Sykes scores pole in treacherous conditions at Imola
Kawasaki took its first Superpole win since 2007 when Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) lapped the damp Imola circuit in 2’07.341, holding off a late charge from Pata B&G Aprilia rider Jakub Smrz. Sykes is now the seventh rider to have earned a pole position in 2010, in 12 rounds so far. Championship challenger Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare) went third and the last place on the front row will go to local regular, Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati). This is Scassa’s first front row in WSBK racing.
The second row for Sunday’s races will be headed up by Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati), with the smooth riding-style of Troy Corser taking him to sixth fastest for the BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) was seventh fastest and starts the races from the second row, as he tries to win the championship tomorrow. Eighth was the second official BMW, ridden by a former race winner here, Ruben Xaus.
In damp conditions Superpole two was treacherous and Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) fell from his big vee-twin exiting a chicane, as did many other riders. Fastest going into Superpole, Carlos was therefore ninth fastest overall, ahead of the factory Ducati Xerox machine of Michel Fabrizio.
The third row was rounded out by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Max Neukirchner and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda). Crutchlow was on track to enter Superpole three, but ran off track without falling at the first Rivazza corner.
Tom Sykes: “Hopefully it’s my first pole of many! You know it’s fantastic that Kawasaki has managed to get a pole position. Coming into the Superpole we struggled a little bit because it was the first time in the wet, but the team really worked hard through the three sessions and when it counted at the end we had the best package to work with, so hopefully I can repay them tomorrow in the races!”
Jakub Smrz: “It was a really nice result for me, because it’s my first time on the Aprilia in the wet. It was very difficult, I’m still struggling a bit with the set-up of the new bike, but today was really good and really close. I can’t change the conditions anyway, so everybody will be in the same boat.”
Leon Haslam: “It was quite sketchy out there, the first lap with the new tyre wasn’t too bad but there were a lot of slippery crashes. It’s the first time I’ve been in a wet weather situation with the Suzuki so to have put it on the front row, I’m quite pleased with that. I’ve been third in the dry and third in the wet here so it gives me a good chance of getting onto the podium tomorrow. I just want to say thanks to the Alstare boys, they’ve done wonders all year, I hope to repay them with a win.”
The 1’52.397 lap he set on the first day was enough to give Kenan Sofuoglu (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda) pole at Imola, as all the riders’ times remained as they were on Friday, due to the damp track conditions they experienced today. This keeps Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) second, Michele Pirro (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda) third and Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Motocard.com) fourth quickest. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO BE1 Triumph) remains fifth, and Fujiwara’s team-mate Broc Parkes is sixth. Massimo Roccoli (Intermoto Czech Honda) and Mark Aitchison (Kuja Racing Honda) are the final two front row starters.
|Superpole + Grid
|Supersport Final Qualifying
|1.Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 2’07.341
2.Smrz J. (CZE) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’07.392
3.Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’08.273
4.Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.427
5.Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.490
6.Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.842
7.Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’09.924
8.Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 2’10.482
9.Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2’11.117
10.Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’11.130
11.Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 2’11.150
12.Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 2’11.271
13.Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 2’11.395
14.Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2’11.558
15.Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 2’11.601
16.Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’11.706
|1.Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.397
2.Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.279
3.Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.333
4.Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’53.541
5.Davies C. (GBR) Triumph Daytona 675 1’53.723
6.Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’53.798
7.Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.867
8.Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.981
— Ducati Report
For the World Superbike riders, on track today at Imola, it was a day conditioned by the elements. Ducati Xerox riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga faced the first wet Superpole of the season and closed in tenth and fifteenth position respectively.
In the morning’s second qualifying, overnight rain meant that, on an already wet track, not one of the riders was able to improve on their best times set yesterday in the dry. Noriyuki chose not to ride while Michel completed a strong of laps although, having concluded yesterday in fourth and fifth position respectively they were already assured of safe passage to this afternoon’s Superpole.
In the early afternoon the two factory riders made the most of the final practice session before the all-important Superpole. Both Noriyuki and Michel worked hard with their technicians, to refine the set-up of the bikes ahead of tomorrow’s races.
Superpole 1: unfortunately, as expected, today’s Superpole was conditioned by the weather. The rain intensified during the first phase and the track surface became increasingly slippery. The two Ducati Xerox riders, despite lamenting a lack of track, were able to record the eleventh (Haga) and the thirteenth (Fabrizio) fastest times, thus progressing to the second phase.
Superpole 2: conditions worsened, causing Crutchlow, Byrne and then Xaus to crash. Italian rider Michel continued to struggle due to the lack of grip, and ultimately closed in tenth, while Japanese rider Noriyuki, believing that he wouldn’t be able to make further progress in the dangerous conditions, returned to the garage early, concluding today’s Superpole in fifteenth position.
