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Feb 23, 2013

Lowes Claims World Supersport Pole Position At Phillip Island (Updated)

Sam Lowes (11).
FIM Supersport World Championship
Phillip Island, Australia
February 23, 2013
Combined Qualifying Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Sam LOWES, UK (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:32.545
2. Kenan SOFUOGLU, Turkey (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:33.157
3. Fabien FORET, France (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:33.721
4. Michael VD MARK, Netherlands (Honda CBR600RR), 1:33.802
5. Jack KENNEDY, Ireland (Honda CBR600RR), 1:33.896
6. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:33.965
7. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (MV Agusta F3 675), 1:34.240
8. Andrea ANTONELLI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:34.359
9. Kev COGHLAN, UK (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:34.393
10. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Honda CBR600RR), 1:34.465

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

World Supersport - Sam Lowes on pole position

The sensational 1'32.545 set in yesterday's qualifying practice was enough for Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) to snatch pole position after World Supersport Qualifying 2 at Phillip Island. The former British Supersport Champion finished ahead of Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki duo of Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret.

While the Turkish rider was able to cut half a second off his personal best from yesterday, his team mate Foret did even better and improved his lap-time by almost a second onboard his ZX-6R. Despite some pain coming from his right knee and ankle, consequence of being thrown up in the air by his CBR600RR in Free Practice 1, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) ended up fourth followed by Irish talent Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda).

David Salom (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) was on track today after missing Qualifying 1 due to a big crash he had in yesterday morning's free practice. The former World Superbike rider was diagnosed with 'just' a broken finger following some extensive medical checks, was able to get on track and to finish with a positive 6th place.

Roberto Rolfo (ParkinGO MV Agusta Corse) will head the third row of the grid in tomorrow's race, flanked by fellow Italian Andrea Antonelli (Team Goeleven Kawasaki) and Brit Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki).

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'32.545 average 172.910 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'33.157; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'33.721; 4. Vd Mark (Honda) 1'33.802; 5. Kennedy (Honda) 1'33.896; 6. Salom (Kawasaki) 1'33.965; 7. Rolfo (MV Agusta) 1'34.081; 8. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1'34.359; 9. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1'34.393; etc.

More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki:

Front Row At First Round For Kawasaki Mahi Racing Team India

WSS, Phillip Island, Australia, 23 February 2013

Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret will start the reduced distance 15-lap Supersport World Championship race from second and third places respectively after a hot final qualifying session in Australia

Sofuoglu spent his practice sessions concentrating on his set-up of the entire race distance, which was modified from the planned 21 to an eventual 15-laps after issues regarding tyre life were raised on day one. The second day of qualifying was therefore spent working towards a 15-lap race. Kenan, the 2012 champion for Kawasaki, is confident in his raceday pace, despite being 0.6 seconds from Sam Lowes in pole position.

Despite a heavy crash exiting the final turn in early practice and a scary moment as riders flashed past him, Fabien Foret rallied like the champion he is and secured a third place starting spot on the front row. He is sore after his crash but is focused on raceday and scoring as strongly as possible at this fast and flowing Australian circuit.

Kawasaki Intermoto PonyExpres rider David Salom had been airlifted to hospital yesterday to have suspected vertebrae injuries checked out, but he was given the all-clear for that injury. He did ride heroically with a damaged small finger on his right hand, and went sixth from a field of 34 riders who qualified. His team-mate Luca Scassa was 20th, but in a strong ride on his Kawasaki DMC-Lorenzini team Ninja ZX-6R, Kevin Coghlan was ninth. Vladimir Ivanov was 15th on his DMC-Lorenzini machine.

Kenan Sofuoglu: “At the moment Sam Lowes’ pole time is something quite incredible for a Supersport bike but everyone knows that Lowes is very good on one lap. This weekend everybody has tyre issues, I have it too, and every time we have been out it is to make a race run to make sure the tyre can last race distance. They have made the race 15 laps now but still I have a little bit of a problem but only Lowes and I have the very fast pace. Maybe together we will fight together to win the race. In races many things can change and we tyre a lot of things to make a little bit more tyre life and we have been improving. We have tried many different ways and now it is just to choose one for the race.”

Fabien Foret: “I am OK after my big crash, sore, but OK. This last session was a little better but it was not easy to get back to full confidence after the big fall. I needed to get back up there and tomorrow will be a different day. I am a tough racer so we will see. We have only 15 laps now and for me that is better, with me being a bit sore.”

More, from a press release issued by PTR Honda:

Morais back on track in time to qualify

PTR HONDA'S Sheridan Morais got out on track just in time to qualify for the opening round of the World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island in Australia after his team fixed a technical problem plaguing him all week.

