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Sep 13, 2013

Guintoli Tops Depleted World Superbike Field In Qualifying Session One In Turkey (Updated)

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Sylvain Guintoli (50).
eni FIM Superbike World Championship
Intercity Istanbul Park, Turkey
September 13, 2013
Qualifying Session One Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:56.190
2. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:56.749
3. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:56.949
4. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:57.170
5. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:57.206
6. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:57.222
7. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:57.391
8. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:57.649
9. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:57.699
10. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:58.340
11. Mark AITCHISON, Australia (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:58.588
12. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1:58.817
13. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 2:00.944
14. Tolga UPRAK, Turkey (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2:03.008
15. Yunus ERCELIK, Turkey (BMW S1000RR), 2:04.231
16. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), no time recorded
17. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), no time recorded
18. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), no time recorded
19. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), no time recorded
20. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), no time recorded

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

An extremely unlucky day for Team SBK Ducati Alstare today at Istanbul Park

Istanbul (Turkey), Friday 13 September 2013: luck was unfortunately not with Team SBK Ducati Alstare today at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey. While taking part in the first practice session of this twelfth round of the World Superbike Championship, both Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini crashed, injuring themselves in the process.

This morning's first practice session took place in very warm conditions (30°C air temperature, 44°C track). The session was longer than usual, 90 minutes in length, in order to give the riders time to familiarize themselves with this new track. Carlos, after suffering a few problems early on in the session, was making solid improvement during the second half of the session, recording times that brought him close to the leading group but unfortunately, right after having registered his fastest lap of the session (59.2), the Spaniard was the victim of a nasty highside at Turn 2. He was taken to the Clinica Mobile as a result, where doctors diagnosed a contusion to the upper thorax as well as a possible fracture of the left scaphoid. Unfortunately Carlos will be unable to continue this weekend; further medical tests are required in order to establish when he will be able to return to the track.

Badovini made a good start to the session, immediately finding his rhythm on this new track. He remained in the top positions for the best part of the extended session but unfortunately, just ten minutes from the end and while in the process of making a very fast lap, he too crashed, losing the front at Turn 12. Having stretched the ligaments in his left ankle as well as suffering severe swelling due to a hematoma in the same ankle, it was decided that he would not participate in this afternoon’s qualifying to give the swelling chance to reduce. Doctors are however confident that Ayrton will be able to ride tomorrow.

The two riders finished this first session in tenth (Checa) and eleventh (Badovini) position.

Carlos Checa: “I have a lot of pain in the chest area on both the right and left side. I’ve also hurt my wrist but as there is already a screw there, resulting from an injury that dates back to 1996, it’s not yet clear whether I’ve now fractured it again or not. I obviously cannot ride in this condition; the doctors have advised me to rest up.”

Ayrton Badovini: "We had made quite a good start. There are a few things we still need to sort out but the session had been going fairly well until the crash, also considering that we were using a harder tyre solution that I normally have more difficulty with. We didn't need the crash of course, my foot was trapped between the track and bike but fortunately, thanks to my boot, the damage was limited. I have however stretched all the ligaments in my left ankle and broken a vein, which is the reason for the swelling. The doctors tell me that, as long as I rest up today and keep my ankle iced, then I should be a in a position to ride tomorrow - I won't be in great shape of course but I'll do my best."

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

A good start for team Althea and Davide Giugliano in Istanbul

Today saw team Althea Racing take part in the first practice and qualifying sessions of this, the eleventh round of the World Superbke championship at Intercity Istanbul Park in Turkey. This is a first visit to the Turkish track for both the championship and the Althea Racing team and conditions were hot and sunny for today’s opening sessions.

Davide Giugliano made a good start to the weekend and thanks to a time of 1.58”445 he secured sixth position in the morning’s free practice session which was 90 minutes in length rather than the usual 45, to give riders a chance to learn the new layout. Without pushing, team Althea’s rider was able to demonstrate his confidence on what is a technical track that is not easy to interpret. In the first qualifying session Davide was able to improve on his best time, stopping the clock at 1’57”649, a time which positioned him eighth at the session’s end.

