— World SBK 2013 – Round 11 – Intercity Istanbul Park
— Laverty and Sofuoglu winners of the Turkish Round
The eleventh round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship reached its highest point today, as teams and riders geared up for what was an outstanding day of racing. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) made a clean sweep of the competition by winning both WSBK races and narrow the gap from Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – third and second at the flag in the two races – to 26 points. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) got one podium finish each, but lost some ground in the title chase, which sees them now sitting 8 and 33 points short of the leader
The star of the day, though, was Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who sent the 51,652 spectators into raptures by edging Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) at the finish line, to win his WSS home race. Lowes, on the other hand, is just two points away – even considering the number of race wins – to win his first World Supersport title.
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship will resume at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in two-weeks time, while Supersport will be back on track – along with the two STK classes and EJC – early next month at Magny-Cours.
— Race 1
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) has won the first race of the day at the Intercity Istanbul Park, after what was a perfect performance by the Irishman. Moreover, it was the first Race 1 win – out of five overall – this year for Laverty, a crucial result for his title hopes. The factory Aprilia got in the lead during Lap 13 by overtaking Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and tenth by tenth he managed to pull away, while the Championship leader lost some ground and was passed by Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) three laps later.
The Italian did an outstanding recovery from the third row on the grid thanks to a strong race pace but, once he managed to move up to second place, it was too late to try and catch Laverty. Meanwhile, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) began his charge to third place, but Sykes successfully defended his position up to the finish line.
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Team Aprilia) ended up fifth after a close battle with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), that ended up with a collision between the two – with both able to stay upright – at the exit of the last turn. An almost identical situation involved Pata Honda riders Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio, with the Brit who managed to secure ninth place ahead of his team mate for the round.
The Honda duo crossed the line behind Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who were seventh and eighth respectively. Technical problems forced Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) out of the race.
Results: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 18 Laps/96.120 km in 34’57.650 average 164.962 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 2.009; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 3.432; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 3.919; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 15.830; 6. Elias (Aprilia) 15.945; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 16.921; 8. Davies (BMW) 21.491; 9. Haslam (Honda) 40.186; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 40.218; 11. Sandi (Kawasaki) 41.700; 12. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’39.549; 13. Uprak (Kawasaki) 1 Lap; 14. Ercelik (BMW) 1 Lap; RT. Aitchison (Kawasaki); RT. Badovini (Ducati).
— Race 2
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) stole the show today with an outstanding performance in Race 2 at the Intercity Istanbul Park, that led to his second double win of the career – after the one achieved in 2011 at Monza. The Irishman started his charge on early leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and, after spending half of the race chasing the rival, he eventually closed the gap and overtook the factory Kawasaki Rider on Lap 12, at Turn 14. Laverty then proved he had the pace to stay in the lead and maintained a one-second gap up to the finish line, while Sykes had to settle for second place.
Factory Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) crossed the line a lonely third, as the Frenchman never managed to get in contention for the win. Fourth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) had a challenging first part of the race, in which he had to make his way through a pack of hungry opponents: Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), team mate Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), who finished 5th, 6th and 9th respectively.
Giugliano, former STK1000 Champion, managed to get a good start, but he lost ground as the race progressed to end up behind Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike). Ayrton Badovini’s (Team Ducati Alstare) absence from the grid resulted in the first-ever World Superbike race with no Ducati machines on track, the second one in history with no points for the Italian manufacturer.
Eugene Laverty: “My previous double-win was at Monza in 2011, but this one has a special meaning because it was totally unexpected. I am very happy as my bike was perfect, even better in the second race – despite the similar pace- as I could make the difference in the final stages. I’m back into contention for the title, but most of all I regained confidence and that gives me great hope for the next rounds.”
Tom Sykes: “Two podiums today even though it was the first time for me here. We made two or three changes to the bike between races and I think everybody saw that our bike was working a bit better in the second one. We started that race quite strongly and I was able to lead again but some of our competitors were using the tyres a little bit better. Unfortunately I did not have the package at the end of the second race to fight back and try to win it. I believe that we can learn and improve from this weekend.”
Race 2 Results: 1. Laverty (Aprilia) 18 Laps/96.120 km in 34’58.775 average 164.873 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1.708; 3. Guintoli (Aprilia) 4.052; 4. Melandri (BMW) 10.860; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 12.171; 6. Davies (BMW) 12.396; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 17.434; 8. Haslam (Honda) 17.683; 9. Giugliano (Aprilia) 25.770; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 38.735; 11. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 48.892; 12. Sandi (Kawasaki) 49.136; 13. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1’36.589; 14. Uprak (Kawasaki) 1 Lap; 15. Ercelik (BMW) 1 Lap.
Standings (Round 11 of 14) : 1. Sykes 323; 2. Guintoli 315; 3. Laverty 297; 4. Melandri 290; 5. Davies 239; 6. Baz 180; 7. Rea 176; 8. Fabrizio 168; 9. Cluzel 141; 10. Giugliano 139; 11. Camier 114; 12. Badovini 107; 13. Neukirchner 84; 14. Checa 80; 15. Haslam 78; 16. Sandi 45; 17. Iannuzzo 25; 18. Elias 21; 19. Aitchison 20; 20. Clementi 18; 21. Canepa 11; 22. Lundh 10; 23. Lai 8; 24. Reiterberger 7; 25. Allerton 6; 26. Uprak 5; 27. Smrz 4; 28. Stauffer 4; 29. Ercelik 3; 30. Akiyoshi 2; 31. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 419; 2. Kawasaki 377; 3. BMW 354; 4. Honda 216; 5. Suzuki 193; 6. Ducati 144; 7. Yamaha 4.
— World Supersport
Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India) and Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) put up a superb fight today in the World Supersport race at the Intercity Istanbul Park. The two riders, who had been battling heat-to-head for the win in almost every round contested so far, managed to give the vocal and ecstatic Turkish crowd something to remember. In the end, after swapping positions for countless times, the home hero managed to score an historical win: Lowes tried everything he could to snatch victory over the finish line, eventually finishing behind his rival for just fourth hundreds of a second.
Based on today’s results, Lowes is now ever-closer to his first World Supersport title, as he is leading the standings with 49 points over Sofuoglu, with just two races left in the season. Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport), who was up front in the early stages of the race, could not keep the pace of the front runners and finished third ahead of team mate Lorenzo Zanetti.
Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) did an outstanding recovery from 14th place on the grid, eventually ending up fifth, followed by Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda), Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki) and David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki). Rolfo’s team mate Christian Iddon had to pull out the final stages due to a technical problem, after spending most of the race in the top-5.
Results: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 16 Laps/85.440 km in 31’59.707 average 160.224 kph; 2. Lowes (Yamaha) 0.040; 3. Vd Mark (Honda) 9.074; 4. Zanetti (Honda) 11.987; 5. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 12.696; 6. Tamburini (Honda) 12.936; 7. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 14.002; 8. Salom (Kawasaki) 14.855; 9. Kennedy (Honda) 19.952; 10. Quarmby (Honda) 20.429; 11. Scassa (Kawasaki) 23.542; 12. Baldolini (Suzuki) 25.392; 13. De Rosa (Honda) 28.730; 14. Roccoli (Yamaha) 29.051; etc.
Standings (Round 11 of 13): 1. Lowes 205; 2. Sofuoglu 156; 3. Foret 121; 4. Vd Mark 107; 5. Zanetti 99; 6. Scassa 74; 7. Kennedy 71; 8. Rolfo 62; 9. Coghlan 60; 10. Antonelli 55; etc. Manufacturers 1. Kawasaki 225; 2. Yamaha 213; 3. Honda 142; 4. MV Agusta 72; 5. Suzuki 30; 6. Triumph 6.
