These just in:
Melandri and BMW leave it late to head qualifying
Laguna Seca (US), Friday 27 September 2013 - The second qualifying session lived up to expectations as the WSBK riders did their best to finish inside the top 15, to guarantee themselves a spot for tomorrow morning's Tissot-Superpole. Despite the temperature dropping considerably throughout the 1-hour session, lap-times significantly improved as the leading two riders were even able to break into the 1'23s barrier.
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) eventually took top spot after displacing fellow Italian Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) in the closing stages, thanks to a new Best Lap of 1'23.775. Championship leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) edged his closest rival in the Championship chase Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) to claim third, while Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) strung together a handful of fast laps to elevate himself to fifth ahead of impressive wildcard Danny Eslick (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki).
Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) salvaged seventh position after a mid-session crash, getting the better of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty, Pata Honda's Leon Haslam and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare), who also crashed at Turn 6.
Notable non-improvers were Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) and Roger Hayden (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki), both suffering technical failures but still making Tissot-Superpole in twelfth and fourteenth place respectively.
Times: 1. Melandri (BMW) 1'23.775 average 155.130 kph; 2. Canepa (Ducati) 1'23.938; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'24.153; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'24.303; 5. Davies (BMW) 1'24.334; 6. Eslick (Suzuki) 1'24.345; 7. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'24.373; 8. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'24.394; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'24.592; 10. Badovini (Ducati) 1'24.616; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'24.617; 12. Elias (Aprilia) 1'24.699; 13. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'24.839; 14. Hayden (Suzuki) 1'24.845; 15. Fabrizio (Honda) 1'25.010; 16. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'25.449; 17. Young (Suzuki) 1'25.661; 18. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'25.668; 19. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'25.975; 20. Allerton (BMW) 1'26.735.
Pata Honda SBK gets to grips with Laguna Seca
Pata Honda World Superbike riders Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio both qualified for tomorrow morning's Superpole sessions after a changed qualification schedule today at Laguna Seca in the USA.
The 12th round event at the 3.610km circuit near Monterey in California features race one tomorrow (Saturday) at 14.00 local and race two at the same time on Sunday, so one free practice and two qualifying session were held at the circuit today.
Italian Marco Melandri set the fastest time as Haslam and Fabrizio familiarised themselves and their Honda CBR1000RRs with Laguna's undulating terrain and the iconic Corkscrew chicane.
Leon Haslam - P9
It's been a good day in the end after we struggled a bit in first qualifying earlier. We couldn't find the right direction but I think we've made some progress now after trying a few electronics changes, as well. We're definitely getting more stable and I did a good 18-lap run on a race tyre in the final session, setting my fastest time on about lap 14. I'm pretty confident and happy with what we've achieved today and we're not a million miles away from the others. There are still a few things we want to try tomorrow before Superpole so we'll see what we can figure out.
Michel Fabrizio - P13
It's my first time at Laguna and the track is absolutely fantastic. I have enjoyed riding it very much today but we have had a few problems getting the bike right for the circuit. The main problem is engine braking but this is something that the guys can work on this evening. Tomorrow I look forward to riding here again and making some more improvements.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
It hasn't been easy for Michel today. He's still quite new to the bike and it's his first time at the track. We've made some progress today but we need to improve tomorrow to get into the top ten. Leon struggled a little earlier to find the right setting as he found his way round. He made quite a step in his last run though and we're in touch now. Because the track is short, the times are very close, so just a couple of tenths can lift you higher.
Canepa and Team SBK Ducati Alstare qualify second for tomorrow's Superpole at Laguna Seca
Monterey (USA), Friday 27 September 2013: round 12 of the World Superbike Championship got underway today at the Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway in California, USA; Team SBK Ducati Alstare enjoyed warm and sunny conditions during this first day of track action and results were extremely positive.
Ayrton Badovini used the morning's free practice session to familiarize himself with what is for him a new track, making some set-up modifications with his team during the 45 minutes available. He closed the session in eleventh position with a time of 1'26.0. Niccolò Canepa, who substitutes the injured Carlos Checa this weekend and has raced here in the past, lapped a tenth of a second faster than Ayrton (1'25.9) to position himself tenth at the session's end.
In a change to the usual Superbike race schedule, both qualifying sessions took place this afternoon. In Qualifying 1 Niccolò and Ayrton started to get into their rhythm and both were able to improve significantly on this morning's times. While Ayrton dropped his time by a full second, stopping the clock on 1'25.0 to take eleventh position, Niccolò improved by 1.5 seconds, recording an extremely impressive 1'24.4 with which he projected himself into second position, only 0.013 of a second behind leader Laverty.
Later in the day, in second qualifying, Ayrton took a step forward. After a small crash at turn 6 in the early stages of the session, he returned to the track and recorded a 1'24.6 that positioned him tenth, a good result considering he is riding with an injured left ankle. Niccolò, evidently at ease on the American track, waited until the final minutes before showing his real potential. The first rider to lap in under 1'24 today, Canepa's best lap, a 1'23.9, ensured him of final second place, an extremely positive result that augers well for the races.
