WSBK: Fresh Tires Aid Checa to Superpole at Assen

04/16/2011 @ 10:26 am, by Victoria Reid4 COMMENTS

Having dominated the final qualifying session under a cloudy sky and in cool temperatures, Carlos Checa won pole (1:35.292) for the World Superbike round at Assen. The Spaniard won pole for the third race weekend in a row, added by the fact that he was the only rider to have a fresh qualifying tire for the third Superpole session. He will be joined on the front row for Sunday’s races by Jakub Smrz, Eugene Laverty, and Noriyuki Haga. Though none could touch Checa at the end, the Superpole sessions were marked by very close lap times, with the twelve riders in Superpole 2 covered by a half second. Only Marco Melandri crashed during the Superpole sessions, on his last lap while attempting to fight for pole. He was unhurt and qualified eighth.

Though only second quickest in qualifying, Smrz was quickest in both the Friday free practice and the qualifying practice later that afternoon, with eight other men completing the fastest five between both sessions. Though the Czech rider came out on top, the final ten minutes in the first qualifying session seemed to say that the pole position was any rider’s to win. Vermeulen, still recovering and continuously testing Kawasakis, suffered a blown engine in each Friday session that kept him well down the order and off the bike.

Meanwhile, an also injured James Toseland had been replaced by Dutch rider Barry Veneman, who posted times respectably close to those of teammate Badovini. Saturday morning, Rea was quickest in the final qualifying practice, taking the top spot from Smrz by two tenths. He was followed by Biaggi, Corser, and Haga as the fastest five. Corser took over the top spot for the final free practice, with the fastest time of the weekend (1:35.818). Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Maxime Berger, 18. Chris Vermeulen, 19. Barry Veneman, 20. Roberto Rolfo, 21. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 1:
Superpole 1 began under an overcast sky, with the cooler temperatures that had marked much of the weekend, and a breeze. Most of the riders were straight onto the track for this first, fourteen minute session. Haga (1:35.667) led with ten minutes remaining, followed by Haslam, Biaggi, Fabrizio, and Corser. At that point, Laverty, Badovini, Xaus, and Camier were in the knockout zone. Most riders were back in the garage at the halfway point, and back out with around five minutes remaining.

With the point simply to move onward to Superpole 2, Laverty, Guintoli, Badovini, and Xaus were in danger of staying behind with four minutes to go. Rea was twelfth fastest and in danger while Haga remained on top. With just a minute left, Laverty took the provisional pole from Haga, closely followed by teammate Melandri. After the flag, the Irish rider would remain fastest (1:35.623), with Melandri, Haga, Corser, and Biaggi the fastest five. Weekend leader Smrz barely made the cut, and ended S1 twelfth fastest. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Michel Fabrizio, 14. Ruben Xaus, 15. Sylvain Guintoli, 16. Ayrton Badovini.

Superpole 2:
Haslam and Lascorz were the first out for the twelve minutes of Superpole 2. Lascorz was the early leader, followed by Camier, Haga, Haslam, and Biaggi in the first wave of lap times. Quickly, Melandri was fastest (1:35.552) while Rea, Smrz, Checa, and Sykes were in the drop zone without times, four minutes into the session. On their first laps, Rea and Checa slotted into provisional pole and second fastest, respectively, though Rea had already used both of his qualifying tires. Checa soon took the lead (1:35.536), while Smrz had yet to set a time and less than five minutes to do so.

A minute later, Haga, Corser, Biaggi, and Smrz were in in the relegation zone, only to have Smrz take the lead with three minutes to go, and dropped Camier into the knockout zone. At that point, all twelve were separated by less than a second. Corser improved his time, but only to ninth. The times tightened as the seconds ticked away, ending the session with Smrz (1:35.523) on top, followed by Checa, Rea, Melandri, and Biaggi.  Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Leon Camier, 10. Troy Corser, 11. Joan Lascorz, 12. Leon Haslam.

Superpole 3:
Laverty was the last to leave the pit lane in the final qualifying session. Most of the eight riders were on similar footing and forced to lap with used qualifying tires. Checa, though, had fresh qualifying rubber. The Spaniard was fastest (1:35.594) early, followed by Haga, Rea, Biaggi, Sykes, and Melandri with five minutes left. At that point, neither Smrz nor Laverty had set a time. Checa soon bettered his own time by three tenths, though the order of the top five remained the same. Smrz started his first fast lap with about three minutes left while Laverty continued to wait in the garage.

However, Laverty went straight to second fastest with his first proper lap, leaving Checa on top, and an improved Smrz third fastest. Smrz improved again on his next lap to take second from Laverty. His teammate Melandri did not fare so well, crashing on his last lap. Though he was unhurt, he was also unable to post a time quicker than eighth fastest. No one could catch Checa as he took his third pole in as many race weekends.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Assen, Netherlands:

1.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:35.292
2.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:35. 5600.268
3.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:35.5800.288
4.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:35.9200.628
5.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:36.1380.846
6.1Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:36.3021.010
7.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:36.3511.059
8.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:37.0361.744
Out After Superpole 2
9.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:35.9030.380
10.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:35.9540.431
11.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:35.9830.460
12.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport1:36.0890.566
Out After Superpole 1
13.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:36.1480.525
14.111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1:36.2600.637
15.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:36.3610.738
16.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:36.9201.297
Not qualified for Superpole
17.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:37.2721.237
18.77Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing1:37.5011.466
19.37Barry VenemanBMW Motorrad Italia1:37.5691.534
20.44Roberto RolofoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1:37.6761.641
21.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki1:37.7941.759

Source: WSBK

  • BBQdog

    Lorenzo had pole on Assen last year with a QP time of 1:35.515

  • BBQdog

    Sorry, should have been 1:34.515 for Lorenzo, so not that much difference
    between MotoGP and WSB.

  • Philip

    Shouldn’t the pic match the title?

  • Chris

    It is ashame that the rules are so unfair for Ducati this year. What with just three out of three poles and three out of four wins(which could have been four if Checa wouldn’t have made a bad tire choice)