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Sep 7, 2012

Checa Tops Provisional World Superbike Qualifying At Nurburgring

Carlos Checa (7).
FIM Superbike World Championship
Nurburgring, Germany
September 7, 2012
Qualifying Session One Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 1:55.307
2. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:55.750
3. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:55.802
4. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:55.813
5. Leon HASLAM, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:55.828
6. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:55.838
7. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:55.891
8. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:55.949
9. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:56.399
10. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:56.461
11. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:56.465
12. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:56.497
13. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:56.981
14. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:57.024
15. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:57.077
16. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:57.434
17. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:57.468
18. John HOPKINS, USA (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:57.592
19. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:57.729
20. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:58.286
21. Lorenzo LANZI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:59.145
22. Brett McCORMICK, Canada (Ducati 1098R), 1:59.712
23. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:59.763
24. Norino BRIGNOLA, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:00.676

More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:

Althea riders Checa and Giugliano ahead on day one

Nürburgring (Germany), Friday 7 September 2012 Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano from the Althea Racing Ducati team went 1-2 in the first qualifying session at the German round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, with Checa enjoying a small but clear four-tenths advantage in his 1 minute 55.307 seconds lap time.

Close behind Giugliano, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) slotted in third with Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) making a good jump up to fourth. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) had a much better time than his team-mate Marco Melandri, with Haslam fifth fastest and Melandri 12th. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) was sixth overall.

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) provided a cosmopolitan mix of machinery, ensuring that all manufacturers were represented by at least one rider on the front two rows of the provisional grid.

Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) was ninth while Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Racing Team Ducati) rounded out the top ten. Sylvain Guintoli, Zanetti's team-mate, finished one place behind the young Italian, with early faller Melandri recovering to go 12th.

Lorenzo Lanzi (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) was a late replacement for the outgoing former regular team rider Jakub Smrz in Germany. Lanzi was 21st today, from 24 riders.

Times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1'55.307 average 160.382 kph; 2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1'55.750; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'55.802; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'55.813; 5. Haslam (BMW) 1'55.828; 6. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'55.838; 7. Rea (Honda) 1'55.891; 8. Camier (Suzuki) 1'55.949; 9. Davies (Aprilia) 1'56.399; 10. Zanetti (Ducati) 1'56.461; 11. Guintoli (Ducati) 1'56.465; 12. Melandri (BMW) 1'56.497; 13. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'56.981; 14. Badovini (BMW) 1'57.024; 15. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'57.077; 16. Canepa (Ducati) 1'57.434; etc.

World Supersport

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) scored the fastest lap of 1 minute 59.210 seconds in first qualifying to lead a pack of top riders chasing on behind, with his closest challenger another PTR Honda man, Frenchman Jules Cluzel. Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was third and Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) fourth. Points leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) was around a second behind Lowes, with proven podium finisher Vladimir Leonov (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) once more in the top mix, going sixth on day one. Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) had a good start to his weekend, seventh. Top wildcard rider was David Linortner (Gerin-Skm Racing Team) in ninth place from 33 runners.

Times: 1. Lowes (Honda) 1'59.210 average 155.131 kph; 2. Cluzel (Honda) 1'59.453; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'59.637; 4. Parkes (Honda) 2'00.183; 5. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'00.222; 6. Leonov (Yamaha) 2'00.236; 7. Toth (Honda) 2'00.455; 8. Tamburini (Honda) 2'00.510; etc.

Superstock 1000

Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) led the way in Superstock 1000 with a time of 1 minute 59.968 seconds as the Frenchman became the only rider to dip under the two-minute mark in first qualifying, only just heading off the early best of Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati). The battle for third fastest time was also a close fight, with two of this year's race winners Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) and Bryan Staring (Pedercini Kawasaki) third and fourth.

Times: 1. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1'59.968 average 154.151 kph; 2. La Marra (Ducati) 2'00.017; 3. Barrier (BMW) 2'00.403; 4. Staring (Kawasaki) 2'00.431; 5. Bergman (Kawasaki) 2'00.942; 6. Massei (Honda) 2'00.967; 7. Jezek (Ducati) 2'01.160; 8. Bussolotti (Ducati) 2'01.241; etc.

