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Feb 23, 2013

Checa Rides Ducati Panigale 1199 To World Superbike Superpole Glory In Australia (Updated)

Eugen Laverty (58).
FIM Superbike World Championship
Phillip Island, Australia
February 23, 2013
Combined Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Knockout Session Three:
1. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati Panigale 1199R), 1:30.234
2. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:30.429
3. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:30.581
4. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:30.615
5. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:30.615
6. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:30.683
7. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:30.991
8. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:30.998
9. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:31.742

From Superpole Knockout Session Two:
10. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.283
11. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:31.576
12. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:31.870

From Superpole Knockout Session One:
13. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati Panigale 1199), 1:32.010
14. Jamie STAUFFER, Australia (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:32.353
15. Ivan CLEMENTI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:32.773

The Rest of the Grid:
16. Glenn ALLERTON, Australia (BMW S1000 RR), 1:32.352
17. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:32.402
18. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.487
19. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati Panigale 1199R), 1:32.540
20. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.898
21. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000 RR), 1:33.082

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:


FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier qualified in seventh position during this afternoon's eni FIM Superbike World Championship Superpole at Phillip Island in Australia.

Camier made his way through to this afternoon's Superpole by finishing second in this morning's final qualifying practice. He then progressed to the third and final Superpole on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000 by finishing fifth and seventh respectively in Superpole 1 and 2. The Englishman used a Pirelli race compound rear tyre in the last session to record his quickest lap, giving him a start at the head of the third row for tomorrow's double header. Camier is confident for the races, because he has proved his pace over race distance in practice and is looking forward to the start of the new season.

Jules Cluzel was on the unfortunate side of a technical issue which stopped his final qualifying session after only four-laps. The Frenchman had already showed a good turn of pace and reduced his best lap-time from yesterday's first qualifying by almost 0.4 seconds, but was forced to watch the rest of the session as his crew worked feverishly to try and get him back on track. Cluzel's time of 1'32.402 gave him 17th on the timesheets, narrowly missing out on a place in Superpole. His crew managed to remedy the issue at the end of final practice session and Cluzel immediately showed impressive speed as he clocked the 13th quickest time, which helped him to restore some of his confidence ahead of tomorrow's two races.

Today' weather produced warm and sunny conditions around the 4,445m Australian track, with air temperatures reaching 26°C. Carlos Checa on a Ducati secured pole position, with the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Michel Fabrizio filling the rest of the front row. Today also saw the first running of the 'FIXI Crescent Suzuki Watches of Distinction Qualifying Challenge', where Camier and Cluzel will compete against each other to win a fantastic Franck Muller watch at the end of the season as the team's best qualifier, with Camier taking the honours today and taking an early lead in the competition for this distinctive timepiece.

FIXI Crescent Suzuki will head out on to the Phillip Island circuit for the first round of the season tomorrow lunchtime, as the opening 22-lap race gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (01.00hrs GMT), with the second event scheduled to start at 15.30hrs local time (04.30 GMT).

Leon Camier:

"I'm not really bowled over with the result in qualifying, but I think our race-pace is a little bit better than seventh. It's going to be a really hard race tomorrow though, no matter what, because there are a lot of people that can do very good race times. We need to improve in the final sector and get dragged down the straight by the fastest bikes, if we can do that the job will be a little easier. I'll be hoping to get a strong start tomorrow, the third row means that a good start is even more crucial, so to have a decent race I need to get off the line well, be quite clever on the tactics and hopefully have the pace at the end of the race to do well."

Jules Cluzel:

"It has been a strange day because I expected to improve this morning, but after just one fast lap, I had to come in because I had a problem with my engine. This meant no qualifying for me and no chance to improve any more. This afternoon I was looking to do something good in free practice because I wasn't in the Superpole, but after one lap there was a strange sound from the engine and I had to come back in and the guys needed to open it up to find out what was the problem. We lost a lot of time, but I was able to do two quick laps at the end and my time was better than yesterday. In the three full laps today I improved on every one, so I think my pace was quite good. I haven't tried a long run yet and I have never been able to do a really fast lap, so I am a little bit frustrated. Tomorrow is the most important day of the weekend and before I came here the main thing was to learn, but tomorrow I still need to discover more because I am a rookie and I have lost a lot of time, so I will have to make up for it on Sunday!"

