World Superbike 2013 – Round Eight – Sykes tops day one in Moscow
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) snatched first position from Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) in World Superbike Qualifying 1, after lapping the 3,931 m of Moscow Raceway in 1’35.567 seconds at the very last moment. The Championship leader managed to make the difference in the final section of the track and crossed the line with a 0.048 seconds advantage over the Italian.
All six manufacturers involved in the series were very well represented in the first seven positions, as Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) ended up third for less than a tenth of a second on Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).
While Laverty proved to be in good shape, team mate Sylvain Guintoli had to deal with the pain caused by the injury sustained last week during a cycling training session. The dislocated right shoulder gave the Frenchman some hard time today, but Guintoli chose to take it steady and to avoid painkillers in the morning’s Free Practice 1 session.
World Superbike debutant Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), substitute rider for regular Alex Lundh, managed to put in only five laps before a technical problem on his ZX-10R forced him to sit out most of the session.
1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.567 average 148.080 kph;
2. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’35.615;
3. Melandri (BMW) 1’35.891;
4. Checa (Ducati) 1’35.921;
5. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’35.964;
6. Camier (Suzuki) 1’36.013;
7. Rea (Honda) 1’36.084;
8. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’36.162;
9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’36.260;
10. Davies (BMW) 1’36.303;
11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’36.304;
12. Haslam (Honda) 1’36.585;
13. Badovini (Ducati) 1’36.787;
14. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’36.820;
15. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1’36.881;
16. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’38.048;
17. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’39.079;
18. Savadori (Kawasaki) 1’39.504.
The first qualifying session for the Supersport World Championship saw Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) topping the timesheets under the cloudy skies of Moscow Raceway. The defending Champion managed timed 1’38.088 seconds to edge Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha duo of Sam Lowes and home rider Vladimir Leonov.
Current points leader Lowes did his best to take first position back from his main rival for the title and was able to narrow the gap to the front to a final 0.152 seconds, on the last lap, despite some drops of rain falling on the track in the closing stages.
Great performance for Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) and Alex Baldolini (Suriano Racing Team Suzuki), who finished 4th and 5th respectively ahead of Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport), Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda), Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse).
1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’38.088 average 144.275 kph;
2. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’38.240;
3. Leonov (Yamaha) 1’38.691;
4. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1’38.792;
5. Baldolini (Suzuki) 1’38.919;
6. Vd Mark (Honda) 1’38.975;
7. Kennedy (Honda) 1’39.249;
8. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’39.295;
9. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 1’39.378;
10. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1’39.406;
— Fixi Crescent Suzuki
FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders Leon Camier and Jules Cluzel both had strong first day performances at this weekend’s eighth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Moscow Raceway in Russia.
Camier produced some competitive laps in this afternoon’s first qualifying session to place him just over one-tenth-of-a-second away from a provisional front-row start. The Englishman looked impressive over the first three sectors of the 3,931m Russian circuit, but is aware that he needs to make up some time in the final two sectors. If he can achieve that, it will leave him in a very promising position for Sunday’s two races.
Cluzel looked confident and at ease on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R1000 as he gave one of his best first-day performances of the year so far. He was only 0.9 seconds from the top-spot in this morning’s free practice session and followed that up to finish the first qualifying just 0.7 seconds from pole position. Cluzel is positive that he can go faster and will be looking to improve his time tomorrow.
Today’s sessions were held in dry, but windy conditions, with track temperatures reaching 38°C, but with wet weather forecast tomorrow, the data gathered today could prove vital for the races. Quickest time of the day went to championship leader Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will have one more qualifying session tomorrow morning to confirm the places for the afternoon’s Superpole, where the riders will battle for the best grid positions for Sunday’s two 25-lap races.
