Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Moscow Raceway:
CHECA AND TEAM ALTHEA RACING CELEBRATE POLE POSITION TODAY AT THE MOSCOW RACEWAY; GIUGLIANO EIGHTH
Moscow (Russia), Saturday 25th August 2012: this afternoon the new Moscow Raceway played host to its first first ever Superpole and the star of the session was Althea Racing’s very own champion Carlos Checa. He scored his first pole of the 2012 season with a flying lap of 1m34.1 that proved unbeatable in the final phase. After such positive qualifying sessions, Davide Giugliano also had high hopes of lining up on the front row but a crash in the final stage unfortunately relegated him to the second row; he’ll start from eighth position tomorrow.
Already first and second in yesterday’s qualifying session, Davide and Carlos continued to work hard in today’s second qualifying in spite of cooler conditions (air temperature 16˚C, track 16˚C), and the threat of rain. Davide remained in the garage during the first part of the session while his technicians made some small changes to his 1198. He then took to the track, completing only a handful of laps before the inevitable onset of rain stopped play. Carlos was able to record a series of fast laps in the initial stages, lowering his best time set yesterday by a fraction of a second. Thanks to a best time of 1m35.2 he qualified in second place for this afternoon’s Superpole, two tenths of a second behind his team-mate. The session was briefly red-flagged due to the rain and when riders returned to the track no-one was able to improve on Davide’s first qualifying time; he therefore remained at the top of the timesheets, qualifying first for Superpole with a time of 1m35.0. Althea’s flagbearers consolidated those results in the final practice session of the early afternoon, finishing in first (Carlos) and third (Davide) position.
Superpole 1: needing just one flying lap each on race rubber, Carlos and Davide went straight to the top of the timesheets together with Sykes; both Althea riders recorded a 1m35.2 in the first few minutes of this opening phase. Thanks to these times, the Althea men were able to return to the garage, having secured safe passage to phase two. At the end of the session, they were in fourth (Davide) and fifth (Carlos) position behind Sykes, Biaggi and Laverty.
Superpole 2: the second phase was almost a repeat of the first. Carlos and Davide immediately put in a fast time with both lapping in under 1m35. While Davide set a fast 1m34.9 which put him in final fourth place, Carlos recorded the fastest lap of the weekend so far, a 1m34.4 which assured him of first position at the end of the 12-minute session.
Superpole 3: unfortunately during his first lap in this final phase Giugliano suffered a fall, the crash unfortunately preventing him from completing a fast lap which left him in eighth position at the end of today’s Superpole; he’ll therefore line up on the second row of tomorrow’s race grid. Incredibly Carlos improved even further on the time he set in the previous phase, taking advantage of the qualifying tyre to record an unbelievably quick 1m34.1. There was no doubt that this time, four tenths quicker than second-placed Sykes’ best lap, would be sufficient to secure pole, his first pole of the season.
“I’m extremely happy with today’s Superpole because this is where everything has to come together, my riding, the tyre, the bike; everything worked well and we were able to record the kind of time that we thought might be possible here. My first lap wasn’t great but the second was pretty clean, I made no mistakes and when I saw the time I knew it would be very hard to beat. It’s my first pole of the year, and doing it at this new track in Russia makes it even more special. The races are still to come of course, and my objective is to make a quick start and aim for the win, in the hope that conditions allow me to make two strong races.”
“Unfortunately we didn’t have the third Superpole phase that we’d hoped for. In the second phase I went out on a qualifier and I think this conditioned the final phase as I went out on the same tyre but it didn’t behave in the same way and I crashed. After a weekend in which we have been up front in each session, I’m disappointed to be starting eighth tomorrow; it’s not a bad position but we thought we could do more today. We had everything lined up and the front row was in our sights… Anyway tomorrow we’ll go racing and I hope that I regain what I lost in the final Superpole session.”
Jules takes another pole position
PTR HONDA'S Jules Cluzel will start the first ever Russian World Supersport race from pole position, continuing the fine vein of form he showed at the last event at Silverstone where he took victory.
Ronan Quarmby suffered an electrical problem that lost him time and qualified an unusual 16th - but clearly has the pace to be much faster in the race. Martin Jessopp on the Riders PTR Honda is 25th and within touching distance of the group just ahead that will be fighting for the points.
The 10th round of the World Supersport Championship at Moscow will start at 1330 local time tomorrow, Sunday, August 26th.
