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Aug 3, 2013

Eugene Laverty Wins World Superbike Superpole At Silverstone (Updated)

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Eugene Laverty (58) on his Aprilia RSV4 Factory at Silverstone.
eni FIM Superbike World Championship
Silverstone Circuit, England
August 3, 2013
Final Qualifying Results, After Superpole (all on Pirelli tires):

From Superpole Knockout Session Three:

1. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:04.730
2. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:04.949
3. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:05.078
4. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:05.105
5. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:05.949
6. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 2:06.369
7. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:06.775
8. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.569
9. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.750

From Superpole Knockout Session Two:

10. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 2:05.011
11. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:05.492
12. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 2:05.573

From Superpole Knockout Session One:

13. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 2:05.492
14. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 2:05.593
15. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:13.317

The Rest of the Grid:

16. Mark AITCHISON, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:07.743
17. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:08.106
18. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:09.543

More, from a press release issued by SBK Press Office:

An emotional and moving tribute to Andrea Antonelli gathered the entire WSBK paddock on the starting line at Silverstone, together with his Team, Goeleven Kawasaki, Andrea's bike #8 and the Moscow Raceway Supersport race winner trophy, which was given in his memory. Following this special moment, the eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders went on track for the ninth Tissot-Superpole of the season.

After two dry sessions, the third one was red flagged as the rain started to fall on the Norhamptonshire track. The action resumed with a final wet 20-minute Superpole, which saw Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) getting the best out of a last minute attempt, on an almost dry track surface, and clocking in 2'04.730 seconds to secure his first ever Tissot-Superpole win.

The 27 year old from Toomebridge, Northern Ireland, was able to edge Spaniard Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare), back on the front row of the grid after the pole position scored in the Season Opener at Phillip Island, and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike).

Row 2 will be headed by Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), who was leading the last session before the rain stopped - allowing riders for a final quick lap - followed by team mate Tom Sykes. The Brit got the worse of today's Superpole, as just before the red flag came out he set what would have been the new best lap of the circuit.

Works BMW rider Chaz Davies ended up sixth, while his team mate Marco Melandri got out of contention early on as he suffered a technical problem on his BMW S1000RR during Superpole 1.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) and Championship leader Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) ended up 7th and 8th, with Frenchman stopped by his RSV4 after a technical fault. Ninth place Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) had to sit out the final session due to a crash he sustained before the red flag was waved.

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

Silverstone – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole.
Saturday, 3rd August 2013.

Weather conditions: Mostly sunny with a bit of rain in the afternoon.
Temperature: Air: 19 – 23 °C, Track: 23 – 36 °C
Number of riders participating: 18 from 11 teams
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 2:05.355 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) 2:04.730 min

It was a difficult Saturday for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team at Silverstone (GBR), but it ended in a kind of a conciliatory manner. Factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) achieved the set target, which was to start from the front two rows. The Welshman finished sixth in today’s turbulent Superpole qualifying with his BMW S 1000 RR, thus starting the ninth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the second row. His team-mate Marco Melandri (ITA) was denied of his chance to attack in the Superpole qualifying by a mechanical issue and will start tomorrow’s races from 15th on the grid.

The day began according to plan with the team continuing the preparation work in this morning’s second qualifying practice. But during the free practice session in the early afternoon, luck changed for the squad. Chaz was forced back to the garage with a mechanical issue and lost a lot of track time. Marco crashed and had to be taken to the medical centre but fortunately he suffered only minor injuries and was ready to start in the following Superpole qualifying.

However, Marco was only able to do one flying lap before he had to stop beside the track because of a mechanical issue. Consequently, Superpole was over for him and he had to settle with 15th. Chaz meanwhile did two outings in the first part of the session. For the second one he used qualifying tyres and set the best time to progress to the next session. He made it through Superpole 2 into the final and deciding third session by using his other qualifying tyre. In Superpole 3, Chaz tried to do his best on race tyres, when the session was red flagged as it started to rain in parts of the track. The modus was changed to a “wet Superpole” of 20 minutes for those nine riders who had qualified for Superpole 3. Conditions were changing during this session and track action was quite reduced, but towards the end the track dried again and with three minutes to go, the riders went out again to battle a final showdown for the grid positions with Chaz putting in the sixth fastest time.

In the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, Sylvain Barrier from the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team secured his fifth pole position of the season in a dominant manner. The Frenchman broke the lap recors by over seven tenths with his BMW HP4. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) qualified 20th.

