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May 24, 2013

Sykes Crashes But Is Still Quick Enough To Get Provisional World Superbike Pole At Donington Park (Updated)

eni FIM Superbike World Championship: Tom Sykes (66) riding his Kawasaki ZX-10R in the wet.
FIM Superbike World Championship
Donington Park, England
May 24, 2013
Qualifying Session One Results (wet conditions, all on Pirelli tires):

1. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:30.278, crash
2. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:31.560
3. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:31.571
4. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.792
5. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:31.940
6. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:31.978
7. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:32.094
8. Chaz DAVIES, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:32.103
9. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:32.242
10. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:32.261
11. Jules CLUZEL, France (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:32.677, crash
12. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:33.174
13. Max NEUKIRCHNER, Germany (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:33.205
14. Leon HASLAM, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:33.402
15. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:33.530
16. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (Ducati 1199 Panigale R), 1:34.198
17. Federico SANDI, Italy (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:34.405
18. Vittorio IANNUZZO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:38.050*
19. Alexander LUNDH, Sweden (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:37.334*

* SBK timing and scoring did not offer an explanation why these two riders and times were apparently listed out of order

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

Sykes pushes over the limit in Day 1 at Donington Park

Donington Park (Great Britain), Friday 24 May 2013 - Following the morning's wet Free Practice, Qualifying 1 for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park saw improving conditions, that led to a nearly full dry situation towards the end of the session. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) set a 1'30.278 lap-time to finish on top, with a big margin (1.282 seconds) over 2nd place Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike). Sykes has made the difference at Donington Park today, as the remaining 9 to complete the top-10 finished within a second of each other.

His encouraging start of the weekend was hampered by a late crash at Turn 4 that damaged his Ninja ZX-10R, but the works Kawasaki rider walked away from the gravel uninjured. A Few seconds before Frenchman Jules Cluzel (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) lost control of his GSX-R1000 at the exact same spot.

Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) kept his momentum up after Monza's success by finishing 3rd , followed by Aprilia duo of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing), Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) placed Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia). Melandri's team mate Chaz Davies was 8th ahead of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty.

Local hero Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) fought against the pain to complete an outstanding total of 8 laps (14th place). The rider from Derby was declared fit to ride but his conditions will be reviewed again before tomorrow's Qualifying 2. Haslam fractured his left leg at Assen and despite still recovering from the injury, he is doing his very best to tackle the whole round.

Leon Haslam: “I wasn’t going to go out if the conditions were as dodgy as they were this morning but if it rains tomorrow I needed to get a banker in. I managed to do that and get in the top 15 in case it rains, and I only got two laps in dodgy conditions. We made a few adjustments to the bike which helped the knee but in that session I had no pain killers, no strapping, nothing, so for me it can only get better from now. I’m going now to get it iced up and have some more treatment and make a better plan for tomorrow morning.”

Times: 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'30.278 average 160.424 kph; 2. Rea (Honda) 1'31.560; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1'31.571; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1'31.792; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1'31.940; 6. Camier (Suzuki) 1'31.978; 7. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1'32.094; 8. Davies (BMW) 1'32.103; 9. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'32.242; 10. Baz (Kawasaki) 1'32.261; 11. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1'32.677; 12. Canepa (Ducati) 1'33.174; 13. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1'33.205; 14. Haslam (Honda) 1'33.402; 15. Checa (Ducati) 1'33.530; 16. Badovini (Ducati) 1'34.198; 17. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1'34.405; 18. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1'38.050; NC. Lundh (Kawasaki) 1'37.334.

World Supersport

Despite wet track conditions, low temperatures and strong winds blowing, World Supersport riders were on track this afternoon for the first qualifying session of Round 5 at Donington Park. While some of the front-runners in the standings kept in the respective garages for most of the session, the rest of the field put up a good challenge as the tarmac conditions improved slightly during the 45 minutes.

Current Championship leader Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) waited until the very last minutes to enter the track and top the timesheets - courtesy of a 1'43.642 lap-time - ahead of reigning and defending Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), who's seeking retribution after last round's DNF. Lowes mastered perfectly the Leicester track in difficult conditions, putting a 1.116 seconds gap between himself and the 3-time World Champion in the process.

Although being declared fit to ride, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Fabien Foret (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki) decided to stay out of trouble and didn't get on track. South African Mathew Scholtz (Suriano Racing Team Suzuki), joined this weekend by new team mate Alex Baldolini, finished 3rd followed by 2007 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi (Prorace Honda) and the winners of yesterday's hilarious Pre-event Jack Kennedy (Rivamoto Honda) and Christian Iddon (ParkinGo MV Agusta Corse).

