Team Ducati Alstare’s Ayrton Badovini took advantage of a wet Superpole at Nurburgring to earn his first pole position in the premier class. BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Marco Melandri finished the day second-fastest followed by Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes in third.
In the minutes leading up to the start of Superpole rain began to fall on spots of the track, leading officials to declare a wet session. Though most of the circuit was still dry when riders first went out, the weather quickly intensified and soon all were running a cautious pace on wet condition tires. Badovini, Melandri, Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty, Sykes, Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea, Sykes’ teammate Loris Baz and Laverty’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli each had stints atop the leaderboard during the first 20 minute session, but it was Badovini who topped the field in SP1 with his final lap effort. Most of the usual suspects made it on to the second and final session but Laverty was not among them, unable as he was to improve from 12th position before time ran out.
Conditions remained much the same for the top-nine riders, but lap times dropped significantly in SP2 as Melandri and Badovini battled one another for the top-spot. The two traded position at the head of the pack numerous times and ended as the only two to venture into the 2’09 range.
“I’m really happy with the result," said Badovini. "I knew that if it was wet we’d have the chance to qualify on the front row but I didn’t expect to be on pole, it’s fantastic! Towards the end of the second phase the track was getting more and more slippery, it was risky but I wanted to give it my all, to see if we could finish on top and we did it. In those kind of conditions, the union between my 1199 Panigale and my ability in the wet works perfectly. I’m enjoying this moment; this result is for the team that has worked so hard since the start of the season. We haven’t formulated a strategy for the races yet but to start out in front will surely be an advantage.”
The increased pace contributed to an increase in crashes during SP2 as well. FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel went down early and, though unharmed, didn’t return to the session. Sykes also crashed as did Melandri’s teammate, Chaz Davies. Both riders suffered high-sides that left them shaken, but both were able to walk away without any serious injury.
Baz will head up the second row on Sunday followed by Rea in fifth and Rea’s teammate, Leon Haslam, in sixth. Davies took seventh followed by Guintoli in eighth and Cluzel in ninth.
Noticeably absent from the entire Superpole competition was Badovini’s teammate, Carlos Checa, who struggled in the opening qualifying sessions and failed to earn a spot in the top 15.
World Superbike Nurburgring Superpole Results 2013:
1. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 2’09.513
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 2’09.616
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 2’10.136
4. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 2’10.401
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 2’11.204
6. Leon Haslam (Honda) 2’12.006
7. Chaz Davies (BMW) 2’12.663
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 2’13.177
9. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 2’14.454
10. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 2’15.975
11. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 2’16.393
12. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 2’16.409
13. Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia) 2’16.660
14. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 2’18.775
15. Matej Smrz (Yamaha) 2’19.277
16. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)
17. Markus Reiterberger (BMW)
18. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
19. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki)
20. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW)