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WSBK Press Office
Carlos Checa wins Tissot-Superpole at Phillip Island
Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 23 February 2013 - Spaniard Carlos Checa has started the ?Panigale' era of Ducati in World Superbike by winning the Tissot-Superpole at Phillip Island. The Ducati Team Alstare managed to take the best out of the new Borgo Panigale superbike by setting an incredible 1'30.234, that means a brand-new Best Lap for the series and the 10th pole position of his career.
Checa saved a Superpole tyre for the final minutes of a hard-fought Superpole 3, with all 9 riders desperate to find a way into the front rows for tomorrow's World Superbike races. The choice made by the former champion and the team led by Francis Batta proved to be successful, as Checa got the nod from an extremely competitive Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) by just 0.195 seconds.
Carlos Checa: "Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physiotherapists and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn't think I'd be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really - better than I thought I would! Today was good, but we'll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we'll be competitive tomorrow and can be in the mix at the end of the race."
Eugene Laverty: "After using my last qualifier in Superpole 3 I was on the second row, but I really wanted to be in the top three like I was in the last races last year. I threw myself into a fast lap using a race tyre and I must say that everything went perfectly. It was just a bit rocky in the turn that comes out onto the straight stretch, but second place is excellent, especially since we've worked well on our race pace. Starting from the front was important. It simplifies things and now I am looking forward to the races tomorrow with confidence".
After being the fastest rider in qualifying, Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) gave his fans another pleasant surprise by ending up in third place. This good performance tells a lot about the good shape of the Rome-born rider, who has always been more of a Sunday racer than a qualifier.
The second row of the grid will be headed tomorrow by 2012 Mr. Superpole Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), whose lap-time was exactly matched by fifth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team). Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) will aim to be part of the battle for the rostrum position moving off from the 6th and 7th grid slot, as well as following Pata Honda World Superbike duo of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1'30.234 average 177.339 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'30.429; 3. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'30.581; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'30.615; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1'30.615; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'30.683; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 1'30.991; 8. Haslam (Honda) 1'30.998; 9. Rea (Honda) 1'31.742; etc.
World Supersport - Sam Lowes on pole position
The sensational 1'32.545 set in yesterday's qualifying practice was enough for Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) to snatch pole position after World Supersport Qualifying 2 at Phillip Island. The former British Supersport Champion finished ahead of Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki duo of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret.
While the Turkish rider was able to cut half a second off his personal best from yesterday, his team mate Foret did even better and improved his lap-time by almost a second onboard his ZX-6R. Despite some pain coming from his right knee and ankle, consequence of being thrown up in the air by his CBR600RR in Free Practice 1, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) ended up fourth followed by Irish talent Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda).
David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) was on track today after missing Qualifying 1 due to a big crash he had in yesterday morning's free practice. The former World Superbike rider was diagnosed with 'just' a broken finger following some extensive medical checks, was able to get on track and to finish with a positive 6th place.
Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) will head the third row of the grid in tomorrow's race, flanked by fellow Italian Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) and Brit Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki).
Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'32.545 average 172.910 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'33.157; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'33.721; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'33.802; 5. Kennedy (Honda) 1'33.896; 6. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'33.965; 7. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 1'34.081; 8. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1'34.359; 9. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1'34.393; etc.
FOUR APRILIAS IN THE TOP 10 AT THE END OF THE PHILLIP ISLAND SUPERPOLE.
LAVERTY SECOND, FABRIZIO THIRD AND A STRONG SECOND ROW FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI AFTER HIS "FIRST TIME" ASTRIDE THE RSV4.
Phillip Island, 23 February 2013 - The Aprilia RSV4 bikes proved to be fast during all the sessions of the day and their competitiveness was also confirmed in the first Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season.
With a breathtaking lap using a race tyre instead of the specific qualifier, Eugene Laverty stopped the clock with the second best time (1'30.429) that earned him a spot on the front row tomorrow. Then Northern Irish rider came in ahead of Michel Fabrizio's RSV4 (Team Red Devils Roma), who has been having a top notch weekend.
