Carlos Checa takes Assen Superpole
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) secured his third pole in three race meetings with a fabulous 1 minute 35.292 second lap in the final Superpole session, leading home Jakub Smrz (Effenbert – Liberty Racing Ducati) and Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team).
Checa had been only ninth in combined qualifying, even through the times were tight through the field, but left his best for last again and took pole by 0.268 seconds from Smrz. The final place on the front row for Sunday’s races was taken by Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Team Aprilia) meaning that three privateer riders earned places on row 1.
Carlos Checa: “We were struggling a little in Superpole 1 because we used a race tyre. We expected to be inside but it was crazy with a few riders in a few tenths of a second and you can be in or out just like that. Then we worked well with the qualifying tyre, in session 2 and especially the last one where I did a really good lap without any mistakes. It’s a great satisfaction for me but honestly it was quite hard!”
Jakub Smrz: “I wanted the pole today but I had some trouble with the tyres. The bike was good, but Carlos was very fast today. It’s good to be on the front two, the team and everyone did good work. I learnt that I was only 12th after Superpole 1 because I didn’t see the lap times, so I was lucky in the first one. Then I started pushing in the second session, but here it’s always very close and it’s never easy.”
Eugene Laverty: “It was an eventful session, we used the qualifiers up during the Superpole so in the end I had to use a softer race tyre, I surprised myself with the lap time when I saw it on the dash. That was great! I knew it was going to be enough for the front row, but it was tough. I could do times like that for a couple of laps but we’ve got some work to do for the races to make the bike more stable.”
Last year’s double winner Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) went fifth fastest, and world champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was sixth. Top Kawasaki rider was Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) but Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) lost his chance of pole by crashing in the final minutes and he now starts the races from the back of row two.
Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) just missed out on the final period of Superpole qualifying but made it into the top ten. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) went 11th after an incredibly close second Superpole session, but Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) could not make the most of his qualifying tyres and went from a Superpole contender to 12th.
Competition has been so close at Assen that the top 15 riders were within one second after combined qualifying, and all 21 riders were grouped within 1.759 seconds pre-Superpole.
1 Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 1’35.292
2 Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 1’35.560
3 Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 1’35.580
4 Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 1’35.920
5 Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 1’36.138
6 Max Biaggi Aprilia ITA 1’36.302
7 Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 1’36.351
8 Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 1’37.036
9 Leon Camier Aprilia GBR 1’35.903
10 Troy Corser BMW AUS 1’35.903
11 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 1’35.983
12 Leon Haslam BMW GBR 1’36.089
13 Michel Fabrizio Suzuki ITA 1’36.148
14 Ruben Xaus Honda ESP 1’36.260
15 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 1’36.361
Qualifying 1 & Qualifying 2
1 Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 1’37.073 1’36.035
2 Jakub Smrz Ducati CZE 1’36.058 1’36.263
3 Max Biaggi Aprilia ITA 1’36.287 1’36.799
4 Troy Corser BMW AUS 1’36.876 1’36.322
5 Noriyuki Haga Aprilia JPN 1’37.106 1’36.368
6 Leon Haslam BMW GBR 1’36.989 1’36.455
7 Marco Melandri Yamaha ITA 1’36.494 1’37.559
8 Michel Fabrizio Suzuki ITA 1’36.550 1’37.674
9 Carlos Checa Ducati ESP 1’37.114 1’36.596
10 Ruben Xaus Honda ESP 1’37.424 1’36.643
11 Leon Camier Aprilia GBR 1’37.373 1’36.728
12 Eugene Laverty Yamaha GBR 1’37.024 1’36.729
13 Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 1’36.747 1’37.026
14 Joan Lascorz Kawasaki ESP 1’37.364 1’36.841
15 Sylvain Guintoli Ducati FRA 1’37.899 1’37.005
Championship leader Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) set the pole time in the Supersport class with a 1 minute 38.008s lap, his second such pre-race performance this year. Close behind was Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) with the rest of the top riders a little way back and led by Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com). The last rider on the front row was Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
New young star in this class and Foret’s team-mate Florian Marino, was fifth in the grid rankings and Chaz Davies was sixth for the Yamaha ParkinGO team. Spanish competitor David Salom (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and Italian Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service RT Yamaha) closed out the second row, with 30 riders qualifying in total. Seasoned privateers Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing) and Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni) rounded out the top ten.