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"Today was a carbon-copy of yesterday in many ways. A very solid performance all day from Leon and an extremely frustrating and disappointing day for Jules. He had some real bad luck with a relatively minor technical problem, but one which takes a long time to fix and doesn't allow the bike to run properly. The team worked extremely hard to get Jules back out at the end of free practice and the only real positive on his side was that he got down into the low 32s on his two-timed laps. Tomorrow will be a learning experience, it's been a tough introduction for him in to the Superbike class, but the whole team is confident he will show well in the races.

"For Leon, qualifying was not too bad at all, but it's easy to be disappointed with seventh when you've been regularly in the top-three all week. The very positive point is that Leon's qualifying time was done on a race tyre and that - except for the final sector - he's competitive with the fastest guys over a lap. Come the race, that problem should largely disappear, in that there will be a group of riders towing each other along and tactically the race will be extremely different to qualifying: It will be about who has the best package left beneath them at the end of 22-laps. I think that the FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Leon are in good shape for both of the races."

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Second Row For Sykes In New-Look Superpole

WSBK, Phillip Island, Australia, 23 February 2013

Tom Sykes rode his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R to a strong fourth in the new style of Superpole qualifying, which means he will begin Sunday’s 22-lap Superbike races from the front of the second row.

Having overcome the effects of injury to his left wrist in recent testing, and losing some test days as a result, Sykes and his team pushed on in the specialised discipline of Superpole, which was virtually Tom’s personal property in 2012.

Tom was in the lead after Superpole 1 and was second in Superpole 2, but with only three riders on each row in 2013 Tom was squeezed to the second row very late in the final Superpole session when another rider took second place on the grid. Tom almost went out on track again on a race tyre, to try and get his front row place back, but he decided not to risk it with so little time left and keep all his energies for the races on Sunday.

Loris Baz finished up 11th on his official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R but had been all set to progress into Superpole 3 until a sudden drop in grip from his rear qualifying tyre, in the last few corners, prevented him from setting his potential new best. He finished on the fourth row, but with a good overall race pace so far.

Kawasaki Pedercini Team riders Alex Lundh and Federico Sandi were 18th and 20th respectively and with only 15 riders in Superpole in 2013, they missed out on Superpole qualification.

Tom Sykes: “The new look Superpole rules have not suited us because we could have had a nice front row start. We are on row two but obviously we have done a good job to get so close, so fast, after having been forced to skip two days testing and then riding injured. I learned last year that qualifying is qualifying and racing I another story, so I am a decent spot for tomorrow’s races. It will be two long races, in hot conditions from what I have heard, so let’s see. We have a bit of thinking to do tonight to decide in exactly which direction we will go but I do not feel we are in a bad situation at all. Let us see how tomorrow goes.”

Loris Baz: “This was one of our best weekends of work in practice and qualifying and it had been going well until the last corners when I had a qualifying tyre in Superpole 2. The second qualifier we had did not work as well as the first one we used and by the time I got to the last corners it had given its best, so I could not improve my time to go into the final part of Superpole. We are good for the race I think, we have done a lot of work and think we are in good shape for the race, which is the main thing. My best lap in Superpole 2 was actually done on a race tyre so I am happy about that.”

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

Phillip Island – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 23rd February 2013.

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 25 – 29 °C, Track: 30 – 52 °C
Number of riders participating: 21/20 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) 1:30.387 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) 1:30.234 min

The 2013 season opener of the FIM Superbike World Championship will see the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team start from the second row on the grid after factory rider, Marco Melandri (ITA), was classified fifth in today’s Superpole qualifying at Phillip Island (AUS). His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) struggled with a technical issue that prevented him from riding consistently fast laps, as a result he will start from 12th position on the fourth row on the grid. A rule change for this season means that the individual grid rows consist of three riders rather than four, as it was previously the case.