— Aprilia Racing Report
Eugene Laverty and Aprilia leace their mark on the first ever Turkish world Superbike round with an extraordinary double win. After taking a strong win in Race1 , the Northern Irish rider repeated the performance in the second race. The 50 points he took home today move him into third place in the rider standings, just 26 points from the leader.
Sylvain Guintoli rode to the third step of the podium after finishing fourth in Race1, partially conditioned by pain from his recovering injured right shoulder. The Turkish round strengthens Aprilia’s hold on the manufacturer championship lead with 419 points. The Italian bike now leads Kawasaki (377), Bmw ( 354), Honda (216), Suzuki (193), Ducati (144) and Yamaha (4).
Off to an excellent start from the fourth spot on the grid in Race1, Laverty immediately cought up with Tom Sykes who had started from pole position. The right time to overtake came in the 11th lap, when tyre wear rewarded the Northern Irish rider’s strategy. Aided by the hight performance of his RSV4, Laverty continued to push hard, widening the gap lap after lap. By the end of the race he was more than two seconds ahead of Sykes, his closest pursuer. The script was very similar in race two with Eugene starting well but not pushing too hard until the 12th lap. His rivals didn’t stand a chance, forced to a gap of one and a half seconds behind the leader.
Eugene Laverty: “My last double win was at Monza in 2011. This two wins today feel particularly good because I wasn’t really expecting them. I’m really pleased, in both races our bike was set up perfectly, especially toward the end of the race when the tyres were starting to deteriorate and that is what let me win with such a big gap. My team was even able to improve after Race1, so despite a similar pace I was able to ride much more easily. I’m back in the running for the championship, but above all I’ve regained confidence and that makes me hopeful for the coming rounds”.
The third place he took in Race 2 doesn’t entirely satisfy Sylvain Guintoli, who did extremely well in the qualifiers and had an extraordinary Superpole. In Race1, after an aggressive start, Sylvain tried to take charge of the race, but he had to give in to Melandri’s attacks for third place toward the end. In the second race Guintoli adopted a different strategy, saving his energy for a final assault. Unfortunately, despite his good lap times, the gap that Laverty and Sykes had created kept him from going any further than the third step of the podium. Sylvain’s biggest problem was pain from his injured shoulder, especially bothering him in Race2.
Sylvain Guintoli: “Two strong races , but I’m still missing something. I’m not sure if it’s speed or my physical condition. To be honest, I expected more from this weekend after the good practice sessions and the front row start. It wasn’t a complete disaster thought since we’re still close to Sykes and I got back onto the podium. Unforunately my shoulder injury isn’t a simple thing to overcome. On a track like this one with fast turns and cross wind , it hurt quite a bit. The next round will be at Laguna Seca which is a track I like and where I hope to make another step forward”.
— Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel took a pair of very creditable seventh place finishes in today’s inaugural Turkish round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit.
Cluzel was flying the flag for the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team following Leon Camier’s injury and subsequent withdrawal earlier in the weekend and in race-one the team’s only rider finished a commendable seventh after a race-long battle with Davide Giugliano. The pair swapped positions a number of times during the race, before the Suzuki man’s rear-grip started to go and he settled for a safe seventh position at the flag.
Race-two took a similar theme as the Frenchman got away with a lead group, but a mistake on lap-five saw him run wide on the first corner and lose the tow. He regrouped before passing Giugliano for seventh and then got involved in a battle to the line with Leon Haslam. Cluzel was passed by the Honda rider, but immediately took the place back and then held on to seventh all the way to the finish by producing some impressive and consistent lap-times on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki was down to one-rider today due to Camier’s huge crash and resulting operation on Friday. He was re-admitted to hospital today suffering with dehydration, but is recovering well from this and after-effects of the surgical procedure. Camier plans to return to his home in Andorra tomorrow to begin an intensive rehabilitation routine in a bid to get fit for the last race of the season at Jerez.
Today’s races were held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 40°C. Eugene Laverty took victory in both events. FIXI Crescent Suzuki and the rest of the World Superbike field will now head across the Atlantic Ocean for the next round of the championship, which will be held at Laguna Seca in California, America on Sunday September 29th.
Jules Cluzel: “It’s been a really interesting weekend as a whole. I was a bit disappointed with the first race because I had the feeling I could fight for fifth place. I fought a bit with the other guys for that position, but at the end I was not able to pass them. For the second race we had a lot more data and had done a lot more laps so we had more information. We made some big changes in the chassis and I felt some differences, but they were not so easy to understand. I made some mistakes in the race and I did some good lap-times, but the really interesting point was the last part of the race: I tried to be calmer and understand how the traction was working and how the bike was different. This helped how to learn how the bike could be better and me also. I think I understand a lot more now and I’m looking forward to the next race because we have more information and I will have time to think about this weekend. I am happy with two seventh places, but I had the feeling we could be stronger. I now need to improve next time!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “Jules worked really hard today and rode at a very competitive level; the lap-time gap to the podium guys was not so big, but what cost him the chance to battle for a top-five place was errors in both races – maybe just trying too hard in the wrong places. However, it was very positive that he was able to re-group, re-find his rhythm and also learn a lot about some new electronic settings that he has been working with here in Istanbul. Even if we’re a little bit frustrated with the positions, Jules enjoyed riding the bike today and definitely learnt a lot and he is a positive mood for the trip to the USA.
“Leon’s ridiculous run of misfortune continues and even after a successful operation he found himself back in hospital today. He had severe dehydration and some nasty after-effects of the surgical process. The update is that he is now resting and being very-well cared-for. Thanks to the medical team at the Anadolu hospital for their continued care and to our colleagues at Doodson Broking Group for their swift and very helpful assistance in getting Leon the best possible care and taking care of arrangements.”
— HRC Report
The first ever FIM Superbike World Championship race at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey saw regular team rider Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) joined by Jonathan Rea’s replacement Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike Team). Each rider scored points for top ten finishes in the races, which were held in warm and sunny conditions.
An eighth place in race two was the best individual result – for Haslam – at what was a tough new circuit to tackle, especially after Saturday’s practice and regulation qualifying sessions were adversely affected by rain.
In the first race Haslam did not find the levels of rear grip he was expecting and struggled throughout the entire 18-laps. He and Fabrizio had a hard coming together on the exit of the final corner on the final lap, with Leon just leading his new team-mate across the line by 0.032 seconds to take ninth, Fabrizio tenth.
In the second race, Haslam found his rhythm disturbed by his race one experiences and although he finished much closer to the winning rider on the stopwatch, he was a disappointed eighth. Leon is in 15th place in the championship with 78 points and six individual points scoring races to go.
Late signing for the Istanbul round, to replace the injured Jonathan Rea, series regular Fabrizio was tenth in race two in what was his first Honda outing of the year. He is eighth overall in points.
The next round for the Superbike riders takes place at the one-time SBK regular circuit of Laguna Seca, with race one on Saturday 28th and race two on Sunday 29th September.
VAN DER MARK BACK ON THE PODIUM AS ZANETTI CONTINUES GOOD FORM
A fighting 16-laps from Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) saw him take third place at the 11th round of the FIM Supersport World Championship in Turkey, the first podium finish he has earned in his rookie WSS season since Motorland Aragon in round two.
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) placed fourth at the Istanbul circuit, the fourth such result he has had during the course of the 2013 WSS championship. He was just under three seconds behind van Der Mark in a strong return to form for the entire Pata Honda Supersport team.
Van der Mark was up to second early on after he passed Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) but the Turkish rider eventually re-passed both Michael and eventual runner up Sam Lowes (Yamaha) to win and keep the title fight open with two rounds to go. Lowes had his lead cut to 49 points, but with only two rounds remaining there are only a maximum of 50 points for any rider who wins both races.
