These just in:
Another Tissot-Superpole to "Watch-man" Tom Sykes
Assen (The Netherlands), Saturday 27 April 2013 - The top-15 riders from Qualifying faced today the challenge of Tissot-Superpole to secure the best positioning on the grid for tomorrow's two races at the iconic Assen's TT Circuit. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) got his 13th pole start of his career, the 2nd in 2013, courtesy of an outstanding 1'35.043. The rider from Huddersfield was not fully satisfied of his achievement and tried, with no success, to further improve Jonathan Rea's Best Lap from 2010.
Tom Sykes: "The ZX-10R is working well and I was quite happy with my race pace, so when we put the Pirelli qualifying tyre in it was even better. I am happy to be on the front row and even better to be in pole position. I just hope we can have some dry conditions tomorrow. Our decisions are pretty much made on what settings to run but we do have a little bit of discussion to have later, just to confirm things, but I think we know what to do. We put 22 laps on a tyre earlier and were very surprised and happy with the results, so when I am on clear track I can do what I want and I know what's needed. Tomorrow we will be faced with a bit of a fight maybe but if we can have some good luck I am confident."
The Pata Honda World Superbike rider himself - who got 4 wins out of the last 6 races at Assen - was 2nd and finally able to turn over a new leaf on his difficult start of the season. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) took the last slot of the first row and preceded his team mate Sylvain Guintoli, with Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) to follow.
Jonathan Rea: "First of all, I'm just excited to be back in a front row press conference - the last time was the end of last season. I'm looking forward to the races, though; my guys have done some work and I'm feeling very, very comfortable on the bike but we've had minimal time so far to put distance on a race tyre. I think we have two options we can have a look at but a lot will depend on the temperature tomorrow. Superpole's not really my thing, but I felt really confident at the start of Superpole 3 and went out first on a race tyre. Anyway, it's great to be on the front row for the team's home race and I just want to send a ?get well soon' message to my team-mate, Leon Haslam, who had a big crash on Friday."
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) ended up Superpole in 7th place and was again unable to get a spot in the first two rows (the Italian rider never managed so far in 2013 to get a front row start). Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) finished 8th ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). The Spanish rider was 0.3 seconds slower in the end than in Superpole 2 (he would have been 5th with his SP2 lap-time).
A difficult Superpole for Aragon double winner Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who will move off tomorrow from 13th place on the grid. The Welshman was kicked out of top-12 in the closing stages of Superpole 1 by Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki, 10th at the end).
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'35.043 average 172.040 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'35.639; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'35.814; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'35.973; 5. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'36.166; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'36.326; 7. Melandri (BMW) 1'36.330; 8. Checa (Ducati) 1'36.438; 9. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'37.570; 10. Cluzel (Suzuki); 11. Badovini (Ducati); 12. Neukirchner (Ducati); 13. Davies (BMW); 14. Clementi (BMW); 15. Iannuzzo (BMW).
PATA Honda WSBK
Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow's two third-round World Superbike championship races from the front row of the grid after setting the second-fastest time in this afternoon's Superpole sessions at the TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands.
The Pata Honda rider had felt confident of challenging fellow British rider Tom Sykes for pole position, but a front-end slide early on in his fastest lap in Superpole 3 persuaded Rea, 26, that a front row start was good enough.
With team-mate Leon Haslam absent from Assen through injury, Rea will be the only Pata Honda World Superbike rider in tomorrow's two 22-lap races - the home event for his Dutch team which is based just 60km south of Assen.
Jonathan Rea - P2, 1m35.639s
First of all, I'm just excited to be back in a front row press conference - the last time was the end of last season. I'm looking forward to the races, though; my guys have done some work and I'm feeling very, very comfortable on the bike but we've had minimal time so far to put distance on a race tyre. I think we have two options we can have a look at but a lot will depend on the temperature tomorrow. I thought I could go with Tom [Sykes] this weekend and really push, but I had a big front slide in turn three and put my heart rate through the roof, so I nursed it home. Superpole's not really my thing, but I felt really confident at the start of Superpole 3 and went out first on a race tyre. Anyway, it's great to be on the front row for the team's home race and I just want to send a ?get well soon' message to my team-mate, Leon [Haslam], who had a big crash on Friday.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
We have only Jonathan riding here now but, of course, we are very happy to take second place on the grid after Superpole today. With Leon's crash, yesterday was a really miserable day, so this is a great boost for the whole team. Every time we go out, we find something and Jonathan finds more confidence. We still have something to improve for tomorrow and I think we can run for podiums, so well done to the team and to Jonathan.
