WSBK: A Charge to the Lead in Superpole at Nurburgring

09/03/2011 @ 7:05 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: A Charge to the Lead in Superpole at Nurburgring checa nurburgring pirelli 635x357

Carlos Checa (1:54.144) again stormed to pole, commanding each Superpole qualifying session for the 2011 World Superbike round at the Nurburgring and setting a new track fast lap. He will be joined on the front row by Eugene Laverty, the injured Max Biaggi, and Marco Melandri. Though the day was occasionally overcast, the track conditions were hot, as Checa refused to reliquish control of the weekend, having led every session but one. There were no major incidents in Superpole, though Michel Fabrizio did crash on his first lap in S1. He was uninjured and qualified twelfth.

Action was hot as the summer break wrapped up at the German circuit, with championship leader Checa (1:57.296) taking command in the first, wet, practice session. Lascorz, Smrz, Fabrizio, and Camier completed the fastest five, all within a second of Checa’s time. In the completely dry afternoon, though, Biaggi (1:55.524) led Checa, with the top thirteen covered by just a second. Melandri, Fabrizio, and Laverty completed the top five, despite Laverty’s brush with the wall during the session. Rea was back in at Castrol Honda, managing seventh fastest in the afternoon qualifying practice. Teammate Ruben Xaus has not yet returned to fitness and was replaced at Nurburgring by Makoto Tamada. Chris Vermeulen did not participate and was not replaced at Paul Bird Kawasaki.

Biaggi injured his foot in Friday afternoon’s first qualifying session, leaving him with nerve and tendon damage, a possible broken bone, and a foot swollen too much to fit in his normal boots. In pain, he did not improve his time in Saturday’s qualifying practice and dropped to fourth fastest in the combined times and thirteenth fastest in the session. Checa (1:55.030) was again on the provisional pole, leading Laverty, Haga, and Biaggi as the provisional front row. In the final free practice before Superpole, Checa (1:54.652) continued to be fastest, leading Laverty, Biaggi, Haslam, and Fabrizio as the fastest five. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Troy Corser, 18. James Toseland, 19. Roberto Rolfo, 20. Makoto Tamada.

Superpole 1:
The top sixteen from the combined qualifying sessions were out quickly, though Fabrizio did not complete his first lap. Checa took an early lead over the times of Laverty, Biaggi, and Melandri with eight minutes remaining. Without improving his time, Checa returned to the garage with much of the rest of the field for settings changes and another set of laps in the first Superpole session. Fabrizio made his way back out, along with Smrz and Badovini.

Rea, down in eleventh, continued to use race tires in qualifying with four minutes remaining. At that point, Lascorz, Smrz, Berger, and Fabrizio were in the knockout zone, though only Fabrizio had yet to set a time. Checa still led with just under three minutes remaining, as the relegation zone remained the same. As the final seconds ticked down, Guintoli, Badovini Lascorz, and Berger were about to be dropped in S1, as Fabrizio had moved up to tenth fastest. As the flag flew, Checa still led with his early fast time, joined by Guintoli, Laverty, and Biaggi as the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Leon Camier, 14. Maxime Berger, 15. Ayrton Badovini, 16. Joan Lascorz.

Superpole 2:
The twelve riders got straight to business for the second Superpole session, though “Biaggi slowed on his first flying lap,” according to Castrol Honda on Twitter, though he soon picked up pace with his second fast lap. Melandri (1:54.936) was the early leader, over Haslam, Rea, and Guintoli with seven minutes remaining. Checa, Laverty, and Sykes had yet to set a time at that point. Checa (1:54.709) went straight to the top, leaving Aitchison, Guintoli, Smrz, and Fabrizio in the knockout zone and five minutes on the clock.

Hoever, Laverty’s lap was just a hundredth slower than the Spaniard as many riders headed back to the garage for final adjustments. Checa still led from the garage with a minute remaining, as Smrz, Aitchison, Guintoli, and Fabrizio looked for a way to move forward and fight for the first two starting rows in S3. Rea, out again on a race tire, was dropped to ninth fastest as Guintoli improved to sixth. On a final lap, Rea was unable to improve. Checa again finished the session fastest with his early time, leading a provisional front row of Laverty, Melandri, and Haga. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Jonathan Rea, 10. Jakub Smrz, 11. Mark Aitchison, 12. Michel Fabrizio.

Superpole 3:
Yet again Checa (1:54.144) took an early lead in the session, with the Yamaha duo of Laverty and Melandri behind. Haga completed the provisional front row with four minutes remaining in the chase for pole. Soon Biaggi bettered his time and slide into third fastest, six tenths off Checa’s time. Haga was on his way out of the garages while Checa and Laverty ducked back in with two minutes left. Still, Checa’s fast lap was a new best lap at the circuit. As the seconds ticked down, there seemed nothing any of the other riders could do to catch Checa, who will start both races on Sunday on pole.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Nurburgring, Germany:

Pos.No.RiderTeamTimeDiff.
1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:54.144-
2.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:54.5120.368
3.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:54.7430.599
4.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:54.8180.674
5.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:55.1130.969
6.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:55.2231.079
7.91Leon HaslamAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:55.2371.093
8.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:55.2491.105
Out After Superpole 2
9.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:55.3210.612
10.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:55.5980.889
11.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki1:55.6250.916
12.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:56.1771.468
Out After Superpole 1
13.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:55.6330.992
14.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:55.8111.170
15.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:56.1011.460
16.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:56.1621.521
Not qualified for Superpole
17.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:56.4011.371
18.52James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia1:56.6371.607
19.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:56.9661.966
20.100Makoto TamadaCastrol Honda1:57.9502.920

Source: WSBK; Photo:

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