Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after practice on Friday at Imola:
Miguel looking good at Imola
PARKALGAR HONDA'S Miguel Praia is a strong 12th after first qualifying for this weekend's 10th round of the World Supersport Championship at Imola in Italy and is looking forward to improving tomorrow.
Sam Lowes crashed his Parkalgar Honda early in qualifying and was unable to get back out so ended the day 10th. He was fastest in morning practice and is confident he can secure a good starting position in final qualifying. The race takes place at 1330CET on Sunday, September 25th.
Miguel: "Things are pretty good, I am already faster than last year and my Parkalgar Honda is getting better with every change we make. We have had some issues but my crew are working on them and I think I can go faster for sure. I am pleased as I have done a lot of fast consistent laps, I am enjoying myself."
Sam: "It is a real shame I crashed; I felt good, probably felt the best I have all year. I couldn't get the bike back to the pits to get it fixed so that was the end of the session. The good news is we definitely have got the speed and I made a mistake and will not repeat it again - I've learnt from it. I am looking forward to tomorrow, the weather is to be dry, so I think everything will be OK in second qualifying."
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager: "Sam made a mistake early on, crashed and couldn't get the bike back. He's annoyed with himself at the crash but he's not hurt and we will be focused tomorrow.
"Miguel is doing a good job and I am positive he can improve and challenge for the top 10 in qualifying."
Ellison learning Imola
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's James Ellison finished 14th in the opening qualifying for round ten of the World Supersport Championship with clear ideas to make further improvements tomorrow after his superb podium finish in the last race in Germany.
After making a strong start to the weekend in the opening practice, Pawel Szkopek finished the first qualifying session in 19th on the second Bogdanka PTR Honda and aims to improve during tomorrow's second session ahead of Sunday's race.
James Ellison: "In the first session I wasn't too worried about being a bit down as it's been seven years since I've been here and I was re-acquainting myself with the track. In the second session we found a big chunk of time and I was in the top four initially but then we just stuck on the times and I couldn't go any quicker. In the end we know what to do for tomorrow and we're confident to improve for sure. If I'd knew where I was going in the first session maybe we'd found that earlier but it's only day one."
Pawel Szkopek: "I'm happy and confident after the first day. I got up to a good pace very quickly and enjoyed myself on the track. I didn't get to do a fast lap on a fresh set of tyres but I'm really happy after this morning and confident we can improve the starting position tomorrow."
Simon Buckmaster: "James is looking for more feel from the front end and we will work with him on that. Pawel crashed this morning but apart from that it has been a positive start. We are looking to build on this tomorrow so he can challenge for points in the race."
Rea cooks up a sizzler on day one
Imola (Italy), Friday 23 September 2011 – Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) was the man to watch in Friday's first qualifying session at Imola as the Northern Irish rider powered to a time of 1 minute 48.241 seconds, just a fraction away from the 2010 best lap set by Carlos Checa. On a hot day of qualifying, with temperatures almost reaching 30 degrees C, there wasn't much in it at the very top, however, as Althea Racing Ducati man Checa (last year's double winner and favourite for this year's title) finished just a tenth away from Rea, and in second place. For the first time this season Rea was running a ride-by-wire throttle control system on his Honda machine, after a recent change to the technical rules in the Superbike class.
Third place on the provisional grid went to Britain's Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), who took his S1000RR close to the leading duo after looking competitive right throughout the hour. Leon was followed home in fourth by Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare), who also looked at ease on the newly resurfaced Imola track.
Fifth was the other title contender Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike), who got home ahead of Nürburgring winner and last year's Imola poleman Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike). Frenchmen Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) and Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) completed the provisional second row.
The virtual third row after the first qualifying session featured four riders who were all within a second of leader Rea, the first of them being Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Aprilia), followed by Guintoli's team-mate, Jakub Smrz. Local wildcard Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati) was an impressive 11th fastest, followed home by another local for the Barni Racing Ducati team, Alessandro Polita.
Lone works Aprilia Alitalia rider Leon Camier was 13th, but still only just over a second from Rea out front. BMW Motorrad Italia SBK's replacement for the recently retired James Toseland, Javier Fores, was 22nd in his first ever WSBK ride.