2013 World Superbike championship, round three - TT Circuit Assen, The Netherlands
Final qualifying results and first two rows:
1. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m35.043s
2. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda 1m35.639s
3. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m35.814s
4. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1m35.973s
5. Loris Baz (FRA) Kawasaki 1m36.166s
6. Davide Guigliano (ITA) Aprilia 1m36.326s
Team Althea Racing- Second day of qualifying and Superpole on the track of Assen TT
For the second day of qualifying and Superpole, the track in Assen was dry under cloudy skies. In the second qualifying session this morning Davide Giugliano stole the show with his impetuous leadership, which was also profitable after gaining many fastest laps he reached the first position with a best lap time of 1'36 "814. An important performance for the Althea Racing Team rider. During the practices in the afternoon he continued to work with his team to find the best set-up for his Aprilia RSV4. At the end of the session Davide clocked the sixth fastest time (1'37"029). In Superpole Giugliano provided three outstanding performances in each of the three phases. In the first one, he got the second time and an easy qualification to phase two. In the second he reached seventh place which allowed him to enter to the final phase where only a small clutch problem prevented him from gaining the first row. However, the sixth position and the second row satisfied the rider and his team who are ready for the two races that will take place tomorrow on the distance of 22 laps each.
Davide Giugliano: "Everything went well and we achieved the result we wanted. We shot very strong with the race tires and reached a good second row. I was not able to fully use the soft tires, but my result in Superpole satisfied me and I'm confident for the races tomorrow. I will face two difficult races, both physically and mentally, but I think I am not far from the fastest riders and I am convinced I can be competitive with them. I would like to thank my team, who once again today have done a fantastic job."
Genesio Bevilacqua :"I'm really satisfied with the work that both David and my whole team have completed. We've reached the target that we set ourselves, which was to be fast in every session. Our rider put in a great performance this morning, when he finished qualifying in first position. In Superpole there are some expert riders that are difficult to beat when it comes to the flying lap and, in addition, Davide suffered due to a small clutch problem in the second and third phases. We are nevertheless happy with the second row and, from what we have seen over these two days, we are sure that we can complete two top level races.'
Eighth and eleventh for Team SBK Ducati Alstare in tomorrow's races at the TT Circuit Assen
Assen (The Netherlands), Saturday 27 April 2013: After a hard-fought Superpole, Carlos Checa qualified in eighth position with Badovini ready to line up in eleventh place for tomorrow's races.
The two riders used the first phase of the second qualifying session to get back into their rhythm on a now dry track after a first very wet day of action yesterday. From mid-session onwards the times of both riders started to drop dramatically with both Carlos and Ayrton recording their fastest laps in the final minutes. Carlos closed with a best time of 1'37.8, positioning himself sixth, while Ayrton, having resolved a small issue in the first part of the session, finished twelfth with a fastest time of 1'38.4. The two Ducati Alstare flag-bearers therefore qualified easily for this afternoon's Superpole.
Times continued to drop in the final free practice session, with Carlos able to take another eight tenths off his morning's best time. Ayrton too was making some improvement but a highside at turn 11 put a premature end to his session - fortunately he was not seriously hurt and was able to participate in the Superpole.
Superpole 1: both riders made a first exit on race rubber and Carlos' first lap was sufficient to see him through to the next phase. Ayrton meanwhile decided to return to the track with his first qualifying tyre and thanks to two fast laps he was able to finish tenth, thus also progressing to the next stage.
Superpole 2: in the second phase Ayrton, having difficulty using the clutch due to a swollen and blistered left hand, went out on the second qualifier but was unable to push as he wanted to, closing his Superpole in eleventh position today, thanks to a best lap of 1'36.9. Carlos took advantage of the first qualifier in this stage, recording a very fast lap of 1'36.1 that projected him into third position.