Marco set the fastest time in the free practice session at noon and then progressed comfortably through the first two Superpole sessions to reach the final and deciding session, Superpole 3. In both the first and second sessions he only rode one fast lap on his BMW S 1000 RR to securely qualify for the next part, once on a race tyre and once on a qualifying tyre. In Superpole 3 he completed one outing on his second qualifying tyre, setting the temporary fastest lap time of 1:30.615 minutes on his RR. Later, Tom Sykes (GBR) clocked exactly the same time and due to the regulations was classified in front of Marco. The pair were topping the time sheets until the closing stages of Superpole 3, however then dropped down onto the second row of the grid. Chaz started the day confidently after achieving two top-5-results yesterday. In Superpole 1, the Welshman did two outings, one on a race tyre and one on a qualifying tyre. With the ninth fastest time he progressed easily to the second session. There, he went out but returned to the pits immediately due to a technical issue. With three and a half minutes to go, he made another attempt but had to settle with 12th place on the grid.

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:30.931 min (P5) / Fastest lap FP: 1:30.814 min (P1) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:30.615 min (P5)
“Compared to last year, when we struggled a lot on this track, we have improved a lot. Now the bike is performing quite well and we had a good qualifying session. This afternoon the track conditions were worse than yesterday and this morning, but the team has done a great job on the bike to improve the tyres’ life. In the end we are satisfied and we got the best out of our bike. Tomorrow’s races will not be easy for all of us because of the high temperatures and the wind. While I hope that the wind will not be too strong, I don’t mind if it is warm.My shoulder is also getting a little better, probably because it is getting used to the stress from being on the bike. I am confident that tomorrow we will be consistent on the long distance of the race.”

Chaz Davies:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:31.526 min (P11) / Fastest lap FP: 1:32.210 min (P11) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:31.870 min (P12)
“I'm very disappointed. After yesterday I thought that we were consistently going in the right direction but today just seemed a little bit more difficult. We were very happy with the long run we did this morning in the second qualifying practice, but from free practice onwards it became difficult. Unfortunately in Superpole I was struggling with a technical issue a little bit. We are working on solving this and apart from that, I am happy with the bike. We showed that we are quite strong in our race setup and if I get a good start a lot is possible. It is just a shame that we had that issue at that critical point of the weekend.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We are happy with the results. The team and the riders have done a good job. Unfortunately, Marco had a crash during the free practice session, but he is really professional and kept fully concentrated until the end of Superpole. The incident did not affect his shoulder which is getting a little better. Chaz had a technical issue during Superpole that prevented him from scoring a position further towards the front of the grid. But we are confident for the races and are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We are satisfied with the results from today’s Superpole. Both crews have worked a lot on the chassis and the electronics and have found a good balance to preserve the life of the tyres. Marco will start from the second row and Chaz from the fourth. We are sure that for Marco this should be no problem; he is fast and will try to overtake his competitors. It is unfortunate that Chaz could not improve his position due to a technical issue, but he is also talented and fast, so overall we are confident for tomorrow. We have already found a good setting for the races. We have done a simulation and the results show that we should be competitive on the longer distance of the race. We are looking forward to the race and the team is in a positive mood.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Phillip Island, 23 February 2013 – The Aprilia RSV4 bikes proved to be fast during all the sessions of the day and their competitiveness was also confirmed in the first Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season.

With a breathtaking lap using a race tyre instead of the specific qualifier, Eugene Laverty stopped the clock with the second best time (1’30.429) that earned him a spot on the front row tomorrow. Then Northern Irish rider came in ahead of Michel Fabrizio's RSV4 (Team Red Devils Roma), who has been having a top notch weekend.

In terms of race pace, Eugene can also aspire for an excellent result. The simulations conducted during testing showed good consistency with times that certainly place him among the contenders for a podium finish.

“After using my last qualifier in Superpole 3 I was on the second row, but I really wanted to be in the top three like I was in the last races last year. I threw myself into a fast lap using a race tyre and I must say that everything went perfectly. It was just a bit rocky in the turn that comes out onto the straight stretch, but second place is excellent, especially since we've worked well on our race pace. Starting from the front was important. It simplifies things and now I am looking forward to the races tomorrow with confidence”.

In his first Superpole with Aprilia, Sylvain Guintoli did not disappoint the expectations. After coming through the first two sessions without any major problems, where the 9 best riders move on to the final, decisive session, the French rider used his second qualifier in Superpole 3 to take the sixth best time, coming just a little over a tenth shy of a spot on the front row.