A positive start for Genesio Bevilacqua’s team that has worked hard to prepare for tomorrow’s Superpole but above all for Sunday’s races.

Davide Giugliano: “The track is great and I’m having fun riding this new layout. Together with my team we are working hard to find a good setting for my RSV4 and we’re making some modifications that will allow me to improve my rhythm. I’m not far from the leaders, many of whom have already raced on this track, while it is totally new to me. In the afternoon we improved on this morning’s performance, a sign that we’re moving in the right direction. I’m confident for tomorrow and look forward to continuing with the work started today.”

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

Istanbul – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 13th September 2013.

Weather conditions: Sunny.
Temperature: Air: 30 – 32 °C, Track: 42 – 44 °C
Number of riders participating: 19/15 from 13/11 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) 1:56.851 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) 1:56.190 min

The first ever Turkish round of the FIM Superbike World Championship started well for the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished second in today’s first qualifying practice at “Intercity Istanbul Park” with his BMW S 1000 RR, qualifying on the provisional front row. His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) finished seventh on the provisional third row. For a large part of the session, Marco and Chaz were first and fourth respectively and only dropped back in the closing minutes

In the morning Free Practice, the session was extended from 45 to 90 minutes to give riders and teams the opportunity to get acquainted with the track, a new addition to the calendar in 2014. In this session, Marco and Chaz were also placed second and seventh. Istanbul hosts the 11th round of the 2013 season.

Marco Melandri:?
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:57.518 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:56.749 min (P2)?
“It was quite a good day, even if it was not easy. The conditions were much different to what I remember. The asphalt offered no grip and the white lines were like soap. Maybe this was also because of the hot temperatures. This morning I nearly crashed on turn 2 because the bike was sliding and as many other riders had crashed, I decided not to take unnecessary risks. But the track conditions are improving and by Sunday it will be completely different. I am happy with my race pace and even with used tyres I was able to be consistent. In the afternoon, towards the end of the session, I tried a new tyre but I didn’t have a good feeling. It will be difficult to make the right tyre choice for the race. We still have a lot of work to do.”?

Chaz Davies:?
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:58.802 min (P7)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:57.391 min (P7)
“Today was not too bad. We made some good changes from this morning to this afternoon. We are struggling a little bit with the lack of grip at the moment but I think that goes for most people. In the early stages of this afternoon’s qualifying my RR felt better than in the morning’s practice and we made some further improvements but then I did not have the best feeling with the tyre I used on the final laps and could not get the best out of it so I did not achieve my best possible lap time. But we seem to be somewhere near and I am pretty confident. Now we are adapting the gearbox as this should bring some more improvement in a few areas. We did not do this between today’s sessions because the break was short with the long session in the morning but the guys are working on that tonight and the bike will be even better in the morning.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Both Marco and Chaz have already raced here some years ago, but that goes for quite a few riders who have been here with several series. We cannot speak about a real advantage as the only benefit they have is that they already know the track. Everything else does not go into account as they raced here with different bikes, different tyres and different temperatures as the Grand Prix were held at another time of the year.

This morning, the temperature was good for riding while the asphalt offered low grip and this, unfortunately, caused some crashes. In the afternoon, on the contrary, riders had to deal with high temperature but had more grip, because the asphalt was getting better and better. We’re confident that from now to Sunday, the track will change again and both riders and bikes will have to adapt to the new conditions. Overall, the day was quite good. Marco is in good shape and was consistent. Even if he didn’t have a good feeling with new tyres, he had a good pace on used tyres. Chaz struggled a little bit more today, we’re working on some areas and tomorrow he will benefit from it.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“As we expected on a new race track, we had a lot of work during the day and the extra 45 minutes of practice helped us and the riders to get familiar with this amazing circuit. As usual on a new track, the grip is not fantastic at the beginning and we expect that this will improve practice by practice. This has caused some issues for both riders, especially in the first session. Both started their work with finding grip on the rear and working to set up the suspension for these track conditions. In addition, it was important to learn more about the specific needs in terms of settings of the electronics and the gearbox.