Ayrton Badovini: "The track is difficult but we're getting to grips with it gradually. The problem is that, with all the left-hand corners, after a while my foot starts to play up. I didn't want to push too hard today, in order to save something for tomorrow. But I'm fairly pleased because I don't think our pace is bad and it seems that the new weight distribution is making a difference. We'll see what we can do tomorrow."
Niccolò Canepa: "I'm extremely happy! To come to a track as difficult as this one, and considering this isn't my category, finishing second today is a great result. I'm also confident because I know we still have room for improvement and so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Our pace is looking good and so, all things considered, I'd say we're in a good place. Thanks to the team for all their hard work so far; I hope we can improve further tomorrow."
Superpole will take place tomorrow morning followed by Race 1 at 2pm local time. Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, again at 2pm.
TIMES (Qualifying): 1. Melandri (BMW) 1'23.7; 2. Canepa (Ducati Alstare) 1'23.9, 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'24.1, 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'24.3; 5. Davies (BMW) 1'24.3; 6. Eslick (Suzuki) 1'24.3; 7. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'24.3; 8. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'24.3; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'24.5; 10. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 1'24.6
A positive start for team Althea and Davide Giugliano at Laguna Seca
The twelfth round of the World Superbike championship got underway today for team Althea Racing at the Laguna Seca track in the USA. The Superbikes return to the track, located in the Monterey area of California, after a nine-year break. This first day saw the first free practice session and both qualifying sessions take place.
In this morning's practice, which took place on a dry track and in warm and sunny conditions, Davide Giugliano proved that he did not have any particular problems interpreting this new track and with a time of 1'25"907 he closed in ninth position, just over half a second from leader Davies. The Althea rider and technicians used the session to set up their RSV4, trying to find the best solution on what is a very unique track.
The first qualifying session kicked off in the early afternoon and it was clear that Giugliano and his team are working in the right direction. Davide improved by over a second and with a time of 1'24"719 he obtained sixth place. The day ended with the second qualifying session in which Giugliano was able to improve further. Thanks to a best time of 1'24"373 he took final seventh place and secured entry to tomorrow's Superpole which will take place a few
hours before the first race of the weekend.
Davide Giugliano: "I am happy with how today went. We made improvement with each exit that we made and the result is quite a positive one, seeing as it's our first experience of this track. I really like riding here, and tomorrow our objective is to work hard to improve our pace. I'm feeling quite confident and I want to thank all my team for their big help today here at Laguna Seca".
THE FIRST, INTENSE DAY OF PRACTICE FOR WORLD SUPERBIKE AT LAGUNA SECA.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI IS SATISFIED AT THE END OF THE FIRST THREE SESSIONS AND READY FOR SUPERPOLE AND RACE 1.
A LOT OF WORK IN THE GARAGE FOR EUGENE LAVERTY, ON HIS MAIDEN RUN AT THE SPECTACULAR CALIFORNIA TRACK.
Laguna Seca, 28 September 2013 - The first, hectic day of World Superbike practice just ended at Laguna Seca. The unusual format of this round, with Superpole and Race 1 on Saturday and Race 2 on Sunday, condensed today into three full sessions. For the riders and team, making their maiden run on this difficult California track, it was a "tour de force" made pleasant by the weather conditions and the enthusiasm of the American public. The warm welcome for the Aprilia Racing Team, points leader in the manufacturer standings, seems to forecast a weekend full of excitement.
Sylvain Guintoli, currently lying second in the Championship, finished his day ten minutes early. In fact, the French rider preferred not to tire out his injured right shoulder too much so that he'll be in better condition for Superpole tomorrow. In the three sessions Sylvain consistently improved his feeling with the new track, putting the seventh best time on the boards in free practice, repeating the performance in the first qualifiers and finishing the last session in fourth place. His general sensations are good, both physical and in terms of the technical profile which will be verified in the last free practice session before Superpole and Race 1 tomorrow.
Sylvain Guintoli: "In the afternoon we reached a good basic set up even though we didn't lap a lot because I wanted to save my shoulder for Superpole and Race 1. Our decision also stemmed from the fact that the track conditions in the last session were quite different from what we'll find tomorrow. Unfortunately because of my shoulder I need to find a compromise that will allow me to be fast without too much physical stress. In any case we demonstrated a promising pace straight away. We were able to test everything we wanted to and I feel good and confident."
Team mate Eugene Laverty also got off on the right foot, coming from a double win in Istanbul and making his absolute maiden run here at Laguna Seca. The Northern Irish rider, ahead of all the rest in the first qualifiers, later ended his day with the eighth best time in the last session after testing various set up solutions on his RSV4. Prospects are good for Eugene, despite the fact that the reduced gaps (12 riders within one second) make it difficult to accurately assess the values on the field.
Eugene Laverty: "Quite a demanding day. With three consecutive sessions it almost feels like a test! I was surprised at how quickly I adapted to a completely new track. Today we worked really well and I feel like I've reached a good starting point. There are a lot of fast riders here, so it's hard to tell which ones will be the toughest rivals tomorrow. All that's left now is to follow our own game plan and I think that it's the right one".