“I think I can be quite satisfied – confirmed Sylvain – since this is my first Superpole with the new Team. Everything went according to plan. In my last lap with the qualifier I pushed to the maximum for the first part of the track and maybe that made me lose a bit of grip toward the end. I was only a tenth of a second off of the front row, but in the end I didn't make any mistakes and we are where we need to be with our race pace, so I can't wait to get back on the track for the two races tomorrow”.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Second day of qualifiying for Althea Racing team in Philip Island

For the second daytime of qualifying and for the Superpole it was a sunny and hot day, which defined the starting grid of the first two rounds of the World Superbike 2013.Genesio Bevilacqua’s Team took the second qualifying session of the morning in order to continue working on the Aprilia RSV4, in function to the races. At the end of the session Giugliano had improved yesterday’s time and with his the tenth place (1'31 "470) he easily qualified for the Superpole. Before the Superpole riders competed the free trials which served to Davide and his team for a long run that gave excellent results. In Superpole, Giugliano classified eighth in the first phase, easily qualifying for the second. Unfortunately, in the second session of the qualifying the tire betrayed the Althea’s team rider right in the end of his best lap and Davide remained excluded from the third phase for only 16 milliseconds. Tenth place and fourth row for him on the starting grid of the two races that will take place tomorrow on the distance of 22 laps.

Davide Giugliano : “I am disappointed of not having been qualified for the final phase of the Superpole, but the main reason is the poor performance of the tire that did not allow me to do the necessary time. We must be satisfied with the tenth place and tomorrow we will start from the fourth row. This does not preclude the possibility of a good result because we worked very well during the testing and today we did a long run that gave excellent results. It will be important to make a good start to engage immediately the first group.”

Genesio Bevilacqua : “It 'a shame to not to reach the final phase of the Superpole. Davide was doing a great lap that would have allowed him to easily qualify for the third phase. Unfortunately, a loss of grip in the rear tire caused him to lose precious time. But we are conscious of having done a good job during the tests, and overall taking care the tire wear on the distances. Giugliano has a pace that will allow him to be competitive in the race and this makes us confident for a great day tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by World Superbike Press Office:

Carlos Checa wins Tissot-Superpole at Phillip Island

Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 23 February 2013 – Spaniard Carlos Checa has started the ‘Panigale' era of Ducati in World Superbike by winning the Tissot-Superpole at Phillip Island. The Ducati Team Alstare managed to take the best out of the new Borgo Panigale superbike by setting an incredible 1'30.234, that means a brand-new Best Lap for the series and the 10th pole position of his career.

Checa saved a Superpole tyre for the final minutes of a hard-fought Superpole 3, with all 9 riders desperate to find a way into the front rows for tomorrow's World Superbike races. The choice made by the former champion and the team led by Francis Batta proved to be successful, as Checa got the nod from an extremely competitive Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) by just 0.195 seconds.

Carlos Checa: “Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physiotherapists and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn’t think I’d be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really - better than I thought I would! Today was good, but we’ll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we’ll be competitive tomorrow and can be in the mix at the end of the race.”

Eugene Laverty: “After using my last qualifier in Superpole 3 I was on the second row, but I really wanted to be in the top three like I was in the last races last year. I threw myself into a fast lap using a race tyre and I must say that everything went perfectly. It was just a bit rocky in the turn that comes out onto the straight stretch, but second place is excellent, especially since we've worked well on our race pace. Starting from the front was important. It simplifies things and now I am looking forward to the races tomorrow with confidence”.

After being the fastest rider in qualifying, Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) gave his fans another pleasant surprise by ending up in third place. This good performance tells a lot about the good shape of the Rome-born rider, who has always been more of a Sunday racer than a qualifier.

The second row of the grid will be headed tomorrow by 2012 Mr. Superpole Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), whose lap-time was exactly matched by fifth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team). Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) will aim to be part of the battle for the rostrum position moving off from the 6th and 7th grid slot, as well as following Pata Honda World Superbike duo of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea.

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda:

Third row for Pata Honda duo

Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two first-round World Superbike championship races from eighth and ninth places on the grid respectively after today’s Superpole qualifying session at Phillip Island in Australia.

Under new-for-2013 regulations, riders will line up in rows of three on the grid for tomorrow’s two 22-lap races at the 4.45km circuit, placing both Pata Honda riders on the third row.

Haslam, 29, endured a frustrating day that saw him lose most of the earlier free practice session following a crash, and his allotted two qualifying tyres not giving him the extra performance that he expected.