Jules: "We improved a lot this morning and kept improving in qualifying, it is a good pole position. I am much more comfortable on my PTR Honda today than yesterday. I still think we need to improve our consistency for the race. We beat Sofuoglu in qualifying but we need a little more for the race distance. We have some ideas and think we can do this. I want a dry warm-up tomorrow so we can try another change but there may be some rain. It may even be a wet race and then anything can happen..."
Ronan: "I am not happy to qualify 16th but we had an electrical problem and it lost me time and the chance to improve. I am sure my crew will fix it for tomorrow and I know I can race much faster than this and want to be fighting well inside the top 10 as usual."
Martin: "It has been a different sort of weekend for me. We have focused on my feel for the bike rather than just lap time. We have actually made some big improvements and while 25th is not what we want, it is better than it sounds. If I can get away with the riders in front I think I can stay with them and hopefully challenge for points."
Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Great job by Jules and the team, really good set up. Still try to improve a little bit for the race in good position to fight for the win tomorrow. Ronan had an electrical problem that cost him time but qualified on fourth row and has a lot more potential for the race. Martin has improved across the weekend. Closing the gap on the group fighting for the points an determined for a good race."
Second row for Rea in Russia
Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two 11th round World Superbike championship races from the second row of the grid after setting the sixth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole session at Moscow Raceway in Russia.
Pole position was taken by Carlos Checa, followed closely by Tom Sykes, with Eugene Laverty and Leon Haslam completing the front row, while Rea’s Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, took part in his first Superpole this afternoon.
The Japanese ace gelled immediately with the all-new 3.931km Moscow Raceway circuit 77km west of the Russian capital during a test on Wednesday and the 30-year-old had been running consistently in the top ten.
However, using Pirelli qualifiers for the first time, Aoyama experienced the chatter that often comes with the additional grip and, despite progressing to Superpole 2, he will start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s two 25-lap races.
Rea made the most of his first qualifying tyre, using it at the end of Superpole 1 and on its fifth lap, to post his best time of the weekend in Superpole 2. However, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland also got chatter from his second qualifier and was unable to improve his time.
Jonathan Rea – P6, 1m35.237s
We made an improvement today, especially in the second free practice, when I really started to gel with the bike. We never really got too stressed but, in the back of our minds, we knew we weren’t really where we wanted to be – like challenging for the podium. We found a lot with our race option tyre and, in Superpole 2, my time would’ve been good enough for the front row. But in Superpole 3 the qualifier developed a bit of rear chatter when I opened the throttle, which wasn’t a perfect situation. But second row will do, and we would have definitely taken that yesterday when it looked like we were really struggling. It’ll be really tough racing over 25 laps here – it’s quite physical, tight and twisty, and passing places will be few and far between, so a good start will be needed and we’ll make a plan from there. Looks like everyone will be on the same tyre, so that’s one less thing to worry about, and we’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.
Hiroshi Aoyama – P12, 1m35.834s
Finally I got to Superpole and even to Superpole 2, and it was good to be there. I’m happy that I have a better feeling with the set-up than I had yesterday. It allowed me to go a bit faster today and the race tyre felt even better than the qualifying tyre, which was a pity. But we will start from 12th in the middle of the grid tomorrow and I hope we can have two good races. All the guys have been working really hard so I want to make two good results to thank them for their efforts.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Overall I think we can be quite happy with the results from both riders today. Hiroshi finally made it to Superpole and, not only that, he got through to Superpole 2 as well. He had a little chatter problem on the qualifying tyre so couldn’t improve further but he’s on the third row and he has pace to run in the top ten tomorrow. Jonathan had a difficult session this morning but made a big change with the front tyre in the free practice. He got into a rhythm which brought him up to the front runners again. Sixth place is a good result for him and we think a podium is possible tomorrow.
BMW Motorrad Motorsport - WSBK - Moscow - Superpole
Team BMW Motorrad showed a strong performance in today’s Superpole qualifying at the brand new “Moscow Raceway” (RUS). Despite yesterday’s issues with the soft tyres the squad qualified for the first and second rows. Factory rider Leon Haslam (GBR) will start the first ever Russian round of the FIM Superbike World Championship from fourth in the front row, followed by his team-mate Marco Melandri (ITA) who qualified fifth on his BMW S 1000 RR. In Superpole 1 and 2, Leon only made one outing each to progress to the next session. Both times Marco rode a time that qualified him for the next stage in the closing minutes of the session. In the deciding Superpole 3, Leon put in the fourth quickest time right at the beginning and held that position until the chequered flag. Marco started with the sixth fastest time but improved a further position, securing fifth on the grid. Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team will start tomorrow’s races from 17th and 19th respectively.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:35.989 min (P12) / Fastest lap FP: 1:35.502 min (P6) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:35.170 min (P4)
“I am really pleased. It is always nice to be on the front row of the grid, and especially at Moscow where the first part of the track is quite twisty. Thanks to the boys who did a great job. It was hard work with the soft tyre. We did similar lap times on the soft tyre as with the race tyre, which is good for tomorrow. We made some good progress over the weekend and for me, we just need to do some fine tuning for the race and we can be strong. It will be difficult to overtake, but there is no one in front of me I don’t think I can’t beat. Carlos has a fast pace but he has one of the slowest bikes on the straight. Hopefully if I can get in front of him and hold him up in the bits where he is strong and then pull away in the sections where I am fast.”