Times: 1. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'48.241; 2. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'48.400; 3. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.701; 4. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.726; 5. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'48.844; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'48.884; 7. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.003; 8. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.023; 9. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.041; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'49.072; 11. Sandi F. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.125; 12. Polita A. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.134; 13. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'49.282; 14. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'49.394; 15. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.665; 16. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'49.781; etc.
Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) returned to the top of the timesheets at home at Imola with a time of 1 minute 52.375 seconds to head the overnight Supersport grid positions. The Italian was a fraction ahead of Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and title favourite, team-mate Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO).
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) ran top for some of the session but eventually finished fifth, while Sweden's Alex Lundh (Cresto Guide Honda) put in one of his best performances so far to take the next slot. Britain's Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) was fastest at one point in the session but a crash dropped him down to tenth.
Times: 1. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'52.375; 2. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.553; 3. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1'52.736; 4. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'53.056; 5. Lundh A. (SWE) Honda CBR600RR 1'53.301; 6. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'53.329; 7. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'53.432; 8. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'53.471; etc.
All the main runners were up at the top in the Friday qualifying run, with newly-crowned Italian CIV Superstock 1000 champion Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) holding a slight edge over points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) with a time of 1 minute 51.046 seconds.
The two Ducati men were followed by another of this year's race winners, Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) just a fraction behind, while Niccolò Canepa (Lazio Motorsport Ducati) completed the provisional front row. Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK team) in fifth was followed by three more Italians, Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati), Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda) and Michele Magnoni (Baru Racing Team BMW).
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'51.046; 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'51.204; 3. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'51.220; 4. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'51.674; 5. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'51.904; 6. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'51.959; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'52.511; 8. Magnoni M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'52.702; etc.
Italian riders locked out the provisional front row grid positions in European Superstock Q1 at Imola. Overnight pole will go to Misano winner Giuliano Gregorini (RCGM Yamaha) with a time of 1 minute 56.394 seconds, three-tenths ahead of Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha), Nicola Morrentino (Elle2 Ciatti Yamaha) and Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha).
The first non-home rider is points leader Australian Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team) in fifth with his closest championship rival Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha) right behind.
Times: 1. Gregorini G. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'56.394; 2. Lombardi D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'56.706; 3. Morrentino N. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'56.837; 4. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'56.855; 5. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 1'56.949; 6. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'57.365; 7. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1'57.572; 8. Cocco F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'57.642; etc.
Imola – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 23 September 2011.
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport had a very good start to the eleventh round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola (ITA). The team provisionally qualified for the front row. Factory rider, Leon Haslam (GBR) finished the first Qualifying practice on his BMW S 1000 RR in third position. His team mate Troy Corser (AUS) provisionally qualified 19th. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) and Xavier Fores (ESP) of the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished in 14th and 22nd respectively.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:49.531 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:48.701 min (P3)
"I am really happy with the lap times. We did not use the soft tyre in qualifying and basically worked on race simulation. Our consistency is probably one of the best out there. I would say that this was one of the best starts we have had to a race weekend, so we are going to keep on pushing for tomorrow. Then it will all be about qualifying and choosing the right race tyre for Sunday. Today we have got some really good information and we will go on pushing in the same direction."
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:50.713 min (P15)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:50.011 min (P19)
"In the Qualifying session in the afternoon we used a different chassis setting than in the morning practice. It took us some time to set it up. We are a little bit behind, but Leon is right there. So we can compare and see what is different with the bike. So I am confident for tomorrow. I hope it will be dry in the morning, and then we are going to move up in the classification."
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
"Leon did a great job. He was riding on used race tyres for the whole qualifying session – and those were not the faster softer ones. That makes me confident that we are going to have a successful weekend. With Troy, we still have to fine tune the set-up of his RR a little bit. To do so we will analyse the data tonight and I am convinced that we can improve tomorrow."
FABRIZIO AND SUZUKI 4TH IN WSB QUALIFYING
Team Suzuki Press Office - September 23.
Team Alstare Suzuki's Michel Fabrizio ended the first day of practice and qualifying at this weekend's World Superbike Championship 11th round at Imola in Italy upbeat having set the fourth quickest lap of the day.
He was not happy with the morning session, but this afternoon saw a big improvement and he ended the day with a good bike set-up and only fine-tuning to be done tomorrow.