Chaz is still not comfortable with the rear grip, especially on the edge and a bit of the traction as well and this is our main focus for tonight. In addition, we will work on the gear ratio selection. Marco was helped by his knowledge of the track so it was a bit easier for him and he is quite happy with the overall performance of his RR. He is already fast on the used tyre and he would like to improve the feeling for the rear end of the bike. Of course the track will change tomorrow and we expect our riders’ needs will change too. It was also an important day for tyre choices. Pirelli has brought a few new prototype tyres to Istanbul and we spent the day evaluating them. We already had the chance to test almost all the tyres today but tomorrow we will get a better understanding of which will be the race tyre.”

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

FIXI Crescent Suzuki had a very eventful first day at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship in Turkey which saw Leon Camier in hospital awaiting an operation on a broken foot and Jules Cluzel end the day in a respectable sixth position.

Camier had a high-speed high-side on the dusty and slippery Istanbul Park during the early stages of this morning's first free practice session. He was immediately examined by the Clinica Mobile doctors, where a fracture of the right foot was identified and he was transferred to hospital for further scans to assess the level of the injury. Following in-depth examinations Camier was diagnosed with seven fractures of his right foot which will require an operation to pin some of the breaks this evening. He will miss the remainder of this weekend and will return home to begin his rehabilitation and make a racing comeback as soon as possible.

Cluzel immediately got up-to-pace at the 5,340m Turkish circuit and topped the leader-board at the beginning of the first practice, as he put his previous experience of the track to good use. He again made further steps in this afternoon's first qualifying session and finished the day in sixth place, just a second away from the fastest time set by Sylvain Guintoli. Cluzel is looking to make further advances tomorrow on his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R and be in a position to challenge the top-five on race-day.

The French rookie will have one more qualifying session tomorrow morning to secure his position in Superpole and then battle it out in the afternoon to get the best grid position for Sunday's two 18-lap races.

Jules Cluzel:

"It has been a long day because we had a 90-minute session this morning, which was good because we were able to ride a little bit more. The track was really dirty at the beginning of the day and it was really slippery, which made it difficult to understand what to do on the bike, so I waited a bit before pushing too hard. I tried not to use too many tyres this morning so that I had more for the rest of the weekend. I think it is a good thing to use a tyre and understand its life for the race and we were able to do that today. I do have an issue in the electronics; it's hard for me to understand as I don't have much experience, but I have had the problem here and at Nurburgring, so we need to work on that and understand what is happening. I am one-second from the fastest rider, but my pace is good, although I am not too comfortable yet so I need to do something about that and get more stability tomorrow and for the races.

"Leon had some bad luck this morning and had a massive high-side. I looked to see where it happened and it was really fast. I hope he is ok and will be back racing soon. I think he is not so lucky to crash, but he is lucky to not be too injured from such a big crash. I hope that he is back at the race-track tomorrow."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"The whole FIXI Crescent Suzuki team has been working really hard all season to improve the level of the GSX-R and get amongst the podium fight and we have managed to meet a lot of the performance targets, but unfortunately the black cloud of bad luck that has followed Leon around - pretty much all season - has struck with a vengeance in the last two weekends. The Nurburgring incident was bad enough, but today's accident on a very green and slippery circuit, when he wasn't even pushing for any lap-time, has really taken the wind out of the team's sails. Leon is basically ok and the injuries are relatively minor, but they will still take some significant time and effort to recover from. He and the team - I genuinely believe - deserve something better, but we can only deal with what is in front of us, be completely positive; and move forward.

"Jules has had some problems finding the right feeling from the bike today, but even with those restrictions, he is still fast and quite competitive. He'll be carrying the GSX-R flag for the rest of the weekend alone. He likes the race-track and if we can get some of those issues ironed out for tomorrow, I hope he can represent the team very strongly come the races on Sunday."

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

Pata Honda riders ease into Istanbul Park

Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio, who is replacing the injured Jonathan Rea, finished in ninth and tenth places respectively at Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey this afternoon after the opening qualifying for Sunday’s two 11th-round World Superbike championship races.

