World Superbike 2013 – Round Five – Donington Park
— Sykes on pole at Donington
The 5th Tissot-Superpole of the season got underway today at Donington Park under an unusual British sunshine and home fans were not surprised to see Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) scoring his 15th career pole position. Thanks to his 4th consecutive top slot on the grid, the Huddersfield-born rider equals Colin Edwards at sixth all-time for Superpole wins, one off fellow English Neil Hodgson. The works Kawasaki rider bettered three times the previous Best Lap of the Leicester circuit, up to an unbeatable 1’27.378.
Tom Sykes: “We have worked hard on the race set-up here not just in qualifying. There are a number of factors why I can do well in Superpole but I have always enjoyed riding by myself on the best package we have. Combine that with the ‘time-trial’ element of Superpole and I just race myself and the tarmac. The refreshing thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is working well over race distance and now when we start at the top. We should have a fairly consistent package for tomorrow’s races. That is the most important thing.”
An irony of fate for 2nd place Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who matched exactly the previous record set last year by Sykes (1’27.716) to secure a front row start along with team mate Eugene Laverty.
Eugene Laverty: “I’m really happy to be here on the front row because around this circuit there are at least five fast riders with a similar race pace. So it’s very important to start from the front row, especially since the characteristics of this track make overtaking quite difficult. I’m also happy to keep up my row 1 streak. It’s a great sign of consistency and it is a good indicator of the shape of both my RSV4 and myself.”
After coming close to an early elimination in Superpole 2, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) progressed to an outstanding 4th place, a great result for the Ulsterman on the track that saw him winning the latest WSBK race held on the Leicester circuit.
Encouraging performance for Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) who was 5th at the chequered flag to precede works BMW riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Niccolò Canepa. The One Event rider, current Championship leader in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, was the only one entry of the Team Ducati Alstare to qualify for Superpole 3, finishing 9th.
Spaniard Carlos Checa ended his charge to the front rows in Superpole 2 and will start from 10th place on the grid, while Ayrton Badovini was 14th behind local man Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), who was cleared to ride just before Free Practice 1 on Friday morning.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’27.378 average 165.749 kph; 2. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’27.716; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’28.014; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’28.139; 5. Camier (Suzuki) 1’28.252; 6. Melandri (BMW) 1’28.280; 7. Davies (BMW) 1’28.644; 8. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’28.779; 9. Canepa (Ducati) 1’29.318; 10. Checa (Ducati); 11. Cluzel (Suzuki); 12. Baz (Kawasaki); 13. Haslam (Honda); 14. Badovini (Ducati); 15. Fabrizio (Aprilia).
World Supersport – Lowes the pole-sitter for tomorrow’s race
Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) keeps his outstanding momentum up by scoring his 9th career pole position, the third in a row for the current World Supersport Championship leader. The local rider rode to an amazing new Best Lap for Donington Park in 1’30.276, improving by 0.6 seconds the time set in this morning’s Free Practice 2.
The Brit decided to get back on track again towards the end of the session after Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) closed the gap to the front by lapping under the 1’31 seconds, to further improve his already competitive time.
The Turkish rider will start from 2nd place on the grid ahead of One Event rider and current British Supersport Champion Glen Richards (Smiths Triumph Team), who had a spectacular collision in the closing stages with rookie Alex Schacht (Racing Team Toth Honda) with both riders able to walk away uninjured. Encouraging 4th for Frenchman Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki), substitute for injured David Salom, who kept himself with the front runners after a really positive performance in the previous round.
Following his maiden World Supersport podium at Monza, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) will move off from the 5th grid slot in tomorrow’s race, flanked by Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda), Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse) and Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1’30.276 average 160.428 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’30.733; 3. Richards (Triumph) 1’31.100; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 1’31.339; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 1’31.361; 6. Kennedy (Honda) 1’31.382; 7. Iddon (MV Agusta) 1’31.410; 8. Morais (Honda) 1’31.448; 9. Ivanov (Kawasaki) 1’31.600; 10. Foret (Kawasaki) 1’31.602; etc.
— Matt Davies Report
The youngest full time rider in the World Supersport championship, waited until his final lap of qualifying to claim 25th on the grid for tomorrow’s 5th round of the World Supersport championship.