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:35.772 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:35.593 min (P7) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:35.224 min (P5)
“I am very happy because honestly I was pretty worried about qualifying. The good thing is that I have the feeling that we are in a quite good shape for the race. The negative thing is that we were still struggling with the soft tyres. It was difficult to make improvements. So for me to qualify for the second row was the best I could hope for and I am happy. A big thank you to my team. They really did an incredible job today. Now I hope to have a dry race tomorrow.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“We managed the Superpole very well because we were worried about our performance with the soft tyre. For some reason it does not work well with the characteristics of our machine. We were worried that we would throw away the good job done so far due to the difficulties with the soft tyre and the consequent grid position. But both crews managed their issues and qualified on the first and second row which is always our target. Especially on a small and tight track like this where overtaking will be difficult. I am confident for tomorrow’s races because we have shown that with race tyres our pace is competitive.”
Checa wins first Russian Tissot-Superpole contest
Moscow Raceway (Russia), Saturday 25 August 2012 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) obliterated the previous track best from practice at the all-new Moscow Raceway during Tissot-Superpole qualifying, in readiness for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship races on Sunday. The top 16 riders in Superpole were whittled down to a top eight and Checa proved to be the best of them after the three sessions had been completed, setting a new track best of 1 minute 34.193 seconds. It is his first pole win of the 2012 season but the ninth of his career.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has more poles than anyone else in 2012, seven, but had to settle for second best this time, with two fellow ex-British championship riders, Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) and Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) also on the front row.
Carlos Checa: “Finally Tom had some problems with the qualifiers because he has been very difficult to beat in Superpole. Here we found good pace and a good lap time with the soft tyres, we interpreted well the line in the slow area. The circuit is a really nice for me, slow and good fun to ride. But it’s really special to be in Moscow, racing here, it seems strange if you look back a long time ago. But things have changed now and it’s a pleasure to be part of that change!”
Tom Sykes: “It’s great to be on the front row. All week we’ve been quite consistent and then had to find something last night but we’ve been good today. In Superpole 1 we did a good time on the race tyre but had a couple of problems when we used the qualifier. Carlos has been looking good all weekend and totally deserved that one, I had no answer today.”
Eugene Laverty: “Definitely a big improvement from where we’ve been all weekend, from down in 17th on Friday. We learnt a few things in qualifying and progressed well with the bike. The last time was actually on set used qualifiers. It took a bit of time to get dialed in but we’re looking good for the races tomorrow.”
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went fifth; Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) sixth. To make sure the championship battle remains tense, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) was seventh fastest and well in the leading rider mix. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) fell in Superpole three and thus starts eighth on the grid.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) could not overcome some issues with approach into the final corner and he had to settle for a third row starting position, having had two crashes in qualifying this weekend as well. Niccolo Canepa (Red Devils Roma) was a strong tenth on his privateer Ducati machine, while John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was 11th and Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) went 12th.
After some top performances in practice and regular qualifying Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Aprilia) dropped to 13th on the grid after opting to save his qualifying tyres for Superpole 2 and 3, and he was unable to remain inside the top 12 riders.
Two 25 lap SBK races are schedule for Sunday 26th August, with close action expected at this impressive new venue in an exciting new country for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship to visit on the championship trail.
Times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1'34.193 media 150,240 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'34.549; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'34.562; 4. Haslam (BMW) 1'35.170; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1'35.224; 6. Rea (Honda) 1'35.237; 7. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'35.253; 8. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'34.973; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'35.224; 10. Canepa (Ducati) 1'35.255; 11. Hopkins (Suzuki) 1'35.678; 12. Aoyama (Honda) 1'35.834; 13. Davies (Aprilia) 1'35.629; 14. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'35.678; 15. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'35.689; 16. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'35.798; etc.
