World SBK 2012 – Round Ten – Silverstone
— Sykes quick on day one
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted the fastest lap of the first qualifying session at Silverstone in 2 minutes 06.115 seconds, heading off Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) in the process. The session was held on a basically dry track, with the fastest lap times just over two seconds from the absolute best.
Third place in the early rankings went to new Pata Racing Team Ducati signing Sylvain Guintoli while local favourite Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) pushed himself to fourth place and was followed home by another British competitor Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia). Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) was sixth and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) slotted into seventh. The provisional front row was completed by Guintoli’s Pata team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti.
With weather conditions expected to be changeable over race weekend, qualifying inside the top 16 today may prove important if the second and final session on Saturday morning finally proves to be wet. Many top names ended up down the order on day one, with Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 12th and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) 17th, one position up on Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team).
Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2’06.115 average 168.475 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 2’06.148; 3. Guintoli (Ducati) 2’06.576; 4. Camier (Suzuki) 2’06.617; 5. Davies (Aprilia) 2’06.684; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 2’06.795; 7. Laverty (Aprilia) 2’06.851; 8. Zanetti (Ducati) 2’06.869; 9. Berger (Ducati) 2’06.967; 10. Hopkins (Suzuki) 2’07.007; 11. Badovini (BMW) 2’07.089; 12. Melandri (BMW) 2’07.244; 13. Haslam (BMW) 2’07.401; 14. Canepa (Ducati) 2’07.404; 15. Baz (Kawasaki) 2’07.499; 16. Fabrizio (BMW) 2’07.658; etc.
A confident session in wet conditions from Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) saw him head the first qualifying times in the Supersport class, the French rider heading off local man Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) by 0.739 with a time of 2 minutes 23.241 seconds. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) made himself the fastest Kawasaki rider in third place, while Alex Baldolini (Power Team by Suriano Triumph) gave his British machine a happy early homecoming by qualifying fourth of all 32 Supersport entrants. Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) enjoyed a great first qualifying session by going fifth, with recent Brno podium finisher Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda), sixth.
Times: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 2’23.241 average 148.332 kph; 2. Lowes (Honda) 2’23.980; 3. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2’25.235; 4. Baldolini (Triumph) 2’26.656; 5. Scholtz (Honda) 2’27.072; 6. Parkes (Honda) 2’27.177; 7. Leonov (Yamaha) 2’27.302; 8. Day (Kawasaki) 2’27.455; etc.
Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) posted a great lap of two minutes 18.265 seconds at Silverstone in the first qualifying session to lead the next closest rider Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) by over two seconds on a damp track surface. A cosmopolitan top three included Eddi La Marra on his Barni Racing Ducati Panigale 1199. Having moved from Superbike to Superstock for this round, Leandro Mercado (Pedercini Team Kawasaki) was fourth. Ondrej Jezek (SK Energy Racing Team Ducati) went fifth, with local rider for a local team Kevin Coghlan (DMC Racing Ducati) sixth.
Times: 1. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2’18.265 average 153.670 kph; 2. Barrier (BMW) 2’20.431; 3. La Marra (Ducati) 2’22.632; 4. Mercado (Kawasaki) 2’23.833; 5. Jezek (Ducati) 2’24.111; 6. Coghlan (Ducati) 2’24.982; 7. Lussiana (Kawasaki) 2’25.616; 8. Savadori (Ducati) 2’25.644; etc.
Team GOELEVEN Kawasaki rider Matt Davies was fastest man in a wet qualifying session at Silverstone, picking a clean line in tricky conditions to go over a second quicker than the next fastest rider Lee Jackson (Chris Walker Race School Kawasaki). MTM Racing Yamaha’s Gauthier Duwelz secured a strong third place, from another top regular, EAB Ten Kate Junior Honda Team man Michael van der Mark. Christophe Ponsson (MRS Kawasaki) put himself fifth in the early qualifying rankings.
Times: 1. Davies (Kawasaki) 2’31.473 average 140.271 kph; 2. Jackson (Kawasaki) 2’32.591; 3. Duwelz (Yamaha) 2’32.806; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 2’33.514; 5. Ponsson (Kawasaki) 2’34.691; 6. Salvadori (Yamaha) 2’35.981; 7. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 2’36.507; 8. Vitali (Yamaha) 2’36.598; etc.
— BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport was welcomed by typically unpredictable British weather at Silverstone (GBR). The iconic circuit hosts the tenth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Today’s free practice started in dry conditions, but during the session, it began to rain. The showers stopped in time for the first qualifying practice in the afternoon. The sun came out, but the track only dried slowly during the session. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) qualified provisional 12th on his BMW S 1000 RR. His team-mate, local hero Leon Haslam (GBR), was 13th. Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team finished 11th and 16th respectively.
