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May 26, 2012

Updated: Smrz Fastest In First World Superbike Qualifying Session At Miller Motorsports Park

Jakub Smrz (96).
BigM Weekend/FIM Superbike World Championship
Miller Motorsports Park
Tooele, Utah
May 26, 2012
Qualifying Session One Results (all on Pirelli tires):

1. Jakub SMRZ, Czech Republic (Ducati 1098R), 1:49.842
2. Carlos CHECA, Spain (Ducati 1098R), 1:49.912
3. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:50.038
4. Max BIAGGI, Italy (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:50.091
5. Davide GIUGLIANO, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:50.280
6. Sylvain GUINTOLI, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:50.312
7. Jonathan REA, UK (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:50.358
8. Eugene LAVERTY, Ireland (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:50.428
9. Tom SYKES, UK (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:50.433, crash
10. Leon CAMIER, UK (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:50.520
11. Chaz DAVIES, UK (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 1:50.561
12. Leon HASLAM, UK (BMW S1000RR), 1:50.730
13. Michel FABRIZIO, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:50.877
14. Ayrton BADOVINI, Italy (BMW S1000RR), 1:51.042
15. David SALOM, Spain (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:51.055
16. Maxime BERGER, France (Ducati 1098R), 1:51.070
17. John HOPKINS, USA (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:51.512
18. Niccolo CANEPA, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:51.590
19. Loris BAZ, France (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:52.002
20. Jake HOLDEN, USA (BMW S1000RR), 1:52.108
21. Leandro MERCADO, Argentina (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1:52.288
22. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (Honda CBR1000RR), 1:52.390
23. Lorenzo ZANETTI, Italy (Ducati 1098R), 1:52.953
24. Shane TURPIN, USA (Ducati 1098R), 1:54.994

Top Speeds:

1. Michel FABRIZIO (BMW S1000RR), 191.13 mph
2. Marco MELANDRI (BMW S1000RR), 188.46 mph
3. Chaz DAVIES (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 188.46 mph
4. Max BIAGGI (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 187.41 mph
5. Eugene LAVERTY (Aprilia RSV4 Factory), 186.41 mph
6. Leon HASLAM (BMW S1000RR), 185.91 mph
7. Hiroshi AOYAMA (Honda CBR1000RR), 185.42 mph
8. David SALOM (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 183.93 mph
9. Ayrton BADOVINI (BMW S1000RR), 182.93 mph
10. Jonathan REA (Honda CBR1000RR), 181.94 mph
11. Tom SYKES (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 181.94 mph
12. Loris BAZ (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 181.94 mph
13. Lorenzo ZANETTI (Ducati 1098R), 180.01 mph
14. Davide GIUGLIANO (Ducati 1098R), 179.51 mph
15. Sylvain GUINTOLI (Ducati 1098R), 179.51 mph
16. Jakub SMRZ (Ducati 1098R), 179.08 mph
17. John HOPKINS (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 178.58 mph
18. Carlos CHECA (Ducati 1098R), 178.15 mph
19. Leon CAMIER (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 178.15 mph
20. Maxime BERGER (Ducati 1098R), 176.78 mph
21. Leandro MERCADO (Kawasaki ZX-10R), 176.28 mph
22. Jake HOLDEN (BMW S1000RR), 175.85 mph
23. Niccolo CANEPA (Ducati 1098R), 174.05 mph
24. Shane TURPIN (Ducati 1098R), 172.74 mph

More, from a press release issued by Infront Motor Sports:

Smrz leads the way after mixed weather conditions

Miller Motorsports Park (USA), Saturday 26 May 2012 Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) pushed as hard in dry conditions as he had in the wet free practice session this morning to take the overnight fastest lap time of 1 minute 49.842 seconds. The man from the Czech Republic had been quickest in the wet opening session, after a thunderstorm had arrived at Miller at an inopportune moment.

A good day for the Ducati riders saw Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) go second, heading up the BMW Motorrad Motorsport machine of Marco Melandri and the Aprilia Racing entry of Max Biaggi. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) and Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) continued the good Ducati form in going fifth and sixth respectively.

