Jonathan Rea takes Tissot WSBK Superpole in Thailand
The first-ever Pole Position in the history of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship in Thailand went to Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), who came out on top of an exciting final 15-minute WSBK shoot-out that decided the grid for tomorrow’s two 20-lap races. Today’s result marks the sixth WSBK Pole Position of his career.
Superpole 2 was once again all action from start to finish with riders able to manage two flying laps on the softer Pirelli tyre without any issue. This provided some nervous moments for the teams but pure excitement for the packed grandstand along both straights, as it was not clear when the ultimate top time would occur.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) was the first to throw down the gauntlet with the fastest lap of the weekend, the first ever sub 1.34s lap of the Chang International Circuit. Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) almost bettered it with his first flying lap before a mistake on his next lap ruined any chance he had at that point of the session.
Jonathan Rea P1 :”It’s good to make it two out of two. We know the bike really takes profit from the qualifying tyre. My race pace has been really strong so I knew just to make clean laps. But in every lap I made a mistake in T4 – the fast left – so I ended up much too fast and the rear came round, which is a problem I have been working on a little bit, but we fixed it in this final session. I made a mistake in T1 on the first flying lap and then I saw the time was P1, so I knew not to push too much and just make a clean lap next time. I saw a 1’33.3 near the end of the session and I thought it may not be enough”
Leon Haslam P2: “I’m pleased with this Superpole. The first row was our goal. In the first lap with a qualifier I may have been a bit overly cautious, whereas in the second one I made a small mistake. In any case, in terms of race pace we are doing well. The guys at Aprilia have done a great job and the RSV4 adapted quickly to the new track. Tomorrow the track condition will be different and I expect that there will be several riders capable of making a play for the win.”
As the chequered flag was waved signalling the end of qualifying it was joint championship leaders and former team mates Rea and Haslam that came out on top, the pair separated by 0.011s. The Kawasaki rider notched up his second consecutive Pole Position after taking top spot in Australia.
Alongside the front two Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) completes the front row with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) making up row two ahead of Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike), and Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team).
Alex Lowes P3: “I’m happy with today! It’s my first time on the front row with the Suzuki, the boys have done a good job and we keep making little steps forward, not too much but we’re going in the right direction! I’m enjoying it and hopefully I can repay the lads tomorrow with a decent result because they’ve all worked very hard over the winter and last year as well. Thanks to the whole team, the boys on the other side of the garage as well because they’ve helped me out too, so cheers! To be fair the lap wasn’t my best, I could’ve gone quicker and I just didn’t quite put it together so that was a shame, but all that matters is that we are on the front-row, we’ve got a chance tomorrow and I can’t wait.”
Tom Sykes P4: “It has just been unfortunate that I have not been able to use the qualifying tyre on the warm-up lap. In the last third of the lap I had three or four slides on the edge of the tyre, both left and right, but I knew I had to go for a fast lap anyway. I was struggling and it was not what I had expected. I am a little bit disappointed and that is why I tried for a second lap but I was not able to do it. We will work hard tomorrow and try to make two good races in any case.”
Jordi Torres P5: “I would have needed a few more laps during this weekend, but unfortunately the rain this morning made us miss a session. In FP4 we managed to do a great job, getting back up front, but first and foremost increasing my feeling with the RSV4. In Superpole for the first time I used a qualifier and the second row is not too bad at all, but when you ride an Aprilia it’s never enough! Tomorrow we’ll have to use the warmup wisely to improve further, especially in the braking sections where I still haven’t found the right solution to brake hard and keep the bike stable.”
Chaz Davies P6: “This weekend’s not turning out to be an easy one for us but we won’t stop trying. Yesterday I was missing feeling at the front and although we’ve made some changes today I know we’re still having some issues. It’s difficult to be consistent as the front is a bit nervous and that’s all it takes, a small mistake, to lose precious tenths. We’ll continue to work tomorrow and we have a few things to try in warm-up – I hope we can come up with something. I’ll do my best, also because, as we know, anything can happen come race day…”
Troy Bayliss P7: “I’m reasonably happy, and think I’m more or less where I thought I’d be on the qualifying tyre, but I’d have liked to do a little more in the free practice earlier. In terms of race pace I don’t think we’re doing too badly but I know tomorrow’s races will be tough. We’re still missing a little acceleration but I know we’ve worked in the right direction this weekend. We’ll see if we can find a little more in warm-up tomorrow and then I hope to be able to score two reasonable results…”
Michael van der Mark P8,: “I’m quite happy today. We missed 45 minutes of practice this morning and I wasn’t able to improve the time so I went directly into Superpole 1. But FP4 was much better and I was able to improve the feeling with the CBR and also the lap time, which made me much happier. In Superpole 1 I started on the race tyre and then the qualifier but that didn’t bring much. We did the same in Superpole 2 and I was able to improve my time quite a bit. I’m happy with our position – I think the gap to the guys at the front is a little bit to far but I think our race pace is OK.”
Sylvain Guintoli P9 : “We’re still working hard and doing everything that we can trying to catch up. Obviously, we are missing a second and on a small track like this, that’s quite a lot. So we’re going to spend some time now going through everything on the data to try and understand how we can improve our pace and the race rhythm for tomorrow.”
Today’s grid sees the first seven riders classified covered by less than one second, with five manufacturers represented in the top-eight places on the grid.
In Superpole 1, Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Team) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) were split by 0.211s, the pair claiming the first 2 positions in the session and progressing to join the already seeded top ten riders for the final qualifying session to determine the top 12 riders on the grid.