Jonathan Rea (Honda) finished first qualifying with the fastest lap with series leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) second. Third quickest today was Leon Haslam (BMW) with Fabrizio less than a tenth-of-a-second behind. Trailing Fabrizio was Marco Melandri (Yamaha) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) - making it six different manufacturers in the top six positions.
Michel Fabrizio - 4th, 1:48.726:
"This morning I was not so happy, but this afternoon everything went a lot better and we made quite a good improvement. I had some problems with the gearshift on the downshifts today, but that will be resolved for tomorrow. The track has been mostly resurfaced since we were here last time and now it is much better to ride. There are less bumps and the grip has definitely improved. As more rubber goes down, I'm sure that the grip level will get even higher. I found a good set-up this afternoon and so I think that tomorrow all we'll have to do is a bit of fine-tuning and try out a few tyres.
Melandri Gets to Grips with Imola
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty completed the first qualifying day at the iconic International Autodrome of Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola today in scorching hot sunshine.
After 12 years since his 125cc race victory, Melandri returned to his home track in Imola and got straight down to business discovering what the Italian circuit has to offer. The Romagnolo spent this morning's free practice session getting familiar with the characteristics of the flowing circuit and working on understanding his lines with the powerful R1 machine. Throughout the afternoon's first qualifying session Melandri made some minor adjustments to the suspension and the electronics, allowing him to shoot up to fourth place in the time sheets mid-session, a position he maintained until the final stages before dropping to fifth. The Italian lapped comfortably and consistently throughout the afternoon and ended the first day at Imola, confident ahead of a promising weekend on his home soil.
Teammate Eugene Laverty completed a less successful first day on the Italian circuit. Having spent the morning's free practice session working through some minor changes to the base set up, the WSB Rookie was confident to continue making progress in the afternoon's qualifying session. As the day progressed and the rubber on the newly surfaced track increased, Laverty struggled with a lack of grip on the rear of his machine, preventing him from improving his times. The Northern Irish rider completed the day in 18th place.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 5th, 1'48.844
"Today went quite well, especially considering it's a new track for me. We got off to a good start but we still have some improvements to make. It's not easy to manage the horse power of the machine on the many inclines and declines this track has to offer. It was tough work to control the handling of the bike on the "false" straights, between one curve and the next. We have some adjustments to make for tomorrow but we are going in the right direction and hopefully we'll make further progress in tomorrow's second qualifying session."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 18th, 1'49.991
"That was the toughest Friday I've had so far, by a long shot. We struggled with the new surface a lot. The morning wasn't so bad but with more bikes lapping the track as the day went on, creating more rubber on the surface, the grip got worse and that's causing us to struggle with our rear setting. We know what to do to improve the issue but we ran out of time in today's session and got caught out. We have a lot of work ahead of us for tomorrow but we'll do our best. It's my learning year in Superbike and sometimes these things happen unfortunately."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
"It was a positive start for Marco today here at Imola. To complete the session in fifth place after 12 years since he last rode here is pretty good. He has put good consistent laps but is still struggling with the last sector. Our main target for tomorrow is to improve in this area, make some adjustments to the gearbox in order to find better feeling with the front of the machine and improve grip on the rear. We are not satisfied with Eugene's times this afternoon. We expected him to improve form the morning's free practice. He and the team will have to work very hard this evening to understand why he struggled so much in the qualifying session. He too will be making adjustments to gearbox and making some changes to the set up to find a better overall feeling on his machine."
Impressive First Qualifying for Yamaha ParkinGO Team at Imola
The Yamaha ParkinGO Team riders Luca Scassa and Chaz Davies didn't waste any time today in Imola, the pair got straight down to business in the Italian sunshine to complete the first qualifying session in first and third places respectively.
Luca Scassa made an impressive start to the weekend at his home track. The Italian was immediately on the pace and making constant progress throughout the day. Having worked through some minor set up changes on his R6, Scassa proceeded to snatch the top of the time sheets from Fabien Foret in the dying minutes and completed the first qualifying session with a provisional pole.