Times: 1. Lowes (Yamaha) 1'43.642 average 139.739 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'44.758; 3. Scholtz (Suzuki) 1'45.294; 4. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'45.309; 5. Kennedy (Honda) 1'45.718; 6. Iddon (MV Agusta) 1'45.770; 7. Coghlan (Kawasaki) 1'45.873; 8. De Rosa (Honda) 1'46.133; 9. Antonelli (Kawasaki) 1'46.141; 10. Baldolini (Suzuki) 1'46.228; etc.

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

Horrible weather hampers first day at Donington Park

FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s first day of work for the European round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park was severely hindered today by some awful weather at the British circuit.

This morning’s free practice was almost a wash-out with only a handful of riders heading out on track in the wet and windy conditions. Leon Camier did just two sighting laps to test some electronics, before returning to the garage for the rest of the session. Conditions did improve slightly for the start of first qualifying this afternoon and both Camier and Jules Cluzel were able to head out on to the 4,023m circuit with slick tyres. Camier posted some impressive times, he even led the timesheets at one point, but intermittent rain and very strong winds, coupled with cold temperatures, meant that the Englishman couldn’t complete his planned work in the session and had to settle for sixth quickest.

Cluzel started the qualifying with a wet setting in his Yoshimura-powered GSX-R, but quickly came in to change the bike’s set-up. He was in 11th place in the standings when a sharp and heavy rainstorm on one part of the track caught him out and he had a slow-speed crash. He re-mounted and returned to the pits uninjured, but due to the weather conditions he was unable to venture back out on circuit to try and improve his time or position.

With the awful conditions today, that saw track temperatures at only 4°C, it was never possible for any of the riders to produce many quick laps. Tom Sykes took today’s honours, but with the forecast looking more promising for Saturday, the lap-times to carry forward into the afternoon’s Superpole will most likely come from tomorrow morning’s final qualifying session.

Leon Camier:
“It’s been ok today, but the bike never really felt right out there. We tried a few things with the electronics to get the wheelying under control and there is still quite a lot we can work on to improve things. I don’t think we’re a million miles away from being where we want to be though, so we’re not that worried. We’ll make some changes tomorrow and hopefully the weather will be better and we can get some proper work done, because it was absolutely horrible out there today.”

Jules Cluzel:
“Today we only did a few laps, but I am happy because I feel quite good with where we are. I thought we would be quite far away as I didn’t feel too good on the bike, because we started with a wet setting and I then stopped to change it and we lost quite a bit of time. Then it started to rain and Sykes crashed in front of me when I was on an out-lap. I was riding really slow and saw him crash and I don’t know what happened because the bike just slipped from under me. I got back to the garage ok, but it had started raining a lot more and we couldn’t go out again. I don’t like this English weather today, so I hope it gets better for the rest of the weekend!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s been a long British winter this year and it feels like it’s still continuing here at Donington Park. It’s been bitterly cold, extremely windy and felt like it was about to snow at any minute! That said, the track was in a good enough condition this afternoon to get some reasonable data and understand – if not the detailed chassis settings for better conditions – at least how the engine is responding and what we need to do to improve corner exit in a couple of parts of the track. The weather forecast is much better for the weekend, let’s hope it’s accurate and we can get down to some proper competition as the event progresses.”

Donington Park – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Qualifying 1:
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.278: 2. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1.282: 3. Marco Melandri (BWM) +1.293: 4. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +1.662: 5. Davide Giugliano (Aprilia) +1.662: 6. LEON CAMIER (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +1.700: 11. JULES CLUZEL (FIXI CRESCENT SUZUKI) +2.399:

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

Rea second at Donington as Haslam returns

Jonathan Rea set the second-fastest time in this afternoon’s truncated first qualifying session at Donington Park in the UK in preparation for Sunday’s two fifth-round World Superbike championship races.

The Pata Honda rider sat out this morning’s free practice session, which was held in atrociously cold, wet and windy conditions. However, Rea lapped the 4.023km Donington Park circuit in a time of 1m31.560s this afternoon to take provisional second place behind pace setter Tom Sykes, who crashed unhurt as rain fell at the end of the session.

His Pata Honda team-mate, Leon Haslam, passed a medical this morning just four weeks after breaking his left-leg at Assen in the Netherlands. The 29-year-old has been undergoing intensive therapy after an operation on 28 April to insert a pin in his tibia.

Haslam also sat out this morning’s free practice, and was able to complete just a few laps in the cold and windy conditions this afternoon before the rain returned, ending the session early.

Jonathan Rea – P2, 1m31.560s

It was OK today but it’s never ideal in those track conditions. We decided to sit out FP1 this morning because I don’t think there was much to be gained in those really, really wet conditions and the weather forecast says it’s going to improve. In qualifying we went out straight away because I wanted some kind of feeling and we have no data from this circuit for the new electronics package. We couldn’t make a lot of gains in the session but I think tonight we can fine tune the engine-braking with the data we got. That’s the area that the bike really revolves around and we need to sort that out before we alter the chassis. I felt comfortable on the bike but it was quite windy out there - to be honest, they weren’t the best conditions to ride in, so I guess it’s work in progress and I’m looking forward to capitalising on what we’ve learned. Tomorrow our bike should be more precise than race-ready, shall we say?

