Press releases and video from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after Saturday's practice at Phillip Island:
SUPERPOLE CANCELLED; ALTHEA RACING AND CHECA QUALIFY THIRD FOR THE FIRST SBK RACES OF THE SEASON, TOMORROW AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 25th February 2012: a tragic start to the 2012 World Superbike championship when a serious accident occurred during the Australian championship’s Superstock 600 race this afternoon at Phillip Island, proving fatal for young rider Oscar McIntyre, from Queensland, Australia. Team Althea Racing sends its condolences to the family and friends of Oscar McIntyre.
Consequently, the Superpole sessions were cancelled and the Superbike riders grid positions were decided according to the combined qualifying times. Team Althea Racing and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano will thus line up in third and fourteenth position respectively on tomorrow’s race grid.
Checa and Giugliano, already fourth and third respectively in yesterday’s first qualifying session, were out on track this morning, determined to make further improvement. On a cooler track with respect to yesterday afternoon, nearly all of the riders were able to improve on their times, Checa included. Mid-session the 2011 champion recorded a 1m31.6 that positioned him second behind Sykes on the Kawasaki. Thanks to that time, Carlos qualified in third position. Unfortunately Giugliano was unable to improve on his best time set in first qualifying but the work done yesterday placed him in fourteenth position at the end of qualifying, enough to enter the Superpole, subsequently cancelled.
In the final practice of the early afternoon, both Althea men worked with their technicians to make final modifications ahead of tomorrow’s races. Checa closed the session in second place, Giugliano twelfth.
As explained above, the race grid was determined according to qualifying times, meaning that Carlos will start from the front row, in third position, while Davide will line up on the fourth row, in fourteenth. Both Althea Racing riders feel ready for the first challenge of the 2012 championship.
“First of all I want to send my condolences to McIntyre’s family, a terrible tragedy. Superpole was understandably cancelled as a result. As far as my day was concerned, I can say that qualifying went well. We worked once again on finding a strong race pace and the times came down too. We’ll start from the front row based on the qualifying times which is good news for us. Today I was able to find better pace and am therefore pretty confident for tomorrow. Having said that, it won’t be easy, firstly due to the heat and mainly due to the extra six kilos we have on board, especially when we’re losing 15km/h on the straight to the other riders. I will do my best as always and we’ll see.”
“I was shocked and sorry to hear about McIntyre and send my condolences to his loved ones.
To talk about how my day went seems inconsequential but I can say that this morning I had trouble riding in such a strong wind. I didn’t expect that and really had difficulty in the conditions. Starting from the fourth row means I need to get off the line as quickly as possible of course and see what I can do. We’ll have to see how hot it is as I seem to go better the hotter it is; I think the temperatures will condition tomorrow’s races.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Phillip Island - Saturday
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:32.082 min (P12) / Fastest lap FP: 1:32.971 min (P7)
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:32.123 min (P13) / Fastest lap FP: 1:32.585 min (P3)
Today saw a sad start to the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island in Australia. The Superpole qualifying session was cancelled after a tragic accident in a support race. Young Australian rider Oscar McIntyre was fatally injured in a crash in the Australian Superstock 600cc Championship race.
This incident has deeply saddened every member of Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport. We send our sympathies to Oscar McIntyre’s family and want to show our respects for them and the young rider at this difficult time.
Under these circumstances, the sporting aspects are secondary to the loss of such a young life. With the cancellation of Superpole, the combined qualifying times from Friday afternoon and Saturday morning will determine the line-up for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races. Leon Haslam (GBR) will start 12th from the third row on the grid, just in front of new team-mate, Marco Melandri (ITA), who qualified in 13th for the fourth row.
BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet SBK Team’s new rider Michel Fabrizio (ITA) qualified tenth fastest today and will start from the third row, while Ayrton Badovini (ITA) qualified on the fifth row in 20th place.
Front row for debutant Cluzel
PTR HONDA'S World Supersport newcomer Jules Cluzel will start tomorrow's opening round of the Championship at Phillip Island in Australia from an impressive third place on the front row of the grid.
Jules: "I hurt my finger on my right hand in a fast crash in the morning. This afternoon after this big crash, I was not scared but needed to restore my confidence and I am happy again. I tried to improve my lap time but on my first fast lap I was caught in traffic - I needed to pass one guy on the outside and this ruined the lap. Then we changed the tyre and I did the same lap time as yesterday - and I had to pass a guy on this lap. I am just one tenth from fastest and I think we have good pace for the race, I am liking the PTR Honda bike a lot."