Superstock 600

Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) got his weekend off to a good start by taking the fastest lap of the first qualifying session, with his time of 2 minutes 02.989 seconds also a new track best. The Dutchman is still recovering from a broken collarbone he picked up in Supersport practice two weeks ago at Moscow Raceway. Only 0.007 seconds behind is Belgian rider Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Yamaha) in second place, with Duwelz's Aussie team-mate Adrian Nestorovic third and Franco Morbidelli (Bike Service RT Yamaha) fourth. Championship high-flier Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) was fifth fastest as he and van der Mark set out on another weekend of close competition for the championship title itself.

Times: 1. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'02.989 average 150.365 kph; 2. Duwelz (Yamaha) 2'02.996; 3. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 2'03.545; 4. Morbidelli (Yamaha) 2'03.642; 5. Russo (Yamaha) 2'03.714; 6. Chesaux (Honda) 2'03.982; 7. Cecchini (Honda) 2'04.235; 8. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 2'04.465; etc.

KTM European Junior Cup

Lukas Wimmer (MSC Schalchen) took the early advantage in the one-make KTM series in Germany, setting the fastest time of the first free session. Adrian Pesek and Artur Wielebski (Bogdanka Junior Team Poland) second and third respectively. KTM EspanaF1A rider Gaston Garcia was fourth for Spain.

Times: 1. Wimmer (AUT) 2'13.036; 2. Pasek (POL) 2'14.250; 3. Wielebski (POL) 2'14.310; 4. Garcia (ESP) 2'15.179; 5. De Lange (RSA) 2'15.227; 6. Demoulin J. (FRA) 2'15.700; 7. Vidal (ESP) 2'16.148; 8. Orellana (ESP) 2'16.941; etc.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:


Nürburg (Germany), Friday 7th September 2012: the Althea Racing team made the best possible start to its weekend of Superbike racing at the Nürburgring today, closing first qualifying in first and second position with its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano.

In this morning's first free practice session, which took place in sunny and dry conditions (air temperature 20ËšC, track 35ËšC), both Giugliano and Checa worked efficiently with their teams, making changes to the set-up of their 1198 bikes throughout the time available to them. Checa, who won race 1 here last year, made a series of quick laps, the best of which was a 1m57.1, Thanks to this time, he closed the session in seventh position. Giugliano, after last year's Stock 1000 win here, soon got back into the rhythm of the German track, recording some very fast laps, in under 1.57, which secured his position at the very top of the timesheets. The young Italian talent closed in first position, thanks to a best time of 1m56.3, while Biaggi and Melandri closed respectively two and three tenths of a second behind him.

The track temperature rose as high as 47ËšC during the afternoon qualifying session and all riders were able to significantly improve on the times set in the morning. Both Althea men pushed hard from the start and were quickly up among the frontrunners. During the course of the session, Carlos was able to improve on his time by almost two seconds, making a series of laps in under 1m56 despite less than ideal levels of grip. His best lap made in 1m55.3 assured him of provisional pole position for Sunday's races. His team-mate Davide, first in practice, further improved this afternoon, by another six tenths, to close the session in second place (1m55.7), four tenths behind leader Carlos.

Carlos Checa:
"This is a track where Ducati has often done well in the past and so today we have confirmed that tendency; then we will see what happens in the races which are another story! We've seen that the tyres are losing grip after a few laps so if the level of grip on track doesn't improve over the weekend it will be like this with pretty slippery conditions for the races. Having said that I'm feeling comfortable with both the bike and the track and both Davide and I have worked hard, consolidating our top team status. We're definitely on the right track and will continue with the work tomorrow."

Davide Giugliano:
"We've worked hard today and in a calm and methodical way which is important. We've started on the right foot, also because we didn't use the softer tyre solution today but the so-called 'standard' one so to record an interesting time with that one, seeing as it end up being the race tyre, bodes well. There's still room for improvement as far as my general level of comfort with the bike but I'm confident. I'm getting better physically, though my neck and arm is still hurting me somewhat, I'm probably at about 70% fitness wise."

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

Nürburgring Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 7th September 2012.

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 20 23 °C, Track: 35 47 °C
Number of riders participating: 24 from 13 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) 1:56.395 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) 1:55.307 min

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport had a difficult but productive day as it started into its home event at the Nürburgring (GER). The iconic race track hosts the third from last round of the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship. Factory rider Leon Haslam (GBR) finished today's first qualifying practice in fifth on the provisional second row. Leon is ignoring a lot of pain caused by the injury to his left shoulder he suffered two weeks ago when he crashed in race two at "Moscow Raceway" (RUS). Unfortunately, due to the pain, he could not ride as many laps as planned. His team-mate, Marco Melandri (ITA), qualified a provisional 12th. Marco had a crash in the early stages of the first qualifying practice when he lost control of his front tyre. However, his BMW S 1000 RR was not significantly damaged; Marco was able to ride back to the garage and continued the session after his bike was checked by his crew. Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio (both ITA) of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team finished 14th and 15th respectively.

