Davide Giugliano was third in free practice and first in qualifying on Friday at the new Moscow Raceway.
The first timed qualifying session of World Superbike at Moscow Raceway is in the books, and Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano came through as the fastest rider of the day. His teammate, Carlos Checa, trailed by just 0.210 seconds and PATA Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli came through as third-fastest, making it an all Ducati top-three. BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri was close behind, taking fourth and ParkinGO MTC Racing’s Chaz Davies rounded out the top five.
The new track has riders scrambling to find the perfect bike configuration before race day. As always though, tire choice is a central concern and with the top ten riders qualifying within one second of Giugliano’s fastest time, making the right decision could be the ticket to a podium. Melandri certainly thinks so, sitting as close as he is to Max Biaggi’s points lead, because a big finish on Sunday could propel the BMW rider to the top of the heap.
“It is difficult because the conditions are changing very quickly,” said Melandri. “We have to try to understand which is the best tire for the race and the best one for a lap time. Unfortunately we are struggling with the soft tire. We get a lot of chatter and it is difficult to ride. But I am quite happy about the race.”
Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes was sixth with Guintoli’s teammate Lorenzo Zanetti following in seventh and Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama taking eighth. BMW’s Leon Haslam placed ninth and Aoyama’s teammate Jonathan Rea finished the day in tenth.
Current points leader Biaggi of Aprilia Racing was 13th and was followed by the fastest Suzuki rider, John Hopkins of FIXI Crescent Suzuki in 14th. Biaggi struggled with numerous issues throughout the day as he continued to get a feel for the new track, and he lost valuable track time due to unexpected pit stops.
“It’s always hard when you find yourself trying to catch up with the rest, especially at this point in the season,” said Biaggi. “Unfortunately the forced pit stop during the second session today (due to a serious problem) ruined our game plan. We had wanted to try out some new configurations but we weren’t able to move ahead according to schedule. There will be a lot of work to do tomorrow, especially to find confidence on the front end during braking.”
Hopkin’s teammate Leon Camier had a big scare during the morning practice session, going down in a high-speed crash and smashing into Kawasaki’s Loris Baz. Camier high-sided right in front of Baz while exiting the last turn and flew through the air before sliding down most of the start straight, forcing officials to red flag the session. Luckily, Camier sustained relatively few injuries, but his bike was too damaged for his team to rebuild in time for the restart.
“I’m a bit sore and bashed up but when I’m on the bike there are no problems,” said Camier. “My right hip is pretty bruised, but considering I was doing over 200kmh when I hit Baz’s bike, I’m lucky I am not more injured than I am. It wasn’t a nice crash and I felt I was in the air for a long time, followed by a lot of time sliding down the track.”
World Superbike Moscow Friday Results 2012:
1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’35.074
2. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’35.284
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’35.751
4. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’35.772
5. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’35.828
6. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’35.905
7. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’35.980
8. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’35.988
9. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’36.039
10. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’36.061
11. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1’36.143
12. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’36.174
13. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’36.236
14. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’36.293
15. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’36.326
16. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’36.442
17. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’36.470
18. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’36.533
19. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’36.911
20. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’38.163
21. David McFadden (Kawasaki) 1’38.372
Kawasaki Lorenzini’s Kenan Sofuoglu posted the top time in World Supersport, outpacing Bogdanka PTR’s Sam Lowes by a mere 0.304 seconds. Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes was third fastest with Lowes’ PTR teammate Jules Cluzel coming in fourth. Local rider, competing on his home turf for the first time, Vladimir Leonov of Yakhnich Motorsport rounded out the top five. Rain hit the track in spots during the session and a number of riders went down, including Lowes, who after just four laps crashed and pulled out due to damage to his bike.
PRORACE’s Gabor Talmasci was sixth-fastest and Kawasaki Intermoto Step’s Fabien Foret came through in seventh. Soguoglu’s teammate Sheridan Morais placed eighth with SMS Racing’s Valentin Debise and Power Team by Suriano’s Alex Baldolini coming in ninth and tenth respectively.
Kenan Sofuoglu currently leads World Supersport in points and was the fastest rider in qualifying on Friday.
World Supersport Moscow Friday Results 2012:
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’37.875
2. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’38.179
3. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’38.398
4. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’38.434
5. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’38.615
6. Gabor Talmasci (Honda) 1’38.888
7. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’38.892
8. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’39.050
9. Valentin Debise (Honda) 1’39.122
10. Alex Baldolini (Triumph) 1’39.242
11. Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1’39.392
12. Andrea Antonelli (Yamaha) 1’39.393
13. Roberto Tamburini (Honda) 1’39.527
14. Mathew Scholtz (Honda) 1’39.632
15. Josh Day (Kawasaki) 1’39.775