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Apr 26, 2014

Baz Wins Career-First World Superbike Superpole, At Assen (Updated)

Superpole winner Loris Baz (center), second-best qualifier Sylvain Guintoli (left) and third-fastest qualifier Tom Sykes (right) at Assen.

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Assen, Netherlands

April 26, 2014

Qualifying Results (all on Pirelli tires):

Superpole Knockout Session One (top two advance to Superpole Two):

1. Chaz Davies, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:35.507

2. Marco Melandri, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:35.762

3. Leon Camier, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:36.434, EVO

4. Ayrton Badovini, Italy (Bimota BB3), 1:36.547, EVO

5. David Salom, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:36.749, EVO

6. Christian Iddon, UK (Bimota BB3), 1:36.772, EVO

7. Claudio Corti, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:36.888, EVO

8. Jeremy Guarnoni, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.141, EVO

9. Sheridan Morais, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.280, EVO

10. Luca Scassa, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.343, EVO

Superbike Knockout Session Two:

1. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.357

2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:34.845

3. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:35.311

4. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:35.333

5. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:35.361

6. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:35.476

7. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:35.500, EVO

8. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:35.646

9. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:35.684

10. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:36.203

11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:36.284

12. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:36.288

Combined Qualifying Results:

1. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.357

2. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:34.845

3. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:35.311

4. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:35.333

5. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:35.361

6. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:35.476

7. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:35.500, EVO

8. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:35.646

9. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:35.684

10. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:36.203

11. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:36.284

12. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:36.288

13. Leon Camier, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:36.434, EVO

14. Ayrton Badovini, Italy (Bimota BB3), 1:36.547, EVO

15. David Salom, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:36.749, EVO

16. Christian Iddon, UK (Bimota BB3), 1:36.772, EVO

17. Claudio Corti, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:36.888, EVO

18. Jeremy Guarnoni, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.141, EVO

19. Sheridan Morais, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.280, EVO

20. Luca Scassa, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.343, EVO

21. Michel Fabrizio, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.648, EVO

22. Fabien Foret, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:38.038, EVO

23. Alesssandro Andreozzzi, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:38.771, EVO

24. Kervin BOS, Netherlands (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:38.860, EVO

25. Imre TOTH, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:39.464

26. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190 RX), 1:40.502

27. Geoff MAY, USA (EBR 1190 RX), 1:40.889

Not Qualified:

28. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:42.580, EVO

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Fantastic performance by Canepa in today’s Superpole at Assen

It was meant to be a wet day but luckily the track remained dry for today’s practices and Superpole sessions at Assen. A fantastic performance by Canepa in the final timed practice session this morning.

The Althea Racing rider was able to improve by almost a second on his best time set yesterday and thanks to a 1’36”074 he took the seventh spot overall, ahead of many Superbike riders. This performance meant that Canepa qualified directly for Superpole 2, finishing first among the Evo riders.

Prior to the Superpole, Niccolò went out for the free practice session, working with his technicians to refine the set-up of his 1199 Panigale. Canepa closed the session eleventh, with a time of 1’36”767.

In Superpole 2, Canepa put in an exceptional performance and with a time of 1’35”500 he earned seventh position and a spot on the third row of tomorrow’s grid, ahead of many of the official Superbike riders. A great result for team Althea Racing, that also did well to change the tyre directly on pit-lane, allowing Niccolò to return to the track quickly and complete his fastest lap before the onset of rain put paid to the finale phase of the Superpole.

Niccolò Canepa: “I’m really pleased with today’s Superpole result. Seventh place means that I will start from row three in tomorrow’s races, in which my aim is to get a good start and stick with the Superbikes, to obtain a strong result and try and finish first among the Evo guys. A huge thank-you to my team that has provided me with a fantastic bike and for changing my tyre in pit-lane which saved time and allowed me to get back on track before it started to rain.”

Genesio Bevilacqua: “I’m pleased with the work we’ve done over these two days here at Assen. At this track we finally have a clearer idea with regard to the potential of our bike and our rider. We’re satisfied in that we’ve reached a good level of competitiveness thanks to the hard work of our team as well as Niccolò’s ability; he is getting the best out of our bike and today scored seventh place, and a spot on the third row, which is a great result for us right now, confirming our position at the head of the Evo pack.” 

More, from a press release issued by Team HERO EBR:

May & Yates Ready To Race

American riders Aaron Yates and Geoff May are ready for tomorrow’s two 21 lap races at the Assen circuit after qualifying their Team Hero EBR 1190RX machines in 26th and 27th respectively.

