These just in from Imola:
Rea overhauls Sykes on Day 1
Imola (Italy), Friday 9 May 2014 - As the opening day of on track action at Imola draws to a close, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) heads into tomorrow's final free practice session ahead of Tissot-Superpole as the fastest rider in the combined classification.
A fire in the adjoining park close to the circuit brought out the red flags after only 7 minutes after major improvements already for Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who had jumped to 9th and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who had both also improved on their morning time.
When the session resumed virtually all of the riders improved, which was to be expected, with Jonathan Rea leading the standings from Sykes and Melandri but another red flag with 12 minutes of the session remaining meant another short stoppage before the session could finally resume.
Eventually with the stoppage reaching almost 45 minutes, the decision to cancel the on track activity for today was made due to a broken drainage cover at Turn 4.
The top ten riders were therefore classified as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the fastest EVO rider Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team).
As it stands Michel Fabrizio (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) is 20th and therefore the final rider to make into Tissot-Superpole. There is of course once final session tomorrow morning for everyone to improve.
Times: 1. Rea (Honda) 1'48.147 average 164.310 kph; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'48.187; 3. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'48.261; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'48.323; 5. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'48.329; 6. Davies (Ducati) 1'48.592; 7. Haslam (Honda) 1'48.999; 8. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'49.259; 9. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'49.600; 10. Camier (BMW) 1'49.610; 11. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'49.710; 12. Goi (Ducati) 1'49.920; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 1'50.015; 14. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'50.103; 15. Badovini (Bimota) 1'50.228; 16. Elias (Aprilia) 1'50.370; 17. Iddon (Bimota) 1'50.609; 18. Scassa (Kawasaki) 1'50.926; 19. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'51.034; 20. Fabrizio (Kawasaki) 1'51.357; 21. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'51.544; 22. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'51.572; 23. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'51.581; 24. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'51.707; 25. Toth (BMW) 1'52.445; 26. May (EBR) 1'54.669; 27. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'55.102; NC. Yates (EBR) 1'56.225.
Free Practice 1
Davide Giugliano was the fastest rider in the opening Free Practice session this morning. Riding in the hottest conditions of the season so far, the Italian ended the session marginally quicker than his nearest rival, Jonathan Rea. From the start of the session both Aprilia Racing Team riders (Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri) set the pace with reigning Champion Tom Sykes... (read more)
With blistering temperatures gracing the Imola circuit, the World Supersport riders enjoyed two sunny sessions ahead of the 4th round of the championship on Sunday. The Italian track always provides close racing and judging by the Free Practice times from today, Sunday's race could be a nail biter. Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) gave the local fans something to smile about, powering his Honda CBR600cc machine to the fastest time this morning but it was former Champion... (read more)
Times: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'51.744 average 159.021 kph; 2. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1'52.090; 3. Zanetti (Honda) 1'52.147; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'52.168; 5. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1'52.292; 6. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'52.461; 7. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1'52.741; 8. Kennedy (Honda) 1'52.768; 9. Bussolotti (Honda) 1'52.855; 10. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1'52.868; 11. Russo (Honda) 1'52.929; 12. De Rosa (Honda) 1'52.985; 13. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1'53.195; 14. Baldolini (MV Agusta) 1'53.305; 15. Nocco (Kawasaki) 1'53.697; etc.
GREAT START FOR THE APRILIA TEAM IN THEIR HOME ROUND.
PROTAGONISTS IN BOTH SESSIONS ON THE IMOLA TRACK, MARCO MELANDRI AND SYLVAIN GUINTOLI ENSURE A GOOD SPOT FOR THEMSELVES IN THE SUNDAY RACES.
Imola, 9 May 2014 - On a decidedly summer day the World Superbike engines roared to life at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola. For the Aprilia Racing Team, reigning Manufacturer World Champion, it was a very promising début: Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli were protagonists straight away in the two sessions today, demonstrating great determination and an excellent pace. The only black spot on the day was a red flag 12 minutes from the end of the second session when the riders were getting ready to test the last solutions.
Marco Melandri, playing on his home pitch, ended the day with the third best time in the combined standings. The young man from Ravenna improved consistently until arriving less than two tenths of a second from the ranking leader. Efforts will be focused on two fronts tomorrow: continuing the search for the best settings in view of the race and finding speed on the flying lap in order to do well in Superpole. In fact, one of the characteristics of the Imola track is difficulty overtaking.
Marco Melandri: "I am really quite pleased. For us today was like a new, positive beginning. I feel good on my RSV4 and I am able to ride very smoothly. Today we did a lot of work in preparation for the race, trying to understand how the tyres behave and working on our electronics strategies. Tomorrow we'll continue in this direction, also looking for speed on the flying lap for Superpole. The interruption in the second session didn't even create any big problems for us. We already have a good base to build on".
