World SBK 2012 – Round 11 – Moscow Raceway
— Checa heads Moscow Test
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) led the way in testing for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship runners at Moscow Raceway, heading up the 21-strong group as World Superbike ventured onto the new circuit for the very first time. His final best time of 1 minute 35.891 seconds was enough to keep him ahead of Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and the charging late push of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) ran out fourth, only just ahead of the works Aprilia Racing machine of Max Biaggi.
Carlos Checa: “It is a nice adventure to be here in Russia and it’s a really nice track. In some places you can only use about 15% of throttle and just keep rolling the bike. We feel quite well today and this is a track where we have been working well in both the morning and the afternoon. We understand the line, the gearbox and the tyres. At the end we felt the tyres were working a lot better in the afternoon because probably the asphalt is less aggressive now. We are losing a lot on the straight, which is uphill, so it is not easy to manage that.”
Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) put his vee four into the top six places, ahead of Checa’s team-mate Davide Giugliano. Top Honda rider was Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) in 12th place, one up on the best Suzuki tester, Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki).
The new circuit proved to be a challenge for all the top riders, with slow and fast corners combined, including a drop downhill and a long straight back uphill into the final corner.
A long delay after a red flag incident, when one machine lost oil at the end of the main straight, cost the SBK riders some track time this afternoon, but all had the opportunity to get used to the challenging new circuit in a territory all new to SBK racing before practice starts for real on Friday 24th August.
1. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’35.891;
2. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’36.071;
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’36.119;
4. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’36.304;
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’36.421;
6. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’36.637;
7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’36.716;
8. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’36.823;
9. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 1’36.858;
10. Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1’36.865; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) eased to the top of the testing timesheets at the all-new Moscow Raceway today, pushing his CBR600RR machine just ahead of his PTR team-mate, Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), who had been fastest this morning. Lowes set a best lap of 1 minute 38.548 seconds, with Cluzel the only other rider into the 1’38 bracket. Testing at the 3.931km Moscow Raceway circuit was carried out in near perfect conditions and track grip improved all the way to the finish. Ten Kate Racing Products rider Broc Parkes was the third Honda competitor in the top three places. The first Kawasaki, ridden by Kenan Sofuoglu (Lorenzini Kawasaki), was fourth and the first Yamaha was the Yakhnich Motorsport R6 of local star Vladimir Leonov, in a fine fifth place. Sofuoglu’s team-mate, Sheridan Morais, was sixth.
1. Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 1’38.548;
2. Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 1’38.596;
3. Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products) Honda CBR600RR 1’38.794;
4. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’39.021;
5. Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport) Yamaha YZF R6 1’39.448;
6. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’39.531;
7. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’39.537;
8. Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini) Honda CBR600RR 1’39.568;
9. Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE) Honda CBR600RR 1’39.582;
10. Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) Honda CBR600RR 1’39.711; etc.
— BMW Report
The wheels are rolling on the brand new “Moscow Raceway”: before the first ever Russian round of the FIM Superbike World Championship is held this weekend, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport attended the official Infront testing today at the just opened circuit. The “Moscow Raceway” is located near the town of Volokolamsk, approximately 80 kilometers west of the Russian capital Moscow and was inaugurated on 15th July.
The test comprised two sessions, one of two hours in the morning and one of 2 hours 20 minutes in the afternoon. Both sessions had to be red flagged due to crashes. Factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Leon Haslam (GBR) first got acquainted with the layout and the characteristics of the new circuit. They then worked with their crews on setting up their BMW S 1000 RRs for the coming race weekend. In total, the two BMW riders did 145 laps or 569.995 kilometres of testing today. Leon finished the day in second place in the timings, and Marco was fourth fastest. The best lap time was done by Carlos Checa (ESP) in 1:35.891 minutes. The weather conditions were good, with sunny skies, air temperatures up to 19 degrees Celsius and track temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius.
Leon Haslam: Best overall lap time: 1:36.071 min
“It was a good day. We had two fully dry sessions and we were working on finding a set-up for this new track and learning the gearing, the lines and many more things. So far the track is really fun to ride; it has many ups and downs. The corners are mainly first and second gear but it is a quite aggressive circuit and I like it. Regarding overtaking possibilities, the first and last corners are going to be exciting because of the two straights. I am confident for the weekend. We were pretty close to the top and concentrated on race set-up and were feeling pretty good on the hard tyres on race distance. We have much more to try and look forward to Friday when we go out on the track again, but so far so good.”
