These just in from Brno:
WSBK Press Office
Giugliano the early leader at Brno
Brno (Czech Republic), July 20th 2012 - Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) improved on his morning time to also head up the first qualifying session at Brno, setting a time of 1 minute 59.452 seconds before rains arrived at an inopportune moment, then falling heavier at the end of the session.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went second quickest, Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) was third, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) into the top four and placing four different machines into the top four places in the process.
Fifth place so far went to Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), with local favourite Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing-Team Effenbert) scoring sixth on his vee-twin.
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) and his team-mate Michel Fabrizio posted similar times to take them into the top eight places. The constantly learning Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) was ninth, Leon Haslam 10th on his BMW Motorrad Motorsport bike and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) 11th. The top 11 riders were within a second of each other, and John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was only 1.075 seconds from provisional pole and the first Suzuki in the rankings, 12th.
Times: 1. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'59.452 average 162.834 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 1'59.545; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'59.693; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'59.850; 5. Checa (Ducati) 2'00.180; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 2'00.226; 7. Badovini (BMW) 2'00.244; 8. Fabrizio (BMW) 2'00.322; 9. Davies (Aprilia) 2'00.391; 10. Haslam (BMW) 2'00.422; 11. Baz (Kawasaki) 2'00.441; 12. Hopkins (Suzuki) 2'00.528; 13. Camier (Suzuki) 2'00.615; 14. Biaggi (Aprilia) 2'00.746; 15. Rea (Honda) 2'00.911; 16. Berger (Ducati) 2'00.978; etc.
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) headed up a three-rider Honda assault on the time sheets in the first qualifying session, with the Aussie setting a time of 2 minutes 03.440 seconds to lead Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) and Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda). The top three were separated by only 0.055 seconds.
The next best rider was Kawasaki Intermoto Step competitor Fabien Foret, with South Africa's Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) fifth. Championship points leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini), who recently had a successful operation on his left knee, went sixth quickest, one place up on 207 125cc world champion Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda). Andrea Antonelli (Bike Service R.T.) was the top Yamaha runner in eighth place.
Times: 1. Parkes (Honda) 2'03.440 average 157.573 kph; 2. Lowes (Honda) 2'03.481; 3. Cluzel (Honda) 2'03.495; 4. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'04.120; 5. Quarmby (Honda) 2'04.475; 6. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'04.661; 7. Talmacsi (Honda) 2'04.662; 8. Antonelli (Yamaha) 2'04.944; etc.
AFTER A STRONG FOURTH TIME IN THE FREE PRACTICE SESSION, MAX BIAGGI ENCOUNTERS SOME DIFFICULTIES IN THE QUALIFIERS WITH THE SHIFTING WEATHER.
TWO GOOD FRIDAY SESSIONS FOR EUGENE LAVERTY AT BRNO, THIRD IN BOTH.
Brno, 20 July 2012 - The shifting weather conditions at the Brno track, especially during the afternoon qualifying session, did not help ranking leader Max Biaggi. After putting a promising fourth time on the boards during free practice, Max encountered some difficulties in the set-up of his RSV4. This is an unusual situation considering the normally good feeling the Corsair has with the Czech circuit.
His fourteenth time in the qualifiers surprised even Max, who is confident in his Team's work to realign the sights, specifically regarding the bike's set-up. Tomorrow's forecast for rain represents another unknown factor since the races on Sunday (barring any unforeseen events) should be on a dry track.
"We have a few problems to solve - admitted Max Biaggi - it almost feels like I'm riding on a different track and that's odd because the bike has actually not been changed radically since the last race. We're struggling coming into turns. We are really losing a lot of time coming out of them. Maybe we missed something in the tune up. We're analysing the data now and we'll see about working to make up for lost ground".
The double third place times Eugene Laverty made in the two sessions confirmed the Northern Irish rider's good feelings after the Aragon races and tests. Fast even in less than perfect track conditions, Eugene says that he is satisfied with the work done today and he acknowledges that there is still a certain margin for improvement.
"This was a good day of testing for us, not only because of the third place times in both sessions. In fact, we know that we still need to improve on some things, so I'm confident about the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow we might be riding in the wet and then in the dry on Sunday, but honestly I'm not too worried about the weather conditions because we've got a good package either way".
ten Kate Honda
Honda hopes for more on day two at Brno
Honda World Superbike Team riders Jonathan Rea and Hiroshi Aoyama completed a frustrating first day at the ninth round World Superbike championship event at Brno in the Czech Republic today.
The CBR1000RR-mounted pair finished 15th and 17th respectively, with Rea walking away from a high-speed crash in this morning's free practice and light rain affecting this afternoon's opening qualifying session.
Provisional pole position was taken by Davide Giugliano from Italy with Marco Melandri, Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes completing the provisional front row. With the threat of rain tomorrow morning, Rea and Aoyama will be working hard with their crews to ensure progression to tomorrow afternoon's Superpole.
Jonathan Rea - P15, 2m00.911s
It's been a bit of a frustrating day all together, to be honest. I just haven't found a great feeling with the bike yet; or the track. But after a long de-brief, the direction we need to go is quite clear. The bike is quite different to when I was here two years ago, when the pace was faster than I can achieve now. But we have that data so tomorrow we can run out with a different linkage which will make the bike work in a better way, I hope. Also, with the corners here being long and flowing, throttle control is really important but right now the ride-by-wire seems to be a bit much. My wrist needs to take over some of the work to get a better feeling. It stopped me having the confidence to really, really push today but I won't panic because it's quite logical what we need to do for tomorrow.