Ulsterman Rea, meanwhile, continues to seek an optimum balance on his Honda CBR1000RR machine that will allow him to push for consistently fast laps in tomorrow’s races.

Leon Haslam – P8, 1m30.998s
Superpole was a bit of a disaster, actually. We had a few issues in Superpole 1 and didn’t quite get it sorted. In Superpole 2 we had a misfire problem but managed to solve it and get out on a race tyre with about a minute to go, which just got me through. The qualifier just didn’t work but we thought it might have been a bad one so went out for Superpole 3 on the second one, but it was exactly the same. I was slower on the Q but all I had left was an old race tyre and that’s what I had to do the lap on. I was quite happy with that but disappointed with the other problems. We were trying something new with traction control in free practice and it kind of low-sided me off which was really strange. We lost most of that session so missed some track time when we wanted to try some things, but I’m not too worried. The feeling’s good, we just haven’t tested everything that we wanted.

Jonathan Rea – P9, 1m31.353s
We're not where we wanted to be because we had a lot of hopes and expectations that the changes to the bike over the winter would have given us a step forward. Compared to our competitors, we're still in a relatively early stage of developing this new electronics package and, for now, it’s not really consistent enough to give me the confidence to push. That has also limited the amount of time we've been able to spend on finding some distance for the tyre and that's still a concern for tomorrow's races. My frustration is showing in my riding and we’ve struggled to move forward. I do have confidence in my crew though, and their determination to keep searching for something that will allow us to get something out of tomorrow's two races. We’ll look through everything again tonight and come back relaxed in the morning ready hopefully to enjoy two 22-lap races.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
The third row is not what we wanted or expected, so it’s been a disappointing day. We ran into some problems with the electronics and settings and Leon had a small crash earlier. That disrupted our tyre preservation plans quite a bit, but I think he did a good job to do that time on a race tyre, considering all the little problems he had. Jonathan also had some problems but he’s a little further off the pace and we have to try to find some modifications and new settings in warm-up tomorrow to give him back his confidence so he can fight for some decent positions in tomorrow’s races.

More, from a press release issued by Team Red Devils Roma:

Team Red Devils reached the first row at Phillip Island

After the excellent performance of Michel Fabrizio in yesterday’s qualifying races, this morning, in the second and final round of qualifying the Red Devils team rider was the fastest on the track. He finished in first place with a fantastic time of 1'30"387, which improves by half a second best lap set by Checa in 2011. Another great achievement for Michel, who in the afternoon practices worked with his team to get ready for the next Superpole (ninth place for him in 1'31 "684). In the Superpole (where this year 15 riders access) Michel and his team were pleased with the tenth place in the first phase, so then they used the qualifying tires in the two next stages. In the second session Fabrizio was eighth, but it was the third and final phase that the Red Devils Team rider gave the best, taking the third place and the first row in the two races that will take place tomorrow with a distance of 22 laps each.

Michel Fabrizio : “I'm not completely satisfied with my Superpole. After I had been in the lead in all the qualifying runs, I hoped to be awarded the Superpole, but I ruined it in a zone where until now I was very strong, that is the bend before the finish. Anyway the satisfaction remains for the excellent work done with my team and the third place means the first row. I expect two long and difficult races. I think that after mid-race we must bite the bullet because we have a good race pace, but on the other hand a lot will depend on the weather. I thank my team as also today they did a great job and a special thanks to those who believed in me, first of all our GM Adriano Alessandrini.”

Andrea Petricca : “I am very happy for this great result. We're going beyond our wildest expectations and these results give us the certainty that we have done a great job, the best characteristic is the harmony that reigns in the team and that puts Michel in a position to give his best. Aprilia also plays a very important role as they give us all the necessary assistance which preclude the results obtained. Concerning Michel, him like all of us have a great desire for revenge and to obtain excellent results. I want to thank not only all of our sponsors, but also all the people who watched us and called us from home in Italy, even though it was the middle of the night, to show us their affection.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Honda Racing:

Stauffer and Hook Battle-Ready for World Stage Tomorrow

23 February 2013 – Qualifying and Superpole were held today at Phillip Island for day 2 of the World Superbike event and after qualifying 14th fastest this morning, #21 Jamie Stauffer secured his place in the 1st of 3 Superpole knock-out sessions this afternoon.

