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May 9, 2014

Honda's Rea Fastest In Shortened World Superbike Free Practice Two At Imola (Updated)

Jonathan Rea (65).

Editorial Note: According to the official session log issued by Dorna WSBK, the session was stopped and then cancelled due to a drainage cover being broken in Turn Four.

eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Imola, Italy

May 9, 2014

Free Practice Two Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Joanthan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:48.147

2. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:48.187

3. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:48.261

4. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:48.323

5. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:48.574

6. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:48.592

7. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:48.999

8. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:49.259

9. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:49.600

10. Leon CAMIER, UK (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 1:49.610

11. Alex LOWES, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:49.710

12. Ivan GOI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 1:49.920

13. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), EVO, 1:50.015

14. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:50.211

15. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:50.228

16. Christian IDDON, UK (Bimota BB3), EVO, 1:50.609

17. Toni ELIAS, Spain (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:50.699

18. Luca SCASSA, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:50.926

19. Claudio CORTI, Italy (MV Agusta F4 RR), 1:51.034

20. Alessandro ANDREOZZI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:51.544

21. Jeremy GUARNONI, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:51.572

22. Sheridan MORAIS, South Africa (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:51.707

23. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:52.042

24. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), EVO, 1:52.070

25. Imre TOTH, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), 1:52.445

26. Geoff MAY, USA (EBR 1190 RX), 1:54.669

27. Peter SEBESTYEN, Hungary (BMW S1000RR), EVO, 1:55.102

28. Aaron YATES, USA (EBR 1190 RX), 1:56.225 

Other Americans competing at Imola:

Josh Day was eighth-fastest out of 30 riders in 1000cc Superstock European Cup Free Practice Two. Day's best lap was 1:53.283 on his Agro-On Wil Racedays Honda CBR1000RR. The best time in the session was the 1:51.399 done by Lorenzo Savadori on his Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Alex Wisdom was 16th out of 20 riders in Pata European Junior Cup qualifying Friday. Wisdom's best time on his CADS Racing-backed Honda CBR500R was 2:20.472. Spainerd Javier Orellana did the fastest lap of 2:14.627 on his Europe Food SL Honda CBR500R.

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

Rea finishes early in P1 at Imola

Pata Honda rider Jonathan Rea was fastest on the opening day of the fourth-round World Superbike championship meeting at Imola in Italy today, with the second free practice session this afternoon cut short by 12 minutes.

A broken drainage cover at turn four at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari caused a red flag and, with track workers unable to repair it, the day’s activities were abandoned.

Rea’s Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, who had been preparing to return to the track with fresh tyres when today’s session was cancelled, was seventh fastest overall in today’s two free practices at the 4.936km Imola circuit.

A full World Superbike schedule is expected to run at Imola tomorrow, with Free Practice 3 going at 09.45 to determine which riders will take part in the afternoon Superpole sessions.

Jonathan Rea - 1st

I really enjoyed being back at Imola today. The bike is clearly working quite well here but we still need to make some good improvements, especially getting the power down off the slower corners and final turning with engine brake. But for our first day we’ve got to be happy because our pace is OK. The ultimate lap time I didn’t think was very fast compared to the race or the test here last year. But the track is quite fresh and there’s not a lot of rubber down – there haven’t been any big meetings here before us. Tomorrow when the track gets a bit more rubbered-in I think you’ll see the pace starting to hot up a little bit. We’ll work hard tonight to refine the bike even more and hopefully go with that pace.

Leon Haslam - 7th

This morning felt pretty good and I did the whole session on the harder tyre. I felt we could have got into the 48s with our last tyre but I got held up a bit. This afternoon I got a couple of laps together on the SC0. I went slightly quicker but couldn’t really get a good lap together and then the red flag came out. I just didn’t really get a chance to go for a good lap time on a softer tyre. Generally, I felt really happy this morning and just didn’t get a really good go at it this afternoon.

Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator

The day was cut short by 12 minutes but Jonathan was in P1, which is good. He did a little run with some good lap times but still we have to improve in some sectors. If you’re P1 you cannot complain too much, though – there’s work to do but it was a good day for Jonathan. On Leon’s side of the garage it was a shame that the session was cut short because we had just put in new tyres and he was ready to go. I’m sure he would have improved his lap time but it didn’t happen. The morning was a little better than this afternoon, when he struggled a bit with the grip, but overall a positive day.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Strong results for the Ducati Superbike Team on day one of action at the Imola SBK round

Imola (Italy), Friday 11 May 2014 – Day one of Superbike action at the Imola circuit in Italy brought positive results for the Ducati Superbike Team and its riders Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies, fifth and sixth respectively after today’s two timed practice sessions.

The first timed practice session of the weekend saw both Giugliano and Davies score some solid results. In warm and sunny conditions (air temperature 24°C, track 44°C), the Ducati Superbike pairing were immediately at their ease on the Italian track, lapping with consistently fast times from the outset. Gradually improving on these times as the session went on, Giugliano put in an extremely fast lap in the final minutes, recording a best of 1’48.329 to finish at the head of the pack, in first place, two tenths quicker than second-placed rider Rea. Davies was also able to record some impressive lap times, concluding this opening session in fourth place, with a best time of 1’48.890.