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was the first Honda rider home, in seventh, with Eugene Laverty joining his team-mate Biaggi in the top eight places.

Tom Sykes crashed out on his Kawasaki Racing Team official bike and was an unusually low ninth after the first qualifying session. The cosmopolitan nature of the championship was demonstrated fully as the FIXI Crescent Suzuki of Leon Camier took the English rider to tenth, making it all six manufacturers in the early top ten.

In his comeback ride from injury David Salom (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) was 15th after the first official session, while another rider making a return to the fray, local man John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was ranked 17th.

The 24-strong field of riders will face a further qualifying session tomorrow morning and then the top 16 will go forward to Tissot-Superpole to determine their final grid positions.

More, from a press release issued by Miller Motorsports Park:

Smrz Fastest in World Superbike Qualifying Practice

Hayes Tops AMA SuperBike, 'Quest for 200' Continues

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 26, 2012) "” Jakub Smrz of the Czech Republic, riding the No. 96 Ducati 1098R for Liberty Racing Team Effenbert, recorded the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying practice for the FIM Superbike World Championship, the featured event of the BigM Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park.

Following a wet morning practice session in which he was also fastest, Smrz sailed to the top of the timing sheets in a dry qualifying practice with a lap at 1:49.842. Defending World Champion Carlos Checa of Spain, who won both races at Miller Motorsports Park last year and in 2008, was second-fastest on his No. 7 Althea Racing Ducati, just 0.070sec in arrears at 1:49.912. Italy's Marco Melandri, riding the No. 33 BMW S1000 RR for BMW Motorrad Motorsport, was third-fastest at 1:50.038. Rounding out the top five were Max Biaggi (No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 Factory) and Checa's teammate Davide Guigliano (No. 34 Ducati 1098R).

In the first of two qualifying sessions for the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship, two-time and defending series champ Josh Hayes was the man to beat, posting a lap at 1:51.046 on his No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha R1. Roger Hayden was second-fastest at 1:51.514 on his No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, with teammate Ben Bostrom third at 1:51.954 on his No. 23 Jordan Suzuki. Blake Young (No. 79 Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Larry Pegram (No. 79 BMW S1000 RR) completed the top five fastest riders.

Youngster Benny Solis was fastest in the in first qualifying for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike series, clocking in at 1:56.201 on his No. 20 Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6. Colombia's Martin Cardenas, the 2010 series champion and three-time 2012 race winner, was second at 1:56.252 on his No. 36 Geico Suzuki GSX-R600, followed by Jason DiSalvo on the No. 40 Team Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675 at 1:56.584. Tommy Hayden (No. 8 YES/Graves Yamaha) and Dane Westby (No. 5 M4/Lucas Oil Suzuki) were fourth- and fifth-fastest, respectively.

Hayden Gillim, riding the No. 69 Road Race Factory Yamaha YZF-R6, was the man to beat in qualifying practice for the AMA Pro SuperSport series, lapping the 3.048 Outer Course at MMP at 1:59.002. Defending champ James Rispoli was second at 1:59.326 on his No. 1 Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R600, with Dustin Dominguez third at 1:59.352 on his No. 68 Castrol/GE Capital Triumph Daytona 675.

In the first qualifying session for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 series, Tyler O'Hara's 2:10.281 lap bested Michael Barnes (2:11.265) and Kyle Wyman (2:12.066).

The BigM Weekend continues tomorrow. There will be second qualifying sessions for all four AMA Pro Racing series and races for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike and SuperSport series. The FIM Superbike World Championship will have a final qualifying practice before their unique, knockout-style Superpole session. The two feature races for the Superbike World Championship and single races for the AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike and Vance & Hines XR1200 series will take place on Memorial Day Monday.

