The Yamaha World Superbike Team ended the first day of on good form with both riders taking top five positions in the first of the Valencia qualifying sessions. As relative newcomers to the circuit having never raced here it was an impressive start for both Spies and Sykes who were quicker than a number of World Superbike regulars in the Spanish sunshine.
Spies finished the session in 2nd position 0.13 seconds behind fastest rider Max Biaggi (Aprilia) whilst team-mate Sykes wrapped up the session in fifth place a mere 0.5 seconds off the leader. Sykes took a small spill at the end of the session whilst experimenting with different corner gears but was unhurt.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (2nd, 1’34.907)
“It was a good day for us, in the first session we ran into some problems and we were unable to finish the session but in the second session we were really good. I think we’ve found our race set-up and race tyres already so we’re now just going to continue to make the bike better. I think it’s going to be a really good track for the bike, everybody’s definitely a little bit closer here, our goal for sure is just to stay with all the other bikes and see how we get on. The Ducati’s have always statistically been the better bikes round here, so our goal is to stay with them and look for our opportunity, if we can be strong at this track we can be strong anywhere. Right now our bike is working really well, but we can still make improvements and make it better for the race.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (5th 1’35.270)
“Over all for me it was a good day. We started off a little bit slower in the first session but again thanks to the team we’ve come back this afternoon and tried a couple of things with the suspension and straight away I felt a lot more at home, especially with the heavy braking areas . At the end of the session we tried some new tyres and straight away I was doing low 35’s, and I feel confident we could have got into the 34’s. I had a small crash at the end, totally my mistake. I was going into turn two and I tried using a different gear. On the exit it was working really well but unfortunately I had less engine braking on the way in so I just overloaded the front a little and at this pace that little bit is enough go down. On a positive note it was something that we can identify, it was my fault and not the bike, we’ve got a really good base setting and can go into tomorrow looking to make even more improvements.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“we are very satisfied, considering it’s the first proper day in Valencia for our bikes and for our riders we’ve performed pretty well. We are already looking to tomorrow to make some small adjustments to the set-up which we will do and that’s it. We may work a little bit more on the tyre endurance to try to find the best one to use for the race but overall we have a good set-up and looking forward to racing on Sunday.”
Crutchlow and Foret get on the pace in Valencia
Yamaha World Supersport Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Fabien Foret got straight down to business in Valencia today. Under the revised 2009 schedule there was no qualifying session and only one free practice session to work out the set-up today. Despite this both riders got onto the pace quickly and echoed their Superbike counterparts, ending their session in the top five.
Crutchlow ran the entire session without changing tyres, ending just 0.75 of a second behind leader Lascorz (Kawasaki) who had changed to fresh tyres for the final laps. Crutchlow’s team-mate Foret was happy with a good session, working on his set-up and finishing in 5th position 0.3 seconds behind 4th placed Sofuoglu (Honda).
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha World Supersport Team (2nd, 1’37.343)
“It was good enough today. I think consistently over the whole session we were fast enough. Our pace is good, even after a lot of laps on the same tyres and we’re confident with our Yamaha. Lascorz had a big advantage as he went out with a new tyre at the end which we could have done but we chose not to. I was happy enough with the pace and the bike is working really well for me. I’m disappointed with the schedule as it is, I think not having two practice sessions on a Friday has hindered us quite a bit. On the positive side Yamaha are doing a great job and my team’s really good, we’re still searching for a little bit but nothing we can’t find!”
Fabien Foret, Yamaha World Supersport Team (5th, 1’37.864)
“Well I’m very happy with the work we did today. I’ve changed my approach following the first two rounds of the championship, I’m being a bit more relaxed and finding it easier to focus on the bike and improving the set-up. I think we found some good stuff today and can go forward to tomorrow happy and maybe looking for a couple more improvements. I’m not focusing on points, I’m just concentrating on setting up my bike and racing as best I can, If I have a chance to try and win then that’s great.”
Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha World Supersport Team manager
“I’m happy, it’s the first free practice and both my riders are up there and have the speed and there’s still space to improve tomorrow. There were a couple of small tyre issues today and a little bit of chatter but these are small things. The bike is 90% ready and the sun is shining!”
— Ducati Report
A positive start for the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, with the riders concluding the first of the two qualifying sessions in third and fourth place, reserving provisional places on the front row of Sunday’s grid.