Leon Camier: “We made some good progress in this afternoon’s session and only made had to make a couple of changes through the day to make the GSX-R suit the track. From the start today we found a bit of speed, but we are still losing a big chunk of time in the last sector. We think we know how we can improve on that and then we should be quite strong. If we can make that big step in the final part of the track, we will be right up there; so all our attention is focused on that now and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Jules Cluzel: “I am quite happy with how things have gone today because it has been a consistent day and I feel strong on the bike. I have enjoyed every lap from the start of the day and I’ve felt really comfortable on the bike. My lap-time has improved on every exit and I think I can go faster, so that’s good. This morning I was nine-tenths off the fastest time and this afternoon only seven-tenths and I think I have a big chance to make faster laps, because I am confident that we can improve the bike in one or two places. It could be wet tomorrow, but that does not bother me because if it is wet or dry I think we can have a good race here.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “It’s been a solid first day’s work by the whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team and both riders have performed strongly. Jules, in particular, has demonstrated a huge improvement over Imola – where frankly speaking we struggled to find the best way of working – and we followed that event with some discussions between us, which appear to have paid dividends. As always there are a number of small details to improve upon and if we could have Leon’s lap-time for the first three sectors added to Jules’s for the last two, then that would be absolutely perfect! It is an interesting race-track here in Moscow and we’re looking forward to what we can achieve in the next two days.”
— Aprilia Racing
The World Superbike engines roared to life today on the Russian Moscow Raceway circuit, where the factory derivative bikes will be competing for the second year in a row. Increased knowledge of the track compared to its début last year allowed the teams to begin from a good starting point, then trying to fine tune and tweak during the two sessions today.
In the Aprilia Racing camp (ranking leader in the Manufacturer Championship) the free practice sessions this morning were used above all to test Sylvain Guintoli’s physical condition in light of his shoulder injury, dislocated due to a bicycle fall during training on Sunday. The valuable work of the Mobile Clinic and the French rider’s grit led Sylvain to putting in 19 laps, a record, with a pace that continued to increase until he made the thirteenth best final time.
In the afternoon qualifiers Guintoli, lying second in the championship standings, focused on getting into the top 15, thereby ensuring access (in case of rain tomorrow) to the Superpole. He rode eleven laps in order not to subject his shoulder to pointless stress and to continue his recovery in view of the races.
Sylvain Guintoli: “Today was a bit different than our usual Friday. The first concern was to see if I was able to lean over on the bike, and we’re OK there, although I’m obviously not riding at 100%. I need to work on finding the most comfortable riding position since the injury is only five days old and quite painful. My times are not the greatest, but in any case it’s important to get into the top 15 to be in Superpole just in case it rains tomorrow. A gap of 1.2 seconds isn’t that much, considering the conditions. We’ll keep working on my shoulder now, on the bandaging and therapy with the Mobile Clinic. It won’t be easy, but I want to take home some championship points.”
Eugene Laverty had a good first day of practice sessions, satisfied with the feeling on the Russian asphalt. The peculiarities of the track were no problem for the Northern Irishman, lying third in the championship, and his RSV4, getting off on the right foot as his fifth best time in today’s qualifiers demonstrates. Eugene reported only a few difficulties going into turns after abrupt braking sections, so he’ll be working on this area with his mechanics this evening. The ideal time response is comforting, comprised of each rider’s best intermediates, which move Eugene up to third place and are an excellent illustration of Laverty’s potential on this track.
Eugene Laverty: “The qualifiers were good this afternoon, not only because of the fifth best final time, but also because of the feeling with my bike and the track. We need to improve management of the front end and braking because in the hardest braking I’m struggling a bit to get the bike into the corner. This is my biggest concern at the moment. The rest of the package seems to be working well and that makes me quite optimistic for the races on Sunday as well.”
The performance of the other Aprilias on the track is also worth a mention. Davide Giugliano, astride the Althea Racing Team RSV4, put the second best time on the boards in both sessions, while Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma), after putting the sixth best time up during free practice, finished eighth in the afternoon qualifiers.
— BMW Motorrad Goldbet
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has had a successful start to the Russian round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship by qualifying for the provisional front row. In this morning’s free practice at the “Moscow Raceway”, factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) set the fastest time with his BMW S 1000 RR. In the first qualifying practice in the afternoon, Marco finished third. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) was seventh fastest in the morning and in the afternoon he qualified tenth on the provisional fourth row. The Russian round is the eighth of the 2013 season.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:36.101 min (P1)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:35.893 min (P3)
“I’m satisfied with today. On this track we are fast and quite close to the front runners. In the first two corners I lose a little bit of time because I can’t turn in as fast as I would like, probably because of the new tyre size. We are working to find a solution. I hope that tomorrow the weather will be fine to allow us to work properly. Anyway, I am quite confident for the races.”
