-- World SBK 2012 - Round 11 - Moscow Raceway
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 average 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.
The 3.931km Moscow Raceway proved a tough test for many riders in practice and qualifying but despite the tight and twisty nature of the racetrack in some areas Sykes and his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R were able to compete for the Tissot-Superpole win right to the end.
Sykes is now confident that, weather conditions permitting, he will start each 25-lap Superbike World Championship ready to compete for podium places.
KRT rider Loris Baz had some difficult times during practice after two falls, but great work from his team, in the new era of single bike rules where bike have to be repaired quickly, gave him the chance to compete for grid places in Superpole and he finished up ninth overall. Two top ten finishes or better are in the sights of Silverstone race winner Baz on raceday.
Kawasaki runners Team Pedercini fielded three riders at Moscow Raceway, with regular runner David Salom into Superpole and finally 16th on the grid and with new riders Alex Lundh and David McFadden 20th and 21st respectively.
Tom Sykes: “I am quite happy to be second in Superpole because this circuit has proven to be quite generous towards the vee configuration engines here. But, having said that Kawasaki have done a fantastic job. We have managed to build and keep building pace all week. For the races tomorrow we should be quite consistent. I am happy with my race package so it was just unfortunate today that the qualifying tyre gave us some small issues, so I had no answers for Carlos. We got a good reception at the Paddock Show and it is nice to have a fan base over here in Russia, so let’s hope we can put on a good show tomorrow. I think the circuit is showing that it should give close and competitive racing.”
Loris Baz: “The last corner section has been our biggest problems from the beginning of the weekend. I lost three tenths there from the beginning. I am just trying to brake later but we have found a few things. I am really happy to be ninth on the grid after the beginning of the weekend we had. I lost nearly one and a half seconds after the crash of this morning. If I can stay in the top ten for each race that would be really good. I want to thank all the mechanics because they have had to make up two bikes since the beginning of the weekend.”
-- BMW Report
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.
Leon Haslam: 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)
Marco Melandri: 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)
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
-- Fixi Suzuki
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
John Hopkins: "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."
Leon Camier: "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.
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."
-- Althea Ducati
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.
Carlos Checa: “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.”
Davide Giugliano: “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.”
- World Superbike 2012 -
RND 1 -
BIAGGI WINS WSBK RACE 1
RND 1 - CHECA TAKES WSBK RACE 2
RND 1 - WSBK VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
RND 2 - CHECA DOUBLES AT IMOLA
RND 3 - GUINTOLI & REA AT ASSEN
RND 4 -
DRAMA AT MONZA
RND 5 - DONINGTON DILEMMA
RND 5 -
DONINGTON VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
RND 6 - SALT LAKE CITY
RND7 - BIAGGI DOMINATES MISANO
RND 8 - EUROS DOMINATE ARAGON
RND 9 - MELANDRI WINS BRNO
RND 10 - SILVERSTONE
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