The 5.340km circuit on the Asian side of Istanbul is new to many SBK riders and Haslam and Fabrizio spent this morning’s extended free practice session familiarizing themselves with its combination of corners and marked elevation changes.

As this afternoon’s qualifying session began, both Pata Honda riders began to attack the circuit more but will require tomorrow’s qualifying and free practice session to fine-tune the settings on their Honda CBR1000RR machines for Sunday’s two 18-lap races.

Leon Haslam – P9 1m57.699s

I’m really enjoying this new track. It was a little dusty first thing and there wasn’t much grip out there but it was getting better this afternoon. I felt pretty good this morning and got into a good rhythm but, when I went out this afternoon, we’d gone the wrong way with the setting. It was such that we couldn’t change back so we tried a few things and gathered some data and that was it. My quickest lap was the second one out so we were kind of resigned to it. We’ve got a good plan for tomorrow though, so I’m looking forward to going through it all tonight and getting out there again in the morning.

Michel Fabrizio – P10 1m58.340s

I am quite happy. The circuit is fantastic but I don’t have much feeling for it yet – the layout is quite difficult but I am enjoying riding it and learning more with each lap. It’s also step-by-step with the bike. I haven’t really changed anything with the bike yet. This morning I was three seconds from the front, now it’s two. Tomorrow morning, hopefully one, and then we are close! The bike is very good but I don’t want to upset Jonathan with many changes yet!

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

We lost quite a lot of time this morning with Michel’s bike with some technical issues, which should not have been the case. He took it fairly easy this morning and we asked him to push on a bit this afternoon. There are some issues with the setting now that we need to work on – the front end, for example, and we need to find some more rear grip. All in all though, it was a solid day and we’ll hope for another one tomorrow! It looked quite promising for Leon for most of the day and he was always in the group of fastest riders. Unfortunately, he ended up ninth and, although he’s close to the riders immediately in front, we’d hoped to fine four tenths with a new tyre. That didn’t happen, but we’re finding our way with some issues he had this afternoon so that should improve the bike in order for him to improve the lap time tomorrow.

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Istanbul, 13 September 2013 – The first Turkish World Superbike weekend could not have gotten off to a better start for the Aprilia Racing Team. Sylvain Guintoli, lying second in the championship at just one point behind the leader, stopped the clock with the best time in both sessions today, widening the gap to more than half a second in front of his nearest rival. Without a doubt Sylvain has the advantage of being familiar with the Istanbul track, a difficult circuit to interpret as indicated by the many crashes today.

In the morning free practice sessions, 90 minutes long instead of the usual 45 precisely for the purpose of familiarising the riders with the track, Sylvain immediately found a good feeling. The afternoon free practice sessions were similar, with no one able to come close to the French rider on a fast lap, whereas the limited grip conditions mean that some fine tuning is essential to make sure the riders can last the distance. In fact, Guintoli has already identified tyre duration as the crucial point for the Istanbul weekend, but he knows that for this situation he can count on the performance of his RSV4.

Sylvain Guintoli: “I'm usually one to start off slowly, but today I pushed hard right away because I felt very confident right out of the gate. At the Nürburgring I was close to the front runners but I was still lacking something. Here I want to be strong straight away. There will be two hot races on Sunday in more ways than one and it will be a delicate situation for the tyres. The battle for the championship is heated and it is no fluke that the top positions today are held by the main title contenders. We will need to work well in view of the races and grip is the main concern”.

Eugene Laverty had only gotten a small "taste" of the Intercity Istanbul Park turns in his GP days, so he got off to a more cautious start, preferring to use the morning free practice sessions to familiarise himself with the track. By the qualifiers, however, he had come into his own, picking up the pace as his feeling on the Turkish turns improved. He ended the day with the third best time, an excellent starting point to work from for Superpole tomorrow and the races on Sunday.

Eugene Laverty: “Grip conditions this morning were really critical, so I preferred a more cautious approach in the first few laps. As the track started to clean up we improved my RSV4, making it more agile and looking for more grip on the rear. The track is really nice. The way it's set up reminds me a bit of Aragon. Turn 11 is extremely fast - really incredible. I must say that the bike is already working well. The RSV4 usually isn't too hard on the rear tyre and in these conditions that could prove be a strong advantage”.

