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WSBK Press Office
Season finale starts best of all for Sykes
Magny-Cours (France), Friday 5 October 2012 - After first qualifying of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship season finale one of the potential champions, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), leads the field, with a lap time of 1 minute 38.200 seconds. He was 0.448 seconds ahead of the next best qualifier at this early stage of proceedings.
The English rider heads the outgoing champion Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati), with another of this year's potential champions, Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) third quickest. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) was the second fastest Ducati rider in the official session this afternoon, fourth overall.
This morning's quickest man, Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was fifth after first qualifying. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) was one place up on seventh place rider - and clear championship leader - Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing). Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) completes the top eight riders on day one, in a field of 21.
Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing Team Ducati) was ninth and therefore the top local rider at Magny-Cours, his French compatriots Maxime Berger (Red Evils Roma Ducati) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) went tenth in first qualifying, after a strong showing in the morning free session.
Results: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'38.200 average 161.707 kph; 2. Checa (Ducati) 1'38.648; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1'38.742; 4. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'38.962; 5. Rea (Honda) 1'39.014; 6. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'39.139; 7. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'39.144; 8. Haslam (BMW) 1'39.149; 9. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'39.186; 10. Camier (Suzuki) 1'39.285; 11. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'39.382; 12. Badovini (BMW) 1'39.530; 13. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'39.709; 14. Berger (Ducati) 1'39.842; 15. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'39.945; 16. Davies (Aprilia) 1'40.084; etc.
Frenchman Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) slotted into the top spot on the overnight grid after the first qualifying session at his home round. He was followed by another Honda, the Ten Kate Racing Products machine of Broc Parkes, while the first Kawasaki in the early skirmishes belonged to another local favourite, Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) in third place. Sam Lowes (Bogdanka Honda PTR) slotted in fourth in the rankings as he hopes to finish his season on a high note. The new champion, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) had a steady start in fifth place after the first qualifying session, while experienced runner Massimo Roccoli (Team Pata by Martini Yamaha) was a top six rider today.
Results: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 1'41.886 average 155.857 kph; 2. Parkes (Honda) 1'42.292; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'42.318; 4. Lowes (Honda) 1'42.570; 5. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'42.613; 6. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'42.840; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'42.925; 8. Scholtz (Honda) 1'43.136; 9. Quarmby (Honda) 1'43.148; 10. Metcher (Yamaha) 1'43.361; etc.
Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) heads the pack in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup class after the first qualifying session, only a fraction ahead of another Frenchman, Kawasaki rider Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki). Markus Reiterberger (Team Alpha Racing BMW) pushed his way to third in the rankings, with new force Greg Gildenhuys (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) fourth. Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia), one of the main championship challengers, was fifth.
Althea Ducati WSBK
PROVISIONAL SECOND AND FOURTH FOR CHECA AND GIUGLIANO (ALTHEA RACING) IN FIRST QUALIFYING TODAY AT MAGNY-COURS
Nevers (France), Friday 5th October 2012: the Althea Racing team made the most of today's dry conditions during the first day of action at the French circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours; riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano closed first qualifying in second and fourth place respectively.
First practice took place late this morning on a dry track (air temperature 20 ̊C, track 25 ̊C). Both Althea riders improved during the session, making some changes to the set-up of their 1198 machines together with their technicians. Giugliano closed this first session with a best time of 1m39.6, which positioned him fifth, half a second from the fastest rider. Checa concentrated on working to find the best setting, closing the practice with the ninth quickest time (1m40.0).
In this afternoon's qualifying, and in slightly warmer conditions, most riders' times dropped with respect to the morning's session. Both Carlos and Davide were almost immediately up among the frontrunners, and remained there for the duration of the session. Having made some useful changes prior to this session, Carlos was able to benefit from better stability and grip, recording a best time of 1m38.6 which put him in second position at the session's end. Giugliano lowered his best time set this morning by seven tenths, to close in fourth position (1m38.9).
"We made some changes between this morning's session and the qualifying and things went a lot better for us this afternoon. We tried the tyres that we have available and have an idea of the direction to take for the races. I have seen that it's hard to stick with the 4-cylinders on the straight which would normally be a good place to overtake so we'll have to find other points where we can get close enough to try. The stability and grip were better this afternoon and so I'm more confident. We need to manage the tyre situation as best we can, this is one of our strong points, and see what we can do."
"We are feeling pretty optimistic. If we can continue to work this way then we should be able to make two great races on Sunday. There's still work to do but I really want to send my bike into retirement with the best possible results this weekend. It would be nice to be able to fight for the positions that count, like we were doing earlier in the season but unfortunately this is no easy thing now. Anyway, I always give 100% so I plan to do even more than that this weekend in the hope that we'll be able to do well."
ten Kate Honda
Rea fifth in France
Jonathan Rea set the fifth fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session at Magny-Cours in France for the last two World Superbike races of 2012 on Sunday afternoon.
Carrying a new, one-off livery to highlight the unveiling of the 2013 CBR1000RR Fireblade last Tuesday, Rea was fastest in the first free practice session this morning. However, provisional pole position was taken by Tom Sykes who is battling for the 2012 World Superbike championship title with Max Biaggi, who finished seventh fastest today.
Carlos Checa, Marco Melandria and Davide Giugliano took the other front row places, just ahead of Rea, whose Honda World Superbike team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama finished in 18th place this afternoon.
Aoyama has never visited the 4.411km Magny-Cours circuit and the Japanes rider spent today's two sessions learning its combination of fast, long straights, tight hairpins and technical chicanes.
