Donington (UK), Saturday 26 March 2011 – Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took his second pole of the 2011 season by posting the fastest lap of the weekend in Superpole three, a 1’28.099. Local rider Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) will line up behind Checa at Leon’s home track, with another British rider, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) third. The last spot on the front row will be taken by Czech star Jakub Smrz (Effenbert – Liberty Racing Ducati).
Carlos Checa: “What can I say? Everything is working so well here at Donington, we expected to go well and we did it. Our progress from yesterday to today was quite comfortable, basically today the tyres were working well with these conditions and this cold. With one lap to get going it was not easy to get confidence but I was able to get a good enough time to get the pole and that’s important for tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam: “Donington is my local circuit and me and Tom have had some great battles in the past in BSB, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. We got a front row start which we wanted. I’ve definitely made some good progress from Australia to this event so hopefully it’ll be a dry day tomorrow and I can try and beat Carlos this time.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m really happy now with this good starting slot for tomorrow’s races. I think that’s the hardest part of the weekend because qualifying is always important. We had a little problem in SP2 and had to waste a qualifying tyre but for SP3 we went out on a race tyre. The second row was guaranteed but to squeeze onto the front row was something unexpected.”
Jakub Smrz: “Donington is one of my favourite races. I had a crash this morning at the very fast Craner Curves, where I have crashed before in the past but I was OK. I am satisfied with my front row position and I have a good set-up for the race, I would have liked to go a bit better in qualifying but the front row is good for me.”
Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Team Aprilia) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) completed the top six, while an Aprilia trio was finished off by Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) with Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) the final rider on the second row, making it four British riders in the top eight places.
The hot track action warmed up the enthusiastic local crowd as the temperatures dipped from the highs of Friday, with the track temperatures dropping to single figures for Superpole.
Leading contender Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) just missed out on the final Superpole session and will start Sunday’s races from ninth place and on row three. Haslam’s team-mate Troy Corser lapped his way to tenth, ahead of lone Suzuki force Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare). The Kawasaki Racing Team entry put its second rider into the top 12 when Joan Lascorz completed row three.
A huge crash in the first Superpole session for Melandri’s Yamaha team-mate Eugene Laverty kept him on row four, alongside Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert – Liberty Racing Ducati), Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) and Ruben Xaus (Castrol Honda).
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’28.099; 2. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR; 1’28.365; 3. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’28.556; 4. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’28.561; 5. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’28.673; 6. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’28.702; 7. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’28.737; 8. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’29.514; 9. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’28.803; 10. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’28.836; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’29.135; 12. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’29.422; 13. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1’29.312; 14. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’29.879; 15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’30.002; 16.Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’30.076; etc.
Two Yamaha ParkinGO machines locked out the front two places on the starting-grid for tomorrow’s World Supersport race, with Italian Luca Scassa on pole followed by his Welsh team-mate Chaz Davies. Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) was third but an early session crash hampered his efforts to go for pole and the WSS find of 2011 was unable to improve on his Q1 time.
Next up were the two Kawasaki ZX-6R machines of Broc Parkes and David Salom (Motocard.com), while Gino Rea (Step Racing Team), Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Team) and James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) took the next three places for Honda. Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), who again injured his hand in a crash yesterday, struggled on regardless to qualify 12th. Foret’s team-mate Florian Marino improved to go ninth overall, while Massimo Roccoli posted tenth on his Kawasaki Lorenzini by Leoni machine.
Two riders failed to qualify but a full grid of 28 riders will start Sunday’s 22-lap race in this category.
Times: 1. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’31.232; 2. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’31.250; 3. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’31.368; 4. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’31.645; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’31.963; 6. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’32.080; 7. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 1’32.136; 8. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’32.153; etc.
Over at SPEEDTV Dennis Noyes surveys Yamaha’s chances in MotoGP in the face of the awesome Repsol Hondas. Read here.