Superpole 3: Carlos went out on his second qualifier but had to return to the garage to make a small change to the suspension. Unfortunately the performance of the tyre had already dropped after making a first lap and so he was unable to make the fast lap that he needed. Checa will line up from the third row of tomorrow's grid in eighth position.
Carlos Checa: ?In the third phase I missed a gear in an important and fast point of the track. I tried to make a second fast lap but I wasn't able to improve with that qualifier. Maybe my position should have been fourth or fifth today but it's ok anyway. We have to understand which direction to take in order to secure two strong results tomorrow. Today was our first day in the dry with a bike that's never been ridden here before and so I don't think it's gone badly considering. We're concentrating on tomorrow, although it's impossible to predict how the races will go. No-one's really done a lot of consecutive laps today and so pace is something of a question mark. We'll see which group we're with during the races and do all we can to fight.'
Ayrton Badovini: ?Unfortunately I hurt my fingers in the crash during practice. I hoped it wouldn't be a problem in the Superpole but I had a glove that was really rubbing against my hand and making the problem worse. I was also riding a bike built from the rolling chassis of course, so it was a rush for my team to get it ready in time, they worked so hard today. I lapped quite well with the qualifying tyre and if it hadn't been for the physical problem I think I could have done much better in the second phase of the Superpole. Anyway the work completed today gives me confidence for tomorrow's races - I'll do my best from the fourth row.'
SMOOTH SUPERPOLE FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM - RANKING LEADER IN THE MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP - PLACING LAVERTY ON THE FRONT ROW WITH THE THIRD BEST TIME AND GUINTOLI ON THE SECOND ROW WITH FOURTH BEST.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI WILL HAVE TO DEFEND HIS PROVISIONAL FIRST PLACE.
SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE FRONT ROW FOR EUGENE LAVERTY.
Assen (Holland), 27 April 2013 - The Aprilia Racing Team, reigning WSBK Champion and leader in the Manufacturer rankings, was once again a key player on Superpole Saturday at Assen.
In cold but dry track conditions, Aprilia standard bearers Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli finished with the third and fourth best times respectively. These are placings that will allow the Irishman to start tomorrow's races from the front row and the Frenchman (current ranking championship leader) from the second.
Laverty demonstrated impressive drive today and will start from the front row for the seventh consecutive time. In fact, the Irishman has not failed to ride his RSV4 to the best row of the grid since the Moscow round last season (August 2012).
Immediately behind him was Guintoli, defending his position as ranking championship leader, achieved thanks to a victory and three second place finishes in the first four races. Another two RSV4 riders in the top nine - Giugliano (sixth) and Fabrizio (ninth) on their private bikes - testifies to the excellent condition of the Aprilia V4.
The Superpole sessions went smoothly for the Aprilia Racing standard bearers, coming through the first two sessions without any trouble, staying at the respectable end of the rankings. In the decisive session the two battled it out with the always-feared Tom Sykes, Superpole specialist, and with Jonathan Rea who is always at home on the Dutch track, leaving rivals in their exhaust who will in any case need to be reckoned with in the races tomorrow, such as Baz, Melandri and Checa.
Eugene Laverty: "I'm really happy to be on the front row. Today I thought it would be difficult after the free practice sessions because, besides Sykes and myself, Rea and Sylvain were also quite quick. In the end when Tom puts the qualifying tyre on he's basically unbeatable and Jonny put in a perfect lap, so I'll be starting from the third spot on the grid. Tomorrow the races will also be difficult since today is the only day we've been able to test in the dry. Understanding how the tyres will perform and how to manage them over the race distance will make the difference. We'll have some work to do this evening and during the warm ups tomorrow morning to be ready for the starting grid".
Sylvain Guintoli: "This time I was just a shout from the front row. My feeling with the qualifying tyre is getting better with each race. I'm really happy in any case, as it is always important to start from the front two rows. I'm right behind Tom, who is a strong starter, so I'll just need to follow him and then overtake him! All joking aside, I'm confident for tomorrow. Usually my pace gets better during the race compared to qualifying sessions, as we saw at Phillip Island and Aragon. Let's hope the final result will also be similar".
Assen - Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 27th April 2013.
Weather conditions: Cloudy with some sun.