Jonathan Rea - P5, 1m39.014s
I had a problem with my rear brake at the start of the afternoon session and we lost quite a lot of time but, all in all, today's been OK. We had a very good rhythm this morning but, when we tried to improve the bike, we went the wrong way. Tomorrow we need to aim to improve the corner exit, which is where we're really struggling. Also, turning in is a bit of a struggle but the bike is actually not so bad. We just need to sit down tonight and find a way to maximise the acceleration out of the slower corners here.
Hiroshi Aoyama - P18, 1m40.631s
It's another difficult circuit for me. The track is quite technical, with fast straights and a combination of hairpins and chicanes. It's quite difficult to learn and I have a lot to do. I think I can improve more on my side than by changing anything on the bike at the moment. Of course, we will try to adjust a little bit on the bike but I need to look at my riding to find a better way around the racetrack. I am reducing speed a little bit too much for the chicanes and I need to find a better line through so I can avoid slowing down so much and carry more speed.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Hiroshi was 18th which is not all bad considering he has never been here. We had some technical issues with his bike as well, which caused him some problems, so we need to look at that and look for a better setup. Jonathan was a strong first in the morning session with everything going smoothly. We didn't really change that much for the afternoon, but we went away from this morning's setup and it's not clear whether this was the right way to go. We had some traffic and a problem with the rear brake so there's a lot more to come tomorrow, I think.
MAX BIAGGI ENDS THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE WITH SEVENTH BEST TIME, WORKING HARD IN ANTICIPATION OF THE RACES SUNDAY.
DESPITE THE ELEVENTH BEST TIME FOR EUGENE LAVERTY, HE IS CONFIDENT WHERE RACE PACE IS CONCERNED.
Magny Cours, 5 October 2012 - The first two practice sessions have just come to an end at Magny Cours, forum for the last round of the 2012 World Superbike season. The Aprilia Racing Team must defend its leadership in both standings, rider and manufacturer, which makes getting off to the right start essential.
Current leader in the standings, Max Biaggi, is focused as always on finding the best set-up to adapt his RSV4 to the track layout, achieving positive results in a few sectors and a few difficulties in others.
The seventh best final time instils hope, as does the intense concentration Max has demonstrated, meticulously analysing the data he and his mechanics have gathered. The Corsair is well aware that further improvement is needed in order to take on Superpole tomorrow and the races Sunday with the necessary peace of mind.
"We need to get ourselves sorted. In certain situations the bike moves around too much - admitted Max Biaggi at the end of the practice sessions - Our rivals were strong straight away and now it's our turn to improve. In some sectors we're fast and in others we lose some ground, so we'll need to find the right compromise to shave of a few tenths where we're falling behind, but without sacrificing our strengths. Given the forecast, we'll also have to keep an eye on the weather which could shuffle the deck a bit. We will simply have to be ready for any situation".
The eleventh best final time that Eugene Laverty put on the boards does not provide an accurate description of today's sessions. During the qualifiers the rider from Toomebridge was unable to take full advantage of the new tyres because of all the traffic on the track. This is confirmed by his ideal time, calculated from the best intermediate times of the session which placed him in a virtual fourth place. In light of this analysis, Eugene is satisfied with the work accomplished today.
Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport had a strong but difficult start to the final round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished today's first qualifying practice at Magny-Cours (FRA) third on the provisional first row. His injury, two broken ribs from his crash two weeks ago at Portimão (POR), still cause a lot of pain. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) qualified eighth on the provisional second row onboard his BMW S 1000 RR. Leon hurt his right hand when he crashed at the beginning of today's first free practice on a still-damp part of the track. After some medical treatment he was able to jump back on the bike and continue his preparation work for Sunday's races. During the first qualifying practice, both factory riders were temporarily topping the time sheets. Michel Fabrizio and Ayrton Badovini (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team finished the first qualifying practice in sixth and 12th respectively.
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:39.991 min (P8)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:38.742 min (P3)
"It was nice to be back on the RR, but it is not easy because every time I try to move a little bit faster on the bike it feels like I have a knife in my back. Lap by lap, when I get warmer, it gets better and I can do one or two stronger laps but then I get pain again and feel tired. It is difficult because I cannot use the leg and the back to change direction. To do one fast lap is one thing, to do the race will be difficult but it is good to be here and to be able to do one fast lap. Talking about the sporting aspects, we have been working well. We tried to improve in the areas where we were still struggling, for example we worked on further reducing the vibrations. I think we have already found some solutions to improve the bike for next year."
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:39.963 min (P7)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:39.149 min (P8)
"This morning we had a big crash. I had to spend some time with the team doctor who had to drill a hole into my finger nail as a lot of blood had accumulated underneath it. It was my mistake; I just hit a wet patch and lost the bike. From then on we worked on race set-up, doing the normal things you do on a Friday. My finger was a little bit sore but not too bad. I could feel it throbbing and had to brake with my middle two fingers but with some more treatment it will be fine for tomorrow. We will now work on progressing with the bike's settings but we have to wait and see what the weather will be like tomorrow."
Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"We are proud of what our two riders have done today. Leon had a crash during the first free practice and when we saw what happened to his right hand we were worried he might not be able to continue riding but he did so, pretty fast. He never gives up as we know and appreciate him. Now Leon and his crew will work on improving the bike as he still has some issues when turning in. We also feel that tomorrow it will be easier for him because his hand will be better then. Regarding Marco we honestly have to congratulate him. He has done a great job the way he improved from lap to lap and we could see that even though he is suffering he is so motivated and working very hard. Marco and his crew have made some changes on the bike from the morning to the afternoon which went into the right direction. We try to give him a bike that allows him to go fast without being too demanding to his body. The target is to enable him to ride comfortably as the races certainly will be tough for him."