These just in:
Pata Honda back in action at Donington Park
The Pata Honda duo of Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam were back on track today for round five of the World Superbike championship at Donington Park in the UK.
With an additional free practice session today, Tom Sykes set the fastest overall time as the two Pata Honda riders took their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP to eighth and ninth places respectively in the time sheets. In spite of threatened rain, all three 45-minute sessions at the 4.023km Donington Park circuit stayed dry.
However, tomorrow's forecast features heavy rain with a fourth free practice session followed by an earlier-than-normal Superpole going at 12.00 local time to determine final grid positions for Sunday's two 23-lap fifth-round races.
Jonathan Rea - P8
Honestly, it's been a tough day to get a good base setting around here. We started from zero with our electronics here so we came to our initial setting with information from last year. It seems like we've been chasing a engine brake setting all day but the good news is that in the final session we found some improvement so I think we're on top of that. It seems like we wasted a lot of time concentrating on that and it seems like the forecast for tomorrow is not so good to continue in the final free practice with a dry set-up. But, if this afternoon was our final dry session before the race, we have some ideas to go with. It's not been a perfect day but we can take some positives that we've improved the bike. I guess tomorrow we'll focus on our wet set-up and see what happens on Sunday.
Leon Haslam - P9
We didn't really make much progress between sessions one and two, and we could really have done with a night's sleep then to think about everything and make a better step to session three as normal! So, yeah, it's been tough having three sessions today and we lost a bit of progression. We can see the issues though, and we know where they are, so I'm confident we can make a step. We could use another dry session, but it looks like the weather is going to say otherwise. So we need to make some progress, sure, but it's not as bad as it looks on the timing sheets!
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Both riders have been struggling a little with chassis setting and engine brake issues today. It feels like we are a session behind our competitors and finishing eighth and ninth is certainly not what we were hoping for when we started this morning. We have some good ideas for tomorrow but it looks like it will be wet so that will change the game all over again. Yes, we have some work to do!
WSBK Press Office
Sykes lays down the gauntlet on opening day
Donington (Great Britain), Friday 23 May 2014 - After being in the top three all day, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) posted a series of 1.27 laps to round out the opening day on top at an overcast Donington Park. The reigning Champion was within half a second of his own outright circuit record and he takes an advantage of almost a quarter of a second into tomorrow.
Behind Sykes, the top ten in the combined three session classification, and therefore automatically into Tissot-Superpole 2 are as follows: Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Loris Baz, Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Pata Honda duo Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), and Chaz Davies.
The EVO standings were once again headed by Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) who was 11th overall. Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) left it until FP3 to show his real potential moving into 12th overall just behind the flying Italian rider.
Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) crashed at Redgate corner with 18 minutes to go, both riders able to walk back to the paddock uninjured.
Alessandro Andreozzi (Pedercini Kawasaki) made it into Tissot-Superpole by claiming the final spot in 20th just beating his team mate Romain Lanusse, who is making his World Superbike debut this weekend.
Bryan Staring (Iron Brain Grillini Racing Kawasaki), who replaces Michel Fabrizio for the remainder of the year, will take no further part in the round because of the injury he sustained prior to coming to Donington Park. The Australian rider was unable to fully manoeuvre on the machine, resulting in him withdrawing from the event.
Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'27.840 average 164.877 kph; 2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'28.082; 3. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'28.132; 4. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'28.181; 5. Lowes (Suzuki) 1'28.187; 6. Melandri (Aprilia) 1'28.467; 7. Laverty (Suzuki) 1'28.495; 8. Rea (Honda) 1'28.665; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'28.833; 10. Davies(Ducati) 1'28.947; 11. Canepa (Ducati) 1'29.435; 12. Camier (BMW) 1'29.684; 13. Iddon (Bimota) 1'29.999; 14. Badovini (Bimota) 1'29.999; 15. Salom(Kawasaki) 1'30.020; 16. Elias (Aprilia) 1'30.555; 17. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'30.643; 18. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'31.135; 19. Corti (MV Agusta) 1'31.480; 20. Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1'31.877; 21. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1'32.032; 22. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'32.064; 23. Toth (BMW) 1'32.339; 24. Yates (EBR) 1'32.615;NC. May (EBR) 1'34.194; NC. Sebestyen (BMW) 1'34.519; NC. Staring (Kawasaki) 1'35.916.
Former World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) narrowly took the number one position in the combined standings after two close and exciting Supersport sessions at Donington Park today.With almost everyone in the field improving this afternoon the top eleven riders were covered by a second, giving us the prospect of yet another thrilling encounter on Sunday. Upon completion of today's on-track encounters it was... (read more)
Times: 1. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'31.196 average 158.810 kph; 2. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'31.313; 3. Coghlan (Yamaha) 1'31.340; 4. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'31.568; 5. Zanetti (Honda) 1'31.658; 6. Jacobsen (Kawasaki) 1'31.669; 7. Kennedy (Honda) 1'31.870; 8. Tamburini (Kawasaki) 1'31.934; 9. De Rosa(Honda) 1'32.033; 10. Cluzel (MV Agusta) 1'32.171; 11. Wilairot (Honda) 1'32.237; 12. Russo (Honda) 1'32.366; 13. Rolfo (Kawasaki) 1'32.556; 14. Nocco(Kawasaki) 1'32.567; 15. Bussolotti (Honda) 1'32.639; etc.
THIRD AND SIXTH PLACE FOR GUINTOLI AND MELANDRI AT DONINGTON AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE.
RAIN IS THE UNKNOWN FACTOR FOR SUPERPOLE SATURDAY AND THE RACES SUNDAY.