A big part of the weekend is "The Quest for 200." It is anticipated that, this year, a World Superbike rider will surpass 200 mph on Miller Motorsports Park's 3,500-foot front straightaway for the first time. Should that happen, it will make Miller Motorsports Park the fastest natural-terrain road racing circuit in America. In today's Qualifying Practice for the FIM Superbike World Championship, Michele Fabrizio set the fastest speed at 191 mph on his No. 84 BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000RR, but he only achieved the 13th fastest lap.

As is fitting on Memorial Day weekend, America's armed forces are being featured, with a Tribute Field of 2,012 American flags erected in the track's infield and the Zions Bank Military Acre featuring interactive displays from all branches of the armed forces. The United States Marine Corps color guard will present the colors during the opening ceremonies on Monday, prior to a flyover of an F-16 Fighter Jet, a combined effort by the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill Air Force Base. Colonel Sarah Zabel, Commander of the 75th Air Base Wing at Hill Air Force Base, will offer comments during opening ceremonies and the National Anthem will be performed by the 23rd Army Band. All current and veteran military members are eligible for a 50-percent discount on event tickets, this weekend and every weekend.

In addition, there are a myriad of activities for families to enjoy, including karting at the Miller Kart Track, rides on MMP's Zip Line, 2-up rides on the racetrack from the Yamaha Champions Riding School, Ford Raptor rides on MMP's off-road desert course, thrill rides in Dodge Chargers and Challengers, pit walks, vendors, non-stop entertainment from local bands and performing groups in the paddock, stunt bike demonstrations and plenty of good food.

Tickets for the event are priced at $40 for General Admission and $50 for Grandstand Seating on Sunday and Monday. Tickets for kids aged 6-12 are priced at $5 for General Admission and $10 for Grandstand Seating all three days. Kids aged 5 and under are admitted free of charge.

To obtain tickets for or information about The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, visit the track's website at or call 435-277-RACE (7223).

More, from a press release issued by Liberty Racing Team:

Kuba Smrž ahead in the American Q1

With any condition of the track, our Czech rider, had dominated, at first the morning "wet" free practice and then excels in "dry" Q1....!!

It closed on Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City the first qualifying session of the United States Grand Prix, the sixth round of World Superbike. Once again, the Liberty Racing Team rider, Kuba Smrž, after dominating the morning free practice, proved to be the fastest, marking the time of 1'49 "842, also in the first official session, thus ensuring the provisional pole position. The Liberty rider has shown that the excellent performance of 2011, when he conquered the podium in race 1, was the result of the excellent feeling between the Czech rider, his Ducati and the American circuit. Sixth with a time of 1'50 "312 and detached from the head of a few tenths are the French Sylvain Guintoli, who has completed the first triumphant American day of the Czech team. Access to the Superpole of Sunday afternoon is also guaranteed for the third Liberty rider, Maxime Berger, the French closed sixteenth the Q1 stopping the clock on 1'51"070.

The Superpole Target, for the moment, is centered for the Liberty Racing Team, no matter what the weather will be tomorrow morning, the Czech squad, as already demonstrated in the previous round, once again confirms as one of the fastest in the practice, free or officials they are.

More, from a press release issued by Althea Racing:


Tooele (USA), Saturday 26th May 2012: team Althea Racing's Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano faced extremely mixed conditions today at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. After a wet free practice session, Checa and Giugliano closed in second and fifth place respectively in a dry first qualifying session.

In the first free practice session of the weekend, which took place this morning on a very wet track (air temperature 10ËšC, track temperature 11ËšC), Checa was not wasting any time and went straight out despite the conditions, making constant progress during the 45 minute session. The current champion made a fastest lap of 2'05.3, which put him in fifth position at the end of the session.

Giugliano used the session to familiarize himself with what is for him a totally new track. It didn't take him long and by the end of the session he too had recorded a 2'06.0 which positioned him seventh at the session's end.

Later in the day, the Althea men returned to the track for first qualifying. Conditions had improved with a track temperature of 20ËšC. Checa projected himself almost immediately to the top of the timesheets, recording fast lap times throughout the session. The Spanish rider set a best time of 1'49.9, thanks to which he closed first qualifying in second position. His team-mate Davide continued to improve with the passing of each lap, as he gained confidence with the track. He recorded a fastest lap of 1'50.2, which positioned him fifth at the end of today's action.

