If Carlos Checa can add 26 more points to his lead over Melandri this weekend the Spaniard will claim the 2011 WSB title.
Spaniard Carlos Checa charged toward his sixth Superpole of the season on Saturday at the Imola circuit. The 38-year-old Althea Ducati rider held off Irishman Jonathan Rea in the final session by just 0.078 seconds with a new track best of 1’47.196, putting him in ideal position to take the championship this weekend.
“Jonathan [Rea] has been very strong all weekend and we knew it was going to be hard to beat him,” said Checa. “Basically we’ve been struggling with the qualifying tires, and in the end we put on the race tire and improved. I did a really good clean lap with no mistake, and when I saw the time, I was pretty sure that no one was going to beat it.”
“It’s been such a big journey to get here on my side with my family, the physio and the doctors, and on the team’s side because they’ve worked so hard with the new ride-by-wire system and Cosworth are helping us a lot so I can’t thank everyone enough for their belief in me,” Rea said. “I think we can be really competitive tomorrow but at this point I’m really looking forward to 2012!”
Pata Aprilia Racing’s Noriyuki Haga joins Checa and Rea on the front after setting the third-fastest pace, with the Japanese rider lapping the Italian circuit 0.246 seconds behind Checa.
“I’m really happy for this position, especially because I made a little mistake in the second exit of Superpole, but finally I got third position with a race tire and the front row and I’m feeling good,” said Haga.
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes also landed a front row start for Sunday’s races after finishing fourth on the timesheets only 0.026 seconds behind Haga.
2011 World Superbike Imola Superpole podium (from left to right): Jonathan Rea, Carlos Checa and Noriyuki Haga.
Following one of the toughest sessions of his career, Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty made major improvements to move up to fifth in the charts. BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam trailed the Irishman in sixth and was the final rider within a second of Checa. BMW Italia’s Aryton Badovini was the fastest Italian of the day with his time of 1’48.234, followed by Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli who nabbed the final spot on the second row.
Yamaha’s Marco Melandri was unable to move to the final Superpole session and posted ninth on the grid at his home circuit. Less than a tenth behind the Italian was Leon Camier, who is riding solo for Aprilia Alitalia after teammate Max Biaggi was deemed unfit to race due to his broken ankle. Alstare Suzuki’s Michel Fabrizio earned 11th in the timesheets 0.345 seconds behind Melandri, and Supersonic Racing’s Max Berger snatched the final spot on Row 3 with a top lap of 1’48.935.
Some of the names which didn’t make it past the first Superpole session include Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz, BMW’s Troy Corser, Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz and Castrol Honda’s Ruben Xaus. Both Lascorz and Xaus will have to start from the fifth row on Sunday after not qualifying for Superpole.
There is currently 74 points separating Melandri from Checa in the 2011 World Superbike Championship. If Checa can add 26 more points to his lead this weekend, the WSB title will go to Spain for the first time.
Imola World Superbike Superpole 2011 Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’47.196
Honda’s Jonathan Rea continued posting competitive times while racing with new ride-by-wire technology on his CBR1000RR.
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’47.274
3. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1’47.442
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’47.442
5. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1’47.929
6. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’48.081
7. Aryton Badovini (BMW) 1’48.234
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’48.416
9. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1’47.781
10. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1’47.858
11. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’48.126
12. Max Berger (Ducati) 1’48.334
13. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’48.741
14. Federico Sandi (Ducati) 1’48.812
15. Troy Corser (BMW) 1’48.894
16. Alessandro Polita (Ducati) 1’49.091
Kawasaki Motocard.com’s Broc Parkes captured pole during World Supersport qualifying at the Imola circuit. The Aussie was 0.075 seconds faster than Yamaha ParkinGO’s Luca Scassa, who recorded second on the timesheets after posting the best lap in Friday’s qualifying. Meanwhile, Hanspree Ten Kate Honda’s Florian Marino and Yamaha ParkinGO’s Chaz Davies rounded out the front row as Davies currently leads the series into its final three rounds.
Imola World Supersport Qualifying 2011 Results:
1. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) 1’51.594
Broc Parkes stole pole position from Luca Scassa by just 0.075 seconds during Saturday’s Supersport qualifying.
2. Luca Scassa (Yamaha) 1’51.669
3. Florian Marino (Honda) 1’51.737
4. Chaz Davies (Yamaha) 1’51.852
5. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’52.120
6. Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha) 1’52.140
7. Massimo Roccoli (Kawasaki) 1’52.353
8. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’52.543
9. Gino Rea (Honda) 1’52.766
10. Ronan Quarmby (Triumph) 1’52.844
11. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Kawasaki) 1’53.014
12. Fabien Foret (Honda) 1’53.056
13. Alexander Lundh (Honda) 1’53.114
14. Robbin Harms (Honda) 1’53.433
15. James Ellison (Honda) 1’53.680