“It was very difficult out there today; the Superpole becomes much more risky in the wet. Even on rain tyres there was no traction and the rear of the bike was sliding around all over the place. In the second mini-session conditions got worse before they got better; I tried my best to hold on to a place in the top eight but it just wasn’t possible today. I’ll be starting from tenth and it’ll be very tough; I’m disappointed as I thought we’d finish much further up today.”
“Track conditions were very strange. In the second phase I didn’t think I could do any more to be honest and, risking a fall in the wet conditions, I decided to come back in. My technicians told me to make another lap but we were out of time. Unfortunately it then stopped raining right at the end and some of the guys improved on their times, which pushed me down to fifteenth position. It won’t be the first time I start from the fourth row of the grid and I’ll do my best, especially off the line.”
— Althea Ducati
This afternoon, on the “Enzo e Dino Ferrari” circuit in Imola, the 2010 World Superbike riders took part in the all-important Superpole. Carlos Checa and Shane Byrne, riding with Team Althea Racing, were among those on track. At the end of a wet session, the two Ducati riders had reserved places on the third and fourth rows of the grid, Checa in ninth position and Byrne in thirteenth, both having crashed during the course of the Superpole which prevented them from improving further in the final stages.
Carlos will start from the third row, having registered a best time of 2m11.117. After yesterday’s great result Spanish rider Checa was also fast in today’s free practice but was slowed down in qualifying and Superpole by the wet track which will mean he will be forced to play catch up in tomorrow’s races.
“Everything changed in these conditions”, said Carlos. “It was the first time I had ridden this bike in the wet and Superpole wasn’t the best moment in which to have to set-up the bike for the conditions, so we went out with a base set-up and tried to make gradual improvement. Unfortunately, in the second phase,
I lost control of the bike at a risky point of the track, where others had already fallen and where I should have perhaps paid more attention. Starting from the third row is not that dramatic however, I’ll try to make up positions right from the first corners and, if it rains, we’ll come up with something.”
In the dry, Shane Byrne was also among the frontrunners but during the wet Superpole he too had difficulty on the slippery surface. The English rider fell at the same point of the track as his team-mate and, after returning to the garage, he went back out on his second bike. “After the first phase we made the right decision to change the set-up that was too hard for the conditions”, commented Shakey, thirteenth with a time of 2m11.395. “Unfortunately when i went back out I found myself behind Crutchlow: I saw him fall but didn’t have time to close the gas or change direction and so i fell there too. I tried to make a fast lap with my first bike but I had a clutch problem, caused by the fall, and so I had to use the second bike. It wasn’t set-up in the same way and so I wasn’t able to make the top eight. I apologise to the team because they have worked so hard but tomorrow I’ll try my best to catch up and make two good races. It will be tough from the fourth row but I’ll give it my all.”
“It was an unfortunate afternoon”, admits Genesio Bevilacqua, General Manager of Althea Racing. “The track was slippery and our two riders were among those who fell. After the second qualifying, which took place in the wet, we knew it would be a risky Superpole and we were right. I am however confident ahead of tomorrow. We’ve found good pace with both Carlos and Shane and we’ll fight back tomorrow from the third and fourth rows, as we strive to take two strong results.”
— Yamaha Report
The first wet Superpole of the 2010 World Superbike Championship proved to be a disaster for most of the competing riders. The three heats saw a number of riders either crash out in the wet or run on at corners as they struggled to cope with the incredibly slippery Imola track surface.
Cal Crutchlow started the first heat well, clocking an impressive 2’09.2 to take the fastest slot, one of only two riders dropping under 2’11. He was unfortunately caught out in the second heat due to lack of heat in his full wet tyres, highsiding on a right hander which caught out several riders in the session. Having rejoined on his second bike with five minutes remaining Crutchlow was on track for a front row start when unfortunately he ran wide and lost time, relegating himself to the third row for tomorrow’s two races. Team mate James Toseland struggled to find a fast pace in the wet in the first heat, dropping out of the top 16 in the last few seconds of the heat. He will start from the fifth row of the grid tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (12th, 2’11.271)
“I’m a little bit sore after the crash but I’m not too worried about tomorrow’s races. I think I know why I crashed; I had a cold tyre on the right hand side from not going fast enough on the out lap. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s races and we’ll see how we get on.”