Chaz Davies:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 2:06.057 min (P10) / Fastest lap FP: 2:06.441 min (P12) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 2:06.369 min (P6)
“We have reached the target of starting from the first two rows which is good but it was sort of a strange day. I have to admit that I was not totally happy with the bike in Superpole, it was a bit hard to ride. For one lap, when you try to squeeze out everything, it is a bit tough going but over race distance we did not seem to be too bad this morning. I have been reasonably happy with that but we still have to improve as the bike is struggling over the bumps. So we will work on that tonight and get it right for tomorrow. In the races we will be pushing for the podium. For sure it will be interesting because some guys have a good pace but I am not sure how sustainable that is over race distance here. The grip drops off pretty quickly so we have to see how it goes tomorrow.”

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 2:06.283 min (P11) / Fastest lap FP: 2:05.859 min (P6) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 2:13.317 min (P15)
“It was a difficult day. This morning I crashed quite heavily and hit the ground with my right hand and elbow. Now I have some pain in the fingers and I cannot bend my elbow properly. For this reason I cannot quickly release the brake and open the throttle. In Superpole, I did my best. I bit the bullet but then I had a mechanical issue on the second lap and in the end I could not take part in the qualifying session. The bike still struggles with the bumps but we are working on it. To start from the fifth row doesn’t make it easier, even if, in the end, we’re not really that bad. Now I need to rest to try to be in the best condition for tomorrow.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“It was not a good day. On this track we struggle with the bumpy surface and we also had some bad luck. Marco, after this morning’s crash, tried to take part in Superpole despite the pain but then could only do one lap due to a mechanical issue. We still have some work to do to make the bike ready for the race as we were not able to complete our job. In addition, Marco probably will have some pain tomorrow but I’m sure he will do his best to limit the damage and to get the best result he can. Chaz is quite satisfied, he feels a little more comfortable than Marco on this track and over the day he was able to improve his performance. He is on good form for tomorrow. In the warm-up we will work further on improving our performance.

In the Superstock class, Sylvain claimed pole position and also set a new lap record, being seven tenths faster than the old best lap time. This is a very good result which makes us really confident for tomorrow. We only hope that the weather will be good, because tomorrow we will have two Superstock races and results will be very important for the championship. Greg needs some more time to learn the track.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Today we experienced the tough side of racing. Unfortunately we had some issues with both riders. Chaz had a mechanical issue during the free practice so he could not ride through all the session. Marco also had an unlucky free practice. He crashed and for sure he was not in the best shape for Superpole but the unfortunately he could not ride due to another issue. Overall I must say that Chaz managed to qualify on the second row which is a good position considering all the adversities we have had and the good point is that he was able to improve the feeling with the bike. He is still not 100 percent comfortable with the bike’s behaviour as he experiences some vibrations but we have another chance tomorrow during the warm-up where we are going to test something else in order to allow him to fight at the front.

Also Marco has improved his feeling for the bike, the rear end is better than yesterday and this was proven by the fact that he was doing faster lap times. Also the rhythm is not too bad. But it will be very important to understand what his condition will be tomorrow and starting from the fifth row does not help but he has shown us in the past that he is able to make a very good start and tomorrow he will need one of his best. Then we are confident that he will able to catch up with the other guys and try to fight for the top positions.”

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

Rea on Silverstone front row

Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s ninth-round World Superbike races from the front row of the grid after setting the third-fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole at Silverstone in the UK.

In an often-confusing Superpole, the 26-year-old from Northern Ireland lapped the 5.902km circuit in a time of 2m05.078s, just 0.2s from pole sitter Eugene Laverty.

Superpole 3 was declared wet after all participants had registered a flying lap of Silverstone but those lap-times were scrapped in favour of a 20-minute wet session, which in fact started dry. After some light rain, the riders went out again with just a few minutes remaining on the clock to register their final lap-times.

Rea’s Pata Honda World Superbike team-mate, Leon Haslam, qualified for Superpole 2 but was unable to progress and will start tomorrow’s two 18-lap races from 12th place on the grid.

Jonathan Rea – P3 2m05.078s

I almost lucked into that, which wouldn’t have been nice, so it was really cool to go out at the end with some dry track so everyone could put in a lap-time. I actually only went out to practice a start but I saw how dry it was out there and thought I’d give it another go. It’s a good job I did, because I would have been bumped off the front row position that I took with my earlier lap time. It was a little chaotic but I’m quite happy to be on the front row because it’s good for the team – we made a big set-up gamble today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s two long races. It’s also the last race that my wife Tatia can attend before our baby is due to be born so I hope we can put on a good show!

