World Superbike – Round Four – Monza
Haslam holds off record breaker Biaggi as Monza WSBK action gets underway
Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) snatched the top slot in the first qualifying session from local hero and double 2010 race winner Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia), despite Biaggi setting a new all-time best top speed of 332.5 km/h this afternoon.
Haslam put in a superhuman effort on his last flying lap around Monza to take the provisional pole slot with a time of 1 minute 42.934 seconds. The gap between the two was just 0.019 seconds in favour of Haslam.
Third fastest time went to Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) who got the better of an impressive Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team), the 2010 Superstock 1000 champion entirely in tune with the Monza track on his privateer machine. Jonathan Rea followed up his strong morning form with fifth slot for Castrol Honda, while Noriyuki Haga did a good job for the PATA Racing Team Aprilia to get in front of Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team).
Championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) for the moment is still off the pace of the frontrunners and is languishing down in 14th place. Troy Corser, Haslam’s team-mate, took his BMW to eighth place, while a man in his rookie season, Maxime Berger, was fastest Ducati rider on show on day one, in ninth place for the Supersonic Racing Team, only 0.745 seconds away from leader Haslam.
Leon Camier rounded out the top ten on his Aprilia Alitalia vee-four. The top 13 riders were within the same second after the first qualifying session.
Times: 1. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’42.934; 2. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’42.953; 3. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1’43.265; 4. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.276; 5. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’43.321; 6. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.531; 7. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’43.588; 8. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’43.640; 9. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’43.679; 10. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’43.730; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’43.762; 12. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’43.850; 13. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’43.861; 14. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’44.071; 15. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’44.095; 16. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’44.232; etc.
Chaz Davies and Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) dominated the first WSS qualifying session today, the Welshman getting the better of his Italian team-mate with a time of 1 minute 48.408 seconds. The two Yamaha men, who have had three out of three wins so far this year, headed up two Hondas CBR600RRs, the Step Racing version of Gino Rea and Florian Marino on the Hannspree Ten Kate machine.
Broc Parkes was next up for the Kawasaki Motocard.com team in fifth with Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service Racing Team Yamaha) rounding out the top six. Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) was an impressive seventh despite still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered at Assen in the previous round.
Times: 1. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’48.408; 2. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’48.513; 3. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’48.613; 4. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1’49.156; 5. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’49.218; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’49.263; 7. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’49.462; 8. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’49.788; etc.
Lorenzo Zanetti followed up his win in last weekend’s Italian domestic championship counter with provisional pole position for the BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock Team. The promising young Italian set a time of 1 minute 46.381 seconds to head his team-mate Sylvain Barrier and Danilo Petrucci of the Barni Racing Ducati team.
The long list of Italians in the top 15 continued with Michele Magnoni (Baru Racing Team BMW) in fourth, Marco Bussolotti (Pedercini Kawasaki) in fifth, Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) in seventh and Fabio Massei (Piellemoto BMW) in eighth, with Aussie Bryan Staring (Pedercini Kawasaki) splitting them in sixth.
Times: 1. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’46.381; 2. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1’46.588; 3. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’46.875; 4. 119 Magnoni M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’46.972; 5. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.013; 6. Staring B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.028; 7. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’47.193; 8. Massei F. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.425; etc.
Frenchman Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) took provisional pole in the Superstock 600 category, which has its race tomorrow at 6 pm. Lanusse was followed in the standings by five Italians: Giuliano Gregorini (RCGM Team), Dino Lombardi and Francesco Cocco (Martini Corse Yamaha), Riccardo Russo (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) and Christian Gamarino (GOELEVEN Kawasaki). The winner of the Assen opening round, Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) at the moment lies down in 18th position.
Times: 1. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’51.859; 2. Gregorini G. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’51.983; 3. Lombardi D. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.225; 4. Cocco F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.276; 5. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.470; 6. Gamarino C. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.493; 7. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.719; 8. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.774; etc.
– Althea Ducati
In the first part of the morning’s free practice session Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) was immediately making some very fast lap times which took him to the top of the timesheets. Choosing to keep the same rear tyre for the entire session to better understand its lifespan, his lap times suffered in the later stages due to tyre wear. His fastest time remained that recorded early on the practice which left him in ninth position overall at the close of this initial session.