James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (17th, 2’13.823)
“It’s fair to say that rain has spoiled play today here at Imola, not just for me but for Cal also, so as a team we are very disappointed. We’ve had good top speed all weekend and good race pace and I was really looking forward to Superpole to see what we could do. I’m starting from the fifth row of the grid tomorrow but there have been other unlucky guys out there as well.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda Word Superbike Team Manager
“Today was one of the most difficult Saturday’s of the year; the rain has seriously compromised our qualifying practices and grid positions. For sure, the race will be hard for both riders and they will have to put in a lot of effort, especially at the beginning to try to catch the lead group. Having said that, both riders have good race pace and top speed so if they can achieve a good start they can challenge for the top five.”
— BMW Report
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport can be quite satisfied with this Saturday at Imola (ITA). In a rainy and dramatic Superpole, which saw a lot of favourites struggling, both riders qualified for the second row. Troy Corser (AUS) will start tomorrow’s races from sixth, Ruben Xaus (ESP) from eighth. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) claimed his first pole position in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Unpredictable rain showers turned the session into a lottery. In the rainy Superpole 2 the BMW S 1000 RR proved its abilities especially in the wet. Troy was second quickest in this session. Ruben crashed after sliding off the slippery track. But the Catalan made it back to the garage, got on his other bike and set the sixth quickest time, also qualifying for Superpole 3.
Troy Corser: “I am happy with today. The track was very greasy and it was catching out a lot of riders. So to be sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s races is a good result for us. At this circuit there are a lot of surface changes that make the grip levels quite inconsistent. So you have to be extremely careful and
gauge where you can push. I took my time to get comfortable with the conditions and then I just tried to improve with every lap. I am confident we can do a good job tomorrow and hopefully secure solid results for the team.”
Ruben Xaus: “We should be quite happy with today’s result. The Superpole qualifying was really tough. First of all because of the weather, and on top of that I crashed during the second session. The asphalt in the corner where I crashed was very slippery. Max Biaggi ran a little wide, and Leon Haslam braked
quite heavily. I was entering the corner faster than them, and wanted to avoid a crash. I braked hard, and just lost the bike. This manoeuvre would not have been a problem in dry conditions, but it was in the wet. I was able to jump on my second bike, and managed to do a really good flying lap. Unfortunately, in the final session I had to ride on used tyres and struggled with the grip.”
Davide Tardozzi (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Team Manager): “We are happy to have both riders on the second row, although I have to admit under these conditions we expected to achieve even better results. But Ruben crashed and maybe he did not want to risk too much on the slippery track. If it is wet tomorrow, I think we can push for the podium.”
— Suzuki Report
Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam fought treacherous conditions at the Imola World Superbike round in Italy today to post third place in final Superpole.
With Superpole 1 and 2 completely wet, everyone struggled on the slippery surface and there were many crashes, although fortunately there were no injuries. There was a bit of a dry line in Superpole 3, but that made life even more difficult for the final eight as the conditions did not suit their wet tyres.
Final Superpole was dramatic and the lead changed hands several times before Briton Tom Sykes posted an unbeatable lap of 2:07.341.
Haslam’s team mate Sylvain Guintoli did not have a good Superpole. He suffered from lack of grip and finished 16th fastest. The Frenchman once again faces a mountain to climb if he is to have any hope of a good result in tomorrow’s race, but if it rains again, who knows what might happen.
Leon Haslam – 3rd – 2:08.273: “That was a tough Superpole, but then it’s been a pretty tough day. Conditions were very difficult and it would’ve been the easiest thing in the world to crash – and many did! This was my first proper time on this bike in the wet so I had a lot to learn pretty quickly. When the track was wet, it was mega slippery and it was hard just to keep upright. I was struggling with lack of grip on the entry to the corners, but I think all of us were. I really went for it in Superpole 3 and my quickest lap was definitely a bit on the hairy side. But, I got the front row place and that’s all that mattered.
“I’m happy with the front row and now we’ll all have to wait and see what the weather will do tomorrow. For the sake of the championship, I suppose it probably would be better if it was wet tomorrow, but for the fans and good racing it’d be better to be dry. I think I’ve got a pretty good bike set-up, wet or dry, and will be giving it 110 per cent tomorrow, whatever the conditions.”
Sylvain Guintoli – 16th, 2:11.706: “Today didn’t turn out how I wanted and most of that is because of the conditions this afternoon in Superpole. I finished eighth in Superpole 1, but struggled with grip problems, so we made some changes to the bike for Superpole 2, but I still had grip problems and just couldn’t push any harder. The track felt very, very slippery in the wet and I think it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare if it rains in the races tomorrow. If it does, there will be a lot of crashes for sure and that’s not really good for anybody.
“I think my bike’s dry set-up is not so bad, but I’m not sure about the set-up if it is wet. We’ll look at all the data and then maybe try something in the warm-up tomorrow. I’m going to have to make two really good starts tomorrow if I am to have chance of a good result. Fortunately it’s a long drag down to the first turn, so I might be in with a chance.”
