World SBK 2011 – Round 12 – Magny-Cours
– Carlos determined to lead as penultimate round begins
A near record pace final lap from Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) and a very slightly slower mark from Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) conspired to keep local favourite Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) off the provisional pole spot in France. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) was once again on fine form as he joined the top four, with the second Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati of Jakub Smrz fifth fastest.
Imola race winner Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) scored a top six, with the first official BMW home belonging to Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) who was seventh. Noriyuki Haga (Pata Aprilia) finished off the virtual second row in the opening qualifying session, making it six different types of machine in the top eight places.
Troy Corser, Haslam’s BMW team-mate, was ninth and second official Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz tenth, in a first qualifying session so close that the top ten riders were covered by only 0.411 seconds. Another local rider, Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) was 11th and only 0.544 from provisional pole, with privateer Kawasaki rider Mark Aitchison (Pedercini Team Kawasaki) delighted to be so close to the leaders in 12th, and only just over half a second from leader Checa.
Italian rider Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) was 13th and therefore one place up on championship high-flyer, Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) today.
Lone Suzuki man Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) was 15th, but Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda) did not ride this afternoon as he had tweaked his neck after a fast crash in the morning session.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’38.652; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.664; 3. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.741; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’38.860; 5. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’38.942; 6. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.957; 7. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’38.977; 8. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’39.019; 9. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’39.025; 10. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’39.063; 11. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’39.196; 12. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’39.220; 13. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’39.309; 14. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’39.333; 15. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’39.504; 16. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’39.587; etc.
Three Kawasakis took the top three slots at the end of the first WSS qualifying session, with the best time of 1 minute 41.498 seconds going to Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni). The Italian was a full half-second clear of the factory machines of Broc Parkes and David Salom (Motocard.com). Fourth place went to Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) followed by Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
Championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) is currently lying eighth behind two more Hondas of Sam Lowes (Parkalgar) and young Frenchman Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
Times: 1. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’41.498; 2. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’42.060; 3. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’42.148; 4. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’42.247; 5. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.384; 6. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.519; 7. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.644; 8. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’42.662; etc.
The first round of the never-ending duel between Ducati and BMW at the Magny-Cours circuit was resolved in favour of the Italian manufacturer, which placed four bikes in the top four positions of qualifying. Top slot went to title favourite Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) who was four-tenths of a second quicker than Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team). Third quickest was Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing) followed by Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport).
The best BMW man was Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) in fifth, ahead of a second S 1000 RR machine of Fabio Massei (Piellemoto), while Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) had a spectacular crash from which he fortunately emerged unharmed.
Times: 1. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’41.372; 2. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’41.758; 3. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’42.071; 4. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’42.693; 5. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR; 1’42.989; 6. Massei F. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.063; 7. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.249; 8. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.255; etc.
Italian Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) re-emerged as a contender in Superstock 600 qualifying as he powered to the top in a time of 1 minute 45.630 seconds. Behind can be found the young American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki) and Belgium’s Gauthier Duwelz (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha).
Points leader Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) is currently down in tenth, one place ahead of Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France), with another of this year’s winners Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Honda) in fourth.
Times: 1. Lombardi D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’45.630; 2. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’45.692; 3. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 1’46.036; 4. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 1’46.117; 5. Marchal M. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’46.142; 6. Schacht A. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 1’46.177; 7. Krajci T. (SVK) Yamaha YZF R6 1’46.333; 8. Cecchini R. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675; etc.
– Althea Ducati Report
Carlos Checa and Althea Racing made a more than positive start to the Magny-Cours race weekend, closing both of today‟s sessions in first position and setting the pace for what will undoubtedly be a memorable weekend.
The first practice session of the twelfth round of the World Superbike Championship took place this morning at the „Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours‟ in warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 25˚C, track 38˚C). A red flag, waved after a crash for Xaus in the opening minutes, delayed the session by fifteen minutes but once back on track, Checa was the first to lap in under 1m40, recording a 1m39.566 in the initial stage. By the end of the 60-minute session, he had lowered his best time by another half a second to close in first place with a best of 1m39.013.
Checa was back on track during the afternoon for first qualifying. He and his technicians got a lot of work done which allowed the Spaniard to record a fast lap of 1m38.915 towards mid-session. Despite the elevated temperatures (45˚C track temperature), all riders times dropped but at the close of play it was still Carlos on top of the pile, with a best time of 1m38.652 recorded in the final minutes. He thus closed first, ahead of Laverty and Guintoli.