Marco Melandri: Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:07.365 min (P5)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 2:07.244 min (P12)
“The day was not easy. We were struggling with chattering and like that it was difficult to go fast. So we will try to improve this. The weather today was not such a big issue as we could wait in the garage but for tomorrow and Sunday it is going to be tricky because the track takes a long time to dry and you have so many different kinds of tarmac. Some parts of the track stay more wet, some less and the grip is completely different from one turn to another so it will not be easy.”
Leon Haslam: Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:08.047 min (P9)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 2:07.401 min (P13)
“For us today was all about working on the set-up rather than trying to do fast lap times. Right now we are not too worried and just working setting up the RR for this track. The weather conditions were difficult. You always have in the back of your mind that it might rain and this morning we did just three laps in the dry and a couple in the rain so it was a kind of wasted session. This afternoon it stayed dry but during the first part of the session there were wet patches so it was difficult to do a full dry set-up but we made some good progress and I am positive for the rest of the weekend.”
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
“Today we experienced all the possibilities of weather that we can expect in England. We certainly have a lot of work to do on the bikes for both riders. Overall, the weather conditions did not help us to work on the set-up because the time on a dry track was limited. Both riders were struggling with grip which is quite normal after the rain and we will work on that. Marco still had some vibrations and he and his crew will work on fixing it. Leon and his crew will try to improve the bike’s balance so tonight we will analyse all the data to improve the feel for both riders for tomorrow’s qualifying practice.”
— Fixi Suzuki Report
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier produced a strong performance on day one of the 10th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from the team’s home track at Silverstone to record the fourth-quickest time.
Camier settled into a good groove in this morning’s first free practice session and would have recorded a faster time, but the English weather intervened and heavy rain stopped him from improving. During this afternoon’s first qualifying session, Camier was consistently in the top-five in the sunny, but blustery, conditions and ended the session with a time of 2’06.617 from his 14 laps around the 5,902m Silverstone circuit.
John Hopkins (2’07.007, 14 laps) also weighed in with one of his best Friday performances of the year so far as he posted the 10th-quickest time during this afternoon’s session to equal his position on day one at Aragon. Hopkins started to show the form around the Northamptonshire track that gave him pole position in last year’s WSB race when he appeared as a wild-card rider for the Crescent Suzuki team. He was pleased with his day’s work on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R and is feeling in a confident mood for the weekend ahead.
Today’s best time was set by Englishman Tom Sykes with Carlos Checa and Sylvain Guintoli accompanying Camier on the provisional front row. Current Championship leader Max Biaggi is down in 17th place. As things stand, the two FIXI Crescent Suzuki racers are comfortably inside the top-16 for tomorrow’s Superpole and with rain forecast for Saturday, it looks like Camier and Hopkins will be competing in that session for the best grid positions for Sunday’s two races.
Leon Camier: “Today was one of my best first day results so far and it could’ve been better! I had a small problem with a harsh feeling with a tyre this afternoon – otherwise I could’ve lapped even quicker. Conditions were a bit tricky today. The morning session started dry and before the rain came down, I spent the time getting used to my FIXI Crescent Suzuki again, after riding the Yoshimura Suzuki in the Suzuka 8-hour race last week. It took a little time to dial myself in and then the rain fell, but our rain set-up worked pretty well, so I’m happy about that. Although there was no rain during this afternoon’s timed qualifying, there were a lot of damp patches so you had to be aware of them and not push too hard. The track then dried out and everybody started going for it. I began with a hard tyre than switched to a softer one, but the feeling going into the turns was a bit harsh, otherwise I could’ve gone faster for sure. The GSX-R’s chassis feels good and there is definitely an improvement in the engine performance when I am following other riders; and the initial punch out of the corners is also better, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
John Hopkins: “The weather caught me out a bit this morning and I hadn’t put in a decent lap when the rain came down. I started the session re-learning the track and building my confidence and then pitted to put on some fresh rubber. But while I was in the pits, it started raining and my chance of a fast lap was gone. The bike felt pretty good in the wet though and that was encouraging. Timed qualifying began with wet patches all over the track, so you had to be careful. We kept working on improving the bike as the track dried and, by the end, the FIXI Crescent Suzuki felt pretty good – by far the best it has been all year. I’m also happy because I had a bit of a breakthrough today: I felt I could throw the bike into the corners and was confident that it would stick. It was a good session for me and I felt pumped by the end.”