Leon Haslam – P14, 1m33.402s

I wasn’t going to go out if the conditions were as dodgy as they were this morning but if it rains tomorrow I needed to get a banker in. I managed to do that and get in the top 15 in case it rains, and I only got two laps in dodgy conditions. We made a few adjustments to the bike which helped the knee but in that session I had no pain killers, no strapping, nothing, so for me it can only get better from now. I’m going now to get it iced up and have some more treatment and make a better plan for tomorrow morning.

Pieter Breddels – technical co-ordinator

It’s good to have Leon back on the bike, which he can ride! We are now in the process of making the bike a little bit more comfortable for him, but because of the weather we didn’t do a lot of laps. He finished 14th but we’ll continue tomorrow and see how it goes. Jonathan was fast straight out of the box in this afternoon’s dryer conditions. There’s not a lot more to say about today, which was dominated by the weather. Tomorrow it’s supposed to improve, so we’ll get a better idea in the morning.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:

Team Althea Racing – First SBK qualifying at Donington Park

Typically British weather greeted the Althea Racing team at the Donington Park circuit today. The team took part in the first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the World Superbike Championship, but rain and very low temperatures made things difficult for Davide Giugliano and his technicians. The morning’s free practice was conditioned by heavy rain and only a handful of riders took to the track. Giugliano was among them but he completed very few laps before suffering a small crash.

The rain stopped during the qualifying sessions which led to a half wet, half dry track. Davide Giugliano was among the first to go out on track and as it gradually dried out the Althea Racing rider lowered his times to record a best of 1’31”940. With less than ten minutes to go Giugliano chose to head back out to try to improve his time but the onset of rain meant that no-one was able to lower their times any further. Davide closed this first qualifying session with a solid fifth fastest time.

Davide Giugliano : “This morning we did practically nothing due to heavy rain. In the afternoon the track was drying and so we were able to start working on my bike. I’m satisfied because despite not pushing very hard I was able to make some fast laps and finished fifth. A position that, if it were to rain tomorrow, would easily put me through to the Superpole. I like this track and the bike’s working well, so all is good for now. We’ll see what conditions are like tomorrow and go from there.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Alstare:

Team SBK Ducati Alstare faces difficult conditions at a wet and windy Donington

Donington Park (UK), Friday 24 May 2013: In cold, wet and windy conditions, the Ducati Alstare trio, Carlos Checa, Ayrton Badovini and wildcard Niccolò Canepa, took part in today’s first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship, taking place this weekend at Donington Park.

The weather, as is often the case at the English track, conditioned proceedings in the opening free practice session, and faced with a track temperature of just 2°C, each of the three riders made only a brief exit on track, simply to assess conditions and test settings in the wet should conditions prove similar for the qualifying sessions.

Conditions were, as expected, much the same for the afternoon’s qualifying session. The times of all riders began to drop in the second half of the session, once the track had started to dry, but after only a few minutes the rain was back, meaning that very few riders had chance to lap with slick tyres on a dry track. At the end of today’s qualifying Canepa was lying twelfth, Checa fifteenth and Badovini sixteenth.

Carlos Checa: “The important thing is that my shoulder hasn’t bothered me today – I know we’ve only completed a few laps at relatively low speeds but that fact it hasn’t been hurting gives me confidence. I’m not 100% of course but today went well considering that this injury has conditioned recent races. Tomorrow, if it’s dry, our work will start again because today we were only really able to make a few laps with the intermediate tyre, just enough to test settings and for me to get back into a rhythm with my bike.”

Ayrton Badovini: “We’ve got very little done today unfortunately – the conditions didn’t allow us to work as we’d hoped to but then we also had a small technical problem. Tomorrow conditions should be dry and so we hope to be able to get a lot done without interruptions.”

Niccolò Canepa: ‘Conditions were extremely difficult today, it was so windy and the track was soaking wet so this morning we were unable to get anything useful done. In the afternoon it was raining at first, then it stopped but when I went out with a slick tyre it came on to rain again almost immediately and I didn’t have chance to complete any dry laps. Today really only allowed us to collate some useful data and now we’re ready to work tomorrow in (hopefully) dry conditions.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:



Donington Park, 24 May 2013 – The first day of Superbike practice sessions at Donington only fuel the eternal observations concerning English weather. The rain and cold in the morning convinced most of the riders to skip free practice, especially since the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday call for a significant improvement which would basically negate any benefit from taking laps on a wet track.