Carlos Checa: “We‟ve worked really well today. We‟re missing a little grip and so concentrated on that for pretty much the entire session and by the end it looks like we found something. In these temperatures I guess it‟s going to be a problem for most people but we‟ll work more on that tomorrow. For the most part we‟re satisfied of course. I was able to find a good rhythm and record some fast times. There are a number of us within just a few tenths of each other so I think we‟ll see some close racing come Sunday.”
– Castrol Honda Report
Castrol Honda rider Jonathan Rea took a provisional second row slot for Sunday’s two 12th round World Superbike championship races at Magny-Cours in France after setting the sixth fastest time in this afternoon’s first qualifying practice session.
Fresh from his race one victory in Imola, Italy last weekend, the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland was in confident mood after this morning’s free practice, which he completed without resorting to softer race rubber.
Provisional pole position – and just three tenths faster than Rea, as the top 15 riders were covered by less than one second – was taken by series leader, Carlos Checa, who needs only three points from this weekend’s races to secure the 2011 World Superbike title. However, Rea’s Castrol Honda team-mate, Ruben Xaus was unable to compete in this afternoon’s session after crashing on his out lap in this morning’s free practice.
The Spanish rider suffered an uncomfortable muscle strain in his neck following a high-speed get-off and he was advised by circuit medical staff to sit out this afternoon. Xaus’s condition will be re-assessed before tomorrow morning’s second qualifying session.
Jonathan Rea – P6 1m38.957s – “It was quite difficult this afternoon because I was in and out of the garage quite a lot, trying to sort out little issues. We found a bit of rhythm towards the end of the session though and the bike felt OK, although we’re still struggling a little in one sector. We need to make some changes to help that and, like last year, the long left at the bottom of the hill is causing some problems. I think I’m rushing in a bit and trying to scrub off speed with too much lean angle, so we’ll look at all that tonight. We had a good session this morning on the harder race tyre and we’ve got a pretty good idea how that’ll end up, but temperature will be quite critical here.”
Ruben Xaus – “It was a very bad start to the day, just on my out lap for free practice this morning and I was coming up the hill to the fast left. When I closed the throttle, it felt like the gas didn’t shut off properly and I ran off the track, going quite fast towards the air fence. My neck is quite sore and the doctors advised me to take it easy this afternoon and not ride. I hope it is not too stiff in the morning when we will assess the situation again.”
Ronald ten Kate – team manager – “Well the first thing is that we hope Ruben will be declared fit by the circuit doctors tomorrow so that we can continue the progress with him. On Jonathan’s side of the garage we still have some issues to resolve – some relating to riding lines and some to suspension and the new ride-by-wire system. But we are not far away from the front so hopefully we can make some good changes for tomorrow. So far we are, once again, quite happy with the new system.”
– BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport is happy with the first day of the race weekend at Magny-Cours (FRA). The French track hosts the 12th and penultimate round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship. In Free Practice in the morning factory riders, Troy Corser (AUS) and Leon Haslam (GBR), finished third and fourth respectively. In the first Qualifying Practice in the afternoon Leon qualified seventh and provisionally on the second row. Troy was ninth on his BMW S 1000 RR. Ayrton Badovini (ITA) and Xavi Fores (ESP) from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team finished in 13th and 17th respectively.
Leon Haslam: “This day was pretty good. We tried a few different options on the rear tyres for the race distance. It is not easy to find a good set-up for this circuit, so we worked on that. The lap times are not too bad at the moment. We are only three tenths off the quickest time, and I lose a lot of time in just one corner. Tomorrow if we can rectify the issue that we have in that one corner, then we should be somewhere close to the front.”
Troy Corser: “The position where we ended up does not show how we are doing. We made some good improvements. Regarding times on race tyres, I would probably be around third or fourth. The set-up of the RR is pretty close to what I am looking for. The chassis settings are working quite well, and we are also pretty consistent. I did quite a few laps on the tyres and the times were pretty good. Now we have a few things to look at, but generally I am pretty happy with the bike. On race tyres we are there. In the end we didn’t even put a new tyre on to safely qualify for Superpole, but saved it for tomorrow. This is where we should be.”