After a difficult start to the weekend, the young Aussie improved dramatically in today’s two sessions and was happy with the set up on his PTR Honda going into the all important timed session this afternoon.
Pole position went to Sam Lowes who destroyed the outright circuit record meaning Matt’s time is very respectable given the limited dry track time on a Supersport machine.
Tomorrow’s race will be tough but Davies is confident of putting in a strong performance in the 22 lap race which is scheduled to take place at 1330 local time.
Matt Davies – “That was a good session. I am only 2.5 off Sam’s pole time which is encouraging. The team and the bike are working well and I am closer to where I need to be. We will keep improving in the warm up and look forward to a good race.”
— Ten Kate Honda
Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two fifth-round World Superbike championship races at Donington Park in the UK from the second row of the grid after setting the fourth fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole sessions.
The 26-year-old Pata Honda rider from Northern Ireland lapped the 4.023km Donington circuit in a time of 1m28.139s as Tom Sykes took pole position for tomorrow’s two 23-lap races.
Rea was joined in Superpole by his team-mate Leon Haslam, a significant achievement for the 29-year-old, who lives less than 30km from Donington Park, and who broke his leg badly at Assen in The Netherlands just four weeks ago.
Haslam has used the sessions so far at Donington to try and improve his comfort on the CBR machine and plans to try some more modifications in tomorrow morning’s warm-up.
Jonathan Rea – P4, 1m28.139s
I guess today was OK and I’m happy enough to be fourth and to be in the top two rows here. We started the weekend a little on and off and sluggish with the settings, and it really didn’t help with Friday morning being wet and the second session not being perfect. So we’ve really only made progress between the two sessions today and I think we haven’t shown our full potential yet. I know I’m struggling a little bit on the bike in some areas and we need to iron that out first but I was quite happy with the lap time we set in Superpole 3 on a race tyre. Hopefully I can make two good races tomorrow.
Leon Haslam – P13, 1m29.172s
I’m frustrated more than anything. I can’t do what I want to do on the bike but I was happy to get into Superpole and I just missed out in the first stage by less than a tenth. I went slower on the Q than I did on the race tyre but that’s just the way it goes. I’ve got to wait and see what more we can do to help me out for tomorrow. There are some issue with the bike, as there are every weekend, but a lot of it is me more than the bike and I’m trying to change the bike more to help me than to go faster. I’m getting quite a lot of pain from the bone movement when I put pressure through it and the knee bend is still one of the biggest problems for positioning on the bike. It is getting better but its getting more sore with more irritation but I’ve only got one more day to go!
Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
Leon fought his way into Superpole this afternoon, which was a tremendous achievement in itself. He missed out on Superpole 2 by a fraction and took 13th place, but it’s not easy for him. He can’t ride the bike as he wants to and we’ll see how he feels in the morning, maybe to try some more things to make him more comfortable. With yesterday’s weather, we had a few issues to sort out with Jonathan and had a few more problems this morning. We made a step forward in the second free practice though, and Jonathan was able to take fourth place in Superpole, even though the qualifier did not allow him to go much faster. We’ll try to give him a bit of rhythm in warm-up tomorrow and make some final changes that will allow him to fight for podiums.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finished up with a new track best to take his fourth Superpole win of 2013 and the 15th of his career. Loris Baz, his KRT team-mate, was finally 12th on the grid.
Sykes beat his own previous best lap, set in 2012, no fewer than three times in Superpole and twice on consecutive laps in the final part of the three-stage elimination sessions.
Tom’s new track best is a 1’27.378 and his latest Superpole win means he has scored four poles in succession this season alone. With 15 Superpole wins in total Tom is now equal sixth in the all-time Superpole record books, tied with former SBK great Colin Edwards.
Sykes was peerless today after his small slide into the gravel yesterday, feeling no ill-effects as the weather turned from wet and cold to dry and sunny. Two 23-lap Superbike races are schedule for Sunday with more good weather expected to shine on Donington and Tom’s legion of home fans.
Loris Baz was a strong fifth in regular combined qualifying but was unable to make the most of his qualifying tyres in Superpole Two and he was unable to progress to the final Superpole session. He now lines up 12th on the grid, on the fourth row.
Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) was 17th on the grid after missing Superpole, while his team-mate Alexander Lundh placed 19th on his return to racing after injury.
Tom Sykes: “I had a small crash yesterday on a damp section of the track but the boys did a really good job and gave me a great Ninja ZX-10R to ride today. We have worked hard on the race set-up here not just in qualifying. There are a number of factors why I can do well in Superpole but I have always enjoyed riding by myself on the best package we have. Combine that with the ‘time-trial’ element of Superpole and I just race myself and the tarmac. The refreshing thing is that the Ninja ZX-10R is working well over race distance. We should have a fairly consistent package for tomorrow’s races. That is the most important thing.”
Loris Baz: “Our race pace is good and that is the main thing for tomorrow, even though it is not so easy to overtake here sometimes. I did not feel really good in Superpole but more myself than the bike. I think I did not push enough with the second qualifying tyre and it felt like somebody was playing me like a game but I did not know what to do to go faster. I have to make a good start tomorrow and come back to the front. My confidence and pace on race tyres is good I just did not manage to make a fast lap in Superpole.”
— BMW Goldbet
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has a good base for the two races tomorrow at British track, Donington Park. Factory riders, Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR) will start the fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the second and third row. Marco finished today’s Superpole qualifying in sixth and local hero Chaz put his BMW S 1000 RR onto seventh place on the grid.
After yesterday’s cold and wet weather, today saw the return of spring to the middle of England. With sunshine and milder temperatures, the conditions allowed the team to start working properly on setting up the RRs for tomorrow. Marco finished the second qualifying session and the free practice in fourth and second respectively, Chaz was sixth and ninth in these sessions. In Superpole 1, both riders did their first outing on race tyres. Marco’s time allowed him to proceed to Superpole 2 and the Italian just did one more lap on used tyres when he went out for the second time. Chaz opted for a second outing on qualifying tyres and finished the session in second place. In Superpole 2, the RR riders chose different strategies. Chaz first went out on a used race tyre and then changed to his second qualifying tyre. With this, he rode the fifth fastest time to progress to Superpole 3. Marco did both of his outings on qualifying tyres and finished eighth. This also qualified him for the final and deciding part of the Superpole. There, both of them only had race tyres available, with Marco finishing sixth and Chaz directly behind him in seventh.
Marco Melandri: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:29.107 min (P4) / Fastest lap FP: 1:28.721 min (P2) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:28.280 min (P6)
“I’m quite satisfied. Tomorrow I will start from the second row, which is not bad here at Donington. But I need to have a good start in order to keep in contact with the front runners. In Superpole we unfortunately could not use the additional grip that the qualifying tyres offer. It was much better with the race tyres. With them, I constantly improved and did a very good lap time. I am still looking for some more grip on the rear but we have some ideas how to improve. Tomorrow, we need to find a few more tenths of a second to have a good race pace. Overall, I’m positive for tomorrow. I just hope that we will have good weather.”
Chaz Davies: Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:29.256 min (P6) / Fastest lap FP: 1:29.400 min (P9) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:28.644 min (P7)
“We are improving, but not quite enough unfortunately. But it is actually a better grid position than I have had in the last few races. I think we made a good step forward regarding the settings and now I feel like I have a bike which could be reasonably competitive tomorrow. We are getting closer. But yesterday’s rain has hurt us a little bit. It has taken us too long to find the set-up because of the bad weather on Friday – as it already was the case at the last two races. I don’t have experience with the RR on this circuit so we have to just work a little bit more than the guys who are familiar with their bikes here. Anyway, it is all a learning process and we will see what we can put into play tomorrow. The plan is to first make a good start and get away with the front group. It would have been nice to be on the second row, but even from my position on the third row, it is not so bad.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “This morning, finally, the sun came out. The forecast for tomorrow is good too and we are confident we will have two dry races. We had a good day, apart from the fact that in Superpole we struggled a little bit with the qualifying tyres. Marco rode very well on race tyres and did his fastest lap with them. We’ll continue working in order to improve by some more tenths of a second so that he is even more competitive and able to fight for the front position. Chaz also did a good job on race tyres. We have to improve a little bit on his side too, especially in the first sector. On this basis I’m really positive for tomorrow, Donington is Chaz’ home race and this will boost him further.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Our target is always to start from the first two rows. We succeeded with Marco and with Chaz we missed it narrowly. Today we had to compress the work we normally do on two days into one day as yesterday we had bad weather. We had to look for the best set-up and we had to select tyres as well. We have not achieved our targets one hundred percent yet and some work has still to be done, even if we could see that both our riders improved their performance step by step with race tyres. Unfortunately we are still struggling with the qualifying tyre – mainly with Marco – we are not able to make the best use of the increased grip they offer. But we are confident that with race tyres he will be able to fight with the top guys tomorrow even if he is not one hundred percent happy with the rear end of the bike. We have some ideas and we will try something during the warm-up.