Ronan: "I did not improve my lap time from yesterday which is disappointing. We have some ideas to try for morning warm-up and I hope to be fighting inside the top 10 in the race."
Martin: "That was not the day I was looking for as I was struggling with a few things and not able to go faster than yesterday. I do not have enough speed at the apex and made a change that went too soft on the front - there was not enough weight on the rear and the tyre was spinning. In the extreme heat today I suffered even more. We will go harder on the front tonight and come back and go better in warm-up. I have never been a great qualifier; my strength is always that I do my fastest lap in the race. I have done myself no favours with my grid position but hopefully I will get dragged along and carry on with learning how to adapt to a Supersport bike in the race."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "A great job again by Jules. After a crash this morning it is hats off to the PTR team for completely rebuilding the bike between sessions, -a very professional job - and Jules was grateful. Jules will be in contention for the podium I am sure. The track temperature was really high today and Ronan was running wide and we have spoken with Ohlins to make improvements for tomorrow. Martin is still adapting, I am sure in the race he will rise to the challenge and be in contention for the points."
Sykes On Pole As Superpole Contest Is Cancelled
WSBK, Phillip Island, Australia, 25 February 2012
After the cancellation of Superpole due to a fatal accident in a support class race the final grid places were determined by the results of combined qualifying, putting KRT rider Tom Sykes on pole.
Sykes recovered from a crash on day one to make an immediate improvement in the final qualifying session this morning, pushing his way to the top of the time sheets with a 1’31.323 lap, edging out Max Biaggi by 0.154 seconds. This is Tom's third career pole, all set on Kawasaki machines, the most recent before today coming at Misano last season.
Tom’s team-mate Joan Lascorz took the second Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R to 16th and would have qualified for Superpole had it been run. Joan has found it difficult to match his machine set-up to this circuit but hopes for a breakthrough in tomorrow’s warm-up before facing two 22-lap races.
Pedercini Team Kawasaki regular David Salom was 19th while riding with a painful injured right wrist, and he was one place behind his team-mate for the weekend, Bryan Staring.
Two 22-lap Superbike races will take place on Sunday at Phillip Island, during what is the opening weekend of a 14-round season.
The entire Kawasaki Racing Team extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the young rider who suffered a fatal accident during the Australian Superstock 600cc Championship race today, Oscar McIntyre.
Tom Sykes: “Pole position has come with mixed emotions because of some very bad news and first and foremost I want to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Oscar McIntyre. It seems unimportant in many ways now but as far as our on-track weekend has worked out yesterday we just made sure things were right with the bike and pushed a bit more in this morning’s cooler qualifying session. My pole lap was not a clean one but we still set the fastest time, which shows a good level of progress. Phillip Island has not been a great track for me in the past but Kawasaki has put in a huge amount of work during the winter on the Ninja ZX-10R. We will see what tomorrow brings but I want to get two good races under my belt before I head back to Europe.”
Joan Lascorz: “I want to give my sincere condolences to the family of Oscar McIntyre first of all and his accident puts all other things into perspective. In the final qualifying session I did not get the lap times I wanted and then in the afternoon in the free session the strong wind blowing down the straight affected me and the bike, so we did not make the improvements we were looking for. I do not have as much confidence as usual right now so I hope tomorrow morning we can make a change in the set-up for the races.”
Front Row Start For Sofuoglu In Australia
WSS, Phillip Island, Australia, 25 February 2012
Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini rider Kenan Sofuoglu earned a front row start, in fourth place, after the final qualifying session at Phillip Island, setting a best lap time of 1’34.577 in hot conditions.
After the tragedy of a fatal accident during a support race the second Supersport qualifying session started later than scheduled but was run in its entirety.
Sofuoglu was on his usual swashbuckling form this afternoon, pushing hard to record a time only 0.132 seconds from pole, in what was a very close session for the top four riders.
Just behind him Kawasaki Intermoto Step rider Fabien Foret went fifth, with Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini rider Sheridan Morais sixth after putting together all his set-up data together in the final session before warm-up tomorrow morning.
Hot conditions are expected to arrive at Phillip Island for raceday once again and track temperatures reached almost 60°C today. Shortly after 19.30 on Saturday evening it was announced that the championship organisers had shortened the race to 15 laps and not the scheduled 21. This was done to make sure the tyres will last in these extreme temperatures, on a circuit with many long left hand corners.
