World SBK 2011 – Round Nine – Silverstone
Wild-card Hopkins powers to Silverstone Superpole
John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) rocked the WSBK establishment with the Tissot-Superpole win at Silverstone. The American rider, a regular in BSB this season, took a new track best of 2’04.041 in the last of the three superpole contests.
Hopkins held off the challenge of Irish rider Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike), Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati). The front row featured machines from four different manufacturers – Suzuki, Yamaha, Aprilia and Ducati.
John Hopkins: “I’m over the moon right now. I know it’s just qualifying and Superpole, but I’m so grateful to be here and racing a wild-card in the World Superbike series, and just to be racing a motorcycle at all because last year I was told by many doctors that I had to retire because of my wrist. A big thanks also to the Samsung Crescent team, they’ve been working their butts off to build an amazing bike. But now the real work starts tomorrow and I’ll be giving it my best!”
Eugene Laverty: “It was a close lap time to Hopkins, in the last session it was pretty much a perfect lap, I thought I had it but John did an even better one and deserved it. I’m happy with the second place, in the race it looks like we can be strong. The four guys in the front row will be strongest so if I can get a good getaway it’ll be a good fight.”
Leon Camier: “It’s pretty good, but I was a little bit less confident in the whole package for the qualifying session and am a bit frustrated about that, but happy to be on the front row, it makes a change for me! Tomorrow’s going to be difficult for sure, for race pace it’s going to be hard with everyone doing a good couple of laps today and then struggling a bit.”
Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert Liberty Ducati) was fifth and Laverty’s team-mate Marco Melandri sixth. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) finished up seventh for a second row start, with Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) eighth after a tough first day. Hometown rider Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was in the leading mix early on but missed out on a second row start by one place. Championship challenger Max Biaggi had his worst qualifying of the year, taking his Aprilia Alitalia machine to eleventh on the grid, having crashed in Superpole 1.
Top British talent Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) missed Superpole after crashing hard and spraining his right ankle, and suffering cuts and bruises. He is ranked sixteenth on the grid as he qualified for Superpole but was not fit to ride. Comeback rider James Toseland ended up fourteenth on his BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) machine.
1. Hopkins J. (USA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’04.041;
2. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 2’04.068;
3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’04.303;
4. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2’04.362;
5. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’05.456;
6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 2’05.639;
7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’05.997;
8 Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory;
9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.091;
10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.115;
11. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’05.184;
12. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’06.238;
13. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2’05.400;
14.Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.403;
15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’05.709;
16. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R; etc.
David Salom of the Spanish Kawasaki Motocard.com team took his second pole position of the year on his ZX-6R machine. The young Spaniard got the better of British charger Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) by three-tenths of a second. The front row of the grid will be completed by the promising French talent Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Brno winner Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda).
Championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) could only manage eighth quickest time, right behind two of his closest rivals Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Australian Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com). The best of the Italians are Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha) and erstwhile points leader Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO).
1. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’08.527;
2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’08.823;
3. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’08.964;
4. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.105;
5. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.141;
6. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.161;
7. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’09.345;
8. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’09.405; etc.
Some terrific form in qualifying saw Danilo Petrucci take his fourth Superstock 1000 pole position in a row for the Barni Racing Ducati Team. The youngster from central Italy will head an all-Italian front row, with FIM Cup points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati), Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport Ducati) and Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock team) taking the next three slots.
Brno winner Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock team) heads up row 2, with Argentina’s Leandro Denis Marcado putting together a good run to sixth for the Pedercini Kawasaki team. The second row was completed by Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) and Eddi La Marra (Lorini Honda) in seventh and eighth. Britain’s Danny Buchan (Goeleven Kawasaki) was the first home-bred rider on the grid in 15th place.
1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.582;
2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.779;
3. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’09.168;
4. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.215;
5. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.576;
6. Mercado L. (ARG) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’10.005;
7. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’10.254;
8. La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2’10.268; etc.
Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) soared back to the top of the timesheets with pole position for the European Superstock 600 Championship race which will be held tomorrow instead of in its usual Saturday evening slot. The Dutchman will be flanked by Spain’s Nacho Calero Perez (Orelac Racing Yamaha), Joshua Elliott (WMT Yamaha) from Britain and Frenchman Stéphane Egea (ASPI Yamaha).
Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France), the current points leader, will start from the second row with seventh quickest time, with Aragon winner Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) in fifth and Brno winner Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) down in tenth.
1. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 2’13.344;
2. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.649;
3. Elliott J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.688;
4. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.702;
5. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.742;
6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.033;
7. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.188;
8. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.216; etc.
— BMW Report
BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders, Leon Haslam (GBR and Troy Corser (AUS), will start tomorrow’s World Superbike races in Silverstone (GBR) from the third and fifth rows respectively. While Troy was not able to qualify for Superpole Qualifying, and so will go into Sunday’s races from position 17, Leon missed the third and final Superpole session by only 21 thousandths of a second. He will start from ninth.
Ayrton Badovini (ITA) from the BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team will start on his BMW S 1000 RR from tenth. His team mate, James Toseland (GBR), qualified 14th.
Leon Haslam: “I was able to post good lap times on race tyres, but sadly when we changed to the qualifying tyre the extra grip caused a few issues. We should be in good shape come the races tomorrow, as we are happy with the times we are able to set on race tyres. It’s a shame because if I had remained on these tyres, I think I could have made it through to Superpole 3. But we will line up in ninth tomorrow, which isn’t bad considering my recent starting positions. I am feeling pretty confident, so let’s see what happens. The BMW is good off the line so let’s hope for a good start.”
Troy Corser: “Today’s result is disappointing. We have definitely fixed a few things we struggled with yesterday. Still, chattering was our biggest issue today. We think the reasons were a combination from engine brake and set up. We changed the engine brake and it helped a bit, but the chattering came back with a grippy tyre. I was not too bad on my long runs, as the bike was quite stable. We know what we have to do for tomorrow’s warm up.”
Rainer Bäumel (Head of Race Operations): “Leon unfortunately struggled with the qualifying tyre. Although starting from the third row, I am confident he will show a good performance tomorrow. His lap times on race tyres were consistently good. On Troy’s side we were not able to find a good chassis set-up, but we keep working hard on this. I hope we will have a good solution for tomorrow’s warm-up and races.”
— Althea Ducati Report
At the end of an extremely closely fought Superpole at the Silverstone track, Althea Racing and rider Carlos Checa are very satisfied to have reserved a place on the front tow of tomorrow’s SBK grid; Checa will line up in fourth place for the two 18-lap races.
Carlos recorded some consistently fast times during this morning’s second qualifying session which took place in temperate conditions, with a track temperature of 22˚C. His best time set yesterday remained the overall fastest time until five minutes from the end of today’s session, when he himself beat it by registering a lap time of 2m05.1. Unfortunately a fast lap by Hopkins just two minutes from the session’s end prevented the Spaniard from closing in first, but he nevertheless qualified a close second for this afternoon’s Superpole, with the team aware of it’s impressive pace around the British circuit.
On a warmer track (34˚C), Althea Racing’s rider dominated the final practie session in the early afternoon, concluding in first position with a best time of 2m05.4.
Superpole 1: after a first exit on race rubber, Checa made a second attempt in the final minutes of the session. The fast lap that he achieved placed him third and assured him of safe passage to the second Superpole phase.
Superpole 2: taking advantage of the first of two available qualifying tyres, Carlos immediately put in a 2m04.4 lap time, projecting himself to the top of the timesheets where he remained until the session’s end; no further laps were required and he passed to phase three in first position.
Superpole 3: on track with the second qualifier, the Spanish rider witnessed Haga’s unfortunate crash but, despite this momentary distraction, was able to record a time of 2m04.3 that was enough to guarantee him a place on the front row of tomorrow’s grid – Carlos will line up in fourth position.
Carlos Checa: “I think it has been a positive day, after a solid weekend’s work. It’s actually going better than we expected and I’m satisfied with the progress we’ve made, with our rhythm and with the tyre performance. Superpole was going well but I lost a couple of tenths when Haga crashed ahead of me, I lost concentration there for a minute. I knew it would be difficult to make a 2m4 flat today but I’m nevertheless happy to be on the front row for tomorrow’s races. I believe we have strong race pace and can fight for the podium. I think we’ll be seeing some different frontrunners tomorrow, as we’ve seen for example that Laverty and Camier are really strong here, so I’m looking forward to two great, but tough races.”