The Superbike teams followed a new-look track schedule for the first time today with no track action taking place until the first Superbike free practice session in the early afternoon. A dirty and partly damp track did not stop Noriyuki from getting straight to work, exiting on a tyre with which he immediately found feeling and completing close to race distance with very consistent lap times. Michel too soon got up to speed and the two Ducati Xerox riders concluded the session in fifth (Michel) and ninth (Nori) place.
In the afternoon qualifying session the lap times of most of the riders picked up due to better track conditions and both Noriyuki and Michel were satisfied with the consistently fast times that they registered.
Noriyuki Haga 1m34.9s
“Today has gone well. I did two good long-runs on different tyres and am satisfied with the results, we can choose which tyre we want to use for the race. Tomorrow we’ll try a different setting to try to improve through the corners and make things smoother, also saving the tyres somewhat. My lap times have been very consistent all day and we’ve had no real problems.”
Michel Fabrizio 1m35.2s
“I would say that for the moment things are under control. We’ve got the race pace and although I was lacking a certain level of grip at the front, I’m quite happy with my times and with the feeling I have on the bike. Towards the end of the last session we found a rear solution that I liked but I hope to make further improvement tomorrow.”
— Andrew Pitt Report
Two times World Supersport Champion Aussie Andrew Pitt finished yesterday’s first free practice session at round three of the Supersport World Championship at Valencia in 10th position on his first outing on the 2009 Machine.
Andrew Pitt, “The team have been working day and night for four weeks preparing the team bikes and they have done a great job. I completed 21 laps in total and, although I did not even consider attempting to go for a time, I still ran comfortably in the 1:38s.
“The bike needs some balance issues sorted, due to wheelbase changes, and we had a few niggling electrical gremlins during acceleration. These things are to be expected and we had to go through it at some stage [the new bike set-up] and I’d prefer to get it out of the way here rather than at Assen when we were due to get the 2009 machinery.
“The fastest guys at the front today were only running at my pace last year so If we can get the bike set-up I am confident that I can run at the front no problems, particularly physically. I feel fit and ready to race and I’m looking forward to battling on Sunday.”
Pitt will use today’s free practice for further bike development and will go for a fast time during this afternoon’s qualifying session. Andrew currently leads the 2009 World Supersport Championship on 40 points.
— Karl Muggeridge Report
Suzuki Celani’s Karl Muggeridge finished the first qualifying session in 22nd position here at round 3 of the World Superbike round at Valencia in Spain.
The field is once again really close this year and the first 17 riders are only separated by one second. Muggas who finally got some bits for his Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 is a lot happier with the speed of the bike but the handling of his Suzuki hold him back today and they have a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s two 45 minutes sessions.
Muggas comments: “The speed of the bike has definitely improved although she is still not the fastest thing out there, but we only loose about two bike lengths on the start finish straight. The potential for this weekend is better than what we achieved this afternoon and I’m sure we can improve for tomorrow. We are having a few problems suspension wise and trying to get the electronics working better was holding us back today by about five tenths.
Aprilia’s Max Biaggi was fastest in today’s qualifying session followed by American Ben Spies and current championship leader Nori Haga.
— Troy Corser Report
Troy – 13th, 1:35.516
“I watched videotapes of the first two rounds and tried to analyse what was happening to me and the bike on the track. Afterwards I called Tom (my crew chief) and threw some ideas at him and so we began first practice with a bike set-up that wasn’t based on either, Phillip Island, Qatar or when we tested here at the end of January. The bike felt a bit better right from the start of the practice and soon I was half a second faster than our January test. We made changes to the bike’s geometry, used different front offsets and also got to try out some new Ohlins suspension that wasn’t available at the start of the year. The track was a bit dirty and dusty in the first session, but the grip level definitely improved in the afternoon. We’ll keep on making small adjustments and see how much we can improve the bike, but I’m pretty happy.”
— Stiggy Honda Report
Hopkins gets first taste of Superbike Qualifying
John Hopkins only spent a little time testing the Stiggy Racing Honda Superbike before making his Superbike debut, but was able to get his first taste of the competition today in the first Qualifying Practice at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
Both Free and Qualifying Practices could best be seen as testing time for the new entry to the Stiggy Racing Honda team as the biggest part of the session was used to getting the feeling and finding the right set-up for the bike. Hopkins took things step by step without pushing it and set today and set his fastest lap at 1’35.868s, just over a second off the fastest time, but a promising start for his first Superbike weekend.