Sheridan had managed only a handful of slow laps in two days of testing and the opening three sessions of the race weekend as he battled a recurring problem. His technicians eventually traced it and fixed it just prior to the final qualifying session.

Sheridan qualified a respectable 24th given his lack of track time. Top PTR Honda qualifier was David Linortner in 17th place. Luca Marconi is 27th, Matt Davies 30th and Nacho Calero 31st.

The race starts at 1330 local time in Australia on Sunday 24th February.

Sheridan Morais: "A big thank you to all at PTR Honda for all of the hard work and huge effort to get me out on track. These guys are amongst the best in the business and I am looking forward to the race now and seeing what I can do."

Simon Buckmaster, PTR Honda Team Manager: "Sheridan has only had one session all week. There is so much more to come from him. We have had technical problems and worked non-stop to fix them. It will be difficult to challenge for the podium and already this is not the start to the season we wanted but Sheridan is a professional and he will be going for as strong a points finish as possible in the race.

"David continues to improve and he is just 1/10th from the top 10. He has a good chance of challenging for a top 10 finish with Sheridan.

"Luca spent too much time looking for a tow and by the time he got it the best of his tyre was gone. He needs to focus more to achieve his undoubted full potential.

"Matt was very impressive this morning but couldn't improve on that level this afternoon. He's certainly proving he has the potential.

"Nacho improved his lap time by nearly a second in tough conditions. There is still a lot of work to do and we will go for the best finish possible with him.

"Congratulations to Jack Kennedy on the customer PTR Honda Rivamoto bike qualifying in fifth place - well done."

Final Qualification

1. Sam Lowes GBR Yakhnich Yamaha YZF-R6 1m 32.545s

2. Kenan Sofuoglu TUR Mahi India Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 33.157s

3. Fabien Foret FRA Mahi India Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 33.721s

4. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Honda CBR600RR 1m 33.802s

5. Jack Kennedy IRL RivaMoto Honda CBR600RR 1m 33.896s

6. David Salom ESP Intermoto PonyExpres Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 33.965s

7. Roberto Rolfo ITA ParkinGO MV Agusta F3 1m 34.081s

8. Andrea Antonelli ITA GoEleven Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 34.359s

9. Kev Coghlan GBR DMC Lorenzini Kawasaki ZX-6R 1m 34.393s

10. Lorenzo Zanetti ITA PATA Honda CBR600RR 1m 34.465s

17. David Linortner AUT PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 34.635s

24. Sheridan Morais RSA PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 35.044s

27. Luca Marconi ITA PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 35.330s

30. Matt Davies AUS PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 35.380s

31. Nacho Calero Perez ESP PTR Honda CBR600RR 1m 35.393s

More, from a press release issued by Pata Honda:

Van der Mark impresses in Phillip Island qualifying

Pata Honda’s Michael van der Mark qualified in an impressive fourth place this afternoon for his World Supersport debut in tomorrow’s first round race at Phillip Island in Australia.

The 20-year-old Dutchman will start at the head of row two under new regulations for the season which put three riders on each row of the grid, rather than the traditional four.

Van der Mark’s Pata Honda team-mate, Lorenzo Zanetti, consolidated his own improvement on the team’s HondaCBR600RR machine by taking 10th place for his own World Supersport debut at the 4.445km Phillip Island circuit.

Tomorrow’s race has been reduced from 21 laps to 15 following further concerns about tyre life around the newly-surfaced but still abrasive track.

Michael van der Mark – P4, 1m33.802s
I’m really happy to qualify in fourth place in my first World Supersport race at this track where I have never raced before. We really didn’t expect this so early in the season. I did a race simulation this morning and we made some more progress and then, in qualifying this afternoon, I struggled with one tyre but still managed a good lap time. I couldn’t have imagined a better start to the season and I’m looking forward to a good race tomorrow.

Lorenzo Zanetti – P10, 1m34.465s
I’m a little disappointed because I was not able to improve my time today. The wind was a big problem for me today – I think it was from a different direction today and I felt it was pushing the front a little. I did a 15-lap race distance this morning in free practice and the tyre looked quite good so I think we can make a good race tomorrow.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator
I think Michael did a great job putting the bike on fourth spot for his first Supersport race, just a tenth of a second off the front row. He has been in really good form during the test and this race weekend and stayed at the front. We’re very excited that he may be able to battle for the podium tomorrow and we could not have expected more. Lorenzo wasn’t able to improve his time but he’s come a long way since testing and 10th on the grid is not too bad. I hope we can see some fighting spirit in the race to push him higher in the results.
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