These just in:
Guintoli spearheads Aprilia charge on Day 1
Sepang (Malaysia), Friday 6 June 2014 - After a top 3 lockout by Aprilia machines in FP1, the combined times after both of today's Free Practice saw the same 3 riders end the day at the top, albeit with Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) edging his team mate and first session pace-setter Marco Melandri and a rejuvenated Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia), who remained 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) moved himself to 4th overall with a late surge displacing reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who ended the day 5th and the improving Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who was 6th.
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) rounded out the top ten.
Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia) improved from 15th this morning to head the riders in the EVO category in 12th overall, 0.069s ahead of David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) who in turn is a fraction of a second ahead of Claudio Corti (MV Agusta RC - Yakhnich Motorsport) and Team Bimota Alstare's Christian Iddon who completed the top 15.
Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) currently holds 20th position overall on combined times with one final session to decide the participants in Tissot-Superpole tomorrow morning. Fellow Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) was 21st today and will be looking to find the 0.007s to elevate himself into Superpole 1.
Times: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 2'05.096 average 159.660 kph; 2. Melandri (Aprilia) 2'05.167; 3. Elias (Aprilia) 2'05.222; 4. Giugliano (Ducati) 2'05.278; 5. Sykes (Kawasaki) 2'05.283; 6. Laverty (Suzuki) 2'05.356; 7. Davies (Ducati) 2'05.448; 8. Rea (Honda) 2'05.752; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 2'05.950; 10. Lowes (Suzuki) 2'06.089; 11. Haslam (Honda) 2'06.607; 12. Camier (BMW) 2'06.898; 13. Salom (Kawasaki) 2'06.967; 14. Corti (MV Agusta) 2'06.978; 15. Iddon (Bimota) 2'06.981; 16. Canepa (Ducati) 2'07.166; 17. Morais (Kawasaki) 2'07.262; 18. Badovini (Bimota) 2'07.582; 19. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 2'07.830; 20. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'08.165; 21. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2'08.172; 22. Toth (BMW) 2'08.347; 23. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 2'08.950; 24. Staring (Kawasaki) 2'09.837; 25. May (EBR) 2'10.761; 26. Sebestyen (BMW) 2'10.825; 27. Yates (EBR) 2'11.191.
The World Supersport riders began their Sepang race weekend with an extended 75 minute opening free practice session that was headed by Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC - Yakhnich Motorsport). In hot and humid conditions the initial pace-setter was the MV Agusta rider, who looked immediately at home at the Malaysian venue having ridden here in the past in other classes. As the heat and humidity became more intense, Free Practice two ran for the usual 45 minutes and on combined times it was Cluzel... (read more)
Times: 1. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 2'09.423 average 154.322 kph; 2. Wilairot (Honda) 2'09.467; 3. Marino (Kawasaki) 2'09.548; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'09.575;5. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'09.740; 6. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 2'09.821; 7. Coghlan (Yamaha) 2'09.860; 8. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 2'09.915; 9. Zanetti (Honda) 2'09.980; 10. De Rosa (Honda) 2'10.346; 11. Zaidi (Honda) 2'10.378; 12. Kennedy (Honda) 2'10.659; 13. Leonov (MV Agusta) 2'10.881; 14. Tamburini(Kawasaki) 2'11.050; 15. Bussolotti (Honda) 2'11.068; 16. Nocco (Kawasaki) 2'12.045; 17. Menghi (Yamaha) 2'12.131; 18. Russo (Honda) 2'12.233; 19. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 2'12.312; 20. Rogers (Honda) 2'12.851; 21. Ivanov (Yamaha) 2'13.269; 22. Coveņa (Kawasaki) 2'14.164; 23. Calero (Honda) 2'14.171.
Pata Honda begins work at hot Sepang
The Pata Honda team had its first taste of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today as riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam took their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SPs to the famous track for the first time.
Rea ended the day in eighth place and Haslam was eleventh as French rider Sylvain Guintoli set the provisional pole time at the 5.548km circuit that lies 60km to the south of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Both riders suffered from low grip levels today, although they were able to improve on their morning times in the second free practice session which took place in the anticipated hot and humid conditions this afternoon, with air temperatures in the low thirties and the track at 41˚C.