Leon Haslam spend most of his session working towards the best set-up for his bike and set his fastest lap at 1’35.535s.
Leon Haslam, 1’35.535s, 14th;
“I was pretty happy with my session. We have tried a lot of different things and ran out of time as usual but that’s the normal situation when you are out there but I think we found a good direction for tomorrow.
I messed up my fast lap at the end of the session but it still didn’t put me too far away on time. I am pretty confident we have found a good race setup and direction for tomorrow.”
John Hopkins, 1’35.868s, 18th;
“It’s definitely an experience getting back into the swing of things. We did a short test earlier this week but didn’t really get to spend that much time on a dry track. Unfortunately this afternoon in qualifying we ran into some technical problems that held me back a bit so I couldn’t do as many laps as i wanted to do. I haven’t really changed a thing from Rolfo’s set-up but now that we started to push towards the end of the session that’s when we ran into the problems. We started to get it right with the set-up towards the end but still need to change some things for tomorrow. I’m not pleased to be in 18th position but am happy to only be a second away from the leader board. Once we make the changes I am confident we can close the gap to the front group.”
Johan Stigefelt (Team Manager);
“It seems like we are struggling a little with the suspension here and we can’t get a good grip with the circuit. Both riders basically have the same comments and mention the same problem so we’ll have to look at the data tonight and see what we can improve. John has done a great job in his first day of qualifying. It is his his first time on the bike today where he can set this many laps and ride with the others. It’s looking promising and he hasn’t even been able to push yet. We have reached a level now from which we can take the next step. We still have to take another second off to find the connection with the front group, but I’m confident we can make that step tomorrow. Leon is not too happy with his current position and considering what he can do, we know he will be determined to do better tomorrow.”
Promising start for Stiggy Supersport squad
For the first time after the new rules came into action the Friday training for the Supersport riders today took place without the regular afternoon’s Qualifying Practice but an hour long Free Practice session instead.
The Stiggy Racing Honda Supersport squad took to the track in Valencia under good conditions and with new engines delivered for their machines. Lack of speed led to a disappointing race for both riders last time out which especially prevented Anthony West from running at the front.
Despite losing valuable track time on friday morning due to the new rules, both Vizziello and West finished today’s session with a good base set up and improved confidence ahead of tomorrow’s first Qualifying Practice. West managed to set his best lap at 1’38.055s while Vizziello followed closely behind in 1’38.475s.
Anthony West, 1’38.055s;
“We have two new bikes here and they do feel a lot stronger then the bike I had in Qatar, its a big improvement.
I’m pretty happy with how the bike went this time as I was pretty disappointed after the race in Qatar. The bike feels much better and I think we are not too far off the right set-up. It’s a bit strange that we only had one practice session today, it makes a big difference for us but I’m happy with how it all went and am looking forward to the qualifying session tomorrow.”
Gianluca Vizziello, 1’38.475s;
“My crew did a great job today, we are on the right way. We have put the last two races in which we had some communication problems, behind us. Today we managed to make a step forward in finding the set-up of the bike so we can improve our pace in tomorrow’s session. I don’t just want to improve, but I also have to improve after the last results and I’m positive I can do so.”
Johan Stigefelt (Team Manager);
“I’m happy with our performance today as we immediately made a big step forward with the new bikes. Both riders feel their engines are a lot better and stronger then they were in Qatar. Anthony is very fast and extremely focused in setting a good result here this weekend. Vizziello also finished a good session and did a great job today. I’m very satisfied with the results as it’s exactly the way I like to start a race weekend. We still need to work on the bikes a bit, but I am confident we can improve and put in a good performance tomorrow and Sunday.”
— Ten Kate Report
Jonathan Rea was ninth fastest in today’s opening qualifying session for Sunday’s third round World Superbike championship encounter at Valencia in Spain. His Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Carlos Checa, was 15th.
The session was led by Italian Max Biaggi, as Checa was unable to improve significantly on the time that saw the Spaniard leading the opening free practice session earlier today.
Rea was able to improve his own lap time this afternoon as the top seventeen riders were split by less than a second. Tomorrow sees a further qualifying session followed by Superpole to determine the grid for Sunday’s two 23-lap races around the 4.0005km Valencia circuit.