Teammate and title favourite Chaz Davies put on an equally remarkable performance in the first qualifying session of a critical race weekend. Davies will be fighting for the Championship title this weekend and having completed in third place overall, the Welshman wrapped up day one in confidence. Davies intends making some further adjustments to his machine in tomorrow's session ahead of Sunday's significant race.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 1st, 1'52.375
"I'm really pleased with today's result, it was a good start to an important weekend for me at my home track. I've trained a lot recently and I'm really focused on this race and the rest of the season, and will work very hard to climb up the standings. There is still some fine tuning to be done on the bike tomorrow ahead of the second qualifying session. I am confident that with the support of my numerous fans here at my home track, I can gain a podium finish on Sunday and maybe even a race win. That's my goal and I'll do my best to get there."
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 3rd, 1'52.736
"My goal today and tomorrow is to concentrate on improving the set-up of the bike without thinking about my chances of winning the title on Sunday. It's an important weekend for me and I want to be in top form and fully confident with my machine before the race, where I'll be battling to take the first title of my career. I don't necessarily need to win on Sunday, but I'll be pushing for a victory no matter what. "
Provisional front row for Foret
Fabien Foret set the fourth fastest time in today's opening qualifying session for round 10 of the World Supersport championship at Imola in Italy, securing a provisional front row start for Sunday's race.
Local rider Luca Scassa was fastest today, as Foret's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Florian Marino, set the sixth fastest time.
Second qualifying takes places at the recently resurfaced 4.936km Imola circuit tomorrow afternoon to determine final grid positions for Sunday's 19-lap race.
Fabien Foret – P4 1m53.056s
This morning was very comfortable, actually, and I was very happy with the bike. But the temperature was a bit higher this afternoon. It meant that the bike was not quite so easy to ride as this morning so we might have to do a little bit of fine-tuning to get the setting better for the warmer conditions.
Florian Marino - P 6 1m53.329s
Today wasn't too bad and I was able to make some quite consistent laps. I need to improve a bit in the final two sectors where I am losing maybe 0.4s but the bike is definitely feeling better compared to Nurburgring. We need to keep improving the bike and my riding, but overall I am quite happy to be nearer the front. Tomorrow we'll see how tyre life is on some used tyres and see how ready we are for the race.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We're quite satisfied with the first day of work at Imola. The riders have already found a very good rhythm and we just need to look at some details to find the last bit of speed. We are already close to a good race setup though and we did more than race distance this morning with Fabien which shows that already the machine is gelling very well with Imola.
A VERY POSITIVE FIRST DAY FOR CARLOS CHECA (ALTHEA RACING) AT IMOLA
Imola (Italy), Friday 23rd September 2011: the eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship got underway today at the Autodromo di Imola and championship leader Carlos Checa got straight down to business, concluding the morning's practice session in first position and the afternoon's qualifying in second.
In the weekend's first free practice session, which took place this morning in hot and sunny conditions (27C air, 33C track), the Althea Racing rider made a solid start and a fast time mid-session projected him into first position. He continued to improve on his lap times and recorded a best in the final minute of the session. The 1m49.2 lap time was three tenths quicker than the best set by second-placed rider Haslam.
Federico Sandi, participating this weekend as a wildcard with team Althea Racing, was making good progress during this first practice session, getting to grips with the Pirelli tyres and slowly improving his times. Unfortunately, due to a technical problem in the final phase, the young Italian had to close his session slightly early, meaning 16th place and a best time of 1m50.7.
Back out this afternoon for the first qualifying session, Carlos continued with the work, recording consistently faster times than those set this morning. His best, a 1m48.4 set in the final stages, was enough to ensure him of second position at the close of the session, just two tenths of a second behind Rea in first.
Sandi, this morning's issues resolved, was able to make good progress, dropping his times by a good second and a half to record a best of 1m49.1. This lap time put him in eleventh position at the session's end, with only a tenth of a second separating him from the four riders ahead of him.
"I'm pleased with how today went. We felt strong here last year but this year with the new asphalt it is a little different and we're trying different tyre compounds to see what works best. I think we'll find a good compromise. We're satisfied with today's results and tomorrow we'll hopefully make another step up. Many people ask how I will approach this weekend but I'll basically be doing what I do every week, concentrating on one race at a time!"
"I am happy to tell the truth because this afternoon we were able to find good feeling with the Pirelli tyres that are all new for me with this bike. We improved a lot this afternoon compared to this morning and compared to times I've recorded here in the past. I am eleventh but I see that I am very close to the four or five guys ahead of me and this gives me confidence. Tomorrow we'll continue to work to make further improvements."