Leon Haslam – P12 2m05.573s

We’ve been struggling to find the right chassis settings most of the weekend and ended up going in a few wrong directions today. We thought we had something for Superpole but that turned out to be a mistake, even though I don’t think it would have changed the result too much if we hadn’t tried it. Hopefully, we can rectify that tomorrow and have a good go in the two races.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

Unfortunately, Leon has had some problems with settings here. We have made a few changes to the bike and ended up going nowhere. I think we should have been at least top eight but we’ve ended up 12th, which I’m a bit sad about. We’ll have to re-think one more time and come up with something for the warm-up. We got a bit stuck with Jonathan, too, but some last-minute changes paid off and we were a little lucky that Superpole 3 got red-flagged. Third was a good result, but we still need to find a little more tomorrow to fight for the podium.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

The Silverstone tarmac betrays Giugliano in Superpole

Davide Giugliano and the Althea Racing team did not have an easy time of it in today’s qualifying sessions of this, the ninth World Superbike round, taking place at Silverstone. In the second qualifying session this morning Giugliano was able to improve on his best time set yesterday and with a best time of 2’05.750 he qualified in fifth place for the afternoon’s Superpole. In the early afternoon’s free practice, Davide worked with his technicians to refine the setting of his RSV4 ahead of the Superpole. The Althea rider concluded this practice in seventh place with a time of 2’05.869.

In Superpole Giugliano went out on a race tyre, before returning to the track on his first qualifying tyre. He completed a flying lap in 2’04.749 that allowed him to close phase one in third position and progress to phase two. In the second phase Giugliano completed some laps on race rubber before going out on a qualifier and pushing for a fast lap, with which to progress to the final phase. Unfortunately one of the numerous pot holes along the track’s surface betrayed the rider, causing him to lose grip and crash.

Yesterday many riders noted how the track surface is very uneven, making it especially tricky in terms of finding one’s balance. Unfortunately during the crash the bike hit Davide’s right leg, and he was forced to retire to the Clinica Mobile. Luckily x-rays didn’t show any fractures, although Giugliano is suffering a lot of pain in his heel. Despite the fall, the Althea rider nevertheless qualified for phase three, though he couldn’t participate. He will start from the ninth position and third row for tomorrow’s two 18-lap races.

Davide Giugliano : “Everything was going well up until phase two of the Superpole. This morning we completed a good session and then practice was also useful. In the first Superpole phase I recorded a low 2’05 with a race tyre that gives me confidence for tomorrow. Unfortunately however this track is extremely uneven, with a lot of pot holes. In these conditions it’s difficult to push to the max, the bike vibrates and it’s easy to lose traction and fall – the numerous crashes over these two days prove that. As far as tomorrow’s races are concerned, I think I have good pace and hope to be physically fit in order to be able to push. The third row doesn’t mean we can’t make good races and I’ll be doing my best to achieve solid results.”

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Sykes And Baz On The Second Row After A Bizarre Superpole

WSBK, Silverstone, Great Britain, 3 August 2013

Tom Sykes and Loris Baz each lost a chance to take pole position after rain appeared in the final Superpole session, cancelling the result and bringing forward a final 20-minute ‘Wet’ Superpole.

In what was the fourth Superpole session on track, but by regulation the third and final one as the results stood, Loris was fourth and Sykes fifth, meaning they will each start Sunday’s races from the second row of the grid.

At his home round Sykes initially set a remarkable 2’03.362 second lap in the eventually cancelled Superpole Three (with Baz right behind him and also under the previous track best) but that time was nullified when the session was red flagged with four minutes to go.

The re-run Superpole Three eventually delivered dry conditions, but in changeable early wet conditions Baz was fastest, before he was finally pushed to fourth place as the track dried at the end.

After the confusion of the final Superpole qualifying sessions both top Kawasaki riders are still in strong positions for raceday itself, after finding good solutions for the Silverstone challenge relatively late on in race weekend.

They each now face two 18-lap races on Sunday, with Tom looking to add to his season tally of five race wins, and Loris trying to repeat his first career win at Silverstone in 2012.

Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) was 16th after regulation qualifying, one place up on Federico Sandi (Kawasaki Team Pedercini).

Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) was the top Ninja ZX-10R rider in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup combined qualifying sheets in fourth and leading a run of five Kawasaki riders from fourth to eighth place.

Tom Sykes: “If those are the rules then that’s what happens but at least we got back to the second row and not the third. There had four minutes left of the session when they stopped it and turned it into a wet Superpole. I am far from happy because nobody even looked at a wet tyre. On the positive side tomorrow is another day and row two is not too bad. We have struggled a little bit all weekend but when it really mattered Kawasaki, the boys, and especially my crew chief Marcel have given me a package that I was able to do something good with. I was more comfortable on the bike in that session and the lap time was not so bad. I was riding easier than I had been all weekend. My qualifying time that got cut was really good. I will just re-set myself for tomorrow now. It is the race result that counts, second row is good and we have a strong race setting.”

Loris Baz: “I do not know whether to be happy or gutted! This morning when I woke up I never thought that I would be able to get fourth place after Superpole. Honestly I do not understand the rule that we have to stop in Superpole three and then have 20 minutes of ‘wet’ Superpole. All the same I made a very good time in Superpole – can I say – Superpole ‘four’. Then the track dried out near the end and I was able to take the top position again, until I got stuck behind another rider in two crucial corners. That was a big shame and maybe it just was not my day. I am really confident for tomorrow now and I want to thank my team who did a mega job yet again.”

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

Front row start for Checa and Team SBK Ducati Alstare in tomorrow’s SBK races at Silverstone!

Silverstone (UK), Saturday 3 August 2013: after an extended Superpole, caused by the onset of rain during the third phase, Checa and his technicians managed the final (‘wet’) session perfectly, securing themselves a position on the front row of the grid, second, for tomorrow’s SBK races at the Silverstone circuit.

Second qualifying took place this morning on a dry track. Thanks to changes made by his technicians overnight, Checa made significant improvement in terms of lap times, dropping his best time set yesterday by a second and a half to record a fastest lap of 2’06.0. Thanks to this lap time, the Spanish rider qualified for Superpole in overall ninth position. Badovini was unable to improve on yesterday’s times but nevertheless progressed to the Superpole, having qualified in fourteenth place thanks to his fastest lap set yesterday (2’06.7).

Superpole 1: Out on race rubber, Checa immediately recorded a fast lap of 2’04.9 with which he closed this first phase in overall seventh position. Badovini, having gone out first with a race tyre and then with a qualifier, unfortunately missed out on the second phase by just thousandths of a second, thus qualifying for tomorrow’s races in thirteenth position. (2’05.4).

Superpole 2: Carlos once again closed in seventh place, thanks to a time of 2’04.7, recorded this time with the first of the two qualifying tyres available to him.

Superpole 3: When it started to rain just four minutes before the end of the phase, the session was stopped with a red flag. Carlos’ best time, that placed him sixth at that point, was deleted, as were the times of all the riders, with Race Direction effectively annulling that session and arranging a final ‘wet’ Superpole session of twenty minutes.

‘Wet’ Superpole: some of the riders, Carlos included, went straight out to take advantage of practically dry conditions. Checa was able to conclude his lap despite the onset of rain through the final section of the track, positioning himself fourth. At this point all riders were forced to return to the pits. Three minutes from the end, seeing that the rain had stopped, Carlos and his rivals returned to the track to make one final push. Giving it his all, the Spanish rider was able to complete one final fast lap just in time, earning himself the second spot on tomorrow’s race grid.

Carlos Checa: “We managed the final ‘wet’ session really well; I went straight out and was lying fourth when it started to rain and we thought it would stay wet until the end. Instead, in the final minutes, I saw that others were going back out so I decided to head out too. I took some risks because at that point I didn’t know if there were damp sections or not but let’s say it was worth it because I finished second. I’m pleased because after yesterday’s problems we’ve taken a big step forward today and I was able to lap well with the race tyre too, recording some very good times in the Superpole. It won’t be easy tomorrow but I hope to be able to make a good start and be there fighting with the leaders. I want to thank my team who’ve worked really hard all weekend, and especially for how they managed this afternoon’s atypical Superpole.”