In the championship van der Mark is fourth on 107 points, Zanetti fifth on 99.
Roberto Tamburini (Lorini Honda) once more impressed and finished sixth in the race after qualifying tenth. He is now 18th overall on points. Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) – like van der Mark and Zanetti – is another strong rookie in 2013. He continued his top ten form with ninth at a circuit he had never seen before, like most but not all of his rivals. He made up some ground in the championship chase and is seventh overall.
Ronan Quarmby (PRORACE Honda) made a strong impact on the WSS scene again after replacing the injured Gabor Talmacsi for the second time, placing tenth after starting 20th on the grid and scoring his first points after losing out on a good potential finish at the previous round.
Team Lorini Honda Rider Raffaele De Rosa scored points yet again, in 13th place today, for 19th in the championship standings.
Danny Webb (PTR Honda) had only his second ride in WSS and was in the points at one stage, until he made a small mistake and dropped back to finish 18th.
Luca Marconi (PTR Honda) went to 20th place in Turkey, Nacho Calero Perez (Honda PTR) was 21st. Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth Honda) placed 22nd his team-mate Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) was 23rd and David McFadden (Team Honda PTR) closed his day out in 24th.
With no WSS race in America, the next round will be held in France, at Magny Cours on October 6.
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: 9th / 8th Championship position: 15th
“I had a nice little battle at the end of race one with Michel which was fun, but not really, as we were slower than we should have been. I’m happy with my lap times in race two, even though I had a little less grip than we expected. That was down to some chassis changes that didn’t really work because we didn’t get the data from race one. My consistency was good though and my pace at the end was matching the top five, we just lacked a little bit of pace at the beginning.”
Michel Fabrizio (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) Race result: 10th / 10th Championship position: 8th
“It has not been an easy weekend but it was very important for me to finish both the races to find out as much as possible about the bike and how it works. For me, that was a positive and I really enjoyed riding the bike for the first time here. It has been a great experience to work with the team and I think we have made some progress but maybe not as much as we wanted. I look forward to riding again at Laguna Seca where I hope we can be closer to the front.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 3rd Championship position: 4th
“I had a good start and got to third and then I passed Kenan Sofuoglu at one time. I had a good feeling but as soon as the front two upped the pace I could not go quite as fast as them because I missed some grip. Compared to this morning the track was a lot different. I tried to keep my pace as high as possible. I was not really happy with the pace but I could see that the group behind was not really closing on me. I did good consistent lap times and this gave me third. For a lot of races we have had the speed to get on the podium but finally now we are back on it again.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) Race result: 4th Championship position: 5th
“I had not a really good start because after warm-up we changed the engine and on this bike the clutch was a bit different. I lost some position and when I overtook some riders I lost a bit of time. My tyre choice was good, I had a good rhythm in the race and I was sure I could battle with Michael for the podium. In the end it was a good result for the team, third for Michael and fourth for me. Now I want to work for that podium in the last two races. Many fourth places now so I am a bit tired to just miss out on the podium so often!”
Roberto Tamburini (Lorini Honda) Race result: 6th Championship position: 18th
“Not such a bad day for me. My start was slow but the race was good. I tried to push a lot in the end to catch the rider in front of me but then I slid a little bit with the rear tyre. After that we made a good job to manage it all and we will work to improve again next time.”
Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) Race result: 9th Championship position: 7th
“A difficult race because I did not get away with the front of the pack like I wanted to. I got held up by a few riders in the first laps and found it difficult to pass. I finally got through and just sort of held the gap until Salom and Rolfo came past me. I tagged onto them for a few laps and tried to stay with them because I knew Rolfo would go forward. I just struggled for a bit of grip to go forward after that and had to work hard on the brakes. I nearly fell a few times because of that so I was happy enough to bring it home with a top ten finish.”
Danny Webb (PTR Honda) Race result: 18th Championship position: NA
“I was a bit wound up with myself as I lost three seconds on one lap when I didn’t let the clutch out enough between corners. I was in the battle for points and we closed the gap to the front from the Nürburgring. We have definitely made a step and I am more and more comfortable on my PTR Honda. In Magny Cours it will feel more natural and I want to make the next step. We are not too far away and are making good progression, which is just what we needed and planned. I just need a bit more time on the 600.”
— Kawasaki Report
Sykes led both races today and battled hard to try and win each one. He was 3.432 seconds from the winner in race one and only 1.708 seconds from double race winner Eugene Laverty in race two.
Crucially, at this advanced stage of the year, Sykes beat his closest rival Sylvain Guintoli each time and he now leads him by eight points, gaining seven points on him this weekend.
With Loris Baz not riding at Istanbul Tom flew a strong solo KRT flag this weekend, scoring his seventh Superpole win of the year on Saturday, two podiums which take his season total to 13 and he also broke through the 300 points barrier, with a new total of 323.
Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) scored 11th in race two after retiring in the opening race, while Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) had a good day in taking 11th in race one and 12th in race two.
Laguna Seca in the USA hosts the next round of the championship, with race one on Saturday 28 and race two on Sunday 29 September.
Tom Sykes: “Two podiums today even though it was the first time for me here. We had only two-and-a-half hours track time against two top riders who have previous experience of this circuit. We made two or three changes to the bike between races and I think everybody saw that our bike was working a bit better in the second one. We started that race quite strongly and I was able to lead again but some of our competitors were using the tyres a little bit better, so Eugene Laverty was able to catch me. Unfortunately I did not have the package at the end of the second race to fight back and try to win it. I believe that we can learn and improve from this weekend. I wanted to win in race one as well; I pushed hard but I feel if I pushed any harder I may have overstepped the mark. The changes we made this weekend should help for the future races. We are leaving with an improved points lead and that can only be a good thing.”
— BMW Report
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team stepped onto the podium at the Turkish debut of the FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished second on his BMW S 1000 RR in today’s first race at “Intercity Istanbul Park”. In race two, he was fourth. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) had issues in race one and finished eighth. It went better for him in the afternoon, when he crossed the line in sixth. After 11 rounds of the 2013 season, Marco is fourth in the riders’ championship with 290 points, 33 points behind the lead. Chaz follows in fifth with 239 points. In the Manufacturers’ classification, BMW is currently third with 354 points. Both races today were won by Eugene Laverty (IRL).
At the start of race one, both BMW factory riders gained positions. Marco improved from seventh to fifth, Chaz from eighth to sixth. After the first lap, Marco was in fourth while Chaz was sitting in seventh. In the early stages, Marco lost a bit to the leading trio, but halfway through the race he started to catch up and closed the gap to the top 3 with every lap. On lap 14, he overtook Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) to take third, entering lap 16 he passed Tom Sykes (GBR) for second. He then tried to close the gap to leader Laverty but the Irishman was too far away to catch him up in the remaining laps. Marco rode his RR to second on the podium behind Laverty. Chaz meanwhile was fighting in a group of four and was temporarily lying in fifth. But a massive lack of grip meant he could not hold the position. Throughout the race he lost positions and crossed the line in eighth.
In race two, Marco was sixth after lap one, Chaz seventh. In the early stages of the race, they were involved in several battles, gaining positions. After lap six, Marco was fourth and Chaz sat in sixth. But this time, Marco struggled to catch up with the front runners and the gap increased throughout the race. In the end, he rode a lonely race to finish fourth. Chaz had a better feeling on his RR in this race. On lap 16 he improved to fifth, but lost one position again on the final lap to come home in sixth.