Temperature: Air: 8 °C, Track: 4 - 6 °C
Number of riders participating: 19 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) 1:36.814 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:35.043 min
The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team experienced a Saturday with mixed emotions at Dutch "TT Circuit Assen". Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished the Superpole qualifying session, for the third round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, in seventh place. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) struggled with a technical issue in the first part of the Superpole. Consequently, the Welshman will start the race tomorrow from 13th place on the grid. In comparison to the rain yesterday, the weather had improved with dry conditions, however the temperatures were still low.
Both Marco and Chaz opted for race tyres on their BMW S 1000 RRs for their first outing in Superpole 1. Marco was fifth fastest with his first flying lap, his time was good enough for him to qualify for Superpole 2. Chaz was already struggling in Superpole 1 and was eighth fastest. He tried to improve his time with a second outing but directly returned to the pits reporting that the issues had worsened. He dropped back to 13th meaning his Superpole qualifying was over. In Superpole 2, Marco opted for the qualifying tyre and only had to complete one flying lap to comfortably progress to the last and deciding session. In Superpole 3, Marco used his second qualifying tyre. He was sitting in sixth position, putting him on the second row until the last seconds of the session but then dropped one position. Therefore he will start from seventh place on the third row on the grid.
Assen also hosts the second round of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team's Sylvain Barrier (FRA), who won the season opener two weeks ago at "Motorland Aragón", qualified third on the grid on his new BMW HP4. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) finished in eighth.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.043 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:37.712 min (P11) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:36.330 min (P7)
"It was not a straight forward day. In the beginning, I was not happy but then before Superpole, we made an important step modifying the weight distribution so the bike improved. I think we are heading in the right direction and tomorrow we just need to make another little step. In the race, I need a good start to close the gap to the front runners; I want to be with them immediately. In Assen, overtaking is not easy. So I prefer to be in seventh position, instead of the sixth because that means I can approach the first corner from the outside and have a better view of what the other riders do. Overall, I am quite confident for the race tomorrow now."
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.150 min (P8) / Fastest lap FP: 1:36.864 min (P3) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 1:37.865 min (P13)
"The free practice went well. We made a step forward with the bike so I was a little bit happier and we were continuing to make progress. But then unfortunately, in Superpole as soon as I left the pits I could feel that something wasn't quite right. I tried to do one quick lap but in the end it was not good enough to get me through to Superpole 2. I am not sure what the problem was, the guys are looking into it now. Obviously I am very disappointed because it is not easy to pass at Assen and it is going to be two very difficult races tomorrow. Starting so far back with my rivals in the front two rows, it is easy to lose some time in the first few laps so we need to make progress in the early part of the race. I think tomorrow we just have to try and get as many points as possible."
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"It was day of mixed fortunes. Marco experienced some difficulties this morning but in the afternoon before Superpole, we moved in a new direction which seems to be the right one. Marco was quite satisfied with his RR in Superpole and he is confident for tomorrow's races. Chaz was really happy with his lap times in the morning and could have done a good Superpole. But unfortunately a technical issue meant that he could not finish the session. Anyway, we can be confident for tomorrow and we expect that both riders can have two good races.
In the Superstock class, Sylvain will start from third place on the grid, but he has a good race pace so he will fight for the victory. We are also confident that Greg can score a strong result starting from eighth."
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
"Today we finally got a dry track even if the temperature was still quite low. We started from our base to work on setting up the bikes for these conditions. Both riders improved their performance step by step and their feeling with the RR. Chaz made a big step from qualifying practice to the second free practice and showed a good performance on the race tyre, riding the third fastest time of the session. Unfortunately he could not continue this performance during the Superpole due to an issue that has to be investigated and we are very sorry for this. But we are confident that this will give him even more motivation to catch up in the race tomorrow.
Marco as well improved even if his feeling was still not perfect during the second free practice. The bike did not give him enough confidence to push. But the last change done before Superpole has improved his feeling and we are confident that he has found the right way. He has proven the potential during the Superpole with the race tyre as well as with the qualifying tyre. He will start from the third row but we believe that he will have the right package to fight with the top guys. The race will be tough, as usual in Assen, and we will take a few steps during the night in order to offer the best possible package to our riders."