Matteo Baiocco P12: “I had hoped to achieve a better result in the Superpole and it’s a shame because we had good pace during the free practice but I was not able to be fast enough during the first laps with the new tyre. I think that tomorrow we’ll go back to what we tried yesterday afternoon, because in today’s cooler conditions I was unable to repeat the same kind of times. We’ll start from there and see where we can get to tomorrow. As far as the races are concerned I think we’re in a good position, I’m confident and think we can fight for good positions.”
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia) was on course to make it through but made a small mistake in the final corner on his final lap. He will start both races tomorrow from 13th just ahead of Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who will join him on the fifth row.
Nico Terol: “Yesterday and today have been two difficult days for me. Today I’m feeling a little better physically, but I hope to be better tomorrow and to be able to make some steps forward to improve on today’s results. The rain this morning didn’t allow to us test anything and although we made a good step in the free practice we still need to make more because I’m having more trouble than I would have expected. When things are not going well, it’s important to continue to work hard together with the team and then results will come.”
Randy de Puniet P16: “The second round is very difficult for us because since the first practice I have been struggling with the brakes. It’s very strange, I have a bad feeling on the brakes and it’s very inconsistent, we don’t understand it yet and keep trying to find a solution. We have one more chance in the warm-up and I’m crossing my fingers to find something because without a solution it will be difficult for me. I will just try to stay calm, work with the team tonight and do my best tomorrow.”
World Superbike 2015 – Round Two – Thailand WSBK – Superbike Superpole
- Rea – Kawasaki 1m33.382
- Haslam – Aprilia 1m33.393
- Lowes – Suzuki 1m33.738
- Sykes – Kawasaki 1m33.841
- Torres – Aprilia 1m34.080
- Davies – Ducati 1m34.084
- Bayliss – Ducati 1m34.334
- Vd Mark – Honda 1m34.514
- Guintoli – Honda 1m34.562
- Mercado – Ducati 1m34.674
- Salom – Kawasaki 1m34.961
- Baiocco 1m35.024
- Barrier – BMW 1m35.115
- Terol – Ducati 1m35.255
- Camier – MV Agusta 1m35.267
- De Puniet – Suzuki 1m35.578
- Ramos – Kawasaki 1m36.226
- Canepa – EBR 1m36.466
- Ponsson – Kawasaki 1m36.788
- Barragan – Kawasaki 1m37.536
- Nakcharoensri – Honda 1m38.174
- Gildenhuys – Kawasaki 1m38.767
- Pegram – EBR 1m38.772
- Toth – BMW 1m39.256
- Sikora – BMW 1m40.719
- Chumai – BMW 1m40.810
Sofuoglu claims Thai WSS Pole Position
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will start the second round of the World Supersport championship, the first ever to be held in Thailand, from Pole Position after an all-action 45-minute qualifying session. The Turk, who recently became a father for the first time, was in fine form from the start and with the humidity rising, the former champion moved to the top of the standings thanks to a 1’37.345s lap time.
Kenan Sofuoglu P1: “I found some pace and I am really happy – especially for my team as this is the first pole position for the Puccetti team in this championship. I am happy for them because they have worked very hard and they deserve it more than me. When I see how they work I feel pressure to give them a good result and today we gave them that kind of result. The goal is always the race itself and for sure I will try my best. It has been a long time since I won a race and I think the time has arrived but I would like to give my team at least a podium. The track is nice but it was a little bit difficult to set-up the gearbox. We have managed it well in the end. There is good grip from the track surface and I am happy to be here.”
Championship leader Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will join Sofuoglu on the front row along with Kyle Smith (Pata Honda WSS Team), who despite being one of the fallers was able to cling on to 3rd. Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) also fell spectacularly after touching the artificial grass on the exit of Turn 4 – which was still wet from this morning’s rain shower.
The Italian will be joined on the second row for tomorrow’s 17-lap race by the Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres pairing of Lucas Mahias and PJ Jacobsen, who qualified in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Local rider and fan favourite Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) was cheered on by the packed grandstands as he claimed seventh place on the grid, where he will start alongside Italian Roberto Rolfo (Lorini Honda). Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), currently third in the World Championship standings, will start from the ninth slot.
PJ Jacobsen and Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) were the only other riders to fall. Both of them – along with Smith and Zanetti – were unhurt.
World Supersport 2015 – Round Two – Thailand –Qualifying
- Sofuoglu – Kawasaki 1m37.345
- Cluzel – MV Agusta 1m37.550
- Smith – Honda 1m37.776
- Zanetti – MV Agusta 1m37.799
- Mahias – Kawasaki 1m38.002
- Jacobsen – Kawasaki 1m38.069
- Wilairot – Honda 1m38.227
- Rolfo – Honda 1m38.438
- Rea – Honda 1m38.487
- Schmitter – Kawasaki 1m38.626
- Faccani – Kawasaki 1m38.644
- Cardenas – Honda 1m38.689
- Russo – Honda 1m38.706
- Wilairot – Honda 1m38.808
- Menghi – Yamaha 1m38.947
- Baldolini – MV Agusta 1m39.010
- Kraisart – Yamaha 1m39.226
- Polamai – Yamaha 1m39.290
- Gamarino – Kawasaki 1m39.435
- Warokorn – Honda 1m39.586
- Wahr – Honda 1m39.916
- Clarke – Honda 1m39.916
- Scott – Honda 1m40.172
- Nocco – Honda 1m40.883