Jack Valentine – Team Manager: “Today was a very satisfying day and we are where we should be. All the hard work the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has put in is paying off and it shows on the track. Now we’ve got to maintain this performance tomorrow and do well in qualifying and Superpole. I’m happy both riders are easily in the provisional top-16, so if it rains in tomorrow morning’s qualifying we’re all set for Superpole. It’s great to have Leon in the top four today and John in the top 10, though John would’ve gone faster if he had not had a problem with his boot getting caught up in the rear foot plate! It’s been a good day for the team and hopefully there’s more to come tomorrow.”
— Honda WSBK
Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama both endured a difficult first day at Silverstone in the UK, the opening action for round 10 of the 2012 World Superbike championship in which local rider, Tom Sykes, took provisional pole position.
One of several rain showers fell after just a few laps of the first free practice session this morning restricting track time, and, although this afternoon’s qualifying session began slightly damp, both Honda World Superbike Team riders finished outside the top 16 provisional Superpole qualifiers.
Rea and Aoyama have just returned from contesting the famous Suzuka 8-hours race on different Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades, but some adjustment has been required to ride the more powerful, Pirelli-shod SBK specification version.
Jonathan Rea – P18
“It’s been a very disappointing day to be caught out of the provisional top 16 for Superpole. My bike’s just not turning and I’m still struggling with the feeling from the throttle. It’s a little bit me, as well, adjusting back again after the 8-hour, because the two bikes are completely different, and with today’s sessions not being 100% dry, it’s taken me a little longer than I expected to get back up to speed. I hope it’s dry for second qualifying in the morning because it’s been one of our most difficult days today.”
Hiroshi Aoyama – P20
“The feeling with the bike was not so good from the start of practice. I guess I was a little bit confused at the beginning because the bike is so different from the one I rode at Suzuka. The basic combination of the bike with this track is not so nice and we have to adapt a little bit the character of the bike to match the track. The rain lost us some time as well and I only did a couple of laps in the wet this morning. We need to check some more tomorrow in case there is rain on Sunday, too.”
Pieter Breddels – team co-ordinator
“We had various weather conditions today which took away a bit of track time from us and the riders found it a little hard to adapt from the Suzuka 8-hours machines they were riding in Japan last weekend. Hiroshi is missing those few tenths to move forward to a Superpole position and on Jonathan’s side there is quite a lot of work to do, but of course, we cannot be happy with these positions. We hope for better positions tomorrow.”
— Liberty Racing
Even the clouds of the typical English weather had to be surrendered on the day of the return on track of the Canadian Brett McCormick.
The first official session took place with the sun, with dry tarmac, opposite to the morning session almost entirely in the wet.
The sunny weather allowed the young rider of Team Liberty to progressively resume the feeling with his Ducati 1198R.
Although the rehabilitation after the injury at Assen was good, the Team has advised Brett to deal with caution in his second season “debut”.
McCormick’s chrono speaks clear, from the early morning laps to the last of the Q1 in the afternoon, the feeling with the bike is improved. Satisfactions also for the other two boys of Team Liberty: Kuba Smrž and Maxime Berger. The Czech led the 45 minutes of the Q1 with great determination, closing the session in sixth place with the time of 2’06” 795 in sixth place. Well also for the French Maxime Berger, that signed the time of 2’06”967 in ninth place.
— Rivamoto / Jed Metcher
The Rivamoto team used Friday’s free practice and qualifying sessions to test the appropriate settings for Silverstone’s unpredictable weather patterns. Metcher’s practice session mainly consisted of testing out a new front suspension configuration to help eliminate issues from previous races. Metcher was making many adjustments in the middle of the session, and at the end he managed to put in a fast lap leaving him in 16th position.
Blokhin qualified with no trouble at all in the free practice session, finishing ahead of Baldolini, Menghi and Marrancone. Pozdneev unfortunately only managed one lap in the practice session after a technical issue forced him to sit out.
Up until 15 minutes before the first qualifying session rain fell heavily over the English circuit. The wet session started well as Jed sat comfortably in the top 10, getting up for 4th position when the surface started to dry. He came in to make changes for the dryer conditions, then went out and improved again after dropping down to 14th. He managed to get back up to 7th position, however with 3 minutes to go he came back in to make a change, but unfortunately didn’t have enough time to go back out when the conditions were at their best. This resulted in him dropping down to 14th position by the end of the session.
Blokhin impressed again in the qualifying session, lapping faster than Lombardi, Lundh and Marrancone. His confidence on the bike in the wet conditions is improving immensely. Pozdneev also finished ahead of Lundh and Marrancone, after having only minimal track time in the first session.
Jed Metcher: “I am feeling fairly confident in both wet and dry conditions, however I prefer wet conditions as it levels out the horsepower difference with the factory bikes. This puts it down more to rider ability and set up, which we will be working on for tomorrow’s qualifying session.”