After the overnight studying of data, and a few minor tweaks both riders were able to lap considerably faster than on the opening day, with both riders finding more than 0.7s in the morning’s thankfully dry third free practice session.

With only the top 20 from the combined free practice classification making it into the Tissot-Superpole sessions, Aaron and Geoff have a few more ideas of things to try in the warm up session tomorrow, and with the added threat of rain falling at the time of the opening race both riders are prepared to give it their all on the ever improving EBR 1190RX machines.

Aaron Yates: “We had a solid day with a couple more dry sessions which was useful. I made some advancement with the suspension and the EBR1190RX is steering easier. I haven’t ridden in the rain so tomorrow may give us the chance to find out if it’s wet. Everyone is working hard and I feel we are the getting most that we can out of the bike right now. We will keep working.”

Geoff May: “We had some issues in last session but matched our time from FP3. We need to keep going in the direction we are going because the bike is starting to suit me. If it stays dry tomorrow I feel that I can battle with some guys and crack the top 20. I wish we were are where we are now on a Friday as I feel if we could we could be battling for points. We are always playing catch up but we will keep chipping away. Now I can push things can only get better.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) qualifies sixth in today’s Superpole at Assen

Assen (The Netherlands), Saturday 26 April 2014 – The Ducati Superbike Team unfortunately had to deal with the onset of rain during Superpole 2 this afternoon at Assen. In what was the third Superpole of the 2014 Superbike season, and after yesterday’s positive results, Davide Giugliano qualified in sixth position for tomorrow’s races; Chaz Davies twelfth.

In the final timed practice session which took place this morning on the Dutch track, Davide and Chaz continued to work to refine the set-up of their 1199 Panigale bikes. In similar temperatures to yesterday’s first practice, Giugliano did not manage to improve on his impressive time set yesterday afternoon but thanks to that time, which remained unbeaten in today’s session, the Italian rider qualified directly for Superpole 2, in overall first position. Davies unfortunately closed practice outside of the top ten, in twelfth position overall, thus qualifying for Superpole 1 (together with the other riders who placed eleventh to twentieth in the combined practices).

Superpole 1: conditions remained dry for this first Superpole phase. Davies was straight out on track, making two laps with the race tyre, the fastest of which – a 1’35.9 – positioned him first. He quickly returned to the track with the qualifying tyre, and improved on his time as well as recording the fastest time of the session overall (1’35.5). The Ducati Superbike man therefore concluded this phase of the Superpole in overall first position, thus gaining safe passage to Superpole 2.

Superpole 2: both Davies and Giugliano decided to make a first exit on the race tyre. Subsequently returning to the track with qualifying tyres, both riders were pushing hard to complete fast laps when rain began to fall in every sector of the track. Unfortunately the change in conditions prevented both riders from improving any further, meaning that Giugliano therefore concluded the session in sixth position and Davies twelfth. The Ducati Superbike pair will line up on the second and fourth row of the starting grid for tomorrow’s races.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 6th (1’35.476)

“In the end the rain made its presence felt. I went out on the qualifier and was trying to make my fastest lap, a pity but it was useless trying to improve on my time in those conditions. Anyway, we’ve been working well in preparation for tomorrow’s races which will both be difficult I think. It’s a tough track from a physical point of view and then there are five or six riders that are going really well here.”

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 12th (1’36.288)

“Today’s been fairly difficult. I should have gone straight out on the qualifier in the second Superpole, to beat the rain, but unfortunately we didn’t do that and so I was unable to improve my position. It didn’t help that we didn’t have a fresh race tyre for the session, having already used it in SP1. Anyway, that’s our grid position; we still have work to do tomorrow morning because we’re still experiencing some chattering at the front of the bike.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Assen (Holland), 26 April 2014 – The Assen Superpole further established Aprilia's consistent improvement on the track during the Saturday sessions. Both Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri gained confidence lap by lap without losing sight of the primary objective which was finding the best way to manage performance in view of the races. A lot of work and a strategy that paid off at the end of the day: Sylvain Guintoli took the second spot on the grid after an extraordinary lap on a race tyre and after missing out on the opportunity to improve his time on a qualifier as rain began to fall.Marco Melandri, who came through Superpole 1 without any issues, also rode his RSV4 to the second row, just shy (22 thousandths of a second) from the front. The rider from Ravenna is also encouraged by his overall feeling which is steadily growing. And there is still some room for improvement that he will be trying to exploit with his mechanics.The Superpole 2, session in which the top 12 qualified riders participate, had Sylvain Guintoli starting off on a race tyre to put his first time on the board, intending to mount a qualifier later to make a play for the pole. The intermediate times the Frenchman posted quickly raised the adrenaline level in the Aprilia garage: with record performance, spoiled only at the end of the lap when he was forced to overtake, Sylvain started his second try with pole position in his sights. This sensation was confirmed throughout the first half of his lap on a Superpole tyre until a few drops of rain convinced him not to take any unnecessary risks, in any case earning the second spot on the starting grid.