Carlos Checa:
"In the morning we worked to refine the bike instead of pushing to make fast times on the wet. To be honest the wind was more annoying than the rain and so we hope that the wind levels drop a little tomorrow. I think we should be able to make two good races, we have a good reference from recent years of course and I think that we need to make the most of that, to grow and take a satisfying result. Tomorrow we'll continue with the work but I can say that I'm feeling really good."

Davide Giugliano:
"I don't think we did badly, to be in the top five at a track I didn't know is pretty good. I've shown that I have strong pace, only a few tenths from the leaders and I feel very good at this track. We're very happy. We're still working on the bike to get it just right and tomorrow we hope to be able to go faster again. With regard to the conditions, we seem to be pretty used to the wind this year but we'll see how it is tomorrow. If we continue working this well, we should be able to reach solid results come race day."

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

Salt Lake City Free Practice & Qualifying Practice 1.
Saturday, 26th May 2012.

Weather conditions: Heavy rain in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon, strong and gusty winds.
Temperature: Air: 10 15 °C, Track: 11 20 °C
Number of riders participating: 24 from 14 teams
Fastest lap Free Practice: Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team) 2:02.138 min
Fastest lap Qualifying Practice 1: Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team) 1:49.842 min

On a cold and windy Saturday at "Miller Motorsport Park" (USA), Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport qualified for the provisional first row. The circuit in Tooele/Utah, host of the sixth round of the 2012 season, welcomed the teams with some heavy rain in the morning, cold temperatures and gusty winds. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished the closely fought first qualifying practice in third. Marco´s team-mate, Leon Haslam (GBR), qualified provisional 12th. The first twelve riders were separated by just 0.888 seconds. In Friday's free practice session, Marco was second and Leon twelfth. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team rider Michel Fabrizio (ITA) finished the first qualifying practice in 13th with his team-mate Ayrton Badovini (ITA) in 14th. The Superpole will take place on Sunday and the race starts Monday.

Marco Melandri:
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:04.832 min (P2)/Fastest lap Qualifying P. 1: 1:50.038 min (P3)
"It has been a pretty good start to the weekend, as my RR worked consistently well under different conditions. Finding a good line was really tough in today's qualifying as the wind was really gusty and coming from different directions every single lap. In the morning it was raining very hard but I am happy with our performance today. After Assen it was important for me to understand how the bike works in the wet, and we now know why we were not fast in the wet there. Now we will focus on Superpole."

Leon Haslam:
Fastest lap Free Practice: 2:07.191 min (P12)/Fastest lap Qualifying P. 1: 1:50.730 min (P12)
"I face similar issues to last year. We have issues with the engine brake, and we need to work on our electronics side to resolve this. Set-up wise I am riding the same as at Donington. Maybe it is the altitude here at Miller that makes the bike change the way it is working. I am confident that my crew and I will solve it. Thanks to all of them."

Andrea Dosoli (Head of Race Operations):
"The weather conditions made this a tough day for us. The Salt Lake weather gave mixed conditions today with heavy rain in the morning and with a dry track and strong and gusty winds in the afternoon. I am glad that the bike performed well in both dry and wet conditions. Marco's initial feedback was positive, which is a positive sign as Marco struggled here last year. Leon is still struggling. He had similar issues in the wet and the dry when entering the corners. We are working on the engine brake and the gearing to try to improve his feeling."

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

FIXI Crescent Suzuki's Leon Camier made steady and impressive progress during the first qualifying session for the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park in America today.

Camier (P10, 1'50.520) finished only 0.678 seconds off the quickest time of the day at the end of his 16 completed laps around the 4,907m American circuit. He improved consistently throughout the 45-minute qualifying session as he constantly made steps with his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R.