Sylvain Guintoli, ranking leader, and Eugene Laverty chose not to take any risks, staying in the garage for the duration of the first session. A glimmer of rain free weather, on the other hand, convinced them to tackle the difficult qualifiers in the afternoon to begin the usual work of collecting information on which to base their strategies tomorrow. The session, held on an almost completely dry track, was marked by a few light rain showers that kept the riders from putting any noteworthy times on the boards. The Aprilia Racing Team riders finished in fourth (Guintoli) and ninth (Laverty) place, without taking any senseless risks.

Tomorrow's sessions, which precede Superpole, will in any case be quite important to make up for the time lost today and to be sure they turn up on the starting grid with weapons primed and ready for the races on Sunday.

Sylvain Guintoli: “The conditions today were really difficult, with rain and cold. I decided to stay in the garage for free practice like many of the other riders. On the other hand, we were able to lap in the afternoon as the track improved without taking any risks, if only to make sure everything is OK for tomorrow. With my attempt at a wheelie at the end of the session I discovered that the electronics work great! Our weekend will begin tomorrow. I'm anxious to get to work because I like this track and I count on doing well on Sunday”.

Eugene Laverty: “Very British weather, no doubt about it. In the second session the track wasn't in the best conditions, with a few rain showers and some spots that were still wet, so we didn't push to the limit. The information we were able to gather was still useful, especially in terms of electronics settings, which will be helpful to set up our work tomorrow on the RSV4. Let's hope the forecast is right and we can lap on a dry track”.

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

Donington – Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Friday, 24th May 2013.

Weather conditions: Rain showers and strong winds.
Temperature: Air: 8 – 9 °C, Track: 2 – 4 °C
Number of riders participating: 18 from 11 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team) 1:53.943 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 1:30.278 min

Today's track action at British "Donington Park Circuit" was limited due to extremely difficult weather conditions. The fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship started with cold rainy weather as well as stormy winds which caused air and track temperatures of just a few degrees Celsius. Consequently, BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team's factory riders Marco Melandri (ITA) and Chaz Davies (GBR) opted - like most of the riders - to just do as many laps as necessary and to spend the rest of the day in the garage. In this morning's wet and cold free practice, Chaz was one of only five riders who completed a timed lap, setting the fastest time while Marco stayed in the pits. For this afternoon's first qualifying practice, the weather improved slightly and the track dried. For 30 minutes, the action unfolded, before it started to rain again. Marco qualified for the provisional first row, finishing third on his BMW S 1000 RR. Chaz set the eighth fastest time.

Marco Melandri:?
Fastest lap Free Practice: DNS /Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:31.571 min (P3)?
“I am quite happy with today, even if the weather conditions were really bad with the strong wind and many wet patches on the track, some of which you could hardly see in advance. I was quite fast without pushing hard. I hope that the weather will be better over the next few days as today the conditions were really at the limit. With such a strong wind it is very difficult to find the right point to start braking, this can vary by some metres. Overall I am confident that in the race we will be within the top group.”?

Chaz Davies:?
Fastest lap Free Practice: 1:53.943 min (P1)/Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: 1:32.103 min (P8)?
“Today the aim was just to ride around and to spend most of the time assessing the conditions. We did not do too many laps today, neither this morning when it was wet nor this afternoon when it was damp to dry. We just tried to get a basic feeling for what to expect from the bike for tomorrow. It seems not too bad; there are just a few things we need to work on regarding the power delivery. Now I am looking forward to ride in some stable and hopefully dry conditions in the next days. According to the forecast it will be dry tomorrow and on Sunday so that should give us a better chance to do some decent work on the bike tomorrow.”

Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“Nearly the whole day was wasted as apart from the rain, the temperatures were on the limit. All riders were affected by the low temperatures. They could not make use of the two sessions today as it was too risky. Only in the afternoon, in a short time when it stopped raining and the track started to dry, Marco and Chaz could go out to check if the bike worked properly. We hope that the weather conditions will be better over the next few days, as the forecast predicts. Or we hope that at least the temperatures will rise a little bit. Tomorrow we will continue the work which we could only start with today.”

Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“As we expected, we experienced very difficult weather conditions today. In the morning, the big issue was not the water but the low temperature. Chaz took the opportunity to shake down the bike after Monza, but it was difficult for him to get feedback from the tyres and the track. In the afternoon, the weather was still far from being perfect, but both riders made two runs to start working on a dry set up. As the track time was limited they just got the first impressions on the bike. Chaz started to work on the chassis and the electronics; he is looking for improvements regarding the power delivery. Marco had a good feeling with the bike and wants to improve the rear end of the bike. The lap times are far from where they should be. Now we hope for better weather conditions tomorrow to evaluate our potential on this track.”
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