Jonathan Rea – P9, 1’35.328s
I’m just having a nightmare in the last sector, where I’m about 16th quickest. I’m third and second fastest in the two sectors before that so I’m happy with most of the corners and have to concentrate on that last one. We’ll compare data with the others tonight and bounce some ideas round to get that sorted. We’re pretty sure on race tyres as well, so there are definitely some positives to take from today.
Carlos Checa – P15, 1’35.541s
We had a few little problems this afternoon, like a sensor breaking on my number one machine. This morning was not so bad and we went some way to improving the chatter that we suffered during the last races. Now we need to work on getting the bike to turn a little better. I was unable to take my preferred bike out to go for a better lap time this afternoon and so I couldn’t go any faster than this morning. But we’ll do some more work tonight and try to start tomorrow in the same positive way as today.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
The basic speed is there to achieve the lap times that we anticipate for the race quite easily. With 17 people covered by less than a second, a small improvement can make a big change in the order so it’s very close. We didn’t manage one outstanding lap today but I’m happy with our race pace and tomorrow we’ll work on a good qualifying performance.
Ryuichi Kiyonari of the Ten Kate Honda Racing team set the tenth fastest time in today’s opening qualifying session for round three of the World Superbike championship at Valencia in Spain.
The Japanese ace, had been fourth fastest in this morning’s free practice session and finished today a little over half a second behind provisional pole position man, Max Biaggi.
Kiyonari is running this season alongside the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda squad but with backing from Honda Genuine Accessories and in the same HRC colour scheme in which he won last year’s Suzuka 8-hours race in Japan.
Ryuichi Kiyonari – P10, 1’35.372s
I was able to go a little faster than this morning, when I was fourth, but, unfortunately everyone else went a bit more fast! The lap times are very close and I am confident we can improve the position again tomorrow. I had some problems with the front tyre this morning and I thought it was just because the track was a little dirty; but the same problem was there this afternoon – it was moving around and giving me very little feedback. There is another option, but we didn’t get a chance to try it today, so we’ll do that in the morning. We’ll do some more work on the set-up as well to try and get a good feeling.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
It’s not where we would want to be after a qualifying session but I think Kiyo has shown that his race pace will be pretty good. There is less than a second splitting the first 17 riders so it shouldn’t take much to move him up the board and hopefully get a good qualifying position for Sunday’s races. He has demonstrated his ability to run at the front and that’s where want to get him tomorrow.
Ten Kate Supersport
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda riders, Andrew Pitt and Kenan Sofuoglu, rode the 2009 Honda CBR600RR for the first time in today’s altered World Supersport championship schedule at the 4.005km Ricardo Tormo circuit at Valencia in Spain.
Amended FIM regulations have led to a reduction in track time for World Supersport riders and the Ten Kate pairing had just an hour-long free practice session today to get accustomed to the new bike.
With Spain’s Joan Larscorz setting the pace, Sofuoglu ended the session fourth fastest, while reigning World Supersport champion and current series leader, Andrew Pitt, was tenth quickest today. Another free practice and a 45-minute qualifying session lie ahead tomorrow in preparation for Sunday’s third round 23-lap race.
Kenan Sofuoglu – P4, 1’37.834s
Of course, it’s not ideal to test a new bike for the first time at the start of a race weekend but we must not forget that the Ten Kate guys have won seven world titles with different CBR models so they know how to get the best from it. We still have lots of work to do, but I can already tell there is a lot of potential in the new bike. We will make some more improvements tomorrow and be ready for Sunday’s race.
Andrew Pitt – P10, 1’38.421s
Yeah, there’s a fair bit of fine tuning to do to get the balance right; and there are one or two electronics gremlins to sort because the package seems to work differently with this new engine. Unfortunately, there’s really only one choice of tyre, which means we have to get the new bike to work around that and, with the limited number and one session less, it’s a little harder. But it’s good to be on the new CBR and we’ll be making things better right up to Sunday’s race.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
There are always going to be some problems running a shakedown test of a new bike during a race weekend, but it was still a good decision to bring the new CBR here to Valencia and we’re feeling positive. Of course, we need to dial out a few problems but the bike is already showing its potential and we’re confident of further improvement tomorrow.
— Triumph Report
Day one of the third round of the WSS has been employed by Garry McCoy and Gianluca Nannelli for different cycle solutions for tomorrow’s two sessions. A change in regulations imposed the teams to cancel a practice session and as a consequence the squad had less time at their disposal. Nevertheless, both riders have tried different types of bike setup in search of a cycle solution that would adapt to the three-cilinder Triumph features.