Donington, 23 May 2014 - At the end of a working Friday, exceptionally characterised by three practice session instead of the normally scheduled two, good results were in store for the Aprilia Racing Team. Guintoli and Melandri finished the first day of the Donington weekend with third and sixth place respectively in the combined standings. But the third session had the Frenchman in second place and Marco in fourth - confirmation of the positive developments on this Friday. Of the top riders, including Sykes, the two Aprilia standard bearers were the only ones to improve in the third session.
However, the weather remains the big unknown. The rain that was forecast even for today arrived only in the last seconds of the last session. If the forecast is correct - which calls for rain both Saturday and Sunday - the setups and solutions tested thus far will all be useless.
Sylvain Guintoli: "Today was a very demanding day with three sessions and a lot of testing. The bike is performing very well at the moment on the flying lap, but we still need to work on race pace. We have the speed, our times are proof of that, so we just need to focus on pace to make sure our performance is consistent and to get the most out of the RSV4 over long distance".
Marco Melandri: "We still haven't taken a decisive step but, especially in the afternoon when we went back to a standard setup, I was able to go fast in a few laps. We are working 360 degrees to find a setup that will let me be fast and consistent and we are also waiting to see how the weather develops because that will be the biggest unknown of the weekend".
Team Bimota Alstare news
2014 World Superbike Championship
Round 5, Donington, UK
Friday practice & qualifying
Conditions: Mostly cloudy, some rain
AYRTON AND CHRISTIAN EASILY INTO SUPERPOLE
Team Bimota Alstare riders Christian Iddon and Ayrton Badovini ended the first day of practice and qualifying at Donington with the 13th and 14th fastest times and will once again take part in the Superpole shoot-out. At the end of three sessions, Christian and Ayrton could not be split - both ended with identical lap times of 1:29.99.
Christian Iddon 1:29.999
" I found the first two sessions a bit frustrating because I found it hard to ride as hard as I wanted. It was a bit of effort putting in good lap times and things were not coming easy. I couldn't see any progress in the second session and we had a choice to either try to find grip or embrace the slide. We decided to embrace the slide and made some changes to the bike, which improved it in all areas and, almost more importantly, gave us some info about a direction we should not go in. So it was a productive session and we ended fighting with the top EVO guys, which is where we wanted to be.
We collected a lot of useful data today and everybody in the team did a very good job. I now feel that I can play with the bike and that's a great feeling to have."
Ayrton Badovini 1:29.999
"I am very happy today because I managed to put in 61 laps - and all without any problems! There was a lot of consistency today. I felt confident with the bike and ended the day with a greater understanding of it. We collected a lot of information and we progressed, which is good because we do not have so much time on the bike tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I did not have a good feeling with the new tyre we put on when I was going for a fast lap at the end and I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to. If things with the tyre had worked out well, I am sure I would've lapped half a second faster - and that is a lot!
If I am faster in the rain tomorrow, I would prefer wet races on Sunday, but I think that the best thing for everybody - especially the fans - would be if it was dry on Sunday."
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
"I am very pleased with how today has gone and very happy with all the hard work everybody in the team has done. Ayrton did over sixty laps and didn't have any problems, so that shows how strong the bike is. He was consistent throughout the day and would've been quicker at the end if the new tyre had worked better for him.
I know Christian had some frustrations today, but he worked hard and did very well in the final session.
A lot of people forget that our bike is still very new and we have a lot to learn, but I think we have shown that the BB3 has the potential to be the top EVO bike sooner, rather than later."
Provisional front row spot for Giugliano and the Ducati Superbike Team at Donington Park
Donington Park (UK), Friday 23 May 2014 - The Ducati Superbike Team enjoyed a encouraging start to proceedings at Donington Park with riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies concluding today's three timed practice sessions in overall second and tenth position.
Round 5 of the 2014 Superbike World Championship got underway today at the British track of Donington Park and, in a change to the usual schedule, the day's programme included all three of the timed practice sessions, which took place in predominantly dry albeit cloudy conditions (average air temperature 17°C, track 22°C).
The official Ducati Superbike riders used the first session to start adapting their 1199 Panigale bikes to the English track. Having made good progress throughout this opening session, the factory riders closed with lap times that positioned them ninth (Davide) and tenth (Chaz).
Later in the day, both riders were able to make a significant step forward in session two, particularly Giugliano who improved by more than 1.5 seconds on times set earlier in the day, scoring the fastest lap of the session with a 1'28.082 (just a few thousandths from Sykes' 2013 lap record). Davies also improved, dropping his time by eight tenths of a second to close ninth with a best of 1'29.001.
Chaz went on to improve marginally again in the third and final timed session, recording a time of 1'28.947, meaning that the combined results of the day's three sessions saw Giugliano close in overall second position and Davies tenth, meaning that both factory riders easily qualified for tomorrow's Superpole 2.
Quotes after the day's sessions:
Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) - 2nd (1'28.082)
"Everything's going well so far. We made two long-runs today to better understand the tyre wear and we've seen that we're a bit on the limit from the 13th or 14th lap onwards, so we are working on that. We need to continue to prepare for the races, whatever the weather conditions might be. We have a high-performing bike and I'm feeling fairly comfortable in all sectors of the track with no particular problems; now we just need to focus on tyres and race distance."
Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) - 10th (1'28.947)
"Luckily I didn't hurt myself in the crash, I just lost grip at the front, nothing serious. We made a lot of progress throughout the day, especially between sessions two and three. The bike felt a lot better in the final session, even if lap times didn't necessarily reflect that. We're still losing a bit too much time in the second sector, in the fast section of the track, so that's something we'll continue to work on tomorrow. We'll be pushing hard tomorrow, whether it's wet or dry, and are aiming to qualify inside the first two rows of the grid."