Result Race 1: 2nd / Gap to 1st: 0:02.009 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.102 min (lap 8)
Result Race 2: 4th / Gap to 1st: 0:10.860 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.265 min (lap 4)
“In race one, I lost a lot of time in the first laps. With a new tyre our bike is always very nervous. On the first lap I had to shut the throttle on the straight as the bike was shaking too much. But then after ten laps, because there was less fuel the bike became lighter and it was easier to ride. At that time I was quite fast and I caught up with the top guys. But when I passed Tom, Eugene was already very far away and for me, second place was already a very good result.
“After race one, we made some changes to the setting of the bike but, probably because of the higher track temperature, the grip went down. We tried to balance the bike with some changes to the rear but as consequence, I started struggling with the front. I couldn’t be fast entering the corner and I had some issues trying to brake. In the end I could not get the same result as in race one. We have still three races to go and, even if it’ll not be easy, I continue to believe. I want to fight and give my best in each race.”
Result Race 1: 8th / Gap to 1st: 0:21.491 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 1:56.082 min (lap 2)
Result Race 2: 6th / Gap to 1st: 0:12.396 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:56.354 min (lap 2)
“After missing a lot of track time yesterday, it was difficult today. In the time available, we struggled to find a good set-up. I was lacking grip on the front and the rear and also struggling with the stability and balance. I was not happy with race one. After warm-up, we made a small change to the balance to try and find more grip in the rear but it just made the front worse. It was so easy to lose the front; I think that happened to me 10 to 15 times throughout the race. I couldn’t enter the corner fast; every time I tried to use the front brake with any lean angle I would tuck the front and not only that but I also struggled with rear grip. I wasn’t able to do any better so that was very frustrating.
“I was much happier with race two which was definitely better. It was half the gap to the leaders than in race one but in the end it was not good enough. We really made a step in the right direction but we could not completely solve the issues we had in race one. I think a third race would have suited us today. I am not sure if I would have been in podium contention then but for sure we would have further improved and would come even closer.”
Andrea Buzzoni (General Manager BMW Motorrad WSBK):
“Today’s results were not what we expected. Marco rode the first race in a very clever way. In the first few laps he was a little slower than the leading group. Then he increased the rhythm, closing the gap to the front, and was second at the finish line. Maybe with two more laps, he could have been in first position. This result brought him closer to the top of the riders’ ranking. In race two, on the contrary, something didn’t work and he couldn’t repeat the result. In the end the gap to the lead in the ranking has increased a little. But regarding the championship that does not affect us too much: we’re still in the game and we have to keep concentrated. Chaz couldn’t find the right balance and the performance of the bike which all of us expected during this weekend. Unfortunately he had to limit the damage. Looking to the championship ranking, the gap has increased, but he can still fight. We are heading Laguna Seca where we have good conditions to get a good result. Our riders like the track and both know it very well from already riding there. In addition the track fits very well to the characteristics of our RR. We have to achieve a great result to continue to fight for the title.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Congratulations to Marco for his podium in race one. He put in another strong performance here in Istanbul, a track where he has been successful in the past. But overall we have to say that our competitors have done a better job than us today. Even if Marco was able to get the maximum of the package in race one, he was struggling in race two. As soon as the track temperatures increased, he was lacking grip and struggling with stability. Chaz had some issues in race one, where he was not comfortable with the bike. Unfortunately, due to the limited track time, the set-up was not perfect for race one. His crew improved the bike for race two but it still was not enough. The main areas we have to work on are grip and stability. Our target is to improve that for the next round at Laguna Seca. We must keep working hard in order to prepare best for the next races. The championship is still open.”
— Qualifying…… Hard-contested Tissot-Superpole goes to Tom Sykes
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders could enjoy a dry and sunny Tissot-Superpole at the Intercity Istanbul Park, after the rainy morning that had slowed down their work at the Turkish venue. Track conditions allowed riders to push to the limit, resulting in a significant improvement in terms of lap times.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scored his 7th Tissot-Superpole of the season – the 18th of his career – after a thrilling finale that involved his main rival for the title Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team). Sykes was the first rider to break into the 1’54s early in the final session, but the Frenchman tried his best to outperform the rival during his last quick-lap attempt, eventually finishing behind the Brit for just 0.022 seconds.
Tom Sykes: “I am happy because this is a circuit I had never been to before and I only got two practice sessions yesterday. I am fighting a bit of a cold but the changes we made to the bike set-up last night were positive, the team great job and we went in the right direction. We just need to see if we can put this to good use tomorrow. It is funny how it goes because Sylvain Guintoli will be beside me on the grid. It seems we have been fighting all season, in qualifying and races, so it looks like it is going the distance!”
Sylvain Guintoli: “We were really close to pole, but during my last lap I did a few small mistakes that probably cost me those 22 thousands of a second. It would have been good to be on pole, but the most important thing is to start the races from the front row. I felt immediately at ease on this track and I think we can target some good results tomorrow. As I said the battle for the title has entered the crucial stage, I’m expecting two exciting races on a track that’s pretty much new to everyone.”
The two riders will be joined tomorrow, on the first row of the grid, by Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia), who got the better of Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team). The Irishman could not repeat the 1’54.9 set in Superpole 2, a time that would have helped him to finish in the top-3.
WSBK debutant Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) put up an impressive performance by ending up in fifth place – and only a 0.674 seconds gap from pole-sitter – ahead of Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet). Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike and Aussie Mark Aitchison (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) completed the top-10.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’54.872 average 167.351 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’54.894; 3. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’55.073; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’55.340; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 1’55.546; 6. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’55.614; 7. Melandri (BMW) 1’56.402; 8. Davies (BMW) 1’56.416; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1’56.463; 10. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1’57.001; 11. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’57.329; 12. Fabrizio (Honda) 1’57.371; 13. Uprak (Kawasaki) 2’02.469; 14. Ercelik (BMW) 2’04.070; 15. Iannuzzo (BMW) 2’39.610.
— World Supersport
Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) delighted his home fans by securing the pole position after WSS Qualifying 2 at Intercity Istanbul Park. The Turk clocked in 1’58.380 seconds, showing an outstanding form onboard his ZX-6R. Sofuoglu dictated the pace this afternoon, while Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) had to play catch-up, eventually finishing second with a 0.382 s gap from pole.
Rookie Christian Iddon (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) edged out Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) from first row at the very last second, while Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki) was fifth ahead of David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) and Pata Honda duo of Lorenzo Zanetti and Michael van der Mark. Team Lorini Honda riders completed the top-10: Raffaele De Rosa was only 0.029 seconds faster than team mate Roberto Tamburini, who had a crash at Turn 8 in the early stages.
The session was red-flagged with less than four minutes to go, as Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) and Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing Yamaha) crashed unhurt at Turn 12. The Italian lost control of his YZF-R6 also in the first part of Qualifying 2, that time at turn number eight.
Times: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’58.380 average 162.392 kph; 2. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’58.762; 3. Iddon (MV Agusta) 1’59.438; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’59.595; 5. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1’59.655; 6. Salom (Kawasaki) 1’59.672; 7. Vd Mark (Honda) 1’59.785; 8. Zanetti (Honda) 1’59.826; 9. De Rosa (Honda) 1’59.842; 10. Tamburini (Honda) 1’59.871; 11. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’59.970; 12. Leonov (Yamaha) 2’00.166; 13. Kennedy (Honda) 2’00.179; 14. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 2’00.327; 15. Scassa (Kawasaki) 2’00.351; etc.
— Fixi Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel will start tomorrow’s Turkish round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from the second row of the grid after qualifying in sixth-place today.