In terms of race pace, Eugene can also aspire for an excellent result. The simulations conducted during testing showed good consistency with times that certainly place him among the contenders for a podium finish.
"After using my last qualifier in Superpole 3 I was on the second row, but I really wanted to be in the top three like I was in the last races last year. I threw myself into a fast lap using a race tyre and I must say that everything went perfectly. It was just a bit rocky in the turn that comes out onto the straight stretch, but second place is excellent, especially since we've worked well on our race pace. Starting from the front was important. It simplifies things and now I am looking forward to the races tomorrow with confidence".
In his firs Superpole with Aprilia, Sylvain Guintoli did not disappoint the expectations. After coming through the first two sessions without any major problems, where the 9 best riders move on to the final, decisive session, the French rider used his second qualifier in Superpole 3 to take the sixth best time, coming just a little over a tenth shy of a spot on the front row.
"I think I can be quite satisfied - confirmed Sylvain - since this is my first Superpole with the new Team. Everything went according to plan. In my last lap with the qualifier I pushed to the maximum for the first part of the track and maybe that made me lose a bit of grip toward the end. I was only a tenth of a second off of the front row, but in the end I didn't make any mistakes and we are where we need to be with our race pace, so I can't wait to get back on the track for the two races tomorrow".
Third row for Pata Honda duo
Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow's two first-round World Superbike championship races from eighth and ninth places on the grid respectively after today's Superpole qualifying session at Phillip Island in Australia.
Under new-for-2013 regulations, riders will line up in rows of three on the grid for tomorrow's two 22-lap races at the 4.45km circuit, placing both Pata Honda riders on the third row.
Haslam, 29, endured a frustrating day that saw him lose most of the earlier free practice session following a crash, and his allotted two qualifying tyres not giving him the extra performance that he expected.
Ulsterman Rea, meanwhile, continues to seek an optimum balance on his Honda CBR1000RR machine that will allow him to push for consistently fast laps in tomorrow's races.
Leon Haslam - P8, 1m30.998s
Superpole was a bit of a disaster, actually. We had a few issues in Superpole 1 and didn't quite get it sorted. In Superpole 2 we had a misfire problem but managed to solve it and get out on a race tyre with about a minute to go, which just got me through. The qualifier just didn't work but we thought it might have been a bad one so went out for Superpole 3 on the second one, but it was exactly the same. I was slower on the Q but all I had left was an old race tyre and that's what I had to do the lap on. I was quite happy with that but disappointed with the other problems. We were trying something new with traction control in free practice and it kind of low-sided me off which was really strange. We lost most of that session so missed some track time when we wanted to try some things, but I'm not too worried. The feeling's good, we just haven't tested everything that we wanted.
Jonathan Rea - P9, 1m31.353s
We're not where we wanted to be because we had a lot of hopes and expectations that the changes to the bike over the winter would have given us a step forward. Compared to our competitors, we're still in a relatively early stage of developing this new electronics package and, for now, it's not really consistent enough to give me the confidence to push. That has also limited the amount of time we've been able to spend on finding some distance for the tyre and that's still a concern for tomorrow's races. My frustration is showing in my riding and we've struggled to move forward. I do have confidence in my crew though, and their determination to keep searching for something that will allow us to get something out of tomorrow's two races. We'll look through everything again tonight and come back relaxed in the morning ready hopefully to enjoy two 22-lap races.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
The third row is not what we wanted or expected, so it's been a disappointing day. We ran into some problems with the electronics and settings and Leon had a small crash earlier. That disrupted our tyre preservation plans quite a bit, but I think he did a good job to do that time on a race tyre, considering all the little problems he had. Jonathan also had some problems but he's a little further off the pace and we have to try to find some modifications and new settings in warm-up tomorrow to give him back his confidence so he can fight for some decent positions in tomorrow's races.