Tragedy hit the PI meeting when young local rider Oscar McIntyre suffered fatal injuries in an accident during the Australian 600c Superstock Championship race. Everyone involved in Kawasaki’s racing activities offers their sincere condolences to Oscar’s family and friends.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “Everything is good and we improved the set-up a lot, I think. I really tried for a lap time but I am not happy that I could not take pole because I missed a few things in my fastest lap and I found some traffic. So to qualify on the front row of the grid was not so bad. I did a race run this morning to I think we are really ready for the race. I should be strong so hopefully we should fight for the win.”
Sheridan Morais: “It was just an improved set-up on the bike that put me up to sixth. Yesterday we just focused on getting everything right for the race while a lot of people were putting on soft tyres all the time, going for lap times. Today I could work on some lap times and in the free practice we showed we could set some fast time, then in qualifying the first soft tyre that I put on I did my best lap time on. When I went out after that on soft tyres there was just so much traffic! People were coming out of the pits and obviously looking for a tow, so while they were doing that they were holing us up. I did not beat my first lap time on a fresh tyre, but I know that I could have, so I think we did a good job of getting the bike right.”
Fabien Foret: “I had only one soft tyre and I got caught up behind some other riders so I could not really improve my times. Some guys are fast for one lap or two but I feel we will be stronger in the race, so let’s see for tomorrow.”
CAMIER ON PHILLIP ISLAND WSB 2ND ROW
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 25.
Leon Camier will start tomorrow's opening round of the World Superbike Championship from the second row of the grid after qualifying his Crescent Fixi Suzuki in sixth position.
With Superpole cancelled at the Phillip Island circuit due to a fatality in the Australian Superstock 600 race, positions were taken from the previous qualifying session.
Leon Camier - 6th, 1:31.904
"With the problems from yesterday fixed, we began with an older setting we knew worked well and ended with a good base setting. That, coupled with the new Yoshimura engines, gave us a definite improvement. I knew straight away that the engines were stronger. I did a bit of a race simulation in the free practice today and one thing I know is that the heat is going to be a bit of a problem for all of us. Phillip Island is well known for being hard on tyres, especially when the track temperature is very hot. I am really enjoying riding the Crescent Fixi Suzuki GSX-R - I feel very comfortable and I like its character."
Josh Brookes - 22nd, 1:33.384:
"This morning we started with stiffer springs in the front forks, but it made the bike a bit worse, so we went back to our previous best setting. But although the bike was better, it wasn't enough to get into Superpole. With nothing to lose, we tried the forks and set-up John Hopkins used last year and almost immediately I began to get a better feeling about the bike. The very high track temperature and strong winds this afternoon, made it difficult to tell how much further we can improve, but I'm sure I can go quite a bit faster. We'll try some things in the warm-up tomorrow and even in the first race if necessary, but one thing is sure - I'm not giving up."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"We made very good progress today and, with yesterday's issues behind us, Leon qualified in a great sixth place on the grid. Josh found a much better feeling with the bike using John's settings and, knowing him, I'm sure he'll be on it come the races. I think Leon could've improved his grid position in Superpole, but unfortunately it was not to be as it was cancelled due to fatal accident in the Australian Superstock 600 championship race. Leon, Josh and all at Crescent Fixi Suzuki would like to extend our condolences to the family of Oscar McIntyre in their sad times."
Lowes second on a sad day
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA'S Sam Lowes finished the final qualifying session at Phillip Island in a close second, just 16 thousands of a second from pole position, and is ready to fight for his maiden World Supersport win when the 15-lap race starts at 3:15 CET on Sunday.
Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda made more progress with his race pace today ahead of his debut World Supersport race and finished a close qualifying session in 15th position, only 1.2secs from pole position.
Bogdanka Honda PTR's Pawel Szkopek made a sensational start to the day by going third fastest in the second practice session before taking his best ever World Supersport grid position and qualifying in tenth in the afternoon.
Today's World Supersport qualifying session was delayed after a fatal accident in the Australian Superstock 600 support race involving a young local rider Oscar McIntyre. The whole team wishes to send its deepest condolences to Oscar's family, friends and team.
Sam Lowes: "I'm very happy with today's qualifying and looking forward to the race. I hit traffic on a quick lap, which stopped me from taking pole position, but I'm looking forward to my first race for Bogdanka PTR Honda and I hope to fight for victory. I want to make a solid start to the 2012 season and I'm ready for a strong title challenge. I'd like to thank all my team and fans. Roll on race one! I don't know too much about today's accident but it's very sad and I'd wish to send my condolences to Oscar's family."