Cluzel progressed to the Superpole courtesy of yesterday’s qualifying time, after rain on the 5,340m Intercity Istanbul circuit made it impossible for any riders to improve this morning. The French rookie also sat out most of the second free practice due to the wet conditions, but as the track dried in the later stages he was able to post a couple of fast laps that saw him finish second on the timesheets. In Superpole 1 Cluzel comfortably advanced to the next session with the seventh fastest time, a feat he equalled in Superpole 2. In the final Superpole he posted a time of 1’55.614 on his Pirelli qualifying tyre, which was good enough to see him and the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R finish in sixth, just over 0.7 seconds behind pole-setter Tom Sykes.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will only have one representative on the grid for tomorrow’s two races after Leon Camier was forced to withdraw following his huge crash and subsequent operation yesterday. He was released from hospital this morning after surgery to insert screws, pins and wires into seven fractures in his right foot. Camier returned to the circuit to be with the team and will return to Andorra soon to begin his recuperation.
Tomorrow will see the first World Superbike races ever held in Turkey, the first of which gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST) with the second 18-lap instalment starting at 14.30hrs local time (12.30hrs BST).
Jules Cluzel: “I am happy with Superpole, but a little bit disappointed because I think third or fourth was possible. I was not able to make the perfect lap, which was all my own fault. I tried some different stuff and sometimes it was working for me and sometimes not. We also tried some different traction and I was not really sure about it, so probably didn’t push hard enough. I think it was certainly possible to be fourth, but this would have changed nothing as it is still the second row and I’m happy to be there. I am looking forward to tomorrow and hope we’ll have a good feeling with the race tyre. Hopefully it will be dry for warm-up and we will try more laps with the race tyre to see how it performs.”
“It was good to see Leon out of hospital and back at the track, I hope he gets well quickly and is back on the bike soon – it is good to have him on the other side of the garage and I will miss him.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “Today has been a strange day for the team in many ways here in Istanbul. Both of this morning’s sessions were meaningless due to intermediate track conditions, so the only serious running has been the three very short Superpole sessions. That hasn’t given Jules and his crew an awful lot to go on in terms of making the necessary improvements from yesterday, but it does look like some of the key points that they have been targeting have been dealt with and clearly Jules was able to find enough confidence to post a good enough lap – despite it not being perfect – and end up on the second-row. This will give him a good opportunity to get involved with the fastest riders tomorrow.
“Leon has been with us most of the day at the track. The condition of his foot is really not pleasant and on top of that he has been pretty ill coming out of the anaesthetic and the after-effects of the operation. Hopefully he’ll be feeling better tomorrow and will be able to be with the team at the circuit and start the first steps of his rehabilitation.”
— Aprilia Racing
The Aprilia Racing riders had shown a promising feeling on the Turkish track at Istanbul from the start. Although it was preceded by two odd sessions with the riders waiting in their garages due to the wet track, the Superpole sessions this afternoon confirmed yesterday’s suspicions: Sylvain Guintoli just missed the pole by 22 thousandths of a second after an almost perfect lap, while Eugene Laverty wasn’t quite able to make the grade with his second qualifying tyre although he did finish with a strong fourth best time.
Aprilia’s domination was confirmed by the final positions of the two “satellite” RSV4s: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) will start from the third spot on the grid and Toni Elias (Red Devils), making his Superbike début on the missile from Veneto, took a promising fifth place.
With a gap of just one point from the top spot in the standings, Sylvain Guintoli had made no secret of his ambitions for this Superpole. Comforted by the times he put on the boards yesterday and after being the fasted rider during the free practice sessions leading up to Superpole, the French rider easily came through the first two sessions. He aggressively took on his challengers in the top nine, succumbing only to the “specialist” Sykes, even admitting that he made a few small mistakes in the fast lap. In any case Sylvain takes home an excellent starting position for the two races tomorrow and he certainly has the tools to be able to aim for the top step of the podium.
Sylvain Guintoli: “We came really close today. On my last lap I made a few small errors that may have cost me those 22 thousandths. It would have been nice to take the pole, but the most important thing is to start from the front row. I felt at home on this track straight away and I think tomorrow I’ll be able to aim for two good results. As I already said, the battle for the championship is really getting heated up now, so there should be two exciting races tomorrow on a track which is basically new for everyone”.
Eugene Laverty also put in an excellent performance, steadily improving throughout the weekend until arriving just short of the podium in Superpole. The rider from Toomebridge put in the fastest time in Superpole 2, which was the best possible way to come through to the final session. Unfortunately Eugene struggled a bit with his second qualifying tyre taking the first spot on the second row of the grid. The two races tomorrow promise to be quite heated for him as well tomorrow with an excellent chance for a podium finish.
Eugene Laverty: “I put in the best time in Superpole 2 but I wasn’t able to repeat the performance in the last session. In any case, fourth place is nothing to look down on and tomorrow looks like it will be a battle between four riders where we’ll all be able to make a play for it. Race 1 should be especially interesting because none of us were really able to lap a lot today on race tyres since the track was wet, so that will make things even more uncertain”.
— BMW Report
It was not a particularly easy Saturday for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team at “Intercity Istanbul Park” (TUR). Due to the weather conditions the track action was mainly reduced to the Superpole qualifying in the afternoon, causing a loss of precious track time for the squad. Factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR) will start tomorrow’s first ever Superbike races on Turkish soil from seventh and eighth on the third row respectively. The “Intercity Istanbul Park” hosts the 11th round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship.
It was raining during this morning’s second qualifying practice and Marco and Chaz opted not to go out on track along with many other riders. For the free practice at midday, the rain had stopped but conditions were still wet. The BMW duo spent most of the session in the garage waiting for the surface to dry and only went out on track shortly on their BMW S 1000 RRs.
In the afternoon, it was sunny again and Superpole started with dry conditions. Both Marco and Chaz did their first outing on race tyres. Chaz’ lap time was good enough to bring him into Superpole 2 and he returned to the garage after a couple more flying laps. Marco was on course to set the fastest time on his first lap but crashed in the final sector. He re-joined and rode back to the pits. With six minutes to go, he started a second attempt, again on race tyres. He set the second fastest time of the session and progressed to Superpole 2. In the next session, it took Marco one outing on race tyres to qualify for the final and deciding session. Chaz went out twice, once on race tyres and then on qualifying tyres to reach Superpole 3. In the final session, Marco put in his first qualifying tyre but he returned to the pits immediately to change to his second. With this, he set the seventh fastest time. Chaz only went out with five minutes to go, using his second qualifying tyre. But he had a sensor failure and qualified eighth, only a few thousandths of a second behind Marco.
Marco Melandri: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:56.749 min (P2) / Fastest lap FP: no timed lap / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:56.402 min (P7)
“I expected a better result because on race tyres we were quite fast, on a single flying lap as well, as we saw in Superpole 1. But we were not able to improve the time with the qualifying tyres because as soon as we put those on the bike became difficult to ride. I am looking forward to tomorrow in a positive way. The bike works better with race tyres, so this is an advantage. But tomorrow’s races will be quite unpredictable. We have two new types of tyres and it will be important to choose the right one. The races will be very long. I am not starting from a good position and I will have to attack. To be fast on this track you have to ride smoothly and this is my riding style, so overall I’m quite optimistic for tomorrow.”