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) put in a new track best lap at the Moscow raceway circuit with a 1 minute 37.347 second lap time to head final qualifying and start Sunday’s 22-lap race from pole position. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) went a close second after finding his own injection of pace and he will be joined on the front row by Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) and Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products) as they were third and fourth respectively.
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) is fifth after practice with another Kawasaki man, Intermoto Step team rider Fabien Foret, into the top six. Home favourite Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) is seventh after qualifying, earning an important second row starting position. Andrea Antonelli (Bike Service RT Yamaha) took the last spot on the second row.
Times: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 1'37.347 average 145.373 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'37.378; 3. Lowes (Honda) 1'37.540; 4. Parkes (Honda) 1'37.565; 5. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'37.711; 6. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'38.034; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'38.062; 8. Antonelli (Yamaha) 1'38.386; 9. Baldolini (Triumph) 1'38.549; 10. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'38.557; etc.
Coppa dei Due Paesi (Two Nations Cup)
Denis Sacchetti (SD Rider Team Kawasaki) maintained his qualifying lead in the Coppa dei Due Paesi class for Superstock 600 youngsters, the Italian heading off the push of Dakota Mamola (Yakhnich Motorsports Yamaha) and Sergey Vlasov (Yakhnich Motorsports Yamaha).
Times: 1. Sacchetti (Kawasaki) 1'42.702; 2. Mamola (Yamaha) 1'42.790; 3. Vlasov (Yamaha) 1'42.937; 4. Rosivall (Yamaha) 1'44.199; 5. Kiselev (Honda) 1'44.795; 6. Prosenik (Yamaha) 1'44.899; 7. Sangiorgi (Honda) 1'45.125; 8. Orlov (Yamaha) 1'46.036; etc.
Lowes on front row in Russia
BOGDANKA PTR HONDA's Sam Lowes will start tomorrow's round ten of the World Supersport Championship from third position having shown impressive pace on harder rubber and is looking to challenge for the podium places in the race again.
Mathew Scholtz on the other Bogdanka PTR Honda finished today's second qualifying session in a solid 12th position and targets a top ten finish in tomorrow's race, while Bogdanka Honda PTR rookie, Andrzej Chmielewski, will start the race from 32nd when the lights go off at 11:30 CET on Sunday.
Sam Lowes: "I qualified in third and I'm really happy about it. I struggled a little bit on the soft tyre at the end of the session. We had a really good run in the middle of the session on a race tyre with a lot of high 37's and low 38's, which is a really strong race pace comparing to the others. I then did my best lap on the soft tyre but I didn't have a mega feeling on it. It's not a problem as I won't use that tyre tomorrow, so right now I'm just looking forward to trying one more small thing in the warm up and then race. Obviously for me it's a crucial part of the season. We need to start getting some points back on Kenan. I'll do my best tomorrow."
Mathew Scholtz: "The morning practice was good for me as I went faster than in the Friday's qualifying. I was confident about going a little bit faster in the second qualifying and after a steady start, I picked my pace up. I'm on the third row and my lap times were really consistent so I'm confident that I can do well in the race tomorrow and finish in the top ten."
Andrzej Chmielewski: "Today was quite alright even if the position isn't great. However, I've improved my time and I'm really happy with the bike and the team. My mechanics are working great and do a good job motivating me. It's my debut on a Supersport bike so I didn't have high expectations, but I'm really enjoying this class and hope for a good race. I'm usually faster in the race than in qualifying so after improving today, I'm confident of going a second a lap faster tomorrow."
Simon Buckmaster, Bogdanka PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sam is on the front row and enjoyed a great run at race pace. He is happy with the bike and in fantastic shape for the race. Mathew has improved to 12th and it is very tight on time. He is on the third row and is looking good for decent points tomorrow."
HOPKINS ON ROW THREE AT 1ST RUSSIAN WSB
Team Suzuki Press Office - August 25.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki's John Hopkins will start the inaugural Russian World Superbike races from the third row tomorrow at the Moscow International Raceway for the 11th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.
Hopkins qualified for this afternoon's Superpole following a brave and determined lap right at the end of the second timed-practice session. Rain had fallen over the 3'931m long circuit but, despite the damp conditions, Hopkins decided to throw caution to the winds and his daring gamble was rewarded by a superb eighth fastest time and a comfortable place in Superpole. He made his way to the second Superpole session, but tyre consistency problems with his qualifier meant that he was unable to get into Superpole 3 and had to settle for 11th on the grid.
