Italy’s Davide Giugliano of the Althea Aprilia racing squad wrapped up the first day of practice in preparation for the final two races of the year at Jerez Sunday, ahead of fellow countryman and BMW rider Marco Melandri. Third-fastest was the factory RSV4 ridden by Irishman, Eugene Laverty.
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“A fantastic start on a technical and difficult track,” said the Roman after recording the fastest time of the day at of 1’42.374 on the 2.751-mile Spanish racing circuit. “I haven’t completed many kilometres on this track and I must say that it wasn’t easy to get to grips with. This morning I worked hard with my team to find a good setting and in the afternoon we made some changes to my RSV4, that allowed me push harder and obtain first place in the classification. I hope we can continue like this all weekend and stay ahead, maintaining our concentration levels.”
Aprilia also claimed the fourth and fifth fastest times of the day courtesy of former MotoGP and Moto2 rider Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli. Leon Camier was the top rider competing on a non-European motorcycle (Suzuki GSX-R1000) with a lap time just over a half a second off Giugliano’s. Behind him was World Championship points leader and Kawasaki factory rider Tom Sykes. Having barely missed out on last year’s title, Sykes hopes to ride without any mistakes in an effort to clinch his first-ever World Supebike crown.
“I hear people saying I need ‘X’ amount of points or I need to finish in this-or-that position in this race, and so on, but we just need go there and work on our own thing and see what happens after two races,” said the Englishman.
“I am quite relaxed,” he continues. “This will be the last round and it all boils down to the last round – again. Last year we were 30.5 points behind at this stage and now we are 37 points in front. We are in a much better position and that is the way I am looking at it. I just want to go and enjoy the weekend like always. Hopefully come Sunday afternoon, if all things go well, then we can really enjoy the weekend.”
Eighth-fastest on the day was long-time Superbike racer Lorenzo Lanzi who has returned to the paddock after a few years away. The Italian rider brushed the dust off his five-year-old Ducati 1098R and actually outpaced both factory-tuned and next generation 1199 Panigales ridden by Xavi Fores and Ayrton Badovini.
World Superbike Friday Results:
1. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'42.374
2. Marco Melandri (BMW) 1'42.641
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) 1'42.756
4. Toni Elias (Aprilia) 1'42.782
5. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'42.906
6. Leon Camier (Suzuki) 1'42.936
7. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'43.114
8. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) 1'43.162
9. Chaz Davies (BMW) 1'43.170
10. Jules Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'43.240
11. Xavi Fores (Ducati) 1'43.262
12. Ayrton Badovini (Ducati) 1'43.383
13. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'43.721
14. Broc Parkes (Yamaha) 1'43.786
15. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1'43.821
16. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 1'43.879
17. Michel Fabrizio (Honda) 1'43.958
18. Federico Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'44.102
19. Max Neukirchner (Ducati) 1'44.248
20. Vittorio Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'45.328