1 Luca Scassa Yamaha ITA 1’39.121 1’38.008
2 Sam Lowes Honda GBR 1’39.291 1’38.289
3 Broc Parkes Kawasaki AUS 1’39.569 1’38.647
4 Fabien Foret Honda FRA 1’40.247 1’38.870
5 Florian Marino Honda FRA 1’38.945 1’39.540
6 Chaz Davies Yamaha GBR 1’39.519 1’39.007
7 David Salom Kawasaki ESP 1’39.191 1’39.343
8 Roberto Tamburini Yamaha ITA 1’40.471 1’39.483
9 Robbin Harms Honda DNK 1’39.766 1’39.726
10 Massimo Roccoli Kawasaki ITA 1’40.344 1’39.752
11 Gino Rea Honda GBR 1’40.273 1’39.872
12 James Ellison Honda GBR 1’40.697 1’40.153
13 Alexander Lundh Honda SWE 1’40.885 1’40.281
14 Miguel Praia Honda POR 1’40.848 1’40.589
15 Vittorio Iannuzzo Kawasaki ITA 1’40.691 1’40.824
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) pushed his way to the front of the qualifying pack at Assen, ahead of three Italian riders. David Giugliano (Althea Racing), Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team) and Luca Baroni (Althea Racing), all on Ducati 1098Rs, filled the final front row places for Sunday’s race, with local man Roy Ten Napel (Domburg Racing Honda) the top Fireblade rider. Next up was Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini Honda) with the best Kawasaki rider so far proving to be South African favourite, Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni). Morais was the last rider to qualify within a second of pole.
1. Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) BMW S1000 RR 1’39.208
2. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’39.338
3. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1’39.470
4. Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’39.733
5. Roy Ten Napel (Domburg Racing) Honda CBR1000RR 1’39.811
6. Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini) Honda CBR1000RR 1’39.943
7. Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’40.021
8. Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) BMW S1000 RR 1’40.208
9. Eddi La Marra (Team Lorini) Honda CBR1000RR 1’40.227
10. Lorenzo Savadori (Lorenzini by Leoni) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’40.274
11. Luca Verdini (Ten Kate Junior Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’40.327
12. Marco Bussolotti (Pedercini Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’40.549
13. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’40.549
14. Markus Reiterberger (Garnier Alpha Racing Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’40.586
15. Fabio Massei (Team Piellemoto) BMW S1000 RR 1’40.612
16. Niccolò Canepa (Goeleven) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’40.646
17. Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Yamaha Racing France) Yamaha YZF R1 1’40.963
18. Leandro Denis Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’41.221
19. Daniele Beretta (Lorini Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’41.519
20. Nico Vivarelli (Goeleven) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’41.522
21. Andrea Boscoscuro (Lazio MotorSport) Ducati 1098R 1’41.552
22. Matthieu Lussiana (Team ASPI) BMW S1000 RR 1’41.733
23. Beau Beaton (Garnier Racing Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’41.754
24. Tomas Svitok (SK Energy Team) Ducati 1098R 1’42.812
25. Marcin Walkowiak (Bogdanka PTR Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1’42.876
26. Alen Gyorfi (Adrenalin H-Moto Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.049
27. Randy Pagaud (Garnier Racing Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.062
28. Thomas Caiani (BWG Racing Kawasaki) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’45.553
29. Bogdan Vrajitoru (C.S.M. Bucharest) Yamaha YZF R1 1’47.028
Superstock 600 – Race
The first Superstock 600 race of the season was a thrilling three-rider fight all the way, with Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Honda) holding off a last chicane charge from Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) and a race-long challenge from Aussie Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha). After 12-laps of intense competition the local 18-year-old rider enjoyed a margin of victory of 0.540 seconds from Lanusse, with Metcher almost snatching second place as an audacious move by Lanusse on van der Mark saw the Frenchman have to run wide and fight hard to keep second place.
Results: 1. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 20’23.765; 2. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 0.540; 3. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 0.590; 4. Lombardi D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 8.960; 5. Cocco F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 10.854; 6. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 16.024; 7. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 16.315; 8. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 16.322; etc.
European Junior Cup
The new European Junior Cup for youngsters on Kawasaki Ninja 250 machines also produced its first pole sitter today, Australian Matt Davies getting the top slot ahead of Germany’s Tom Busch and Spain’s Ruben Fenoll.
– Althea Ducati
after two rather difficult qualifying sessions, the Althea Racing team and rider Carlos Checa knew exactly how to fight back, snatching their third consecutive pole of the 2011 SBK season today at the TT Circuit of Assen, which came as something of a surprise to the rider but serves as a huge confidence boost ahead of tomorrow’s races.
