Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa ran the fastest lap in World Superbike qualifying at Nurburgring on Friday. He was followed by teammate Davide Giugliano and Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes, both riders under half a second of the top time. Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty was fourth-fastest and BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam rounded out the top five.
Checa took the Race 1 win at Nurburgring in 2011 and Sykes took the Race 2 victory after torrential rain forced officials to end the contest. It was Sykes’ first career Superbike win and he will be pushing to add another to his record and challenge for the 2012 title.
Haslam continues to feel the effects of his Race 2 crash at Moscow Raceway, posting his fifth-fastest time in spite of serious arm pain.
“This morning I had some problems with my arm, which was strange because the injury was quite okay all last week,” said Haslam. “It was just a little sore, which is normal, but for some reason when I got on the bike this morning it was really painful. I had some treatment in between the sessions, and I then had some reaction on the tendon. It was difficult as the pain was quite bad, but hopefully in 12 hours’ time it will be better. When I suffered the injury initially they thought it was just muscle damage, but maybe now it is the tendon that I have torn. This is something that I need to sort out.”
Laverty’s teammate Max Biaggi held to sixth and Honda’s Jonathan Rea placed seventh. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was eighth-fastest and was only 0.642 off Checa’s time. ParkinGO MTC Racing’s Chaz Davies came in ninth and PATA Racing’s Lorenzo Zanetti barely edged out his teammate Sylvain Guintoli for tenth.
Biaggi was pleased with his practice and qualifying sessions, but didn’t make any big changes to his bike over the course of the day to improve time. He and his team will be looking at all options on Saturday to help ensure he’s competitive at the front of the pack.
“The sessions went pretty well today,” said Biaggi. “We worked with a view to the races, trying to find the right pace. We didn’t make any drastic changes between the morning and afternoon sessions, and even with the changes we made we didn’t see any big differences. So to get even better tomorrow we’ll opt for some bigger changes and see what that does to our times.”
Jonathan Rea returned to contest WSBK at Nurburgring after testing the Repsol MotoGP bike in Aragon and Brno.
Rea is pulling double duty, having just returned from testing Casey Stoner’s RC213V MotoGP bike in Aragon. He spent the day regaining feel for the CBR1000RR Fireblade and posted a competitive result, coming in just 0.584 off Checa’s top time. He will work to address some electronics issues and chassis settings before Sunday.
“Things are rolling along OK,” said Rea. “I’ve been doing a lot of laps and familiarising myself with my CBR1000RR but we’re just lacking a little bit of control off the corner. It’s a bit to do with the electronics, which need to be a little smoother, and the chassis setting, which needs to improve. Tomorrow morning we’ll focus on that and try to put some laps on a tire in free practice to confirm our race choice, which is between two right now.”
Current championship points leader Marco Melandri of BMW Motorrad was 12th and was one of the only riders to crash during the session. He lost control of the front tire early on and, luckily, didn’t suffer any serious injuries. Damage to the bike was minimal and after his team gave the S1000RR a thorough inspection he was able to rejoin the action. He and his team will scramble to find solutions to the unusual problems he had with his bike on Friday. Melandri recently gained the points lead from Biaggi after his strong performance at Moscow Raceway and he will be pushing to improve his points advantage at the German circuit.
“This was a difficult day for me,” said Melandri. “In the afternoon I did not have a good feeling for the bike at all. This has never happened before this season. On top of that I had a strange crash in the first corner of my first flying lap. I had new brakes and did not want to brake too hard, so I went a little wide and crashed. Happily nothing serious happened to me or the bike. From then on my feeling for the bike was even worse. When we went for the softer tire, chattering came back big time. I am confident we can improve tomorrow.”
Just prior to the free practice and timed sessions run on Friday, Team Effenbert Liberty Racing announced that rider Jakub Smrz would be replaced by Supersport rider Lorenzo Lanzi. The move is one more in a series of actions taken by the team this season as they work to reorganize resources ahead of the 2013 season. Sylvain Guintoli was dropped just before Round 9 at Brno and all Liberty Racing riders missed the Moscow round due to the changes. Lanzi was 21st in qualifying.
World Superbike Nurburgring Friday Results 2012:
1. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’55.307
2. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’55.750
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’55.802
4. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1’55.813
5. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’55.828
6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’55.838
7. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’55.891
8. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’55.949
9. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’56.399
10. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati) 1’56.461
11. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’56.465
12. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’56.497
13. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’56.981
14. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’57.024
15. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’57.077
16. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1’57.434
17. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1’57.468
18. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’57.592
19. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’57.729
20. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’58.286
21. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 1’59.145
22. Brett McCormick (Ducati) 1’59.712
23. Alexander Lundh (Kawasaki) 1’59.763
24. Norino Brignola (BMW) 2’00.676
Bogdanka PTR Honda’s Sam Lowes sits in provisional pole position and is followed by his PTR teammate Jules Cluzel. Kawasaki Intermoto Step’s Fabien Foret was third-fastest, followed by Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes and current points leader Kenan Sofuoglu of Kawasaki Lorenzini in fourth and fifth respectively.
“It was a good start to the weekend,” said Lowes. “We had a good pace today and ended the first qualifying with a series of five fast times inside the 1:59 bracket, while everyone else had only done some one off laps in the end, so I’m happy. We have a few bits to change and work on tomorrow but I’m feeling good and looking forward to the race already.”
Yakhnich Motorsport’s Vladimir Leonov held to sixth, with Racing Team Toth’s Imre Toth following in seventh and Team Lorini’s Roberto Tamburini in eighth. Gerin-Skm Racing’s David Linortner and Sofuoglu’s teammate Sheridan Morais took ninth and 10th respectively.
World Supersport Nurburgring Friday Results 2012:
1. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’59.210
2. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’59.453
3. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) 1’59.637
4. Broc Parkes (Honda) 2’00.183
5. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2’00.222
6. Vladimir Leonov (Yamaha) 2’00.236
7. Imre Toth (Honda) 2’00.455
8. Roberto Tamburini (Honda) 2’00.510
9. David Linortner (Yamaha) 2’00.787
10. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 2’00.960
11. Vittorio Iannuzzo (Triumph) 2’00.977
12. Ronan Quarmby (Honda) 2’00.980
13. Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha) 2’00.989
14. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 2’01.212
15. Dan Linfoot (Kawasaki) 2’01.223