Later in the day in first qualifying, Carlos and his technicians decided to lap with the softer tyre solution. Seeing that the times were not improving they understood that if conditions for the race are like they are today then the harder solution would be the way forward. Checa therefore made one final exit with the harder rubber and the times confirmed the theory. The Spanish rider closed today’s first qualifying session in fourteenth position.
Carlos Checa – “We clearly have some limitations with regard to top speed but there are also sections of the track where I am not riding at 100%. We need to understand why this is and work to resolve it tomorrow. Personally I would like to improve on last year’s Monza race results. I hope this is possible but it remains to be seen as to whether we can stick with the four cylinder bikes. To tell the truth I’m calm, I’m not thinking about what the others are doing, I just want to do my best.”
– Yamaha Report
Yamaha World Superbike riders Eugene Laverty and Marco Melandri got straight to work in this morning’s first practice and subsequent Qualifying sessions to provide a series of strong and consistently fast laps.
Eugene Laverty was on flying form under the Italian sunshine in Monza completing this afternoon’s Qualifying session in third place, just three tenths of a second behind Haslam in first. After improving his position on the bike, providing further comfort and stability, the Irishman proceeded to focus on race pace and tyre wear before putting in a flying lap ahead of tomorrow’s Superpole.
Team-mate Melandri was on equally reliable form. The Italian spent the duration of this morning’s session getting acquainted with the particularly fast track, which he hasn’t had the opportunity to ride since his brief encounter in 1996. Despite this unfamiliarity, the Italian showed constant progress throughout the two sessions, putting in his fastest lap at the end of the 23 laps completed, and finishing in seventh place.
Eugene Laverty / Yamaha World Superbike Team – 3rd, 1’43.265
“Today went well. I’m particularly happy with this afternoon’s Qualifying session. I did a race run and put in a series of consistent laps, which I am very satisfied with. I also managed to get in a fast lap time to ensure I make the cut for Superpole. Tomorrow we can concentrate on further improving the set up of the bike and I don’t have to worry about making the final 16.”
Marco Melandri / Yamaha World Superbike Team – 7th, 1’43.588
“Today was a very positive, yet difficult day. I’m relatively satisfied with the results but we still have quite a bit of work to do. We focused on the bike’s race set up this morning and tried the softer tyre combination with it this afternoon . There’s still plenty of room for improvement but we are on the right road. The team are working hard and let’s hope we can improve on the set-up and get better results tomorrow.”
Andrea Dosoli – Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
“Both riders had a positive day today. I believe this was a good start to a weekend that’s very important to us , being the home race. Eugene and Marco focused mainly on the bike’s rear set-up. They both gathered some valuable data which the teams will evaluate and continue to work on this evening . I am satisfied overall, they were consistent throughout the sessions and also put in a flying lap. It’s important to be in a position to select a suitable race tyre tomorrow and we’ll see if the input we gathered from today’s sessions will provide better results ahead of second qualifying and Superpole sessions.”
– BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport holds provisional pole position for the fourth round of the 2011 FIM Superbike World Championship at Monza (ITA). Works rider, Leon Haslam (GBR), set the fastest lap time in the first Qualifying Session, after being on top for most of the time. His team-mate, Troy Corser (AUS), qualified for the second row, finishing eighth, while he was second quickest in the morning.
The BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team also had a good start to this weekend, which marks their first home round of the FIM Superbike World Championship. Italian rider Ayrton Badovini provisionally put his BMW S 1000 RR on the first row, occupying fourth after the first Qualifying Session.
Leon Haslam: Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:44.303 min (P10)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:42.934 min (P1)
“It was a very good day, and, of course, you are always happy when you are on top. I feel we have made a big step forward from Assen. Obviously we were always looking forward to Monza as Troy had a good result here last year. The biggest thing I am happy with is that I feel overall we have made a step forward with the bike with the way it is working. Now I am looking forward to tomorrow. We have a few areas where we need to progress, but we are a lot more consistent and I am really happy.”
Troy Corser: Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:43.765 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice: 1:43.640 min (P8)
“I am not completely satisfied with today’s result. Although I am provisionally on the second row of the grid, I have the feeling the bike does not a hundred percent do what I want it to. Engine braking is still a little bit of an issue. This morning’s Free Practice session was pretty good, but the track temperature was a lot higher in the afternoon session. This affected the tyre and the way the bike works. We now have to analyse the data. Still, I am optimistic for tomorrow’s second Qualifying Session and Superpole Qualifying.”
