Liberty Racing Team Effenbert's Jakub Smrz posted the top qualifying time in Friday's session at Donington Park.
Liberty Racing Team Effenbert’s Jakub Smrz took provisional pole position in the first round of Superbike qualifying at Donington Park. Honda’s Jonathan Rea came in close behind Smrz for second and he was followed by Althea Racing’s Carlos Checa. Rain flags came out at the opening of the session, but conditions soon improved and were a welcome change from the Monza catastrophe of last week. The top ten riders all posted lap times within one second of Checa’s fastest lap of Race 2 set at the English venue in 2011.
Leon Haslam of BMW Motorrad Motorsport came in fourth and was followed by FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier. Haslam took second in the main event at Monza behind Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes, who scored sixth in today’s qualifying. The third-fastest effort was a boost for Camier, who had a tough time at Monza last week, failing to make the second Superpole and posting a 15th-place finish in the eight lap contest. Sykes was just shy of four-tenths behind Smrz, and if conditions remain stable, he will have the chance to take his first dry race win. All three riders have the added fire of performing for their home crowd.
Michel Fabrizio of BMW Italia Gold Bet posted the seventh-best time. He was followed by fellow Italian and current championship points leader Max Biaggi of Aprilia Racing in eighth. The Roman earned a 1-2 finish at Phillip Island in the first round of this year’s action but has failed to take a podium since.
Rounding out the top ten are Davide Giugliano of Althea and BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet’s Ayrton Badovini in tenth. Marco Melandri of BMW Motorrad Motorsport struggled to break the top ten in qualifying, taking 12th.
2012 World Superbike Donington Qualifying Session 1:
1. Jakub Smrz (Ducati) 1’29.336
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1’29.394
3. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’29.507
4. Leon Haslam (BMW) 1’29.604
5. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1’29.614
6. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’29.719
7. Michel Fabrizio (BMW) 1’29.918
8. Max Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’29.973
9. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’29.977
10. Ayrton Badovini (BMW) 1’29.986
11. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1’30.225
12. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1’30.245
13. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1’30.392
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’30.522
15. Maxime Berger (Ducati) 1’30.530
Sam Lowes of Bogdanka PTR Honda bested points leader Kenan Sofuoglu by almost one second in Friday's World Supersport qualifying session at Donington Park.
In Supersport, Bogdanka PTR Honda’s Sam Lowes posted the top time ahead of championship points leader Kenan Sofuoglu of Kawasaki DeltaFin. Lowes was nearly one second ahead of the Kawasaki rider and will be looking to score his first podium finish at Donington on Sunday. Sofuoglu has an impressive 42 Supersport podiums over the course of career, though only one at the English track in 2007. They were followed by Monza Supersport winner Jules Cluzel of PTR Honda in third, and wildcard Smiths Gloucester teammates Glen Richards and Billy McConnell in fourth and fifth place. Ronan Quarmby of PTR Honda, showing he is unfazed by last week’s crash at Monza, came in sixth and was followed by Ten Kate Racing’s Broc Parkes in seventh.
“I know it will be a difficult race,” said Lowes, “but I’ve got more to come so I’m feeling good for Sunday. I’m really enjoying riding at Donington Park and it’s really nice to have the support of the British fans.”
2012 World Supersport Donington Qualifying Session 1:
1. Sam Lowes (Honda) 1’31.155
2. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'32.053
3. Jules Cluzel (Honda) 1’32.281
4. Glen Richards (Triumph) 1’32.397
5. Billy McConnell (Triumph) 1’32.505
6. Ronan Quarmby (Honda) 1’32.724
7. Broc Parkes (Honda) 1’32.856
8. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1’33.064
9. Imre Toth (Honda) 1’33.147
10. Vladimer Leonov (Yamaha) 1’33.475
11. Martin Jessopp (Honda) 1’33.570
12. I. Dionisi (Honda) 1’33.577
13. Robertino Tamburini (Honda) 1’33.633
14. V. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1’33.753
15. M. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1’33.758