Chaz Davies: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:57.391 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 2:22.625 min (P11) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:56.416 min (P8)
“This afternoon we finally got some dry weather but unfortunately we did not seem to have a lot of luck. In the first Superpole, I struggled with the grip of the rear tyre. We made some changes and chose a different tyre in Superpole 2 and it was much better. But in Superpole 3 I immediately felt that there was an issue. There was a sensor failure in the shifting system and I had to use the clutch again. That did not allow me to push as I wanted to so unfortunately we are eighth on the grid. We definitely did not show our potential and I think we were capable of front row or maybe just the sharp end of the second row. Tomorrow will be quite interesting. I think a lot of people are in the dark a bit. I guess no one has done a full race distance so far. In addition, the circuit is changing every time you go out, so tomorrow there could be more grip but it could also be harder on the tyres. The main thing is to make a good start and then we will see.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “We are not satisfied with today’s Superpole. We expected a better result, consistent with what we had shown in the other qualifying sessions. Unfortunately with Marco we were not able to make best use of the qualifying tyres, while Chaz had bad luck with a sensor and could not improve his lap time. The results penalise us a bit. Tomorrow we will start from the third row and this does not help our riders. Anyway, we are quite confident for tomorrow’s races. Both our riders were quite fast with race tyres and the races will be long and difficult for everyone. It will be important to have a good start and immediately gain positions. Tomorrow we will see two interesting races, for sure.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Honestly we cannot be satisfied with today as we could not work as we had planned due to the bad weather conditions. We could not evaluate the changes to the settings and we could not properly test the tyres to select which one we will use in the race. Also, we are not happy with the Superpole. Chaz had a sensor issue which slowed his performance a bit and Marco had quite a lot of vibrations with the qualifying tyre so he could not improve compared to his best lap time with the race tyre. Considering what we have seen today as race pace, I think tomorrow we can expect good results and performances from our riders. For sure, starting from the third row won’t help so a good start will be very important and we will work on this in the warm-up tomorrow.”
— Kawasaki Report
Sykes and his Kawasaki crew made set-up improvements to his Ninja ZX-10R overnight and they paid off for Tom on track, even though bad weather earlier in the day lost Tom valuable time at a circuit he had never ridden on before this weekend.
Using the first Superpole session, held in dry conditions, to verify the new set-up Sykes was fastest in the first and last of three Superpole contests, taking a narrow but important advantage of 0.022 seconds over his main championship rival Sylvain Guintoli.
Sykes’ reputation as the modern day Superpole maestro continued this weekend. He scored his seventh pre-race ‘win’ of the year in 11 attempts, took his career Superpole total to 18 and in doing so became the fourth most successful qualifier in the history of SBK racing in his own right. He only needs three more Superpole wins to equal the career total of SBK legend Carl Fogarty, who has 21 pole positions.
KRT rider Loris Baz will not ride this weekend to continue his recovery from injuries sustained at the previous round. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) took 10th spot on the grid with Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) 11th.
Tom Sykes: “I am happy because this is a circuit I had never been to before and I only got two practice sessions yesterday. I lost two sessions today to the weather so considering all this I am happy. I am fighting a bit of a cold but the changes we made to the bike set-up last night were positive. My crew chief Marcel and all the guys at Kawasaki do a great job and we went in the right direction. We were able to try the adjustments early in Superpole and it was clear to see we had a good direction. We just need to see if we can put this to good use tomorrow. It is funny how it goes because Sylvain Guintoli is right beside me on the grid tomorrow. It seems we have been fighting all season, in qualifying and races, so it looks like it is going the distance!”
—— Friday…………….Sylvain Guintoli the fastest in Day 1
The first-ever qualifying session for the Eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Intercity Istanbul Park took place this afternoon, under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), still second in the standings with a one-point gap from leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) – after the CDI decision on the appeal lodged by Aprilia following Race 2 at Monza (May 12th) – set the fastest time in 1’56.190 seconds.
The Frenchman led a pack of four riders still in contention for the title, as Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who was also second in first free practice behind Guintoli, got the better of third place Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes. WSBK debutant Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) proved to be already on a good pace by ending up fifth, with a second gap from the lead, at his second outing onboard the RSV4, despite a technical problem.
Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) managed to secure the sixth spot, followed by Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike). Haslam’s new team mate Michel Fabrizio was tenth, as the Italian is still getting to grips with the CBR1000RR.
Leon Camier will sit out the rest of the weekend, due to the consequences of the heavy crash he had in the first free practice. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider suffered seven bones fractured in his right foot, and he’s currently undergoing surgery at the local hospital. Team Ducati Alstare duo of Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini did not get on track either, as they both crashed in the morning’s session. The Spaniard has been declared unfit to race (left scaphoid fracture), while the Italian rider’s conditions are still to be reviewed (left ankle bone contusion). Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing Ducati) injured his right hand (4th and 5th metarcarpal base fracture): the German rider is unfit to race, too. Moreover, Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was not medically cleared by doctors, after the back injury suffered at Nurburgring, meaning he had to withdraw from the round.
Sylvain Guintoli: “I usually take things steadily, but today I decided to push hard from the beginning as I felt immediately comfortable on the bike. I was missing something at Nurburging, but here I don’t want to waste any chance. The two races are definitely going to be hot and crucial for the title fight, as all top-4 riders in the standings are up there. It’ll be really important to do a good job for Sunday.”
Marco Melandri: “It was quite a good day, even if it was not easy. The track conditions were much different to what I remember, many riders crashed so I decided not to take unnecessary risks. The conditions are improving and by Sunday it might be completely different, weather and grip-wise, but I am happy with my race pace and, even with used tyres, I was able to be consistent. It will be difficult to make the right tyre choice for the race, though. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Times: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’56.190 average 165.453 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 1’56.749; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’56.949; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’57.170; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 1’57.206; 6. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’57.222; 7. Davies (BMW) 1’57.391; 8. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’57.649; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1’57.699; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 1’58.340; 11. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1’58.588; 12. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1’58.817; 13. Iannuzzo (BMW) 2’00.944; 14. Uprak (Kawasaki) 2’03.008; 15. Ercelik (BMW) 2’04.231.
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) wasted no time in learning the Intercity Istanbul Track, as the Championship leader was the fastest in first qualifying for World Supersport, after leading also the morning’s free practice session.
The British rider clocked in 2’00.000 seconds, a perfect lap-time in all ways, as Lowes managed to put 0.678 seconds gap between himself and local rider Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who was able to climb the timesheets in the closing stages of Qualifying 1.
One Event rider for Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki, Florian Marino, was third ahead of Italian Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda), who raced on this track before in 2006 and 2007 (125 cc World Championship). Spaniard David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) ended up fifth, followed by Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Raffaele De Rosa (Team Honda Lorini) who both also know the track from past experiences, and Zanetti’s team mate Michael van der Mark.
No crashes in this session, but two technical problems that occurred to Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) and Fabio Menghi (VFT Racing Yamaha).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 2’00.000 average 160.200 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2’00.678; 3. Marino (Kawasaki) 2’00.798; 4. Tamburini (Honda) 2’00.802; 5. Salom (Kawasaki) 2’00.834; 6. Zanetti (Honda) 2’00.872; 7. De Rosa (Honda) 2’00.982; 8. Vd Mark (Honda) 2’01.147; 9. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 2’01.156; 10. Scassa (Kawasaki) 2’01.165; 11. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 2’01.258; 12. Menghi (Yamaha) 2’01.273; 13. Quarmby (Honda) 2’01.376; 14. Baldolini (Suzuki) 2’01.454; 15. Foret (Kawasaki) 2’01.491; etc.
— Pata Honda Report
Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio, who is replacing the injured Jonathan Rea, finished in ninth and tenth places respectively at Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey this afternoon after the opening qualifying for Sunday’s two 11th-round World Superbike championship races.
The 5.340km circuit on the Asian side of Istanbul is new to many SBK riders and Haslam and Fabrizio spent this morning’s extended free practice session familiarizing themselves with its combination of corners and marked elevation changes.
As this afternoon’s qualifying session began, both Pata Honda riders began to attack the circuit more but will require tomorrow’s qualifying and free practice session to fine-tune the settings on their Honda CBR1000RR machines for Sunday’s two 18-lap races.