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:36.937 min (P7)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:36.303 min (P10)
“The day has not been too bad. My overall position is nothing spectacular but I am quite happy because I did not chase lap times too hard. We improved the setting bit by bit by using the same tyre and I was four tenths faster afterwards so we will continue in the same direction tomorrow. I think we can take off some more time because what we did today was a clear improvement and then with a new tyre we can hopefully even better again. I am reasonably happy also because we are a little bit quicker to find the right direction of which where to go with the setting so we will see what tomorrow brings. There might be the chance of some rain but overall I am pretty confident for the races.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “It was quite a good day. Marco and Chaz are both doing well. They are both struggling in the first sector. Now the team is working to solve this issue and to put them in the best position for the races. Tomorrow we hope to have good weather to improve their performance. Our main competitors are in a good shape, anyhow Marco and Chaz can fight for the front positions. We are quite confident for the races and they are in a good mood because they like the track and we started the weekend in a good way.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Overall it was not a bad start here in Moscow. Both crews have been working hard during the two sessions, also considering that the weather forecast is not the best and some rain is expected for tomorrow. So we wanted to make best use of the dry track time testing different tyres on the rear as well as on the front. I must say that both riders are struggling a little bit with turning in the first sector and this is the area where we would like to improve the most. Marco did quite a good lap time with a used tyre, so it seems that tyre life is not an issue. Chaz has improved his feeling with the bike from the morning to the afternoon.”
— Pata Honda
Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam are both relatively satisfied after the opening qualifying session for the eighth round World Superbike championship event at Moscow Raceway in Russia today.
The British pairing finished in seventh and 12th places respectively in this afternoon’s 45-minute session while series leader Tom Sykes set the pace with provisional pole position.
Lap times are close, however, with 26-year-old Rea just half a second behind Sykes and Haslam, 30, a further 0.5s back. Both Honda CBR1000RR riders are confident of improvements in their settings for tomorrow morning’s second qualifying session before the afternoon Superpole sessions to determine final grid positions for both Sunday’s races.
Jonathan Rea – P7 1m36.084s
It’s not been a bad day although we got off to a sluggish start this morning, setting up a base map for the electronics, but the guys worked pretty well to get it in the ball park. We’re there or thereabouts and we didn’t use a lot of tyres today, trying to focus more on what’s happening when the tyre gets old. I tried a different front today, which I liked, but I had some positives and some negatives. Tomorrow we need to work on the exit on to the back straight where we’re a little weak so we’re looking at different options. Maybe gearbox ratios will make things a little better there. Otherwise, it’s half a second to the front, but it took us a while to wake up this morning. We’ll all sit down together to discuss options and come back strong in the morning.
Leon Haslam – P12 1m36.585s
We had a few little niggles this morning and managed to rectify the bulk of them this afternoon. There was a bit of an issue with the new tyre but we kept with it and the times came good again. So, we just need to look at a bit of a set-up for the newer tyre, but on old rubber the bike was pretty good. There are only really two options for the rear and we’ve tried them both now. They both look good for the race so it’s a question of what we do with set-up and electronics to see which is the better option.
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
We were a little behind in the morning session and had to make some adjustments, but we recovered quite well and made some progress this afternoon. We didn’t really go for a lap time in that qualifying session and didn’t use new tyres. Also, the ideal times look better so we’re not too concerned. It’s all quite close at the top so it should be an interesting day tomorrow.
— Matt Davies
PTR Honda’s Matt Davies had a difficult opening day at the Moscow Raceway in Russia, qualifying a provisional 28th overall.
The technical nature of the Russian venue made it harder than expected to learn and chasing setup within qualifying was always going to limit the overall result.
Nevertheless, tomorrow is a new day and the experience of the PTR squad should enable Matt (who is the youngest full time rider on the World Supersport circuit) to regroup and improve in tomorrow’s final qualifying session which is scheduled to take place at 1605 local time
Matt Davies – 28th on the provisional grid: “We lost our way a little bit today but hopefully we will come back strong tomorrow.”