Chaz would like to be a bit more comfortable because the races will be tough as they have to do a lot of laps. So, it is important that the riders are able to be fast, not for one lap, but for the race distance and the bike should allow them to do that without requesting a lot of effort from the riders. So Chaz is looking for a bit of improvement regarding the handling of the bike.”
— Fixi Suzuki
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier produced his best Superpole performance of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship season so far to secure a place on the second row at Donington Park in England today.
Camier has been performing well all weekend at his home race and has regularly been up amongst the leaders in each session. He qualified comfortably for this afternoon’s Superpole by recording an impressive third fastest time around the 4,023m British circuit in this morning’s final qualifying session. Camier made his way through to the third and final part of this afternoon’s shoot-out and went all-out in the final session to achieve the best grid position for his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R. He pushed as hard as he could and missed-out on a front row start by just 0.238 seconds as he recorded the fifth quickest time to give him a place in the middle of the second row for tomorrow’s two races.
Camier will also take heart from the fact that the best lap he produced in Superpole 2 was with a race compound tyre and was only marginally behind his best time with a qualifier.
Jules Cluzel also made it through to Superpole after he finished qualifying in 12th position to make sure of his involvement in the knockout stages. He progressed through to the second session, but was unable to make any further advances and had to settle for 11th position on the grid. He is still looking to get the right set-up for his FIXI Crescent Suzuki around Donington and will continue to work with his crew this evening and in tomorrow’s warm-up to find the best solutions.
Today’s proceedings were held in vastly different conditions to those of yesterday, as warm sunshine covered the circuit all-day long and track temperatures rose to 40°C. Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki again took the Superpole award, his fourth consecutive one this season.
Camier and Cluzel will be looking to put on a good show in front of the team’s home crowd tomorrow as the pair battle it out in with the rest of the World Superbike field in the two 23-lap races, the first of which is scheduled to get underway at 12.00hrs local time (13.00hrs CEST).
Leon Camier: “I’m a little bit frustrated because the normal strengths that we have are holding me back a bit this weekend. That front-end feeling on turning-in and then braking just isn’t quite there and this is usually a strong point for us, so we need to work on that to get it right tomorrow. Overall everything feels ok and if we can get it that little bit better should be a lot stronger for the races. It’s going to be tough tomorrow, because so many guys are doing similar lap-times and although it will be good to start nearer the front, as I said it will be difficult, so we’ll just have to get involved with the front group and see what happens.”
Jules Cluzel: “This morning the session went well and the setting for race distance looks good and I did my fastest lap with a tyre that had done 20-laps. I think we need to work on finding something a little better for me and at this moment we are still searching for what that is! In Superpole it was difficult to do a faster lap-time than I did because I had some chatter and nearly crashed. I think we need to work hard to find out the things that are blocking me from going faster at this moment. I will work with Les this evening and see where we can make changes, but i’ll certainly be giving everything tomorrow!”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “For the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team fifth on the grid is a good result – one which normally in qualifying we would be quite content with – but we’re actually a bit disappointed that we didn’t make it on to the front row with Leon. We ran the Superpole sessions – in terms of tactics – perfectly and Leon was the only rider to have a new qualifier left at the end of the third session. Unfortunately the lap didn’t come together and Leon was unable to improve on the lap he had done on the race tyre. Nonetheless, it gives us a competitive chance tomorrow as Leon has been fighting in the lead group all weekend and we’re excited about the prospect for the races tomorrow.