Second day of qualifiying for Althea Racing team in Philip Island
For the second daytime of qualifying and for the Superpole it was a sunny and hot day, which defined the starting grid of the first two rounds of the World Superbike 2013.Genesio Bevilacqua's Team took the second qualifying session of the morning in order to continue working on the Aprilia RSV4, in function to the races. At the end of the session Giugliano had improved yesterday's time and with his the tenth place (1'31 "470) he easily qualified for the Superpole. Before the Superpole riders competed the free trials which served to Davide and his team for a long run that gave excellent results. In Superpole, Giugliano classified eighth in the first phase, easily qualifying for the second. Unfortunately, in the second session of the qualifying the tire betrayed the Althea's team rider right in the end of his best lap and Davide remained excluded from the third phase for only 16 milliseconds. Tenth place and fourth row for him on the starting grid of the two races that will take place tomorrow on the distance of 22 laps.
Davide Giugliano : "I am disappointed of not having been qualified for the final phase of the Superpole, but the main reason is the poor performance of the tire that did not allow me to do the necessary time. We must be satisfied with the tenth place and tomorrow we will start from the fourth row. This does not preclude the possibility of a good result because we worked very well during the testing and today we did a long run that gave excellent results. It will be important to make a good start to engage immediately the first group."
Genesio Bevilacqua : "It 'a shame to not to reach the final phase of the Superpole. Davide was doing a great lap that would have allowed him to easily qualify for the third phase. Unfortunately, a loss of grip in the rear tire caused him to lose precious time. But we are conscious of having done a good job during the tests, and overall taking care the tire wear on the distances. Giugliano has a pace that will allow him to be competitive in the race and this makes us confident for a great day tomorrow."
Team Suzuki Press Office - February 23.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier qualified in seventh position during this afternoon's eni FIM Superbike World Championship Superpole at Phillip Island in Australia.
Camier made his way through to this afternoon's Superpole by finishing second in this morning's final qualifying practice. He then progressed to the third and final Superpole on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 by finishing fifth and seventh respectively in Superpole 1 and 2. The Englishman used a Pirelli race compound rear tyre in the last session to record his quickest lap, giving him a start at the head of the third row for tomorrow's double header. Camier is confident for the races, because he has proved his pace over race distance in practice and is looking forward to the start of the new season.
Jules Cluzel was on the unfortunate side of a technical issue which stopped his final qualifying session after only four-laps. The Frenchman had already showed a good turn of pace and reduced his best lap-time from yesterday's first qualifying by almost 0.4 seconds, but was forced to watch the rest of the session as his crew worked feverishly to try and get him back on track. Cluzel's time of 1'32.402 gave him 17th on the timesheets, narrowly missing out on a place in Superpole. His crew managed to remedy the issue at the end of final practice session and Cluzel immediately showed impressive speed as he clocked the 13th quickest time, which helped him to restore some of his confidence ahead of tomorrow's two races.
Today' weather produced warm and sunny conditions around the 4,445m Australian track, with air temperatures reaching 26°C. Carlos Checa on a Ducati secured pole position, with the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Michel Fabrizio filling the rest of the front row. Today also saw the first running of the 'FIXI Crescent Suzuki Watches of Distinction Qualifying Challenge', where Camier and Cluzel will compete against each other to win a fantastic Franck Muller watch at the end of the season as the team's best qualifier, with Camier taking the honours today and taking an early lead in the competition for this distinctive timepiece.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will head out on to the Phillip Island circuit for the first round of the season tomorrow lunchtime, as the opening 22-lap race gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (01.00hrs GMT), with the second event scheduled to start at 15.30hrs local time (04.30 GMT).
"I'm not really bowled over with the result in qualifying, but I think our race-pace is a little bit better than seventh. It's going to be a really hard race tomorrow though, no matter what, because there are a lot of people that can do very good race times. We need to improve in the final sector and get dragged down the straight by the fastest bikes, if we can do that the job will be a little easier. I'll be hoping to get a strong start tomorrow, the third row means that a good start is even more crucial, so to have a decent race I need to get off the line well, be quite clever on the tactics and hopefully have the pace at the end of the race to do well."