— Ten Kate
Jonathan Rea qualified in 14th place for tomorrow’s two 12th round World Superbike championship races at Imola in Italy this afternoon after a dramatic Superpole session that was held in wet conditions and headed by British rider Tom Sykes.
The 23-year-old Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider had been one of the fastest riders in all sessions, topping the final free practice just before Superpole. However, a crash at the first chicane on his out lap for Superpole 1 resulted in small fractures in Rea’s left collarbone and scaphoid.
With typical determination, Rea went out on his spare machine and qualified for Superpole 2 but was unable to progress into the final eight-rider shootout and had to settle for the fourth row of the grid.
Due to wet-dry conditions all day, Rea’s Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Max Neukirchner, was unable to improve on yesterday’s provisional qualifying time. However the German rider improved his position to qualify on the third row of the grid in 11th place.
Rea’s medical team will assess his injuries before warm-up tomorrow morning to see if he is fit to compete in the two 21-lap races around the historic 4.936km Imola circuit.
Max Neukirchner – P11, 2m11.150s
It has not been such a good day. During the second qualifying this morning we couldn’t improve the bike or the lap time because of the conditions. In the afternoon the grip level was again much less and there was so much movement on the bike that it was impossible to make the same lap time as yesterday. Superpole was wet and it was so slippery out there it was very easy to crash. As soon as I got on the gas the rear would start spinning up so it was really difficult. The first and last parts of the circuit were really wet and there were different levels of grip in each chicane so it was not easy at all. I made a couple of mistakes on my best lap so I think I could have maybe got one or two places higher, but that’s how it was today.
Jonathan Rea – P14, 2m11.558s
Today went really well until Superpole. We were making a few changes here and there and then I had a little hiccup with the machine in the second free practice. But I was able to go out on the other bike and went straight back into a good rhythm to go fastest. Then it started to rain for Superpole and we put wets in, but I’ve never ridden this circuit in the wet and I was caught out in the first chicane like a few other guys. Unfortunately, I went down pretty hard on my left side and I’ve got a lot of pain in my shoulder and my wrist. The doctors think they can get me in a condition to race tomorrow but it’s really one of these situations where we’ll have to see how it feels in the morning.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We’d been having a very good weekend until Superpole. Jonathan’s crash has done some damage so we’ll have to see tomorrow if he is capable of racing. We will need to rely heavily on the skill and judgement of the medical team in the Clinica Mobile. Because while Jonathan might be declared fit to race, he will certainly not be fit during the race, so we can only wait to see how his body reacts overnight. Max was going quite well, too, but I think the entire paddock will just look at the sky tomorrow to see if it will be rain or sun. With Jonathan’s condition, we are hoping for rain so he doesn’t need all the power in his body to do well, but we’ll see.
— Superstock 1000
As the Imola track surface slowly dried out, the top Superstock riders improved their pace through the final qualifying session, but none could get close to their previous best. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Junior Superstock) is therefore the pole man for Sunday’s races, thanks to his track best lap, posted on Friday, of 1’51.528. He was also fastest in today’s session and tomorrow he will start one place up on Lorenzo Zanetti (SS Lazio Motorsport Ducati). Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda Team), Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini Honda) and Sylvain Barrier (Garnier Junior Team BMW) complete the top five grid places.
Times: 1.Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’51.528; 2.Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’52.525; 3.Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’52.693; 4.Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’52.722; 5.Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1’53.273; 6.Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’53.382; 7.Giugliano D. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 1’53.494; 8.La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’53.735;
— Superstock 600 – Race
Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) finished sixth today and that was enough to make him the new champion, despite a chaotic last corner double crash that saw Florian Marino (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) win the race, but lose the championship fight. Guarnoni now has 187 points, Marino 159. Leandro Denis Mercado (BWG Racing Kawasaki) was on course for the race win but fell on the final chicane. Fabio Massei (Moto Club Piellemoto Yamaha) was second, Giuliano Gregorini (Elle2Promotion Yamaha) third.
Results: 1.Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 19’39.031 (150,714 kph); 2.Massei F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1.107; 3.Gregorini G. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 8.442; 4. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 9.372; 5. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 10.416; 6.Guarnoni J. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 12.818; 7.Fanelli D. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 13.120; 8.Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 13.660; etc.
Points (after 9 rounds of 10): 1. Guarnoni 187; 2. Marino 159; 3. Lombardi 89; 4.D’Annunzio 82; 5. Fanelli 80; 6.Lanusse68; 7.Karlsen 65; 8.Covena 53; 9. Calero Perez 51; 10.Le Coquen 43