John Hopkins is making a welcome return to the team this weekend after missing the last event due to injury. He made a solid start today as he began a steep learning curve to understand the circuit on his first visit to Miller Park, as well as pushing to get race-fit for this weekend's races. Hopkins finished the first qualifying session in 17th place with a time of 1'51,512, but is convinced he will improve in tomorrow's second qualifying to secure his place in Superpole.

Today's first practice session was held in wet conditions, but fortunately the track had dried in time for this afternoon's Qualifying. The strong winds made it difficult for all riders and with the air temperatures only getting up to 15°C - and the track reaching 20°C - conditions were never very favourable. Provisional Pole was set by Jakub Smrz on a Ducati.

Camier and Hopkins will have a further qualifying session tomorrow morning (09.45hrs local time - 16.45hrs BST) to attempt to qualify for the 16-place Superpole shootout in the afternoon, which will see them push for the best grid positions for Monday's races.

Leon Camier:

"We had a few problems at the end of this morning's wet session and the start of qualifying this afternoon, but the boys fixed them and I was able to put in a pretty decent number of laps. Generally, I feel good about how the day went because I know that there's a lot more to come from me and the bike. On my fastest lap of the day, I made a mistake, so there's definitely room for improvement tomorrow. The wind was very strong this afternoon and it affected the bike a lot - especially going into turns one and two. If the wind drops or changes direction tomorrow, I'll have to completely change my braking markers, but whatever happens, I hope that it will stay dry. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, because we've got a new-spec Yoshimura engine and I'm sure that it will be a step up."

John Hopkins:

"It's a big shame that this morning was wet as learning a new track in those conditions is not the easiest thing to do. Then, as the afternoon was dry, I had to learn the track all over again! Considering all that, I was pretty close to a top-16 place and I'm pretty confident of being much higher up tomorrow because there's a lot of room for improvement. I think Miller is a good track and it suits my style. I'm still learning it, but there's a lot more to come for sure."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"Obviously it would've been better for both our riders - particularly John - if the conditions had been dry this morning, but I am reasonably satisfied with things today. Leon had a good session this afternoon and we know he'll improve a lot tomorrow. John is learning the track but he's got the bike more-or-less dialled-in and he'll be raring to push harder tomorrow and get higher up the standings. If it had been dry in both sessions, I'm sure John would've finished in the top-16 and I am confident that's where we'll see him tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:




Tooele (Utah), 26 May 2012 The first day of testing and practice session for World Superbike just ended at Miller Motorsport Park. The heavy rain during free practice was contrasted by the strong wind during qualifiers, held on a completely dry track.

The Aprilia Racing Team can consider itself satisfied after the first timed results, which place current ranking leader, Max Biaggi, on the board with the fourth time in the qualifying session, while Eugene Laverty ended the day in eighth place.

The Corsair, whose morning session was interrupted due to a technical problem, seems to have already identified the areas his work tomorrow needs to focus on. Max is not far behind the front runners, but the extreme competitiveness of his rivals forces him to search for the perfect set-up. As already seen in Donington, the time gaps in the dry today were once again insignificant, with 13 riders all within just over one second.

Max Biaggi knows that he will have to give 100%: "Considering the fact that I basically skipped the free practice, we're not off to a bad start here at Miller. There are obviously some areas where we need work, especially where we lost precious tenths of a second last year as well. We'll set up our work day tomorrow based on the information gathered today, specifically with changes to the suspension set-up, but not only that. Stop watch in hand, we'll see what impact the changes have on the track".

For Eugene Laverty the first two sessions on the difficult American track can also be considered positive. The Northern Irish rider put in a lot of laps in the dry using the same tyre in order to focus on the way his RSV4 would behave. This leads to the conclusion that there is fair margin for improvement which Eugene will have to explore tomorrow.

"Today was one of our best first days of testing yet. I took a lot of laps on the same tyre because I wanted to get a feel for the way the bike would behave, focusing on the set-up. The eighth qualifying time doesn't show our true potential, but it's a good starting point for tomorrow. The goal is to have a good Superpole and to get ready for the two races on Monday".
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