Marco Melandri: Best overall lap time: 1:36.306 min
“The test was not too bad. The track is pretty fun to ride but I think it is quite small for Superbikes. The turns are very tight and so far I don’t think that there are many chances for overtaking in the middle of the track but we will see. The track is going to be faster day by day. Today we worked on the gearbox to try to find a good setting to make the bike smoother in the corners. On the long straight we can make use of the power of our BMW engine and gain a lot of time, but we are losing time in the corners. We now have to analyse what we did today and try to improve for Friday morning. Ducati seems to be strong here and for us it will not be easy but will do our best and we will see on Sunday.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations): “It was good to have the chance to learn this new circuit with such nice weather conditions. That was what we needed to get familiar with the layout, the characteristics and the requirements of the track. Both riders have a good feeling and together with their crews they worked on the basic set-up. We had no reference for this track so they worked on the gearbox, the chassis set-up and the engine management. We still have a lot of work to do to be ready for the weekend but with the information and track time we have we are confident that we can improve even more on the good results we got today. There could be some issues with the durability of the front tyres due to the new surface so we are working on both the performance and race pace as well as tyre life to be consistently fast over the race weekend.”
— Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very productive test at the Moscow International Raceway today in preparation for the inaugural Russian round of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship race this weekend.
Today’s test was the first time World Championship machines have used the new Russian facility and it gave all the teams and riders the chance to learn the track ahead of the race weekend. FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers Leon Camier and John Hopkins finished the day satisfied with the set-ups of their Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-Rs and are looking forward to further progress this weekend.
Camier recorded a best time of 1’37.000 from his 67 laps, with team-mate Hopkins posting a quickest time of 1’37.163 from the 64 laps he completed. Today’s top-man was Carlos Checa, who lead the timesheets with Leon Haslam second and Tom Sykes in third, but with less than one-and-a-half-seconds covering the top-18 riders, this weekend looks like it could be a tight affair.
The next time the Superbike field heads out on to the 3,931m Russian circuit, will be for the first-ever competitive two-wheeled action at the €130million facility in Friday morning’s free practice session. This Sunday’s two races will both be over 25-laps, with the first scheduled for 12.00hrs local time (09.00hrs BST) and race two set to get underway at 15.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).
Leon Camier: “I’m pretty happy with what we’ve done today. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki is working well and the set-up is pretty good also, so hopefully we will continue progressing and improve the bike further. The track initially felt a bit slippery and dirty, but got better as more rubber went down. It’s mostly first and second gears, with a couple of third gears thrown in and it’s not really a track that flows. It’s very tight and twisty and there are not so many passing places, so getting a place on the first two rows of the grid is very important. I did some good laps on old tyres this afternoon, but when I put on some fresh rubber, the bike started chattering and that caused a few ‘moments’. Without that I would’ve finished in the top five or six for sure.”
John Hopkins: “This track is all about first and second gears and so far I’m not finding it a fun track to ride. It’s the same for everybody, so I’ll just have to keep working at it. The track was better this afternoon and we definitely ended the day with the FIXI Crescent Suzuki working well. We improved the bike from the morning to the afternoon and I feel we have a good base setting. My confidence continues to grow and generally I feel in good shape, especially because we were towards the front end of the timesheets right until the end of the session. As this is more or less a one-line track, qualifying is going to be crucial, but I hope to be in the right position come race-day.”
Jack Valentine -Team Manager: “It’s been a really positive day and both riders got dialled-in pretty well at this very demanding track. Today we concentrated on putting in the laps and getting good set-ups, but we also managed to improve throughout the day. Leon was in sixth and John comfortably in the top 10 with less than six minutes to go. They then went out on new tyres – the same compound as they’d been using all day – but were unable to improve their lap times because of chattering caused by the tyres’ lack of consistency. Overall, I’m really pleased with the riders and the bikes and think we can get some good results if we keep progressing this well.”
— Honda Report
2012 FIM Superbike World Championship riders Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) completed a one-day test at the all-new Moscow Raceway in Russia today, Wednesday 22nd August 2012, in readiness for the coming weekend’s 11th round.
Rea spent most of his time working on finding a solution to the peculiar demands of the new 3.931Km layout, which features many tight and short corners in the first half, two significant straights and a couple of faster turns. Rea ended up 12th and top Honda rider, just over one second from the leading rider. Jonathan is currently fifth in the points rankings after scoring two race wins so far.
Hiroshi Aoyama will now start his race weekend at exactly the same state of readiness as his peer group as Moscow is a new track to every single rider, not just an SBK ‘rookie’ like Aoyama. He was inside the top three in the morning test session at Moscow, but could not improve his lap time significantly in the second outing and finished up 18th. He was only 1.452 seconds from the fastest rider Carlos Checa (Ducati) in any case.
The well-appointed new circuit at Moscow Raceway, some 100kms from the city centre, is the first venue in Russia to put on a major road race. With a population of around 143 million and a growing economy Russia will be an important market in years to come. The 3.331Km circuit cost around 130 million Euros to build and it has already hosted a car race on July 15th in readiness for the first ever Russian round of SBK racing.