Ayrton Badovini: “I’m not at all pleased with how today went – I expected to be able to do more and at least reach phase two. Unfortunately, like yesterday, I suffered from a lack of grip and also chattering. The qualifier didn’t really give me the advantage that I hoped to see and so my Superpole came to an end straight away. It won’t be easy from the fourth row…. We’ll have to see what conditions are like tomorrow and take it from there but in my case it would be useful if it rained…”

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

Camier and FIXI Crescent Suzuki robbed of front-row start as the weather intervenes

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier saw a front-row start cruelly disappear when the session he was competing in at Silverstone in England was cancelled due to rain during this afternoon’s Superpole at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship event.

Camier had continued with the form he showed on Friday by finishing this morning’s second qualifying session on top of the time-sheets, to give him second overall on combined times and followed that up with third in the final free practice to signify his intentions for the Superpole. The Englishman – who celebrates his birthday tomorrow - made his way comfortably through Superpole 1 and 2 and into the third and most significant session. Camier immediately used a qualifying tyre and set a very impressive lap-time to take third place and what looked like the team’s first front-row start of the season. As the session wore on, small spots of rain fell around the 5,902m Silverstone circuit and immediately Race Control red flagged the session and declared a Wet Superpole, making all the previous times void. This led to a 20-minute session that would decide the front three rows. Camier started well on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R and was again in third when larger spots of rain fell, forcing all riders back to the pits. As the rain cleared the track was dry enough for some fast times, but unfortunately Camier wasn’t able to improve on his time and will start tomorrow’s two races from seventh place.

Jules Cluzel again made another step in the second qualifying by taking a further 0.7 seconds off his best time from yesterday and making his way into Superpole. He again showed his qualifying skill as he set the fastest time in Superpole 1, but wasn’t able to replicate that and missed out on progressing to the final session by just 0.008 seconds. His time was good enough to give him 10th place on the grid and a start immediately behind his team-mate.

Sunday’s two 18-lap races look to be an exciting affair with both FIXI Crescent Suzuki riders determined to perform well in front of the team’s home crowd and the many sponsors, partners and guests that will be joining them at Silverstone. The first race is scheduled to get underway at 12.00hrs local time, with race two ready for the off at 15.30hrs.

Leon Camier:
“I’m really upset by what happened in Superpole, but it is what it is and we have to accept it. We have been second or third in every session so far this weekend and I was third in Superpole 3, which I thought was good enough, but typically with how our luck seems to go, it sort of half dribbled at the wrong time and my time didn’t count. The few spots of rain didn’t affect us as we had already done the lap-time, but even when I was on my lap it wasn’t enough to slow me down, but they decided to stop it and end the session anyway – which was really frustrating. In the wet Superpole I went out on race-tyres and instantly went fast because it wasn’t wet and I set the third fastest time, which again I thought would be good enough because it did start to rain a bit more, but again it proved that it wasn’t. We went out at the end and I tried the kerbs to see if there was enough grip, but there wasn’t and I had a bit of a moment so I backed off, but everyone else went quicker and that was the end of it. We have improved this weekend though and the bike is working really well, we still need to find a bit of consistency on race tyres, but I am sure we can be challenging tomorrow, they are long races and anything can happen.”

Jules Cluzel:
“I was happy with the feeling in Superpole, because we have improved the bike and I had a good feeling with the race-tyre. I put in a qualifier for the first Superpole and the bike was great so I could do a really good lap-time. In Superpole 2 I started with another race-tyre and did a better time and the feeling was still improving, so this is good for the race. With the second qualifier I expected to improve, but I had a strange sensation in the front and I nearly crashed, so I didn’t have the best feeling and I made a big mistake in the last sector, so this cost me a place in Superpole 3. I am disappointed about this, but happy with the way the weekend has gone because I am here to improve on every exit and I have done that and now tomorrow I think we can make a good race.”

Paul Denning –Team Manager:
“In terms of outright performance, it’s been another positive day at Silverstone for the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team. Leon was quickest in final qualifying this morning, third in free practice and looked to have qualified third in Superpole when the weather and some bad luck intervened. I don’t really have too much to say about that, other than I hope it doesn’t compromise the race tomorrow, but starting from seventh isn’t a complete disaster and we’re looking forward to Leon translating the pace he’s had all weekend into two very good results tomorrow.

“Jules has found more confidence today and Les – his Crew Chief – has worked patiently to improve the GSX-R. He only missed the final nine in Superpole by just eight-thousandths-of-a-second and improved his race pace. He’s enjoying riding the bike now, which is a big part of any riders’ performance, so we hope he can show his racing spirit tomorrow and make us proud.”
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