Restricted to the top 15 in Superbike Qualifying, the 1st Superpole session would ultimately decide Stauffer’s grid position for the World Superbike races tomorrow as the Honda rider recorded a flying lap of 1:32.353 sec, but unfortunately then crashed at Turn 2 and returned to the pits to regroup in readiness for tomorrow’s battle.

Stauffer: “I was really happy to make it into the Superpole and I feel comfortable on the CBR1000RR although I was hoping to be in the mix a little longer. Unfortunately, I crashed during the 1st Superpole and I will start the races tomorrow from P14. However, I believe I can be competitive in the races and the team are a fantastic support. I am really looking forward to the 2 Superbike races tomorrow and competing against the world’s best riders. The Honda CBR1000RR that Team Honda Racing has given me is competitive, now I just need to focus on the best result possible.”

In Supersport Qualifying 2 this afternoon, #16 Josh Hook tried some different settings in his Honda CBR600RR and the team gained critical information going into tomorrow’s races. The young rider from Taree is ready to do battle on the world stage tomorrow.

Hook: “We tried some different settings today and although we didn’t move forward as we had anticipated we do have a clear direction going into tomorrow. I came off during the qualifying session today, but I am fine and the team are giving 100% to make sure we are ready for the race tomorrow. I just need to stay focused and calm. I know the team will have my CBR600RR in top form in the morning and I am ready to give it everything to do the team and Honda proud.”

Team Honda Racing will be out on track at 9:20am tomorrow for World Superbike Warm-up.

More, from a press release issued by Team SBK Alstare Ducati:

Checa and Team SBK Ducati Alstare storm to pole on the new 1199 Panigale

Spaniard Carlos Checa defied the pain barrier to take the first Superpole of the season on the all-new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Despite riding with a bruised shoulder and foot, Carlos blasted his way round the 4.445 kilometre circuit in 1:30.234, to finish nearly two tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival. Before the day began there was some doubt as to whether Carlos would be strong enough to qualify for the latter stages of Superpole but, thanks to superb work by the Clinica Mobile’s medical staff and the Ducati Alstare mechanics (who made the bike easier to ride), the Spaniard was able to ride almost pain free and attack Superpole right from the start. Carlos’ Superpole victory made up for the team’s disappointment this morning when it was discovered that Ayrton Badovini had broken a bone in his right foot and would be unable to take part in the the rest of the weekend.

Carlos Checa 1:30.234
“Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physios and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn’t think I’d be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really - better than I thought I would!
In Superpole, I felt no pain and could attack without a problem. I like this track and have a lot of experience here, so I was able to push hard, but I really didn’t think I’d be able to go so fast and the lap time was a bit of a surprise to me.
I like the challenge of this project. Me and the team are all growing together and that is exciting for all us. Today was good, but we’ll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we’ll be competitive tomorrow and I can be in the mix at the end of the race. These past few days have been like heaven and hell. I missed some days testing because I was sick. Then I had a big crash yesterday and today we won Superpole!”

Francis Batta (Team Owner)
“I’m very satisfied. Carlos and the team have worked hard and done a great job in a very short time. I am a bit surprised at our Superpole victory today because we didn’t have much track time at Jerez in January because of the weather and so all the improvements have been done here in Australia. We’ve made a lot of progress in a very short time on a bike that is very different to anything else in WSBK. The team is a very good fusion of Alstare and Ducati and together we hope to realise the potential of the bike and be competitive at every track.”

Ayrton Badovini
“When I crashed yesterday, I hurt my right foot. I didn’t have it X-rayed because I wanted to see how it was after a night’s sleep. But when I woke up this morning, I could see that it was very swollen, so I went to the Clinica Mobile for some X-rays. They showed that I had broken a bone in my foot, in the heel area, and that it would not be possible to race. The foot was put in plaster and I was told not to put any weight on it at all. I will fly home on Monday and will then go and see my specialist some time next week, when the situation will be reassessed. Normally, this kind of break needs about thirty-five days, so there is no reason why I cannot ride at Aragon. After my crash in the official tests, this new injury is not what I needed. I am disappointed that I am not able to help carry on the development of this bike and sorry that I will miss the races.”