a lot better and didn't expect today's outcome. I just never had a good feeling with the bike. I struggled from a severe lack of grip and the bike just didn't go where I wanted it to. We've a lot of work to do and I hope we can improve this for tomorrow's second qualifying. The weather will hopefully be a bit warmer and that should also help the situation."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"Today was a pretty tough first day for both riders. We will have to work hard this evening to find a better chassis set up for tomorrow's second qualifying session. Eugene worked on the geometry of the bike in this morning's free practice session and the first part of the qualifying session and was quite satisfied with the solution. His lap times are quite good, especially considering Checa is in the lead just five tenths ahead so it's very close. There are a few things that need improving to make up that time and in order to be at the top of the time sheets. Marco is struggling with a lack of grip on both the front and rear of the bike. He tried various front and rear set ups but he didn't find a good solution. He needs to regain confidence for tomorrow's second qualifying and Superpole. The team will work hard this evening to find a solution."
Scassa Back on Form at Silverstone
Yamaha ParkinGO riders Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies got straight down to business today at Silverstone and completed the first qualifying session in third and tenth places respectively. Both riders made the most of the first day at the long British track to work through various set-ups, in search of a good feeling on their R6s ahead of Sunday's race day.
Luca Scassa was back on top form today, following less than perfect results in the previous two consecutive rounds. The Italian impressed on the fast flowing track, finishing up the first qualifying session in third place, with just four tenths of a second behind the British rider, Gino Rea at the top of the time sheets and with a provisional front row position on Sunday's grid. Teammate Chaz Davies spent the first day at Silverstone trying to find a good feeling on his machine and making adjustments to his chassis set up. The British rider is confident that he made improvements in the right direction, ahead of tomorrow's second qualifying session.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 3rd, 2'09.804
"We worked hard on my bike and made some major changes before coming to Silverstone. We took all the data from the beginning of the season in Australia and tried to analyze several aspects; the set-up, my input, the tyres etc., in order to discover what the problem was in the last few rounds. We were strong in colder conditions but struggled in the heat. We obviously succeeded in making progress as the bike is going very well. We still need to do some minor changes especially to the front, but I'm confident for tomorrow. Finally, I feel like I'm riding my bike again and it feels good!"
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 10th, 2'11.217
"It wasn't exactly a very successful session today. I didn't get the times I would have hoped for but I'm not too concerned. We tried a few different set-ups to get the feel of them, but nothing was quite right. We have some adjustments to do before tomorrow but I'm pretty confident that we know what to do. I also tried the soft tyres towards the end of the session and I expected to improve on my lap times but that wasn't the case. Tomorrow is another day and I'm sure things will go much better."