Final impressions after testing was completed show that the circuit is tricky in its layout in some places, particularly the decreasing radius turn 3. Sweeping downhill from the paddock area the relatively narrow track also features a significant uphill main straight back towards the paddock area, then a sharp left onto the short start/finish line.
The 2012 FIM Supersport World Championship will enter the tenth round of the season at the all new facility of Moscow Raceway on Sunday 26th August and also after a successful one-day test for the top Honda riders. Three Honda riders filled the top three places after the two-session test on Wednesday 22nd August.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) lies second in the championship, with his fellow Honda rider Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) just 14 points behind in third. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) is heading the rankings with an advantage of only 11 points now, after Cluzel won the race at Silverstone and Lowes was second.
Cluzel and Lowes have taken two wins apiece in this class this year with Lowes topping the test timesheets today, closely followed by Cluzel and another Honda rider Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products) in third place. Only 0.246 seconds separated the top three at a circuit that has proved to be somewhat tighter, and in places narrower, than many had expected.
Parkes has got the taste for podium finishes once again and is out for another top three experience in Russia. This weekend he is joined by another rider from the Ten Kate set-up, regular Superstock 600 competitor, Michael van Der Mark, who has no race in his regular class at the Russian round. The young Dutch talent was 20th in testing in his first outing on the Supersport machine.
Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) is once more looking forward to a strong showing on raceday, despite declaring himself disappointed with tenth in testing today. He is seventh overall in the championship standings, with the next best Honda rider in the table being Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) in tenth. Tamburini was a positive eighth fastest in testing today.
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) scored ninth at the Moscow Raceway tests and in doing so set himself up for a strong weekend at the new Russian track. Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was 12th fastest in testing, one place behind the ever-improving Valentin Debise (SMS Honda).
Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was 20th on the testing timesheets, his team-mate and countryman Balazs Nemeth only 27th of the 35 riders on track pre-race weekend, after losing valuable track time in the first session.
Martin Jessop (Riders PTR Honda) learned the circuit at Moscow quickly and was therefore 25th. Federico D’Annunzio (Team Lorini Honda) pushed his way to 29th place today, with Bogdanka PTR Honda rider Andrzej Chmielewski 34th.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team): “I really enjoyed today’s test as an opportunity to get acquainted with the Moscow Raceway circuit. First impressions of the track are that it’s very tight and twisty. We’re in second gear for pretty much most of the lap, obviously not for the straights, but it’s fun! It’s very technical and I’m enjoying it so far, but for the race weekend the times will be really close and I’m expecting tight racing. We improved the bike at this test, but just not as much as we wanted. We are now building a gearbox to suit the track and right now the bike feels a bit soft. Now the grip of the track is coming on the set-up needs to be a little bit harder. We are fine; we just need some time to make final preparations for race day. We have good information now and had a good debrief after the second session. This is only testing, no points today.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team): “We had a good start this morning in this extra testing day. This racetrack is quite small and there is not so much grip, because of dust on the track I think. If you go outside of the racing line it is quite slippery. Also it seems like it is aggressive for the tyres. We did almost the same lap times on the hard or soft tyre today. We saw which direction we wanted to go in the afternoon, so on Friday we will see how we restart.”
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda): “The circuit is very new so the first few laps this morning meant that the track surface was a bit dirty, but I am impressed with it. I do not know why this is but it is not quite what I expected, but I am not saying it is bad. I thought it would be a more fast and flowing circuit, but for what it is it’s good, although a little tight. It is technical, but that is good for me; I like that. I think you will be rewarded for scratching and fighting and digging in. The times will be close because it not a long lap and a couple of main bits of it are straights. I think the racing will be close and competitive. Jules and I are on a similar, decent, pace. Our tyre allocation for this test was different from the ones that we will have on the weekend, but it is irrelevant now because the track is not in perfect condition yet.”
Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda): “Yeah I am happy, the feeling with my bike is OK and I am enjoying riding in Russia. We have been competitive at every race and I think we will be here as well. Just at the end there was too much traffic on track with everyone waiting so I wasn’t able to improve my lap time; but this is not so important as this is just a test. I am happy and already think we have a good feeling for the race. I felt really good in Silverstone and we need to keep our concentration to finish the season well because we can catch Kenan now, I think so.”
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda): “The track is pretty good, but there was a lot more grip in the afternoon and it was starting to get a lot cleaner. It is a lot smaller than everybody expected, but it is not a bad track. I think the racing will be quite good. We had a positive day of testing so we learned a lot today so we are getting there each time. I am looking forward to the race now.”