Session two took place on an even warmer track (approx. 50°C) but was unfortunately interrupted more than once when the red flag was waved due to a persistent problem with a broken drain cover at the edge of the track. Despite the higher temperatures and interruptions, Davies was able to improve on his best time set in the morning, recording a fastest time of 1’48.592 which positioned him sixth overall. Giugliano was unable to improve on this morning’s already very fast time, closing in final fifth position at the end of day one.

Quotes after the day’s sessions:

Davide Giugliano - (Ducati Superbike Team #34) – 5th (1’48.329)

“Everything’s going well so far. This morning I already felt very comfortable on the bike and we’re continuing to work in the right direction. This afternoon we didn’t have the chance to improve but we did use the same tyre for the entire session and were consistently fast which is very important considering the hot track conditions. I'm a bit disappointed about the overall position but we still have time to improve tomorrow."

Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team #7) – 6th (1’48.592)

“On the one hand the interruptions this afternoon gave us time to work on the bike but on the other hand we had a few things to test so those final twelve minutes would have been useful. Overall it’s been a good day, in this morning’s session the bike already felt good and then I think we made another step forward this afternoon. We’re still suffering from some vibration problems but we plan to attack that issue tomorrow – if we can work on that and find a solution then I think we can further improve and be competitive here.”

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

A day of interruptions in Italy for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki started its Italian campaign at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola today with mixed fortunes after a series of red flags delayed the opening track action for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.

Eugene Laverty finished the day's sessions in eighth place after the second free practice was red flagged and eventually suspended with 12 minutes 40 seconds remaining, due to a broken drainage cover at turn four. The Irishman's fastest time of 1'49.259 was set on his ninth, and final, lap of the session aboard his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, despite only recording 19 revolutions for the entire day. Laverty was just about to return to the track with fresh rubber when the second red flag was brought out and all further track activity was cancelled. The morning's initial practice was all but redundant for the Suzuki racer, after an electronics issue saw him set just three flying laps, but with the situation resolved the team was confident of improving further as the afternoon progressed.

Alex Lowes started work at the iconic Italian circuit in great form, learning the track quickly and completing the morning's session in the top 10. The afternoon practice continued the British racer's education, setting his fastest lap of 1'49.710 on old tyres before also pitting for a new set as the session was adjourned, leaving him in 11th place heading in to tomorrow's final timed free practice qualifier.

With air temperatures reaching 28°C by the afternoon, and the track hitting 47°C, the Imola circuit was bathed in sunshine for the day's activities. An initial delay from a previous class saw the second session take to the track 35 minutes behind schedule, while a fire just behind the fences at Tamburello and the cracked drainage cover brought out two red flags before the eventual suspension, leaving Honda's Jonathan Rea in control of the times.

Tomorrow's forecast predicts an equally warm and clear day with Voltcom Crescent Suzuki back on track at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) for the final timed free practice session. Laverty and Lowes are confident their respective GSX-R1000's are on-course to secure the desired places ahead of the all-important Superpole at 15:00hrs (14:00BST).

Eugene Laverty:

"How many timed laps did we do today, maybe six proper flying laps? We didn't get anything done in the first practice with the electrical problem we had, and then in the second practice the activity was cancelled with 13 minutes left. The bike is feeling quite good considering we haven't done any laps yet and we're not too far away, so I'm looking forward to actually starting some real work tomorrow morning!"

Alex Lowes:

"Today was good, obviously frustrating at the end because we had a plan for the session. I worked really hard on old tyres, learning the track and feeling more comfortable, and I was hoping to improve at the end on new tyres which I didn't get the chance to do. So it's frustrating when you don't get the session that you want, but obviously everyone lost those last 12 minutes. I think I'll make a big step tomorrow after sleeping on it tonight. It's a fun track to ride so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Paul Denning - Team Manager:

"It's great to be in Italy and at the fantastic Imola race track, but today was a strange day at the office. We lost a whole session this morning with a glitch on Eugene's bike which obviously put him a session behind the rest of the guys, but we were improving nicely this afternoon. We were about to run new tyres for the end of the session but then it was all over so there was no chance to improve further.

"For Alex, he has done a great job at what is effectively another new track for him. He has been chipping away and set his best time on tyres with 20 laps, again we were about to run new ones at the end of FP2 to set a decent qualifying time and get him inside the top ten, but these things happen. Safety has to be the priority and we hope the weather stays consistent in the morning, we'll get out there and push hard to make sure both bikes are in the top 10 for Superpole tomorrow afternoon."

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

Team Hero EBR Feeling Positive At Imola

The iconic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit located in the heart of the town of Imola, 40km south-west of Bologna in northern Italy plays host to the 4th round of the 2014 World Superbike championship with Team Hero EBR keen to put the disappointment of the Dutch round at Assen a fortnight ago behind them.