“Jules is also disappointed with 11th but he really shouldn’t be. As with every weekend it’s a new experience with the Superbike and at Donington it’s difficult to get the best out of the horsepower and grip that the GSX-R offers. He’s improved in every session and got into the 28’s in Superpole and he has a very strong attitude towards racing – as we’ve seen all season – so we’re sure we’ll see more from him tomorrow.
“We are looking forward to seeing a lot of our sponsors and guests here at the track on Sunday and we hope that we can put on a show for all of them.”
— Aprilia Racing
The expectations for the Donington weekend were met in the Superpole sessions that were held today. The two riders from the Aprilia Racing Team, reigning World Champion team, employed perfect strategy on the track, allowing Sylvain Guintoli to take the second spot on the starting grid for the races tomorrow with team mate Eugene Laverty finishing in third place and starting from the front row for the ninth straight time.
This is a result which came after two diametrically opposite days: yesterday’s rain kept the team from Noale from working as they would have liked, while the spring like weather today allowed the team to pick up the pace and make up the lost ground in terms of settings and tests on the various tyre options. The last free practice session before Superpole had Laverty fourth and Guintoli fifth, putting in a lot of laps to test race pace.
In Superpole 1 both the Aprilia riders moved through into the top 12 without using their rear qualifying tyre, proof of the excellent work accomplished in the previous sessions. In Superpole 2 it was a different story, where tight time gaps among the top riders forced both Guintoli and Laverty to use the first of the two soft tyres available to them. Sylvain took the second best time, with his team mate immediately behind him. In Superpole 3, the battle for the first three rows, the only three riders with a qualifier left were Guintoli, Laverty and Tom Sykes. In fact, the final order had ranking leader Guintoli taking second place, right behind Sykes, and the front row was completed by Eugene Laverty’s third best time.
For Sylvain this is his best Superpole result so far with Aprilia, after his third place in Monza, while Laverty is demonstrating lethal consistency with his ninth consecutive front row start.
Sylvain Guintoli: “I pushed hard out there in the last Superpole session. I had a good feeling and I knew I could do well. Unfortunately in my fast lap I made a few small mistakes in the last two sectors which cost me a few tenths of a second, but I think even with a perfect lap it would have been very difficult to take the pole from Sykes the specialist. Starting from the front row is important, especially here, and it’s good to see that the Aprilia is fast even on a small track like Donington”.
Eugene Laverty: “I’m really happy to be here on the front row because around this circuit there are at least five fast riders with a similar race pace. So it’s very important to start from the front row, especially since the characteristics of this track make overtaking quite difficult. I’m also happy to keep up my Superpole streak. It’s a great sign of consistency and it is a good indicator of the shape my RSV4 and I are in”.
— Althea Racing Team
A warm and sunny day today at Donington Park for the qualifying and Superpole sessions of this fifth round of the World Superbike Championship. In this morning’s qualifying, which took place on a dry track, Davide Giugliano worked with his team to adapt his Aprilia to the track conditions, that were totally different to yesterday. With a time of 1’29”274 Giugliano closed in seventh place, easily qualifying for the Superpole. Before the fifth Superpole of the season, Davide took part in the final free practice session, continuing his work together with Althea Racing’s technicians and refining their RSV4 ahead of Superpole and tomorrow’s races.
In the practice Davide improved on his time set in qualifying and with a best of 1’29”008 he closed sixth. In Superpole Giugliano performed very well. In the first phase he qualified fourth with a time of 1’28”393 and so passed to phase two, in which he repeated this position while further improving on his time (1’28”219). In the third and final session Davide, having no more soft qualifiers left, used a race tyre and with a time of 1’28”779 he closed the Superpole in eighth position. He will start from the third row of tomorrow’s grid for the two 23-lap races.
Davide Giugliano : “I’m not totally satisfied with my Superpole and perhaps we could have made more of the soft qualifying tyre. In the third and final phase I had some problems during my fast lap and couldn’t do more than eighth, but it’s nevertheless a position that won’t prevent me from making two good races. The practices went well and we were strong in each session. I have good race pace and this makes me optimistic about tomorrow. I’ll give it my all to try to obtain two good results, also as a way of thanking my team for their great work.”