Leon Haslam – P9 1m57.699s – “I’m really enjoying this new track. It was a little dusty first thing and there wasn’t much grip out there but it was getting better this afternoon. I felt pretty good this morning and got into a good rhythm but, when I went out this afternoon, we’d gone the wrong way with the setting. It was such that we couldn’t change back so we tried a few things and gathered some data and that was it. My quickest lap was the second one out so we were kind of resigned to it. We’ve got a good plan for tomorrow though, so I’m looking forward to going through it all tonight and getting out there again in the morning.”
Michel Fabrizio – P10 1m58.340s – “I am quite happy. The circuit is fantastic but I don’t have much feeling for it yet – the layout is quite difficult but I am enjoying riding it and learning more with each lap. It’s also step-by-step with the bike. I haven’t really changed anything with the bike yet. This morning I was three seconds from the front, now it’s two. Tomorrow morning, hopefully one, and then we are close! The bike is very good but I don’t want to upset Jonathan with many changes yet!”
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator – ?We lost quite a lot of time this morning with Michel’s bike with some technical issues, which should not have been the case. He took it fairly easy this morning and we asked him to push on a bit this afternoon. There are some issues with the setting now that we need to work on – the front end, for example, and we need to find some more rear grip. All in all though, it was a solid day and we’ll hope for another one tomorrow! It looked quite promising for Leon for most of the day and he was always in the group of fastest riders. Unfortunately, he ended up ninth and, although he’s close to the riders immediately in front, we’d hoped to fine four tenths with a new tyre. That didn’t happen, but we’re finding our way with some issues he had this afternoon so that should improve the bike in order for him to improve the lap time tomorrow.”
— Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very eventful first day at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship in Turkey which saw Leon Camier in hospital awaiting an operation on a broken foot and Jules Cluzel end the day in a respectable sixth position.
Camier had a high-speed high-side on the dusty and slippery Istanbul Park during the early stages of this morning’s first free practice session. He was immediately examined by the Clinica Mobile doctors, where a fracture of the right foot was identified and he was transferred to hospital for further scans to assess the level of the injury. Following in-depth examinations Camier was diagnosed with seven fractures of his right foot which will require an operation to pin some of the breaks this evening. He will miss the remainder of this weekend and will return home to begin his rehabilitation and make a racing comeback as soon as possible.
Cluzel immediately got up-to-pace at the 5,340m Turkish circuit and topped the leader-board at the beginning of the first practice, as he put his previous experience of the track to good use. He again made further steps in this afternoon’s first qualifying session and finished the day in sixth place, just a second away from the fastest time set by Sylvain Guintoli. Cluzel is looking to make further advances tomorrow on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R and be in a position to challenge the top-five on race-day.
The French rookie will have one more qualifying session tomorrow morning to secure his position in Superpole and then battle it out in the afternoon to get the best grid position for Sunday’s two 18-lap races.
Jules Cluzel: “It has been a long day because we had a 90-minute session this morning, which was good because we were able to ride a little bit more. The track was really dirty at the beginning of the day and it was really slippery, which made it difficult to understand what to do on the bike, so I waited a bit before pushing too hard. I tried not to use too many tyres this morning so that I had more for the rest of the weekend. I think it is a good thing to use a tyre and understand its life for the race and we were able to do that today. I do have an issue in the electronics; it’s hard for me to understand as I don’t have much experience, but I have had the problem here and at Nurburgring, so we need to work on that and understand what is happening. I am one-second from the fastest rider, but my pace is good, although I am not too comfortable yet so I need to do something about that and get more stability tomorrow and for the races.
“Leon had some bad luck this morning and had a massive high-side. I looked to see where it happened and it was really fast. I hope he is ok and will be back racing soon. I think he is not so lucky to crash, but he is lucky to not be too injured from such a big crash. I hope that he is back at the race-track tomorrow.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “The whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has been working really hard all season to improve the level of the GSX-R and get amongst the podium fight and we have managed to meet a lot of the performance targets, but unfortunately the black cloud of bad luck that has followed Leon around – pretty much all season – has struck with a vengeance in the last two weekends. The Nurburgring incident was bad enough, but today’s accident on a very green and slippery circuit, when he wasn’t even pushing for any lap-time, has really taken the wind out of the team’s sails. Leon is basically ok and the injuries are relatively minor, but they will still take some significant time and effort to recover from. He and the team – I genuinely believe – deserve something better, but we can only deal with what is in front of us, be completely positive; and move forward.
“Jules has had some problems finding the right feeling from the bike today, but even with those restrictions, he is still fast and quite competitive. He’ll be carrying the GSX-R flag for the rest of the weekend alone. He likes the race-track and if we can get some of those issues ironed out for tomorrow, I hope he can represent the team very strongly come the races on Sunday.”
— BMW Report
The first ever Turkish round of the FIM Superbike World Championship started well for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished second in today’s first qualifying practice at “Intercity Istanbul Park” with his BMW S 1000 RR, qualifying on the provisional front row. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) finished seventh on the provisional third row. For a large part of the session, Marco and Chaz were first and fourth respectively and only dropped back in the closing minutes
In the morning Free Practice, the session was extended from 45 to 90 minutes to give riders and teams the opportunity to get acquainted with the track, a new addition to the calendar in 2014. In this session, Marco and Chaz were also placed second and seventh. Istanbul hosts the 11th round of the 2013 season.
Marco Melandri: Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:57.518 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:56.749 min (P2)
“It was quite a good day, even if it was not easy. The conditions were much different to what I remember. The asphalt offered no grip and the white lines were like soap. Maybe this was also because of the hot temperatures. This morning I nearly crashed on turn 2 because the bike was sliding and as many other riders had crashed, I decided not to take unnecessary risks. But the track conditions are improving and by Sunday it will be completely different. I am happy with my race pace and even with used tyres I was able to be consistent. In the afternoon, towards the end of the session, I tried a new tyre but I didn’t have a good feeling. It will be difficult to make the right tyre choice for the race. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Chaz Davies: Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:58.802 min (P7)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:57.391 min (P7)
“Today was not too bad. We made some good changes from this morning to this afternoon. We are struggling a little bit with the lack of grip at the moment but I think that goes for most people. In the early stages of this afternoon’s qualifying my RR felt better than in the morning’s practice and we made some further improvements but then I did not have the best feeling with the tyre I used on the final laps and could not get the best out of it so I did not achieve my best possible lap time. But we seem to be somewhere near and I am pretty confident. Now we are adapting the gearbox as this should bring some more improvement in a few areas. We did not do this between today’s sessions because the break was short with the long session in the morning but the guys are working on that tonight and the bike will be even better in the morning.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Both Marco and Chaz have already raced here some years ago, but that goes for quite a few riders who have been here with several series. We cannot speak about a real advantage as the only benefit they have is that they already know the track. Everything else does not go into account as they raced here with different bikes, different tyres and different temperatures as the Grand Prix were held at another time of the year.
This morning, the temperature was good for riding while the asphalt offered low grip and this, unfortunately, caused some crashes. In the afternoon, on the contrary, riders had to deal with high temperature but had more grip, because the asphalt was getting better and better. We’re confident that from now to Sunday, the track will change again and both riders and bikes will have to adapt to the new conditions. Overall, the day was quite good. Marco is in good shape and was consistent. Even if he didn’t have a good feeling with new tyres, he had a good pace on used tyres. Chaz struggled a little bit more today, we’re working on some areas and tomorrow he will benefit from it.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “As we expected on a new race track, we had a lot of work during the day and the extra 45 minutes of practice helped us and the riders to get familiar with this amazing circuit. As usual on a new track, the grip is not fantastic at the beginning and we expect that this will improve practice by practice. This has caused some issues for both riders, especially in the first session. Both started their work with finding grip on the rear and working to set up the suspension for these track conditions. In addition, it was important to learn more about the specific needs in terms of settings of the electronics and the gearbox.