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

Sylvain Guintoli the fastest in Day 1

Istanbul (Turkey), Friday 13 September 2013 – The first-ever qualifying session for the Eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Intercity Istanbul Park took place this afternoon, under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), still second in the standings with a one-point gap from leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) - after the CDI decision on the appeal lodged by Aprilia following Race 2 at Monza (May 12th) - set the fastest time in 1'56.190 seconds.

The Frenchman led a pack of four riders still in contention for the title, as Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), who was also second in first free practice behind Guintoli, got the better of third place Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes. WSBK debutant Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) proved to be already on a good pace by ending up fifth, with a second gap from the lead, at his second outing onboard the RSV4, despite a technical problem.

Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) managed to secure the sixth spot, followed by Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet), Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia) and Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike). Haslam's new team mate Michel Fabrizio was tenth, as the Italian is still getting to grips with the CBR1000RR.

Leon Camier will sit out the rest of the weekend, due to the consequences of the heavy crash he had in the first free practice. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider suffered seven bones fractured in his right foot, and he's currently undergoing surgery at the local hospital. Team Ducati Alstare duo of Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini did not get on track either, as they both crashed in the morning's session. The Spaniard has been declared unfit to race (left scaphoid fracture), while the Italian rider's conditions are still to be reviewed (left ankle bone contusion). Max Neukirchner (MR-Racing Ducati) injured his right hand (4th and 5th metarcarpal base fracture): the German rider is unfit to race, too. Moreover, Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) was not medically cleared by doctors, after the back injury suffered at Nurburgring, meaning he had to withdraw from the round.

Sylvain Guintoli: “I usually take things steadily, but today I decided to push hard from the beginning as I felt immediately comfortable on the bike. I was missing something at Nurburging, but here I don’t want to waste any chance. The two races are definitely going to be hot and crucial for the title fight, as all top-4 riders in the standings are up there. It’ll be really important to do a good job for Sunday.”

Marco Melandri: “It was quite a good day, even if it was not easy. The track conditions were much different to what I remember, many riders crashed so I decided not to take unnecessary risks. The conditions are improving and by Sunday it might be completely different, weather and grip-wise, but I am happy with my race pace and, even with used tyres, I was able to be consistent. It will be difficult to make the right tyre choice for the race, though. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Times: 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'56.190 average 165.453 kph; 2. Melandri (BMW) 1'56.749; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'56.949; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'57.170; 5. Elias (Aprilia) 1'57.206; 6. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'57.222; 7. Davies (BMW) 1'57.391; 8. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'57.649; 9. Haslam (Honda) 1'57.699; 10. Fabrizio (Honda) 1'58.340; 11. Aitchison (Kawasaki) 1'58.588; 12. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'58.817; 13. Iannuzzo (BMW) 2'00.944; 14. Uprak (Kawasaki) 2'03.008; 15. Ercelik (BMW) 2'04.231.
World Supersport

Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) wasted no time in learning the Intercity Istanbul Park, as the Championship leader was the fastest in first qualifying for World Supersport, after leading also the morning's free practice session. The British rider clocked in 2'00.000 seconds, a perfect lap-time in all ways, as Lowes managed to put 0.678 seconds gap between himself and local rider Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who was able to climb the timesheets in the closing… (read more)

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 2'00.000 average 160.200 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 2'00.678; 3. Marino (Kawasaki) 2'00.798; 4. Tamburini (Honda) 2'00.802; 5. Salom (Kawasaki) 2'00.834; 6. Zanetti (Honda) 2'00.872; 7. De Rosa (Honda) 2'00.982; 8. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'01.147; 9. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 2'01.156; 10. Scassa (Kawasaki) 2'01.165; 11. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 2'01.258; 12. Menghi (Yamaha) 2'01.273; 13. Quarmby (Honda) 2'01.376; 14. Baldolini (Suzuki) 2'01.454; 15. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'01.491; etc.