The Superbike riders were out on track this morning for the second qualifying session in temperate conditions similar to yesterday. Carlos, continuing the tyre work started yesterday, began to improve on his times in the second half of the session, closing qualifying in ninth position overall, easily progressing to the afternoon’s Superpole.
Superpole 1: In this first phase Carlos made two exits with his 1198 on race rubber. The second exit left him in tenth position, sufficient to pass to the second phase and a tactic that left him with both qualifying tyres available for the successive sessions.
Superpole 2: making use of the first of two qualifying tyres, the Spaniard made two laps, the second faster than the first, to close the session in second position.
Superpole 3: the second qualifier behaved well and allowed Carlos to complete a clean, error-free lap for which he was rewarded with pole position for tomorrow’s races. This is the third time in three races that Carlos and Althea Racing have enjoyed this privilige, and they hope to take advantage of the opportunity tomorrow.
“The result, to tell the truth, came as a surprise because we were struggling a little in the first phase of the Superpole and it is easy to find yourself knocked out for just a tenth of a second. We risked going out but were luckily able to continue and the qualifying tyres in the second and third sessions really worked well for me. In the final session I was able to make two very fast laps, one of which was very clean, without mistakes, and this way we took the fastest time. I didn’t expect it because in the final minutes other riders were lapping very fast too but of course I am extremely happy with the result. The third pole in three races, incredible! I must however remain realistic; tomorrow will not be easy because we’ve seen that times are closer than ever. I’ll do my best to get a strong start and stick with the leaders and we’ll see what we can do.”
Genesio Bevilacqua – General Manager of Althea Racing
“Everybody was thinking we had a lot of problems but we want to tell our fans and supporters that we always work with the race in mind and don’t use the practice sessions solely as an opportunity to make the fastest times, though that is nice if it happens. In order to guarantee a solid performance come race day, we must work in race mode all weekend. I thank the whole technical team who gave their all today, a difficult day, and of course I thank Carlos who demonstrated once again that he is a top rider able to work in all conditions.”
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri provided impressive performances in Assen for today’s Superpole sessions to secure first and second row grid starts respectively ahead of tomorrow’s two races. Both riders dominated the first heat putting in the fastest laps on a set of qualifying tyres to take them comfortably into round two in first and second position.
Eugene Laverty provided a nail-biting second session, battling to put in a series of fast laps before going through to the third and final heat of the day in seventh position, just over two tenths of a second behind first place. The final heat of this afternoon’s Superpole saw the talented young Irishman achieving his fastest lap on a softer race tyre to score his first front row start of his World Superbike career.
Teammate Marco Melandri was also on top form throughout the afternoon, finishing the first two heats in second and fourth place respectively. A less fortunate third round saw Melandri lose the front of his bike on turn eight of the track, seconds before completing the session. The Italian heads into tomorrow’s two races in eighth position on the second row of the grid, determined to get off to good a start.
Eugene Laverty – Yamaha World Superbike Team – 3rd, 1’35.580
“That was certainly an eventful Superpole today. We used our qualifying tyre early on in the session and then had to use a softer race tyre in the final round. I surprised myself with the lap time I achieved. I knew I could make it into the front row but it was a tough battle. We have to concentrate on making the bike more stable for tomorrow’s race in order to be able to put in consistently fast laps throughout the race. I’m aiming for a podium but a win would also be very nice indeed.”
Marco Melandri – Yamaha World Superbike Team – 8th, 1’37.036
“We experienced both ups and downs today. Unfortunately I crashed in the final heat and lost out on the opportunity to be on the front row. On the other hand we made progress on the bike set up in this morning’s qualifying and that’s a step in the right direction. It’ll be a difficult two races tomorrow, Assen isn’t an easy track and a good start off the grid is necessary. We’ll do our best and see what happens.”
Andrea Dosoli – Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“I’m satisfied that both riders had a positive Superpole today. Our object was to secure first and second row grid positions and that’s what we did. Eugene had a fantastic third Superpole session on a soft tyre, getting his fastest lap time and proving his talent as a rider. It’s a pity that Marco fell in the final stages, he has made progress over the weekend and should have been on the front row. The lap times were so close today that it makes for a competitive day tomorrow. Tyre wear will be crucial so the right choice will make all the difference.”
– Castrol Honda Report
Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two third round World Superbike races at Assen in the Netherlands from the second row of the grid after setting the fifth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole sessions.