Jonathan Rea - P8, 2m05.752s
It's disappointing to be this far off on day one. We were able to improve our time with a new rear tyre but generally our base speed needs to improve. The good thing is that it felt quite comfortable when I did my fastest lap. The changes we are making on the chassis are going the right way but we have some engine cutting along the straights when I'm on full throttle. We need to look at that problem because at a track like Sepang it's quite a disadvantage. I think I'm losing about half a second in the last sector, which includes the back straight. Hopefully tomorrow we can do a better job.
Leon Haslam - P11, 2m06.607s
Not a great day, to be honest. We tried a few radical changes on the chassis and we're still finding our way with that. I've had a problem with power delivery today and ran out of time this afternoon. I had a grip problem as well and the one new tyre I tried was spinning up everywhere.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Jonathan had various problems in opening free practice this morning which we were able to solve partly for this afternoon. There are still some things to resolve and have a look at but this afternoon he was able to improve his time, despite the hot conditions and low grip levels. For Leon we decided to change the set-up of the bike, both with electronics and with chassis settings. It's bringing some positives but his overall position has not improved. We'll keep trying to improve and see what we can get tomorrow.
WSBK - GREAT START AT SEPANG FOR THE APRILIA RACING TEAM.
SYLVAIN GUINTOLI AND MARCO MELANDRI TAKE THE TOP TWO SPOTS IN THE COMBINED STANDINGS AND TONI ELIAS IS IN THIRD WITH THE OTHER "SATELLITE" RSV4.
Sepang (Malaysia), 6 June 2014 - It was an excellent Friday for the Aprilia Racing Team at Sepang, a new circuit on the 2014 Superbike calendar. Aprilia dominated the first day with three RSV4s in the top three spots of the combined standings, promising to be a sure protagonist throughout the Malaysian weekend. In fact, behind the two official RSV4s ridden by Guintoli and Melandri, Toni Elias was third on his "satellite" Aprilia.
The weather was as predicted with tropical temperatures and humidity, but all entirely normal for these latitudes.
In afternoon practice Sylvain Guintoli confirmed the great pace he had demonstrated in the first session, extended by 75 minutes in order to give the riders a chance to familiarise themselves with the new track. Finishing the morning session in third place, the Frenchman put the top time on the boards in the afternoon, shaving off almost two tenths of a second. Sylvain was also able to gather comforting data in terms of race pace, despite the fact that a lot of work still needs to be done to find the best setup.
Sylvain Guintoli: "The results are clear today, the RSV4 works really well here. In the last few rounds we haven't able to use the bike's full potential, but here we have the conditions to be able to do it and I obviously like that a lot. Not only is our flying lap fast, but our pace is too and it has been since the first session. I am also feeling good on runs over several laps. In short this has been a decidedly positive day from all points of view".
Second in the combined times after making the best time during morning practice, Marco Melandri is also pleased with the two sessions. Fast and focused, Marco is concentrating on working with used tyres, trying to take the best possible advantage of his RSV4s full potential. In the two sessions before Superpole tomorrow there will be time to try for pure speed, taking advantage of the improved grip conditions as well.
Marco Melandri: "I felt very comfortable straight away on this track. It is a particular track. There isn't much grip, but we have been working constantly, changing details throughout the last few races, and I'm starting to have a better feeling now. In the afternoon we preferred not to use new tyres because it was very slippery and I'm sure that tomorrow the times will drop quite a bit. We are off to a really positive start for this Malaysian round".
The Ducati Superbike Team makes a good start to the race weekend at Sepang
Sepang (Malaysia), Friday 6 June 2014 - The Ducati Superbike Team got down to work today at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, with factory riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies completing the first two timed practice sessions of the weekend in very hot conditions but with positive results, to conclude in fourth and seventh position respectively.