GIANLUCA NANNELLI | Triumph Daytona 675: “For tomorrow’s practice we’ll have to work on the bike’s behaviour between the middle and the end of the corner. It tends to push wide a lot and it doesn’t allow me to hit the gas the way I’d want to. However, we have gathered useful data and we managed to detect the problem. We’re confident that we can improve tomorrow and get in the first rows on the starting grid”.
GARRY McCOY | Triumph Daytona 675: “I’m very confident for tomorrow’s two sessions. I had a good feeling on the bike today despite some driving issues that the team will certainly solve. We’re racing on a track that I enjoy very much especially for the great results I scored on it so I’ll do my best to gain a good starting position in the first rows and have a great race”.
— BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus finished the first day of qualifying at Valencia in 13th and 23rd places respectively. Less than a second separates the top seventeen riders, so Troy is up with the fastest riders, even though he only set the 13th quickest time. After two fast, flowing circuits, Ruben found it a little difficult getting his S 1000 RR to work well round the twisty 4.005 kilometre track, but is confident of improvement tomorrow.
Max Biaggi (Aprilia) ended the day with the fastest time, followed by Ben Spies (Yamaha), with Ducati team mates Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio in third and fourth.
Troy – 13th, 1:35.516
After the long flyaway, I watched the videotapes of Phillip Island and Qatar and tried to understand what was happening on the bike in the races and see if I could come up with some ideas to make improvements. So instead of starting with the set-up from either of the first two races, we began the first practice with a completely new set-up. And guess what? It worked! We changed the geometry of the bike a bit and used some different offsets and the bike felt better almost straightaway. For me, the bike is now turning a bit better and it didn’t take me long to go half a second faster than when we tested here at the end of January. Now we’ll keep on making small adjustments and see how much we can improve but, for the first day, I’m pretty happy.
Ruben – 23rd, 1:36.404
I found today hard because Valencia is a completely different type of race track to Phillip Island and Qatar. Both those tracks flow well, but Valencia is much more of a ‘stop and go’ track and my bike is not working the way I want it just yet. I just need time to work with the bike and my mechanics to get the bike more comfortable for me to ride. At the moment, it is just a question of time, that’s all.
Berti Hauser (Director BMW Motorrad Motorsport)
It’s good to be back in Europe and be in touching distance of our workshops again. We learnt a lot in Australia and Qatar and have been working very hard back at our base to get ready for Valencia. This track is completely different in character to the first two rounds and Ruben has to find out how to make the bike work with him and then an improvement will follow for sure. Troy may only have finished 13th today, but the top seventeen lap times are very close and show just how competitive this championship is.
1 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’34.775
2 Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’34.907
3 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’34.908
4 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’35.243
5 Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’35.270
6 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’35.278
7 Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’35.285
8 Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’35.316
9 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.328
10 Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.372
11 Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’35.416
12 Laconi R. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’35.489
13 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’35.516
14 Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.535
15 Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.541
16 Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’35.662
17 Roberts B. (AUS) Ducati 1098R 1’35.755
18 Hopkins J. (USA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’35.868
19 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’36.051
20 Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.086
21 Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.189
22 Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’36.266
23 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’36.404
24 Badovini A. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.745
25 Scassa L. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’36.758
26 Checa D. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R1 1’36.906
27 Hill T. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.041
28 Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’37.509
29 Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’37.541
30 Resch R. (AUT) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’38.225
1 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 1’36.672
2 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’37.343
3 Katsuaki Fujiwara Kawasaki JPN 1’37.701
4 Kenan Sofuoglu Honda TUR 1’37.834
5 Fabien Foret Yamaha FRA 1’37.864
6 Matthieu Lagrive Honda FRA 1’37.893
7 Michele Pirro Yamaha ITA 1’37.971
8 Anthony West Honda AUS 1’38.055
9 Barry Veneman Suzuki NED 1’38.197
10 Andrew Pitt Honda AUS 1’38.421
11 Gianluca Vizziello Honda ITA 1’38.475
12 Robbin Harms Honda DNK 1’38.542
13 Mark Aitchison Honda AUS 1’38.576
14 Eugene Laverty Honda GBR 1’38.577
15 Garry McCoy Triumph AUS 1’38.620
20 Doni Tata Pradita Yamaha IDN 1’39.597
27 Yannick Guerra Yamaha ESP 1’41.228