Pole position was taken by Spain’s Carlos Checa as Rea’s Castrol Honda team-mate Ruben Xaus set the 14th fastest time for a fourth row start in tomorrow’s two 22-lap encounters at the historic 4.452km Assen circuit.
Rea and his crew made significant improvements overnight to the stability under braking of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, which allowed the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland to set the fastest time in this morning’s second regulation qualifying session.
However, in the first Superpole session, a lack of confidence in his front tyre required Rea to use one of his two allocated qualifying tyres, forcing him to use a race tyre for the final, eight-rider shoot-out in Superpole 3.
Jonathan Rea – P5
Today’s been much more positive and we made big improvements with our clutch set-up today which has allowed the bike to be a lot more stable under braking. It’s been a big step forward that we’ve lacked so far this season. Session two was good today and we got long runs on both options to try and sort the race tyre out, so we’ve covered our bases whether the temperature rises or falls tomorrow. Unfortunately we had to use a Q in the first Superpole because the front tyre wasn’t quite right. Superpole 2 was fantastic and we were third fastest with good pace but then we were out of Qs for Superpole 3. I tried to recycle one, which wasn’t so good and went back out on a used race tyre. We should probably have used a new one but with the available quantities that wasn’t an option. We’re still evaluating whether to run to softer tyre tomorrow, so we needed to keep some back. But I went quite quick on the used one so I’m happy with that. The plan is still to aim for the podium in both races tomorrow.
Ruben Xaus – P14
We’re getting better but it’s been a bit like Donington here – the morning warmer than the afternoon and then we lose grip. Tyre quantity has also been an issue here, so we have been changing the set up to suit the tyres that we have available, so it has been difficult. I was about one tenth from getting into Superpole 2 which was closer than Donington and Phillip Island. Tomorrow I’ll try to make a good start and go for two more top ten placings, or better. I hope from Monza onwards that the weather will be a little warmer and that might suit both me and the bike.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
After a difficult day yesterday, today was really quite a lot better for Jonathan and we managed to improve the bike a lot by making some rather big changes. They worked out well for him but the Superpole sessions were really strange. First the front didn’t work and then the qualifier didn’t work and it was all just a bit weird. Anyhow, coming to fifth position was good and we believe that there will be quite a big leading group in the races so we’ll just have to make sure he’s in there. With Ruben, the softer tyre is running nice but on the harder tyre there seems to be no grip at all. We were hoping we would continue the improvements he’s been showing since the start of the season but it seems it came to a bit of a stop here. We definitely need to find something different for him for tomorrow.
– BMW Report
Today Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport put in a strong performance, but did not get the reward it deserved. Works riders, Troy Corser (AUS) and Leon Haslam (GBR), will start the third round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at Assen (NED) from the third row. Troy finished the Superpole Qualifying tenth, and Leon twelfth. Before that both riders demonstrated the potential of their BMW S 1000 RRs. They finished all practice and qualifying sessions in top positions, with Troy being fastest in the second free practice. But in the second Superpole session the team suffered unexpected tyre issues.
Troy Corser: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:36.322 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:35.818 min (P1) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:35.954 min (P10)
“On race tyres the bike feels good. We are able to run consistently good lap times and our race pace looks good for tomorrow. Superpole today was certainly disappointing, as we struggled to get the optimum performance from the qualifying tyres. So tomorrow we will have to focus on getting a good start and try and push to run with the riders on the front row. Still I am confident enough in my starts to hopefully achieve that.”
Leon Haslam: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:36.455 min (P6) / Fastest lap FP: 1:36.457 min (P6) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:36.089 min (P12)
“Today was a tough day, as we have good race pace and our times on race tyres are good. We have worked on fine tuning our set-up for the race this weekend, and we are happy with the progress we made on that side. Sadly when we put on the qualifying tyres we suffered from some issues that prevented me from going any quicker. It’s a shame to finish up in twelfth because my times on race tyres were good enough to get me through to Superpole 3. The qualifying tyre just didn’t work for us today. It’s frustrating because this is the first time I have been off the front row. Still we now need to forget about this and concentrate on the tomorrow’s races.”
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
“Unfortunately in the second Superpole session we struggled with our qualifying tyres. Both riders were affected by this, so we only qualified for the third row. Tomorrow we will try to make the best we can out of it. We are quite confident because our long run performance with race tyres is still very good. I expect very close races – the same as we saw here last year. We have to try to be in the leading group, and then a lot will be possible.”