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations):
“Today was even better than expected. We brought some new improvements, especially with regard to the mapping where we made quite a few changes. To be honest, I expected it to take longer to set up the bike for these improvements. Therefore I am very happy it works so well straight away. With Leon we obviously found the right direction. With Troy in the end we may have chosen a wrong set-up direction, so that is the reason he was not at the very front.”
– Castrol Honda
Jonathan Rea has a provisional second row starting position for Sunday’s two fourth round World Superbike championship races at Monza in Italy after setting the fifth fastest time in this afternoon’s opening qualifying session.
Fellow Briton Leon Haslam snatched provisional pole late in the session at the ultra-fast 5.777km Monza circuit, while Rea’s Castrol Honda team-mate Ruben Xaus was 16th fastest today.
Rea topped the timing sheets in this morning’s opening free practice session and the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland is confident in the potential of his Honda CBR1000RR to meet the demands of the historic Monza circuit in tomorrow’s Superpole qualifying session that will determine final grid positions for Sunday’s two 18-lap races.
Jonathan Rea – P5 – I’m actually really happy because we’ve pinpointed our main problem and the guys think it’s should be pretty straightforward to get sorted. We haven’t got the balance right for the track here so there’s some more work to do there. Also we tried to improve the clutch set-up even more from Assen but that wasn’t actually a step forward, so we went back to what we had. I’m enjoying the track and I’ve been riding pretty much on my own today. Tomorrow I’ll try to ride with some other guys to experience the kind of slipstreaming we can expect on Sunday. The higher track temperature this afternoon allowed us to get the softer tyre working but we went out with the harder option to make sure all the bases are covered for the race.
Ruben Xaus – P16 – The team is doing a great job but I’m having real problems stopping the bike. I’ve actually had the problem in earlier races this season but it’s a lot bigger here at Monza and you suffer more. I’m only braking with one finger, so maybe I can apply some more pressure, but I’ve been braking like that for 20 years! We’re not very far away from the top six and we have some ideas to try in the morning to change a little bit the balance and gearing of the bike. I think we can step up a bit tomorrow.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager – With Jonathan we’re not far off, even though we certainly don’t have the perfect setting for him. However, everything is pointing in a very clear direction so we’ll build him something new for tomorrow around that. Ruben is having problems stopping the bike so we’re working on that but tomorrow we need some big changes so he can step up to where he can be.
– Suzuki Report
Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio just missed out on a top-10 finish on the first day of World Superbike Championship Qualifying at Monza in Italy today despite a small crash in the first session.
He spent the two sessions working on his GSX-R1000’s set-up and also tried some new Ohlins forks, so didn’t push hard on the unfamiliar material. Whereas many of his rivals used slipstreaming to set their fastest laps, Fabrizio’s lap of 1:43.762 was completed without any assistance.
Leon Haslam (BMW) posted the quickest lap with a time of 1:42.934. Second is Max Biaggi (Aprilia) with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) third and Ayrton Badovini (BMW) fourth.
Michel Fabrizio – 11th, 1:43.762: “I am not happy, but I am not unhappy with how things went today. The first chicane’s profile has changed and now we enter and exit it much faster than before. Because of that, we have to find new braking points for the entrance. When I crashed this morning, it was because I was going about six kilometres per hour faster than my previous lap and just lost the front end going in. I didn’t hurt myself at all, and the damage to the bike was mainly cosmetic – fairing, handlebars and footpegs, so there wasn’t too much work for my mechanics.
“This afternoon, we tried some new Ohlins forks and at the end my feeling about them is so-so: I need more time to understand them and get comfortable but, at the moment, I can’t say if they are better or not. Tomorrow morning we will put the new forks on one bike and the old forks on the other and run back-to-back tests. Then we’ll decide which ones to continue to work with.
“Although I am 11th, the times are pretty close and things will definitely change tomorrow. I am always happy to race in my home country and hope that tomorrow’s Qualifying and Superpole go well and I get on the first two rows of the grid.”