Leon Haslam:
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:57.354 min (P9)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:55.828 min (P5)
"This morning I had some problems with my arm, which was strange because the injury was quite okay all last week. It was just a little sore, which is normal, but for some reason when I got on the bike this morning it was really painful. I had some treatment in between the sessions, and I then had some reaction on the tendon. It was difficult as the pain was quite bad, but hopefully in 12 hours' time it will be better. When I suffered the injury initially they thought it was just muscle damage, but maybe now it is the tendon that I have torn. This is something that I need to sort out. From the sporting aspect the day was good. I was P5 and felt fine with the lap times. We did a good run on race tyres and, even if I could not do so many laps, I am pretty happy."

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:56.601 min (P3)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:56.497 min (P12)
"This was a difficult day for me. In the afternoon I did not have a good feeling for the bike at all. This has never happened before this season. On top of that I had a strange crash in the first corner of my first flying lap. I had new brakes and did not want to brake too hard, so I went a little wide and crashed. Happily nothing serious happened to me or the bike. From then on my feeling for the bike was even worse. When we went for the softer tyre, chattering came back big time. I am confident we can improve tomorrow."

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"Today was a difficult start into the weekend. Both riders are still struggling with the grip and the front feeling of their RRs. Marco had a good start to the day but was not happy with the feeling for the bike in the afternoon. We have to work hard to improve it. He lost the front of his S 1000 RR in the first corner of his first flying lap of today's qualifying practice. This crash compromised his entire session. I have to congratulate Leon today. He is still suffering from pain in his left shoulder as a consequence of the crash in Moscow. As well as that just before qualifying practice, due to his medical treatment, this became worse. Still, Leon was able to score consistent good lap times. We are all proud of his efforts."

More, from a press release issued by Honda:

Rea seventh on return to the Ring

Jonathan Rea posted the seventh fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session for Sunday's World Superbike championship races at the Nurburgring in Germany.

The 25-year-old Honda World Superbike Team rider returned to his familiar CBR1000RR Fireblade after spending two days testing with the Repsol Honda MotoGP team in Spain earlier this week. However, Rea was quickly back into the groove and was less than a tenth of a second from a provisional front row slot.

Carlos Checa took provisional pole position today in preparation for Sunday's two 20-lap races at the 5.137km Nurburgring circuit as Rea's Honda team-mate, Hiroshi Aoyama, rode at the historic circuit for the first time.

The 30-year-old Japanese enjoyed the circuit very much but admitted that he needs further laps to familiarise himself with the undulating and bumpy layout.

Jonathan Rea P7, 1m55.891s

Things are rolling along OK. I've been doing a lot of laps and familiarising myself with my CBR1000RR but we're just lacking a little bit of control off the corner. It's a bit to do with the electronics, which need to be a little smoother, and the chassis setting, which needs to improve. Tomorrow morning we'll focus on that and try to put some laps on a tyre in free practice to confirm our race choice, which is between two right now. So we're kind of on target it's very, very close at the top and I've no doubt that we can make the right settings to challenge tomorrow.

Hiroshi Aoyama P20, 1m58.286s

The racetrack is very nice and I like it a lot. At the same time, it's very difficult, because there are a lot of ups and downs and some corners you cannot see. Some corners are very fast and some are very bumpy, so there are a lot of different corners here. It's interesting and fun but to find a good way is not so easy. We improved 1.5 seconds from this morning to the afternoon and I hope we can do the same tomorrow. Then we can hope for Superpole again in the afternoon.

Pieter Breddels technical co-ordinator

It's a new circuit for Hiroshi and he just needs laps. He asked us not to change the bike very much and to let him do laps. He's improving every time he goes out and hopefully he can improve more tomorrow because we need to make some time up. Jonathan had quite a good session this morning and the bike felt pretty good and he did a reasonable time. We struggled a little this afternoon and we're still looking for a better setting at the front. Also the mapping needs a little work and these things stopped us improving and being consistent this afternoon. With a soft set of tyres we're as fast as anyone and there were a lot of 55.8s out there today!

