Thanks to the dry conditions at Moscow Raceway, World Superbike riders were able to follow the standard three Superpole session format, unlike the previous round at Silverstone, in an effort to secure a spot on the front row. Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa prevailed as the fastest on track and earned his first pole position of the season. Following behind Checa is Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty. BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam rounds out the front row.
Checa set a new track best and rode well all day, posting a time in SP1 early on that was good enough to allow him to head back to the garage, safe in fifth for SP2. He did the same in SP2, improving on his time and making it to the top of the timesheet where he would remain until qualifying was over.
“I’m extremely happy with today’s Superpole because this is where everything has to come together, my riding, the tire, the bike; everything worked well and we were able to record the kind of time that we thought might be possible here,” said Checa. “My first lap wasn’t great but the second was pretty clean, I made no mistakes and when I saw the time I knew it would be very hard to beat. It’s my first pole of the year, and doing it at this new track in Russia makes it even more special.”
Heading up the second row is Haslam’s teammate Marco Melandri. Behind the Italian is Honda’s Jonathan Rea and current points leader Max Biaggi of Aprilia. Friday’s fastest rider and Checa’s teammate Davide Giugliano fell in the final session and will start from eighth on the grid on Sunday.
Both Melandri and Biaggi struggled in practice on Friday to get the proper feel with their respetive bikes. With only 10.5 points separating the two, it will be crucial for both to work out the kinks before race day.
““I am very happy because honestly I was pretty worried about qualifying,” said Melandri. “The good thing is that I have the feeling that we are in a quite good shape for the race. The negative thing is that we were still struggling with the soft tires. It was difficult to make improvements. So for me to qualify for the second row was the best I could hope for and I am happy.”
“We were able to improve quite a bit today even if the bike isn’t as fast as I’d like it to be on certain sections of the track,” said Biaggi. “We did the most we could in the time available. The second row could prove to be a good starting position if we can get off the line quickly when the lights go out and not miss the train of front riders. We won’t make any radical changes for the races. We’re headed in the right direction. We know there are some riders here with a better pace than ours, but we’ll do everything we can to play our hand right.”
Starting from ninth on Sunday will be Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz, with Red Devils Roma’s Niccolo Canepa in 10th. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins secured the 11th fastest time and Rea’s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama will finish off the third row in 12th.
Carlos Checa (center) earned pole position, followed by Tom Sykes (left) in second and Eugene Laverty (right) in third.
World Superbike Moscow Superpole Results 2012:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’34.193
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’34.549
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’34.562
4. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’35.170
5. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’35.224
6. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’35.237
7. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’35.253
8. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’35.074
9. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’35.224
10. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1’35.255
11. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’35.678
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’35.834
13. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’35.629
14. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’35.678
15. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’35.689
16. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’35.798
17. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’36.182
18. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’36.237
19. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’36.326
20. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’38.163
21. David McFadden (Kawasaki) 1’38.372
PRT Honda’s Jules Cluzel barely edged out Kawasaki Lorenzini’s Kenan Sofuoglou for the top spot in World Supersport qualifying at Moscow Raceway. Following behind the current Supersport points leader is Cluzel’s PTR teammate Sam Lowes and rounding out the front row is Ten Kate Honda’s Broc Parkes.
“We improved a lot this morning and kept improving in qualifying, it is a good pole position,” said Cluzel. “I am much more comfortable on my PTR Honda today than yesterday. I still think we need to improve our consistency for the race. We beat Sofuoglu in qualifying but we need a little more for the race distance.”
The French rider was just 0.031 ahead of Sofuoglu and Lowes wasn’t much more behind, coming in just 0.193 off the top time. Cluzel will be in good position to push for a second consecutive victory and try to close the 28 point gap between himself and Soguoglu.
Heading up the second row is Sofuoglu’s teammate Sheridan Morais, followed by Kawasaki Intermoto Step’s Fabien Foret in sixth and local rider Vladimir Leonov of Yakhnich Motorsport in seventh. Andrea Antonelli of Bike Service R.T. will round out the second row on Sunday.
World Supersport Moscow Superpole 2012:
1. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’37.347
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1’37.378
3. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’37.540
4. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’37.565
5. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’37.711
6. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’38.034
7. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 1’38.062
8. Andrea Antonelli (Yamaha) 1’38.386
9. Alex Baldolini (Triumph) 1’38.549
10. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1’38.557
11. Roberto Tamburini (Honda) 1’38.572
12. Mathew Scholtz (Honda) 1’38.621
13. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1’38.713
14. Valentin Debise (Honda) 1’38.725
15. Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1’38.817