Chaz is still not comfortable with the rear grip, especially on the edge and a bit of the traction as well and this is our main focus for tonight. In addition, we will work on the gear ratio selection. Marco was helped by his knowledge of the track so it was a bit easier for him and he is quite happy with the overall performance of his RR. He is already fast on the used tyre and he would like to improve the feeling for the rear end of the bike. Of course the track will change tomorrow and we expect our riders’ needs will change too. It was also an important day for tyre choices. Pirelli has brought a few new prototype tyres to Istanbul and we spent the day evaluating them. We already had the chance to test almost all the tyres today but tomorrow we will get a better understanding of which will be the race tyre.”
— Aprilia Racing
The first Turkish World Superbike weekend could not have gotten off to a better start for the Aprilia Racing Team. Sylvain Guintoli, lying second in the championship at just one point behind the leader, stopped the clock with the best time in both sessions today, widening the gap to more than half a second in front of his nearest rival. Without a doubt Sylvain has the advantage of being familiar with the Istanbul track, a difficult circuit to interpret as indicated by the many crashes today.
In the morning free practice sessions, 90 minutes long instead of the usual 45 precisely for the purpose of familiarising the riders with the track, Sylvain immediately found a good feeling. The afternoon free practice sessions were similar, with no one able to come close to the French rider on a fast lap, whereas the limited grip conditions mean that some fine tuning is essential to make sure the riders can last the distance. In fact, Guintoli has already identified tyre duration as the crucial point for the Istanbul weekend, but he knows that for this situation he can count on the performance of his RSV4.
Sylvain Guintoli: “I’m usually one to start off slowly, but today I pushed hard right away because I felt very confident right out of the gate. At the Nürburgring I was close to the front runners but I was still lacking something. Here I want to be strong straight away. There will be two hot races on Sunday in more ways than one and it will be a delicate situation for the tyres. The battle for the championship is heated and it is no fluke that the top positions today are held by the main title contenders. We will need to work well in view of the races and grip is the main concern”.
Eugene Laverty had only gotten a small “taste” of the Intercity Istanbul Park turns in his GP days, so he got off to a more cautious start, preferring to use the morning free practice sessions to familiarise himself with the track. By the qualifiers, however, he had come into his own, picking up the pace as his feeling on the Turkish turns improved. He ended the day with the third best time, an excellent starting point to work from for Superpole tomorrow and the races on Sunday.
Eugene Laverty: “Grip conditions this morning were really critical, so I preferred a more cautious approach in the first few laps. As the track started to clean up we improved my RSV4, making it more agile and looking for more grip on the rear. The track is really nice. The way it’s set up reminds me a bit of Aragon. Turn 11 is extremely fast – really incredible. I must say that the bike is already working well. The RSV4 usually isn’t too hard on the rear tyre and in these conditions that could prove be a strong advantage”.
— World SBK 2013 – Round 11 – Intercity Istanbul Park – Turkey-bound for World Superbike Round 11
— WSBK riders speak ahead of Turkish Round
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship had its first ever pre-event today at the Intercity Istanbul Park, as a selection of Superbike and Supersport riders – joined by representatives of the Circuit Board – took to the SBK Paddock Show stage for a press conference to introduce the maiden round of the series on Turkish soil.
Sharing their thoughts and feelings ahead of this historical weekend Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team), Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki), Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), along with WSS Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) and local hero Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) were introduced.
Each rider involved in the pre-event showed a lot of appreciation for the circuit, beginning with WSBK Championship leader Tom Sykes: “It’s great to be in Turkey, it’s my first time here and the weather is fantastic. I had a little look at the circuit and it’s amazing, hopefully the ZX-10R will perform well here. I’m a bit young in terms of track knowledge, but we’ll do our best and keep focussed.”
The star who received the biggest applause while entering the stage was, of course, three-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, who is looking forward to a strong performance in front of his crowd, to keep his title defence chances alive: “I never raced on this track before so, despite being a local rider, I have no advantage on my rivals. I think at this level, it’s more about knowing your bike than the circuit itself, and I’m confident the long straights will suit the ZX-6R very well. Racing in front of thousands of fans can inspire you, but also put a lot of pressure on your shoulders.”
On-track action for World Superbike and Supersport Championships will start tomorrow morning with a 90-minute free practice session for both classes.
— New-look Pata Honda team heads to Asia
The Pata Honda team will compete for the first time in Turkey in this weekend’s 11th round World Superbike championship event at Istanbul Park with a weekend schedule that runs an hour earlier than other SBK events.
The 5.338km Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, which was completed just over eight years ago, lies on the Asian side of Istanbul and, for the Pata Honda team and riders, it will be a first racing visit to the Turkish city.
The team will be without regular rider Jonathan Rea, who broke his left femur after crashing on another rider’s oil on 1 September at the Nürburgring in Germany. The 26-year-old underwent surgery that evening and is optimistic about a relatively quick rehabilitation for his injury.
Rea will be replaced at Istanbul Park by Italian rider Michel Fabrizio, who has been competing in the 2013 World Superbike championship with another team. The 28-year-old from Rome currently lies in eighth place in the 2013 championship standings with one podium finish in the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.
Fabrizio joins Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam who continues his own rehabilitation from a broken leg sustained in a practice crash at Assen in The Netherlands in April. The 30-year-old British rider has been getting back up to speed over the last few races and will be looking to improve on his season’s best result of seventh last time out at the Nürburgring.
Leon Haslam – “I’m really excited about going to race in Istanbul, even though some of the other Superbike riders have ridden there before. I’ve seen a few of the GP races there on video and it looks pretty awesome, but I won’t really know how it is until I get out there on the bike on Friday morning. We made some more progress last time in Germany but, although I was hanging on to the back of the leading group in race two, we still had some issues. But I do feel like I’m finally in a position – both physically and with the bike – to be fighting for podiums again. We need a few more things to fall into place for that to happen, but we’re nearly there.”
Michel Fabrizio – “I am very happy to come back to the Honda CBR after my earlier experience with the DFX Honda Team. To race with the Ten Kate boys in the Pata Honda team is a real honour for me and, of course, I will do my best to get Jonathan’s machine near to the front. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Jonathan a fast recovery from his injury and I would like to thank the whole Honda Superbike team for their hard work to fix the bike in time for me to race in Istanbul.”
Michel Fabrizio – career details
2002: 125cc GP World Championship
2003: FIM Superstock 1000 champion (Suzuki)
2004: MotoGP World Championship (10 races – Honda), World Supersport championship (two races – Honda)
2005: World Supersport championship (Honda) – 5th
2006: World Superbike championship (Honda) – 11th
2007: World Superbike championship (Honda) – 11th
2008: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 8th
2009: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 3rd
2010: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 8th
2011: World Superbike championship (Suzuki) – 12th
2012: World Superbike championship (BMW) – 11th
2013: World Superbike championship (Aprilia) – current position 8th
2013 World Superbike championship, round 11
Intercity Istanbul Park, Turkey – weekend schedule (local times – GMT+3)
Friday 13 September
11.45-13.15 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1
Saturday 14 September
08.45-09.30 Qualifying 2
11.30-12.15 Free practice
14.00-15.14 Superpole 1
14.21-15.33 Superpole 2
14.40-15.50 Superpole 3
Sunday 15 September
11.00 Race 1 (19 laps 95.226km)
14.30 Race 2 (19 laps 95.226km)