This morning's first timed practice was an extended session of 75 minutes in order to give riders the chance to better familiarise themselves with the track. Conditions were typically hot and humid from early on in the day, with a track temperature of 42°C and an air temperature of 32°C. For Giugliano, out on the Sepang track for the very first time, the day got off to a positive start; despite the difficult conditions, he was able to record the fifth fastest time of the session, with a best of 2'05.926. Davies, who already has good track knowledge, having raced here on several occasions when he participated in the 250 and 125 World Championships, was quickly up to speed and closed with an almost identical time to his teammate, 2'05.964, to place sixth.
In the afternoon's session, and with an elevated track temperature of 55°C, both Ducati Superbike riders continued to work to adapt their 1199 Panigale bikes to the hot track. Both were able to improve on the morning's lap times, despite a lack of grip caused by the high temperatures. Davide lowered his time by seventh tenths to record a best of 2'05.278, to position fourth at the end of the day, followed by Chaz, seventh, who also improved by half a second to register a fastest time of 2'05.448.
Quotes after the day's sessions:
Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 4th (2'05.278)
"It's a great track, very technical and then there are some very particular sections that you don't see at other tracks. It's a pity about the bumps that the F1 cars have left on the surface though! Today has gone pretty well, though we're having some problems with consistency, in that we're fast through the first laps but then there's a dramatic drop in grip, something we see every time that the asphalt is very hot. In the afternoon we improved a little and will continue to work on this tomorrow. Physically it's quite difficult, it's the first time I'm riding in these conditions and it's hard to breathe with the helmet, suit etc. I guess it just takes time to get used to, but anyway I think we can be pleased with our work today - I hadn't been on this track before, neither had the team, so we should be satisfied with the progress made."
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - 7th (2'05.448)
"I'm reasonably happy with the bike. The biggest problem is that as soon as there is a drop in grip, I lose stability, the bike becomes nervous, so that's something to work on tomorrow as I feel I am having to tiptoe around the track after only a few laps. We definitely need to improve things as far as grip is concerned after about the five-lap mark. The grip level didn't seem to change a lot this afternoon, despite the fact that temperatures were higher, it all seemed fairly similar. Fortunately I'm feeling ok physically speaking, I've been able to deal with that side of things fairly well. So all in all today went fairly well but there's more to do tomorrow of course."
POSITIVE START AT NEW TRACK
Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon made a positive start on the opening day of the sixth round of this year's World Superbike Championship at Sepang circuit. This was the first visit to the track for both Ayrton and Christian and much of today's sessions were taken up learning this technically difficult track. The hot and humid temperatures didn't help, but both riders worked hard during the two sessions and were able to give the team a lot of feedback at the end of the day.
Christian Iddon - 15th, 2:06.981
"This was a new track for all of us to learn and it is a bit of a strange one because some parts are quite simple and some parts are not simple at all and so it takes time to understand it properly. For the afternoon session we made the bike a bit stiffer and lengthened the gear ratios to make it easier to ride and I was able to take well over a second off my morning lap time.I am not sure about the grip at the moment, but maybe I don't have a great feeling about it because of the high temperatures.
I was pretty happy this afternoon because I was able to follow some of the factory riders and they weren't able to pull away much - and that felt good.I have trained really hard for this race and was completely prepared for the heat and the humidity. At the end of the day, I felt absolutely OK and that made me happy about the hard work I'd put in."
Ayrton Badovini - 18th 2:07.582
"I am not happy because this afternoon I think we went in the wrong direction and weren't able to improve as much as we should have. We made some changes to the bike from the morning session, but it was more difficult to ride and I couldn't push hard. During this afternoon's session we did try and change the bike back to our morning set-up, but the session wasn't really long enough to do as much as we wanted.
This track is difficult to learn because there are some parts where you cannot see the exit to the turns, so track knowledge is crucial. As I put in more laps, I am sure I will go quicker and quicker, but first we need the bike to work for this track."
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
"Some of the riders have been to this circuit before, but it is a new one for Christian and Ayrton and the team, so I am pretty satisfied with what we achieved today. It was very hot and humid, but both riders have been training hard and I think it has paid off. This circuit is not an easy one to learn, but I am sure that both riders will make significant improvements tomorrow and will be much closer to the leaders."