"It has been a strange day because I expected to improve this morning, but after just one fast lap, I had to come in because I had a problem with my engine. This meant no qualifying for me and no chance to improve any more. This afternoon I was looking to do something good in free practice because I wasn't in the Superpole, but after one lap there was a strange sound from the engine and I had to come back in and the guys needed to open it up to find out what was the problem. We lost a lot of time, but I was able to do two quick laps at the end and my time was better than yesterday. In the three full laps today I improved on every one, so I think my pace was quite good. I haven't tried a long run yet and I have never been able to do a really fast lap, so I am a little bit frustrated. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend and before I came here the main thing was to learn, but tomorrow I still need to discover more because I am a rookie and I have lost a lot of time, so I will have to make up for it on Sunday!"
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"Today was a carbon-copy of yesterday in many ways. A very solid performance all day from Leon and an extremely frustrating and disappointing day for Jules. He had some real bad luck with a relatively minor technical problem, but one which takes a long time to fix and doesn't allow the bike to run properly. The team worked extremely hard to get Jules back out at the end of free practice and the only real positive on his side was that he got down into the low 32s on his two-timed laps. Tomorrow will be a learning experience, it's been a tough introduction for him in to the Superbike class, but the whole team is confident he will show well in the races.
"For Leon, qualifying was not too bad at all, but it's easy to be disappointed with seventh when you've been regularly in the top-three all week. The very positive point is that Leon's qualifying time was done on a race tyre and that - except for the final sector - he's competitive with the fastest guys over a lap. Come the race, that problem should largely disappear, in that there will be a group of riders towing each other along and tactically the race will be extremely different to qualifying: It will be about who has the best package left beneath them at the end of 22-laps. I think that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Leon are in good shape for both of the races."
Checa and Team SBK Ducati Alstare storm to pole on the new 1199 Panigale
Spaniard Carlos Checa defied the pain barrier to take the first Superpole of the season on the all-new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Despite riding with a bruised shoulder and foot, Carlos blasted his way round the 4.445 kilometre circuit in 1:30.234, to finish nearly two tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival. Before the day began there was some doubt as to whether Carlos would be strong enough to qualify for the latter stages of Superpole but, thanks to superb work by the Clinica Mobile’s medical staff and the Ducati Alstare mechanics (who made the bike easier to ride), the Spaniard was able to ride almost pain free and attack Superpole right from the start. Carlos’ Superpole victory made up for the team’s disappointment this morning when it was discovered that Ayrton Badovini had broken a bone in his right foot and would be unable to take part in the the rest of the weekend.
Carlos Checa 1:30.234
"Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physios and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn't think I'd be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really--better than I thought I would!
In Superpole, I felt no pain and could attack without a problem. I like this track and have a lot of experience here, so I was able to push hard, but I really didn’t think I'd be able to go so fast and the lap time was a bit of a surprise to me.
I like the challenge of this project. Me and the team are all growing together and that is exciting for all us. Today was good, but we'll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we'll be competitive tomorrow and I can be in the mix at the end of the race. These past few days have been like heaven and hell. I missed some days testing because I was sick. Then I had a big crash yesterday and today we won Superpole!"
Francis Batta (Team Owner)
"I'm very satisfied. Carlos and the team have worked hard and done a great job in a very short time. I am a bit surprised at our Superpole victory today because we didn't have much track time at Jerez in January because of the weather and so all the improvements have been done here in Australia. We've made a lot of progress in a very short time on a bike that is very different to anything else in WSBK. The team is a very good fusion of Alstare and Ducati and together we hope to realise the potential of the bike and be competitive at every track."
"When I crashed yesterday, I hurt my right foot. I didn't have it X-rayed because I wanted to see how it was after a night's sleep. But when I woke up this morning, I could see that it was very swollen, so I went to the Clinica Mobile for some X-rays. They showed that I had broken a bone in my foot, in the heel area, and that it would not be possible to race. The foot was put in plaster and I was told not to put any weight on it at all. I will fly home on Monday and will then go and see my specialist some time next week, when the situation will be reassessed. Normally, this kind of break needs about thirty-five days, so there is no reason why I cannot ride at Aragon. After my crash in the official tests, this new injury is not what I needed. I am disappointed that I am not able to help carry on the development of this bike and sorry that I will miss the races."