World SBK Tests at Moscow Circuit

August 22, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Carlos Checa led the way during a one-day test prior to Round 11 of the 2012 season  SBKs first-ever visit to Moscow Raceway.
Carlos Checa led the way during a one-day test at Moscow Raceway, marking the SBK track debut at the Russian circuit before this weekend’s Round 11 of the 2012 season.

World Superbike riders got their first crack at the new Moscow Raceway circuit during a one-day test prior to this weekend’s Round 11. Reigning SBK champion Carlos Checa led the way aboard his Althea Ducati. The Spaniard was followed on the timesheets by British riders Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team). SBK title front-runners Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) rounded out the top five with the Italians a respective fourth and fifth.

Checa was the only rider to lap under 1’36 during the test, with the Ducati ace joined in the top 10 by three other Ducs including teammate Davide Giugliano, as well as Niccolo Canepa (Red Devils Roma) and Sylvain Guintoli (PATA Racing).

“It is a nice adventure to be here in Russia and it’s a really nice track,” said Checa in an SBK press release. “In some places you can only use about 15% of throttle and just keep rolling the bike. We feel quite well today and this is a track where we have been working well in both the morning and the afternoon. We understand the line, the gearbox and the tires. At the end we felt the tires were working a lot better in the afternoon because probably the asphalt is less aggressive now. We are losing a lot on the straight, which is uphill, so it is not easy to manage that.”

Haslam trailed Checa by less than two tenths, with the English rider saying of the new Russian circuit:
“So far the track is really fun to ride; it has many ups and downs. The corners are mainly first and second gear but it is a quite aggressive circuit and I like it. Regarding overtaking possibilities, the first and last corners are going to be exciting because of the two straights. I am confident for the weekend. We were pretty close to the top and concentrated on race set-up and were feeling pretty good on the hard tires on race distance. We have much more to try and look forward to Friday when we go out on the track again, but so far so good.”

Fellow factory BMW rider Melandri trails his rival Biaggi by 10.5 points, a deficit he could eliminate this weekend with a solid performance. “The test was not too bad,” said Melandri. “The track is pretty fun to ride but I think it is quite small for Superbikes. The turns are very tight and so far I don’t think that there are many chances for overtaking in the middle of the track but we will see. The track is going to be faster day by day.”

The Suzuki and Honda squads failed to crack the top 10 in testing, with the fastest of the CBR/GSX-R pilots Jonathan Rea in 12th.

“I really enjoyed today’s test as an opportunity to get acquainted with the Moscow Raceway circuit,” said Rea in a Honda PR. “First impressions of the track are that it’s very tight and twisty. We’re in second gear for pretty much most of the lap, obviously not for the straights, but it’s fun! It’s very technical and I’m enjoying it so far, but for the race weekend the times will be really close and I’m expecting tight racing.”

World SBK practice and qualifying sessions will begin on Friday, August 24th.

World Superbike Moscow Test Results:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’35.891
2. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’36.071
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’36.119
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’36.304
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’36.421
6. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’36.637
7. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’36.716
8. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’36.823
9. Niccolò Canepa (Ducati) 1’36.858
10. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’36.865
11. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’36.899
12. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’36.943
13. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’37.000
14. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’37.078
15. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’37.163
16. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’37.197
17. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’37.336
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’37.343
19. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’37.733
20. David McFadden (Kawasaki) 1’39.167
21. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’39.619

British rider Sam Lowes topped the World Supersport timing during the one-day pre-race test at Moscow Raceway.
British rider Sam Lowes topped the World Supersport timing during the one-day pre-race test at Moscow Raceway.

World Supersport

Sam Lowes set the pace in the World Supersport class. The British rider lead a trio of Hondas atop the timesheet, with fellow PTR rider Jules Cluzel second and Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes in third. The CBR riders were the only 600s to dip under the 1’39 marker, with former WSS champ and current points leader Kenan Sofuoglu fourth-fastest in the test. Russian rider Vladimir Leonov excelled at his home confines, fifth-fastest aboard the Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha. Kawasaki Intermoto Step’s Fabien Foret finished the test seventh-fastest.

World Supersport Moscow Test Results:
1. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’38.548;
2. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’38.596
3. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’38.794
4. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’39.021
5. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’39.448
6. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’39.531
7. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’39.537
8. Roberto Tamburini (Honda) 1’39.568
9. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1’39.582
10. Ronan Quarmby (Honda) 1’39.711