The rain that arrived in the morning dented Leon Camier's confidence - following his huge crash yesterday that left him with severe bruising - and prevented him from pushing as hard as he wanted to. He thought his work in the early dry part of the final qualifying would see him through to the Superpole, but after the rain, other riders went quicker and Camier was unable to push his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R that extra bit to secure his place. In the second free practice later in the day he recorded his fastest time of the weekend so far, so that looks positive for race-day and if he can get a good start he could soon be up amongst the action. Camier will start tomorrow's two races from the fifth row after qualifying in 18th place.
Reigning World Champion Carlos Checa on a Ducati won Superpole - his first of the season - so will start tomorrow's two 25-lap races from pole position. Tom Sykes on his Kawasaki and Aprilia's Eugene Laverty will join him on the front row after qualifying in second and third respectively. Tomorrow's first-ever World Superbike race to be held in Russia gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (09.00hrs BST), with the second event starting at 15.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).
"We started the morning using hard compound tyres, but struggled to do the lap times. So we put in a new set, but the rain came down and so we waited to see what would happen. Towards the end of the session, I noticed that some riders were going quicker, so I also went out. The track was still damp, but felt OK, so I went for it. I put in a good final lap -my quickest of the weekend - and got into Superpole OK, but it was a bit scary because my visor was covered with rain! I'm really happy with the set-up of my FIXI Crescent Suzuki, but we'll continue working to see if we can improve the bike some more.
"In Superpole 1, I struggled a bit with the qualifying tyre, but managed to do enough to get into the next session. Unfortunately the second qualifying tyre did not work at all in Superpole 2 and the bike was chattering right from the start of the pit-lane. I had to pit and put in a race tyre, but couldn't lap quickly enough on it to get into the top-eight for the third Superpole session. The chassis of our bike works really well and gives us a lot of feedback, but it seems that it is very sensitive to tyres - perhaps more so than other bikes. For sure, I would have liked to have qualified higher up the grid, but I'm confident with my race set-up and I think I can do well if I can get good starts."
"I felt a bit stiff this morning and found it a bit hard to go quickly at the beginning of the timed session. There was a fair bit of chatter on the bike, but I thought I had gone fast enough to get into Superpole when the rain came down. I didn't expect the lap times to improve, but they did. I didn't feel confident to push really hard and so I missed out on Superpole.
"In the afternoon session we made some improvements to my FIXI Crescent Suzuki and I went faster than all weekend. My race pace on race rubber is not so bad, but starting from the fifth row of the grid is definitely going to be a disadvantage. I need the best starts of the season and a bit of luck in the opening laps."
Jack Valentine - Team Manager:
"Qualifying didn't go to plan for Leon because the rain came down just when he was about to go for it. He didn't feel confident enough to go fast in the damp conditions and missed out on Superpole. John ignored the conditions, found some grip and did a great job to finish sixth in the session and eighth overall. We saw the old John and were pretty happy about his prospects of going all the way to Superpole 3. He used a qualifying tyre in Superpole 1 and managed to advance into Superpole 2, but the same type of qualifying tyre we put on started chattering straight-away - the inconsistency problem all over again! He pitted and put on some race rubber, but was unable to get into the final Superpole. John's position is respectable enough for race tyres and if he can get his usual good starts, he could be with the leaders by the end of the first lap. Leon's grid position is not so good and he's going to find a lot of traffic at the beginning, so good starts for him are vital. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but all of us at FIXI Crescent Suzuki will be giving 100% and fighting all the way to end - as usual."
Chaz Davies and ParkinGO: Russia, a thousand of a second too young.
Moscow, 25th august 2012
Day full of surprises for Chaz Davies and ParkinGO MTC Racing, searching for the deserved position in the grid at Moscow Raceway.
The day started the best way possible with a 6th place on the morning qualifying and a ninth position on the free practice in the afternoon.
Chaz Davies and ParkinGO confident on the first Superpole, decided not to use the qualifying tyre, and wait for the other two Superpole sessions, but right at the end of the first 12 minutes, thinking that the race tire would have been enough, rider and team have paid the inexperience in Superbike, missing the chance to get to Superpole 2 just for a thousand of a second.
Nevertheless the 13th place, the team and the British rider have a good pace and are confident for tomorrow’s races.
Alberto Colombo “il Moro”, chief mechanic of Chaz Davies
Is obvious that we have done a mistake choosing not to use the qualifying tire on Superpole 1. This weekend we have reached the best set up so far on the Aprilia RSV4. I guess we were too optimistic and thought we could risk a bit more to get a better position on the grid that we believed we deserved.
Anyway, we are happy to have done it, as we would have been always with the doubt.
As for the race pace, we are 100% satisfied. We have done a race simulation and we are quite happy with the results.