Sylvain Guintoli: “We made a lot of progress today, session after session, and Superpole was confirmation of that. I was fast and had a good feeling straight away. All of this is encouraging for me in view of the races tomorrow. It's always a shame to lose pole position when you know you could have taken it, but starting from the front row is an excellent result, especially on a track like this one. We have also taken a big step forward in terms of race pace and tomorrow, weather permitting, we will definitely be in the mix.”Marco Melandri's garage also put in an excellent performance, reassured by a superbly executed Superpole. The performance put in by the rider from Ravenna, which earned him the first spot on the second row, brought him just 22 thousandths behind third place. This starting position is encouraging given the confidence Marco has developed during today's sessions. But the Italian rider will be looking for further improvements and his work in preparation for the races tomorrow will focus on this objective.

Marco Melandri: “The second row is an excellent start point in any conditions. We have gotten a lot better in the dry. The guys have worked hard and my feeling on the RSV4 increased lap after lap. If it's a wet race the deck will be shuffled but being up front for the start will help me in terms of visibility. I'm quite pleased. We can still make some changes that will help us make up some ground, especially regarding consistency throughout the entire race. It will be difficult and I'll be in the thick of it.”

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda Superbike Team:

Superpole hopes dashed by Assen shower

This afternoon’s second Superpole session was dramatically affected by a short rain shower as Pata Honda riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam fought for final grid positions in tomorrow's two third-round World Superbike races at Assen in the Netherlands.

The Superpole 2 competitors, including both Rea and Haslam, had just completed an initial flying lap on race rubber to get a good feeling for the 4.542km Assen circuit and had entered the pits to switch to Pirelli qualifying tyres.

As they got up to speed, the rain effectively aborted the fast laps of both Rea, who finished fifth fastest and starts from the second row, and Haslam, who was 11th. Pole position was taken by Loriz Baz, who managed to complete his own lap before the rain fell.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for further rain during tomorrow’s two 21-lap races at Assen, the first of which goes at 10.30 local time, the second at 13.10.

Jonathan Rea - P5, 1m35.361s

Superpole was strange because, just as we changed for the qualifying tyre, the rain came and only two riders were able to complete their laps. We didn’t really get the chance to show our full potential but we did a lot of work this morning on our race set-up with the option tyres. We’re satisfied with our pace but we’ll just have to see what the weather brings because it’s forecasting changeable conditions. The bike is working really well and we’ve got on top of our engine braking issues. Our speed is fast, but we need to be a little more consistent when the tyre drops. Obviously it would be better for everyone if it stays dry tomorrow because all the set-up work has been done in the dry. But, if it’s wet, it’s the same for everyone. We have an OK wet set-up after we did some wor k in Jerez, but what will be will be. The aim to is to get a good start tomorrow and go with the front group and then to see what that brings us.

Leon Haslam - P11, 1m36.284s

We tried three different race tyres today, concentrating on the harder options more than anything. They don’t feel too bad but we’re just lacking a little bit of pace. I think we’ve got a good step to try with our engine braking in the morning and I’m quite happy with the chassis settings that we’ve had today. I was confident going into Superpole this afternoon but we just got caught out by the rain, like a lot of people, and I didn’t get a chance to use the Q. We’ve been working on a dry set-up all weekend so, if it’s wet tomorrow, it’ll throw another spanner in the works. It’ll be the same for everyone either way, though, so I’ll just get my head down.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

We got caught out by the weather this afternoon after Jonathan had done a 35.3 on his race tyre. He went out on a qualifier but it started to rain so that ended his mission to park it on the front row. He still got the second row, however, and his race pace is pretty good. In normal, dry conditions, and also in the wet, I think he can fight for the podium so we’ll see what the weather brings. Leon had some problems finding a good setting here at Assen and his grid position is not what we expected. We still have work to do to see if we can improve things in tomorrow’s warm-up and hope he can have a couple of good races.

More, from a press release issued by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki:

Third row for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki as rain hits Assen Superpole

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki starts tomorrow’s two eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands from the third row, as rain called time early on a promising Superpole session.

Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes had shown encouraging pace on-board their Yoshimura-powered GSX-R machines in the opening minutes of the qualifying session, both setting their fastest times of the weekend so far on race rubber. Unfortunately the darkening skies were not with the British-based team and the threatening rain descended as both Laverty and Lowes came in for qualifying tyres, with neither rider having the chance to use the fresh set due to the changing conditions.

Laverty’s time of 1’35.646 was set on his second flying lap, five minutes into the session, while Lowes recorded a 1’35.684 on his first attempt. Both riders have circulated with a steadily improving pace throughout the weekend and are primed to continue pushing forward for race-day.

The opening laps of Superpole saw a dry and pleasant 20°C at the Assen circuit but despite the late morning sunshine, the clouds thickened as the afternoon developed, resulting in the scattered showers halting proceedings. Kawasaki’s Loris Baz took Superpole with a new Assen ‘best lap’ time of 1’34.357.

With similarly uncertain conditions and the threat of rain forecast for tomorrow, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is confident that both Laverty and Lowes have the pace to run a consistent and challenging race strategy. The first wheels will turn in anger at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST) with race two following at 13:10hrs local time (12:10BST).

Eugene Laverty:

“It had been a good weekend with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R until Superpole and then we got caught out by the weather! When I left on the qualifying tyre the rain started to fall so I wasn’t able to get a lap and it pushed me back to eighth position. I’m not very pleased with the starting position because I always like to be minimum front two rows, it’s going to be hard work from there but I’ve made my bed so I can sleep in it now and look forward to two strong races!”

Alex Lowes:

“It’s been nice in general to be at a track where I know where I’m going! It’s a shame because we haven’t really made the most of that. We only qualified ninth but the Suzuki GSX-R felt good, I’ve improved and I did my best lap round here on the race tyres. It was a bit of a strange session, we didn’t get a chance to use the qualifiers and I’m not really happy to be ninth on the grid but it’s the race that counts. Hopefully the weather will be consistent tomorrow which-ever way and we can have some good races.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“A disappointing result in qualifying today after a strong weekend so far. We didn’t do enough to secure the first two rows with the race tyre run, and unfortunately the rain came as soon as both our guys went out on the qualifiers. We should have made one timed lap only on the race tyre and then gone straight to the qualifier but, as always, hindsight’s a wonderful tool and right now that doesn’t help us to improve the positions! We will look forward to the races, 21 laps here will be a very different proposition than one qualifying lap and I think we can vastly improve our grid positions and see both Suzuki’s challenging the top guys tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Bimota Alstare Team:


Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon continued their superb progress with the new Bimota BB3, finishing final practice and Superpole with the 14th and 16th fastest lap times respectively. But the gap between them and their competitors is closing rapidly. Ayrton’s best lap of 1:36.547 was just three tenths of a second slower than factory Aprilia rider Tony Elias in 10th place.

Considering that this was only the second time Christian has been on a Superbike, he did very well to finish just two tenths of a second behind Ayrton.

Ayrton Badovini - 1:36.547 (14th overall, 3rd EVO class)

“Today has been a pretty difficult day, mainly because of a front end problem, which was particularly noticeable in the last part of the track. But, as the day progressed, we improved the bike’s settings, step by step, and it was working much better towards the end.

I know that we will improve tomorrow and I am looking forward to the races a lot. I think I could’ve gone faster in Superpole 1, but I lost the line a little on my qualifying tyre and that was enough to prevent me from getting into Superpole 2.”

Christian Iddon - 1:36.772 (16th overall, 5th EVO class)

“We tried a lot of different things today and a lot of different settings and we have a good base level - base 1. So now we will try and improve on that and get the next base set-up. We found a lot of things that didn’t work, which is good because we can discard those ideas and work on what we feel will work better. The conditions weren’t great today, but I think we have made a big improvement from Aragon. Today was only my second time using a qualifying tyre and I am having to learn what they are about and how I can exploit them. I’m only a few tenths off tenth place, so I’m pretty happy really.”

More, from a press release issued by FIM:

Eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Assen: Decision of the Race Direction

On Saturday 26, during the Free Practice 3, rider #76 Loris Baz did not respect the red flags immediately causing danger to the marshals and to himself. This is considered to be irresponsible riding, and is therefore an infringement of Article (Art.1.21.2) of the FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships & FIM Superstock Cup Regulations.

A hearing was held at TT Assen circuit on 26 April and the decision of the Race Direction is to impose Two Penalty Point on the record of rider #76 Loris Baz with a fine of 1000€ (Art 3.2.1 of the 2014 FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships & FIM Superstock Cup Disciplinary and Arbitration Code).

No appeal was lodged.

The decision of the Race Direction is final. 

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