It was also a decidedly positive day for Sylvain Guintoli, winner at Assen and fourth best time today. The Frenchman put in a lot of laps at Imola and showed that he is consistently fast. There are a few regrets about the time lost in the last session, which could have led to further improvements. For Sylvain and his team tomorrow promises to be a rather intense day.
Sylvain Guintoli: "We started off well. As usual we are working on race pace, but my initial feeling with my RSV4 is very good. With all the red flags that interrupted the practice sessions there are still a few things left to test. I hope we can get some consistent time to work tomorrow and finish what we have planned. In any case our times are promising and I'm confident that starting from the good work we did today we'll be able to improve even more".
Rea finishes early in P1 at Imola
Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea was fastest on the opening day of the fourth-round World Superbike championship meeting at Imola in Italy today, with the second free practice session this afternoon cut short by 12 minutes.
A broken drainage cover at turn four at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari caused a red flag and, with track workers unable to repair it, the day's activities were abandoned.
Rea's Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, who had been preparing to return to the track with fresh tyres when today's session was cancelled, was seventh fastest overall in today's two free practices at the 4.936km Imola circuit.
A full World Superbike schedule is expected to run at Imola tomorrow, with Free Practice 3 going at 09.45 to determine which riders will take part in the afternoon Superpole sessions.
Jonathan Rea - 1st
I really enjoyed being back at Imola today. The bike is clearly working quite well here but we still need to make some good improvements, especially getting the power down off the slower corners and final turning with engine brake. But for our first day we've got to be happy because our pace is OK. The ultimate lap time I didn't think was very fast compared to the race or the test here last year. But the track is quite fresh and there's not a lot of rubber down - there haven't been any big meetings here before us. Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you'll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit. We'll work hard tonight to refine the bike even more and hopefully go with that pace.
Leon Haslam - 7th
This morning felt pretty good and I did the whole session on the harder tyre. I felt we could have got into the 48s with our last tyre but I got held up a bit. This afternoon I got a couple of laps together on the SC0. I went slightly quicker but couldn't really get a good lap together and then the red flag came out. I just didn't really get a chance to go for a good lap time on a softer tyre. Generally, I felt really happy this morning and just didn't get a really good go at it this afternoon.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
The day was cut short by 12 minutes but Jonathan was in P1, which is good. He did a little run with some good lap times but still we have to improve in some sectors. If you're P1 you cannot complain too much, though - there's work to do but it was a good day for Jonathan. On Leon's side of the garage it was a shame that the session was cut short because we had just put in new tyres and he was ready to go. I'm sure he would have improved his lap time but it didn't happen. The morning was a little better than this afternoon, when he struggled a bit with the grip, but overall a positive day.
Strong results for the Ducati Superbike Team on day one of action at the Imola SBK round
Imola (Italy), Friday 11 May 2014 - Day one of Superbike action at the Imola circuit in Italy brought positive results for the Ducati Superbike Team and its riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, fifth and sixth respectively after today's two timed practice sessions.
The first timed practice session of the weekend saw both Giugliano and Davies score some solid results. In warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 24°C, track 44°C), the Ducati Superbike pairing were immediately at their ease on the Italian track, lapping with consistently fast times from the outset. Gradually improving on these times as the session went on, Giugliano put in an extremely fast lap in the final minutes, recording a best of 1'48.329 to finish at the head of the pack, in first place, two tenths quicker than second-placed rider Rea. Davies was also able to record some impressive lap times, concluding this opening session in fourth place, with a best time of 1'48.890.
Session two took place on an even warmer track (approx. 50°C) but was unfortunately interrupted more than once when the red flag was waved due to a persistent problem with a broken drain cover at the edge of the track. Despite the higher temperatures and interruptions, Davies was able to improve on his best time set in the morning, recording a fastest time of 1'48.592 which positioned him sixth overall. Giugliano was unable to improve on this morning's already very fast time, closing in final fifth position at the end of day one.
Quotes after the day's sessions:
Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 5th (1'48.329)
"Everything's going well so far. This morning I already felt very comfortable on the bike and we're continuing to work in the right direction. This afternoon we didn't have the chance to improve but we did use the same tyre for the entire session and were consistently fast which is very important considering the hot track conditions. I'm a bit disappointed about the overall position but we still have time to improve tomorrow."
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - 6th (1'48.592)
"On the one hand the interruptions this afternoon gave us time to work on the bike but on the other hand we had a few things to test so those final twelve minutes would have been useful. Overall it's been a good day, in this morning's session the bike already felt good and then I think we made another step forward this afternoon. We're still suffering from some vibration problems but we plan to attack that issue tomorrow - if we can work on that and find a solution then I think we can further improve and be competitive here."