Arriving at Imola, which is another new track for the all American squad, the team are full of optimism after evaluating the issues that caused a double DNF last time out.

Today’s first of two on track encounters was straight forward, with Geoff May and Aaron Yates familiarising themselves with the undulating and technical Italian track.

Happy with their 1190RX machines and with the fact that they once again acclimatised to the track quickly, the afternoon session produced a significant step forward for both riders in terms of overall lap time. Geoff improved by almost a second with Aaron also finding small chunks of time before the session was cut short following a fire in the adjoining park that resulted in 13 minutes not being run.

Aaron Yates: “We made a little improvement during the 2nd practice session but I feel positive. I really love this track and hope tomorrow we will be more competitive.”

Geoff May: “We worked very hard today and I am sorry that the red flag stopped the session. We improved during the 2nd session and hopefully tomorrow we will gain some more time so that in the races on Sunday we can fight with some riders. I’m really having fun here in Imola, this is a beautiful race circuit.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Imola, 9 May 2014 - On a decidedly summer day the World Superbike engines roared to life at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola. For the Aprilia Racing Team, reigning Manufacturer World Champion, it was a very promising début: Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli were protagonists straight away in the two sessions today, demonstrating great determination and an excellent pace. The only black spot on the day was a red flag 12 minutes from the end of the second session when the riders were getting ready to test the last solutions.

Marco Melandri, playing on his home pitch, ended the day with the third best time in the combined standings. The young man from Ravenna improved consistently until arriving less than two tenths of a second from the ranking leader. Efforts will be focused on two fronts tomorrow: continuing the search for the best settings in view of the race and finding speed on the flying lap in order to do well in Superpole. In fact, one of the characteristics of the Imola track is difficulty overtaking.

Marco Melandri: "I am really quite pleased. For us today was like a new, positive beginning. I feel good on my RSV4 and I am able to ride very smoothly. Today we did a lot of work in preparation for the race, trying to understand how the tyres behave and working on our electronics strategies. Tomorrow we'll continue in this direction, also looking for speed on the flying lap for Superpole. The interruption in the second session didn't even create any big problems for us. We already have a good base to build on".

It was also a decidedly positive day for Sylvain Guintoli, winner at Assen and fourth best time today. The Frenchman put in a lot of laps at Imola and showed that he is consistently fast. There are a few regrets about the time lost in the last session, which could have led to further improvements. For Sylvain and his team tomorrow promises to be a rather intense day.

Sylvain Guintoli: "We started off well. As usual we are working on race pace, but my initial feeling with my RSV4 is very good. With all the red flags that interrupted the practice sessions there are still a few things left to test. I hope we can get some consistent time to work tomorrow and finish what we have planned. In any case our times are promising and I'm confident that starting from the good work we did today we'll be able to improve even more".

More, from a press release issued by Dorna WSBK Press Office:

Rea overhauls Sykes on Day 1Imola (Italy), Friday 9 May 2014 - As the opening day of on track action at Imola draws to a close, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) heads into tomorrow’s final free practice session ahead of Tissot-Superpole as the fastest rider in the combined classification.

A fire in the adjoining park close to the circuit brought out the red flags after only 7 minutes after major improvements already for Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who had jumped to 9th and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who had both also improved on their morning time.

When the session resumed virtually all of the riders improved, which was to be expected, with Jonathan Rea leading the standings from Sykes and Melandri but another red flag with 12 minutes of the session remaining meant another short stoppage before the session could finally resume.

Eventually with the stoppage reaching almost 45 minutes, the decision to cancel the on track activity for today was made due to a broken drainage cover at Turn 4.

The top ten riders were therefore classified as Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) and the fastest EVO rider Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team).

As it stands Michel Fabrizio (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) is 20th and therefore the final rider to make into Tissot-Superpole. There is of course once final session tomorrow morning for everyone to improve.

More, from a press release issued by Alex Wisdom's publicist:

Imola Improvement For Wisdom

Legendary Imola, close to Bologna in Northern Italy is the venue for the fourth round of the 2014 PATA European Junior Cup and the opening Free Practice and Qualifying sessions this afternoon saw American charger Alex Wisdom (CADS Racing) finish in a provisional 16th on the grid for Sunday’s race after a set-up gamble prevented the fast American rider from challenging for the top ten.

Alex, despite being back on row 6, albeit with one final qualifying session tomorrow, is confident of improving after analysis of the data clearly showed where significant improvements can be made and is taking the positives that unlike a year ago, he has completed both of the opening day sessions, lapping considerably faster than he ever has at the technical Italian circuit.

With the weather forecast tipped to be even hotter tomorrow, Alex is expecting to move forward a number of places to give himself the best chance of challenging for his 3rd point scoring finish in a row in the race on Sunday.

Alex Wisdom – CADS Racing: “I figured it would take me a little while to learn the track after all of the problems that I had here last year. We tried something with the gearing that didn’t work, but we had to try it today to give us the best shot in final qualifying tomorrow. I know where I can improve and I am confident that we can drop the lap times quite a lot. I am looking forward to tomorrow and the weather will be hot like today so I am ready!”