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:




Nürburgring, 7 September 2012 The Aprilia Racing Team's German Friday gives the Italian team confidence for the rest of the weekend. On a sunny day that was just as pleasant as it was unusual for this latitude, Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty got in some excellent sessions.

The Corsair, stopping the clock with the second fastest lap in free practice and sixth fastest in the afternoon qualifiers, worked on his race pace, garnering comforting sensations.

There is still room for improvement and Max knows that it will have to be filled down to the last tenth of a second. The final rankings after the two sessions showed an extremely tight gap in the top ten times. This is a situation which, especially during Superpole, will force the riders to push to the limits. The changes that the five time world champion and his team are planning will be aimed precisely at improving race pace so he can battle with the front runners.

"The sessions went pretty well today confirmed Max Biaggi We worked with a view to the races, trying to find the right pace. We didn't make any drastic changes between the morning and afternoon sessions, and even with the changes we made we didn't see any big differences. So to get even better tomorrow we'll opt for some bigger changes and see what that does to our times. We still need to shave a bit more off, because that's what our rivals will be doing".

Eugene Laverty didn't let a harmless slide in one of his first laps on the Nürburgring break his concentration. The Team continued working without further obstacles, showing consistent improvements which led to the fourth fastest time in the afternoon qualifying session. Eugene is confident, especially with the feeling he has achieved on his RSV4 and the weather forecast, finally dry and without any surprises.

"The first session didn't get off to the best of starts with a crash in the first laps. I cleared my mind and went back to work, finishing with the fourth fastest lap this afternoon. We have improved the feeling quite a bit as well as front tyre grip, which is something that had caused some problems. Now the bike's working well, so we just need to fine tune the set up in order to get a spot on the front row and ride two good races on Sunday".

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

FIXI Crescent Suzuki racer Leon Camier finished in eighth place during today's first free practice and qualifying sessions for the 12th round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship from Nurburgring in Germany.

Camier is still suffering from the stiffness and bruising related to the huge crash he had in Russia, but the Englishman didn't let that bother him today on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R as he regularly challenged the top positions. In this morning's first free practice Camier twice led the timesheets and following his 14-laps in the first qualifying position he sits in a comfortable position to make his way into tomorrow's Superpole, after recording a time of 1'55.949 which was only 0.642 seconds away from provisional pole-setter Carlos Checa.

John Hopkins still has a bit of work to confirm and consolidate his position in Superpole during tomorrow's final qualifying session. The Anglo-American has little knowledge of the technically-demanding 5,137m German circuit and spent the majority of today's two sessions finding his lines and braking markers, as well as working with his crew to get the set-up right for his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 around this difficult track. With the added information from today and after having time to acquaint himself with the layout, Hopkins is certain that he will improve tomorrow and be in there challenging on Sunday.

The FIXI Crescent Suzuki duo will have a final qualifying session tomorrow morning to try and claim their positions in the afternoon Superpole session, where they plan to join 14 other riders to battle for the best grid positions in Sunday's two races, the first of which gets underway at 12.00hrs local time (11.00hrs BST).

Leon Camier:

"It was quite a good day for us, but there's definitely room for improvement and I expect the lap times to fall quite a bit. We struggled for grip a bit today, but once we got it, we were able to go faster. This track is not all about horsepower - like some other tracks - and I think the FIXI Crescent Suzuki will be pretty good round here.
"At the end of the day, my right hip was cramping up a bit, so I'll get some ice and a massage this evening to loosen it up. I'm sure that it's not going to be a problem tomorrow or race-day and I'm looking forward to qualifying well and then fighting with the leaders on Sunday."

John Hopkins:

"I have no memory of this track from the last time I was here, so I had to relearn it today. We tried many different settings and threw every possible tyre at the FIXI Crescent Suzuki today to see if we could find some solutions to our chatter problems this year. Unfortunately, the tyre combination we had at the end of today's qualifying was not the right one and I couldn't lap as fast as I wanted, but the good news is that we have made improvements and tomorrow will be a lot better. This is a fun track to ride and I am enjoying it a lot, so I expect to safely get into Superpole and then take it from there."

Jack Valentine -Team Manager:

"It's been a really good day at the office and I'm very pleased that Leon is just 0.136 seconds off the front row. His lap times were good and he was the fastest rider through sector four, so hopefully he will nail the other areas tomorrow and go even quicker. John had more work to do today, but I am confident that he will improve and progress into Superpole. It's been a consistent and good day and all of us at FIXI Crescent Suzuki are looking forward to tomorrow."
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