Hiroshi Aoyama - P17, 2'01.073s
The results are not very good today. We could improve a little bit from this morning, when we finished inside the top 16, which is better for qualifying, but we don't know the conditions tomorrow morning, so it might be difficult. I got a better feeling from this morning to the afternoon, but it still wasn't exactly what we wanted. At least we found out the right way to go and we still want to make some adjustments tomorrow to get a little bit more of a front feeling.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Unfortunately Jonathan had a small crash this morning and that meant we started a little bit behind our competitors this afternoon. Of course, we improved the lap time, but we struggled to find a good setting to find some grip, which seems to have been a problem for a lot of riders today. We certainly have some work to do there, as we do on the other side of the garage. Hiroshi was up to speed more quickly than usual this morning, which was quite positive. In the afternoon, we did improve and we are a little bit close than normal but we still need half a second to get comfortably in Superpole. So work to do there, too!
GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) TOPS THE TIMESHEETS IN FIRST SBK QUALIFYING AT BRNO; CHECA IN FIFTH PLACE
Brno (Czech Republic), Friday 20th July 2012: Davide Giugliano and Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) were both very happy with their performances today during the opening SBK sessions at the Czech circuit of Brno. Davide in particular made the most of the (mainly) dry sessions and registered the fastest overall time in both the morning's practice and afternoon's qualifying session.
Carlos and Davide took to the Czech track for first practice in dry conditions this morning, with a track temperature of 30 ̊C. Davide got his weekend off to the best possible start, making a series of fast laps and closing first practice a the top of the timesheets having recorded the fastest time of the session - 2m00.3 - in the final stages. His team-mate Carlos recorded the seventh fastest time, closing the session with a best lap of 2m00.7 which he recorded soon into the practice.
There were mixed conditions for the afternoon's qualifying session, with intermittent rain showers. The rain did nothing to stop Giugliano from consolidating his earlier performance however; he concluded this 45-minute session at the front of the pack with a best time of 1m59.4. He was the first of only four riders to duck under 2m00 this afternoon. Checa recorded a best lap of 2m00.1 which positioned him fifth at the end of this first qualifying session. The Spanish rider did not have time to test the new wider tyre, due to the weather, but is confident that he will be able to lower his times tomorrow, also considering how well that tyre worked for his team-mate Davide.
"Today we have worked with the softer front tyre and we're pretty happy with the results. Unfortunately it began to rain during the afternoon's session and so we weren't able to try the wider tyre solution. We'll get that done tomorrow, weather permitting of course, and there are also some other small changes to make but we are moving in the right direction. We have last year as a reference and that provides us with a good base; we'll continue with the work tomorrow and hope to be able to improve."
"Everything's going well. We must stay focused, it's only Friday of course and the races are not until Sunday. In this championship it's not at all easy to stay there, up front, all weekend. These are the kind of results I was looking for, to show my team that I am really learning that it's possible to be fast at each and every track. Everything's working well, which means that I am growing and, bit by bit, becoming more of a professional.
The results are also thanks to the team's hard work of course. To have their support is a huge morale boost and that counts for a lot. We'll see what conditions are like tomorrow; I just hope we don't have sessions that are half wet, half dry."
Brno - Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 20th July 2012.
Weather conditions: Cloudy with some rain in the afternoon.
Temperature: Air: 22 - 23 °C, Track: 30 - 31 °C
Number of riders participating: 23 from 14 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) 2:00.359 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) 1:59.452 min
At the ninth round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship, Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport qualified for the provisional front row. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished today's first qualifying practice at Brno (CZE) in second after being quickest for some time. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) had bad luck with the unstable weather and qualified provisional tenth on his BMW S 1000 RR. 15 minutes into the session, light rain started to fall which initially had little impact on lap times but when Leon was on a quick lap with six minutes to go, the rain got heavier and it was no longer possible to put in the fast lap times. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team's Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio (both ITA) finished the session in seventh and eighth respectively.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:00.643 min (P6)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:59.545 min (P2)
"We worked on the set-up of the bike and found some good solutions. In general, the bike is working well but we are struggling again with chattering. It is not easy, because we don't know exactly what is causing the issue but we are going to work on it tomorrow. We will try to improve it and also work with the tyres and then we will see."
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:01.438 min (P13)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 2:00.422 min (P10)
"It was a bit of a rush this morning as we had a lot of tyres to test and we knew that it could rain today and tomorrow but we tested all the tyres and did what we had on our list. In the first qualifying practice both times that I was on a good lap the rain came. That wasn't ideal for me but we are not so far away. We'll certainly need to keep working, but anything can happen on Sunday. Today's times were strange anyway because some riders who are always fast here were only in the middle of the times. But I think everyone was working on race tyres and race set-up. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow."
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"The weather forecast for tomorrow is not good, so our day was very busy. We had to squeeze a lot of items' tests into the first free practice session. We evaluated the different tyre compounds and dimensions, and both riders worked on the chassis geometry. Compared to the morning session, Leon made a step forward with the chassis set-up in the afternoon. Now his crew and him need to improve on the electronics setting for better rideability. Marco's side as well worked on the geometry of the bike and the weight distribution. Marco already has a clear idea for the race tyre, and he proved to be consistently fast. Still, Marco struggles a lot going into the corner due to the vibrations he is complaining about. We hope for good weather that we can continue with the work to be done."