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations): “I think we are pretty competitive, especially on longer runs. The guys in front of us all did their best times on one single quick lap. We were doing well in the first session with both riders finishing in the top four. This is a good base. Our aim for tomorrow is to get both riders into Superpole 3, and I think it is possible.”
– Yamaha Report
After less than a week since the last round of the World Superbike Championship in Imola, the Yamaha World Superbike team was back on track today on the warm and sunny French circuit at Magny Cours. This is the penultimate round of the 2011 season and Melandri and Laverty, determined to impress on Sunday, got straight down to business in today’s free practice and first qualifying session.
Marco Melandri spent the day getting familiar with the tight chicanes and fast curves the formula one track has to offer. Having improved on his lines in the earlier free practice session, the Italian proceeded to make further progress in the afternoon to complete the day in fourteenth place with just less than 0.681 of a second separating him from the leader. Team-mate Eugene Laverty was consistent throughout the day, making minor adjustments to the rear set up on his machine to produce faster laps towards the end and finish the first qualifying session in an impressive second place just 0.012 behind championship leader, Carlos Checa.
Both riders will be making further changes and adjustments to their R1’s in tomorrow morning’s qualifying practice in search of a more ideal race set up ahead of Sunday’s important two races where Melandri will be battling to take the championship title fight to the last round in Portimao, while Laverty will be looking to climb to third place in the classification.
Eugene Laverty – Yamaha World Superbike Team – 2nd, 1’38.664 – “It was a really good first qualifying session, finishing second in the time sheets is the highest I have been all year. The closest I have been to this at such an early stage in the weekend was at Monza when we were third, so hopefully that is a good omen. We did two long runs to get a lot of work done on race distance. We are struggling a little with rear grip, having a lot of spinning but we made a step mid-way and again at the end which gave us a clear direction of what we need to do, so hopefully we can continue working towards making further improvements tomorrow. ”
Marco Melandri – Yamaha World Superbike Team – 14th, 1’39.333 – “Today wasn’t a bad day even if we didn’t end the session with a good result. It was a day I spent getting to know the track and the various sectors and having used little rubber I think there is plenty of room for improvement. This afternoon we spent the session trying to understand where we need to change from the base set up and we’ll definitely be working on improving the change of direction to have a more agile bike tomorrow. We also need to make some adjustments to the rear set up in search of better grip but I’m confident I will be a lot stronger in tomorrow’s second qualifying.”
Andrea Dosoli – Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“It was a good start to the weekend in Magny Cours. The R1 has been successful here before and it looks like it has potential again. Eugene is demonstrating that he is consistent with race tyre and has also produced fast lap times. The team needs to work on improving the rear grip but they know what to do to be more consistent again tomorrow. Marco spent the day learning the lines of the track as it’s his first time in Magny Cours. He made several mistakes in the morning but improved by the afternoon. He has a good pace but is lacking in the confidence he requires to push hard enough to improve lap times. The team will work hard this evening to improve change of direction which is crucial on this track and try to find a better rear grip set – up. I’m not concerned about Marco’s position, he is only 0.68 of a second behind the leader and there aren’t any particularly difficult sectors for our R1.”
– Suzuki Report
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio suffered front-end problems in free practice and qualifying at the Magny Cours World Superbike 12th round today, but is only eight-tenths-of-a second from Pole.
The team tried many different ideas in the two sessions, but could not find a solution to his handling and stopping problems. Alstare Suzuki will now analyse today’s data, hopefully find out what has been causing the problems; and then come up with a solution to try tomorrow morning.
Although Fabrizio finished 15th he isn’t far-adrift of leader Carlos Checa (Ducati) – as lap times are very close – and the Italian remains positive for improvements. Checa finished with a time of 1:38.652 with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) second, local hero Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) third and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) fourth.
Michel Fabrizio – 15th, 1:39.504: “Today was a bit disappointing because I knew I could go faster, but was unable to do so. Throughout the day I had problems with the front end of my bike. I couldn’t get it to turn properly and I also had a problem getting it to stop. I had a small tumble in this morning’s session when the front tucked under, but I was uninjured and able to ride the bike back to the pits. We tried many different things today; like changing the ride height and putting different spring-settings in the front forks, but nothing really worked. The team and I will have a look at all the data and see what to do next. Fortunately, the telemetry showed what I had been experiencing, so at least the team can see what’s going on. I feel pretty confident that we’ll find some solutions to try tomorrow morning and then do much better.”