Mathew Scholtz: "We made good progress this morning, found a few things and improved my race pace which I'm really happy about. In the qualifying we had a bit of a problem and a front tyre puncture so I wasn't able to go faster in the end. It will be my first World Supersport race tomorrow so I'm going into it with an open mind and I don't have really big expectations. I just hope I can bring home some points. My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends or Oskar. It's a very sad thing and something nobody likes to see in racing."
Pawel Szkopek: "Today went exactly as we had hoped. We went a full second quicker than yesterday and more than half a second faster than in the test on Tuesday, so I'm feeling confident ahead of the race, especially after going third fastest this morning. Special thanks go to my team for their excellent work this weekend. I'm confident we can fight for a top ten finish. I'm very sad about today's accident and wish to send my deepest condolences to Oscar's family. I want to do well and dedicate my result to him."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sam is in good shape for the race and is very positive, so we are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve. Mathew has improved his consistency and is in a good position to score points in this first outing on a World Supersport bike."
Second row start for Rea at Phillip Island
Honda World Superbike rider, Jonathan Rea, will start tomorrow’s two first round World Superbike championship races at Phillip Island in Australia from the second row of the grid after today’s qualifying practice.
Following a fatal incident in an earlier national race, this afternoon’s Superpole session was cancelled, leaving Rea in eighth place based on his combined qualifying times. His team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, will start the two 22-lap races from the fourth row while British rider Tom Sykes took pole position.
Rea lost time in this morning’s second qualifying practice following a crash at Phillip Island’s turn 10 and was unable to better his provisional pole position time from yesterday. However, he and his crew found a better race set-up in the subsequent free practice session and were confident of an improved qualifying position.
Aoyama missed out on a Superpole debut in his first World Superbike championship meeting but will start from 16th place on the grid after British rider, Chaz Davies, withdrew following a wrist injury.
On behalf of the extended Honda family, everyone in the Honda World Superbike Team wishes to pass their condolences to the family and friends of 17-year-old Oscar McIntyre, who lost his life in this afternoon’s crash at Phillip Island.
Jonathan Rea - P8, 1m31.959s
Yeah, today was a bit of a weird situation without having a Superpole, so we were just sitting and waiting to go out. I didn’t know at the time but afterwards I got told that a young rider in the Aussie 600 class, Oscar McIntyre, lost his life. So, before I talk about my day, I want to send my thoughts and regards to his family and friends. On my side of the box, everything’s been going OK. We had a slip off this morning at MG and lost a bit of time which put us in a bad rhythm in Qualifying 2. But in free practice we got the rhythm again, did another long run on a tyre which worked OK. I was quite happy with the pace we had on it and basically I think I’m ready for the race. It’s going to be a big task to win tomorrow, but our goal is still to be on the podium, and it has been since we got here. The guys have given me a good bike to ride and we’ve been concentrating on getting it to lap 22 in good shape. We’ll see tomorrow and I’m as excited as anyone to see the result.
Hiroshi Aoyama - P16, 1m32.576s
We were expecting a little bit more progress today but had some problems with braking and corner exit, especially at the last corner and turn 11. It seems that we couldn’t improve so much, and although in qualifying we improved the lap time a little, it was not enough. Position 17 is not ideal for us but we’ll see tomorrow, when I hope the feeling with the bike will change a little bit and let me push more on the corner exit. This afternoon the ground temperature went to 55 or 60 degrees, which made things worse for our programme and it wasn’t easy to ride in those conditions. It’s possible tomorrow will be even hotter than today, so we will have to consider this, too. It’s going to be the first time for me with two Superbike races in one day so I want to see what it is like and try my best. [Added later]: I also want to send my best wishes to the family of the rider who died today.
Rider quotes may be viewed on video with the following link:
Ronald ten Kate - team manager
Firstly, and most importantly, we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family of Oscar McIntyre, who died in this afternoon’s crash - it naturally casts a big shadow over the whole weekend. Jonathan seemed to be gelling better with the machine this afternoon and the aim for Superpole would have been a front row start, which helps around here. In the last free practice we did a proper race run and we’ve found a very clear direction to go. With Hiroshi, we’re chipping away at the lap time but unfortunately it’s not coming in big steps. Every time he goes out there he improves and gets closer to the front guys. Hopefully he can take tomorrow’s experience of two races under his belt into the next round at Imola and be in a higher position.