Carlos Checa was just 0.012 seconds faster than Eugene Laverty on Friday at the Magny-Cours circuit in France.
During the start of the penultimate round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship in France Spaniard Carlos Checa looked to be in impeccable form at the Magny-Cours circuit. Leading the field by 0.012 seconds, Checa nearly broke the track record and looks to be on pace to secure the first WSB title for Spain this weekend.
“We’ve worked really well today,” Checa said. “We’re missing a little grip and so concentrated on that for pretty much the entire session and by the end it looks like we found something. In these temperatures I guess it’s going to be a problem for most people but we’ll work more on that tomorrow.”
Irishman Eugene Laverty was a close second to Checa and is making a final push to secure third in the championship from Aprilia’s Max Biaggi, who will miss another round this weekend after it was determined that the injury to his foot hasn’t healed and is preventing him from changing gears.
“It was a really good first qualifying session, finishing second in the time sheets is the highest I have been all year,” said Laverty. “The closest I have been to this at such an early stage in the weekend was at Monza when we were third, so hopefully that is a good omen.”
Eugene Laverty is 25 points behind Max Biaggi and may overtake the Italian for third in the series this weekend.
Meanwhile, Liberty Racing Ducati’s Sylvain Guintoli posted the third-best time on Friday at his home circuit just 0.077 seconds adrift of Laverty, with Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes just more than a tenth behind the Frenchman.
Czech rider Jakub Smrz managed a top-five finish in the charts 0.082 seconds behind Guintoli with Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea finishing sixth in the order. BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam was only 0.020 seconds behind the Irishman in seventh, followed by Pata Aprilia’s Noriyuki Haga.
“This day was pretty good,” said Haslam. “We tried a few different options on the rear tires for the race distance. It is not easy to find a good set-up for this circuit, so we worked on that. The lap times are not too bad at the moment. We are only three tenths off the quickest time, and I lose a lot of time in just one corner. Tomorrow if we can rectify the issue that we have in that one corner, then we should be somewhere close to the front.”
Troy Corser put a second BMW in the top-10 after finishing the session in ninth. Kawasaki’s Joan Lascorz was 0.038 seconds behind the Australian to round out the top-10 finishers on Friday.
Magny-Cours World Superbike Friday Qualifying Results 2011:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’38.652
2. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) 1’38.664
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’38.741
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’38.860
5. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’38.942
6. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’38.957
7. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’38.977
8. Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia) 1’39.019
9. Troy Corser (BMW) 1’39.025
10. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’39.063
11. Max Berger (Ducati) 1’39.196
12. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1’39.220
13. Aryton Badovini (BMW) 1’39.309
14. Marco Melandri (Yamaha) 1’39.333
15. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki) 1’39.504
16. Leon Camier (Aprilia) 1’39.587
In World Supersport the color greed filled the top of the timesheets on Friday with Lorenzini by Leoni’s Massimo Roccoli taking the fastest lap at Magny-Cours. More than half a second ahead of the field, Roccoli’s quick pace occurred after the recent announcement that Vanni Lorenzini’s team will become Kawasaki’s official Supersport team next year. Meanwhile Broc Parkes finished the session just 0.088 seconds ahead of teammate David Salom, with Yamaha ParkinGO’s Luca Scassa recording the fourth-quickest lap. Hanspree Ten Kate Honda’s Fabien Foret rounded out the top-five times and was the final rider within a second of Roccoli.
Broc Parkes was in the middle of a Kawasaki dominated session after finishing more than half a second behind Massimo Roccoli and just 0.088 seconds ahead of David Salom.
Magny-Cours Supersport Friday Qualifying Results:
1. Massimo Roccoli (Kawasaki) 1’41.498
2. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) 1’42.060
3. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’42.148
4. Luca Scassa (Yamaha) 1’42.247
5. Fabien Foret (Honda) 1’42.384
6. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’42.519
7. Florian Marino (Honda) 1’42.644
8. Chaz Davies (Yamaha) 1’42.662
9. Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha) 1’42.680
10. Gino Rea (Honda) 1’43.127
11. James Ellison (Honda) 1’43.164
12. Ben Nemeth (Honda) 1’43.249
13. Ronan Quarmby (Triumph) 1’43.328
14. Pawel Szkopek (Honda) 1’43.562
15. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Kawasaki) 1’43.656