Max Biaggi (1:58.580) ended the Superpole qualifying sessions for the 2011 World Superbike round at Brno essentially untouchable. Though he continued to lap at the end of the final session, his closest rivals either remained in the garage or were unable to find the speed to catch him on the track. He will be joined by Marco Melandri, Carlos Checa, and Eugene Laverty on the front row for Sunday’s races. Despite a crash late in S1, Biaggi’s teammate Leon Camier managed to get back out and move forward, qualifying on the second row.
Smrz was the first fastest rider in Friday morning’s free practice session at the Czech rider’s home circuit, barely beating Biaggi’s best time as the session ended. The Italian was second fastest, with Melandri, Fabrizio, and Smrz’s teammate Guintoli (set to replace the injured Loris Capirossi in MotoGP for at least one race this season) the fastest five. In the first qualifying session, it was Checa’s turn to be the fastest Ducati again, though Smrz was just a couple of tenths slower for a provisional front row start. Melandri, Laverty, and Biaggi completed the fastest five in that afternoon session.
Though James Toseland participated in the morning free practice, he relinquished his racing duties back to Lorenzo Lanzi with continued troubles in his wrist. The Briton is hoping to be fully healed for his second home round at Silverstone, the end of this month. He was joined on the injured roster by Troy Corser, who was not replaced for this round at the factory BMW team, and Jonathan Rea. The Ulsterman has been replaced for his possibly long-term recovery by Alex Lowes at Castrol Honda.
After the final qualifying practice Checa remained on the provisional pole, though he had not improved his time. Smrz and Melandri also remained on the provisional front row, as Biaggi improved to join them. It was a generally uneventful session, though both Castrol Honda riders did not move forward to Superpole, nor did three of the five Kawasaki riders. Laverty took control in the final free practice, leading Checa, Biaggi, Badovini, and Melandri as the fastest five. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Ruben Xaus, 18. Roberto Rolfo, 19. Joan Lascorz, 20. Chris Vermeulen, 21. Alex Lowes, 22. Victor Kispataki.
Melandri took an early lead over Badovini, Haga, Guintoli, and Haslam in the early stages of the first session of Superpole, though Checa, Biaggi, and Laverty soon slid in ahead of Badovini. It was a fairly standard session until Camier crashed out with just over five minutes remaining. He had set no time and would likely be knocked out in S1. At that point, Melandri led Checa, Biaggi, and Laverty as the provisional front row, with Fabrizio, Sykes, Camier, and Baiocco in the knockout zone.
Fabrizio jumped from fourteenth to tenth on his next lap, but the big surprise near the end of the session was Camier’s reappearance. He managed to go seventh fastest and move on to S2. In the end, Melandri (1:59.379) was quickest, with Checa, Smrz, and Biaggi completing the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Leon Haslam, 14. Noriyuki Haga, 15. Lorenzo Lanzi, 16. Matteo Baiocco.
Halfway through the twelve minute session, Checa led Laverty, Biagi, and Smrz, with Aitchison, Fabrizio, Berger, and Camier in the knockout zone. The latter had yet to set a time. Though Biaggi had taken an early lead, Checa was the rider to first post a lap in the 1:58s range for the weekend. Quickly, Camier again pulled himself out of the knockout zone, jumping from no time to sixth with a couple of minutes remaining. That fast lap dropped Guintoli into the relegation zone. As the seconds ticked away, Sykes posted a blistering lap to come within a hundredth of Checa’s time, leaving Badovini, Guintoli, Aitchison, and Berger in danger. In the end, Checa (1:58.930) remained fastest, with Sykes, Laverty, and Biaggi on the provisional front row. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Ayrton Badovini, 10. Sylvain Guintoli, 11. Mark Aitchison, 12. Maxime Berger.
Biaggi took the provisional pole early in the session, leading Melandri and Camier. However, Smrz snuck into second fastest position with five minutes remaining. Soon, only Checa and Fabrizio had yet to set a lap time, with Biaggi leading Melandri, Laverty, Smrz, Camier, and Sykes. On his first lap, Checa went third fastest, though Biaggi’s 1:58.580 looked hard to beat. In the final moments, Biaggi went back out on a second qualifying tire, though both factory Yamaha riders had given up for the day. Sykes, despite his earlier speed, was down in eighth with Smrz, Fabrizio, and Camier joining him on the provisional second row. At the end of S3, there was simply no one who could beat Biaggi to pole at Brno.
Superpole Results from World Superbike at Brno, Czech Republic:
|1.||1||Max Biaggi||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||1:58.580||–|
|2.||33||Marco Melandri||Yamaha WSBK Team||1:58.801||0.221|
|3.||7||Carlos Checa||Althea Racing Ducati||1:38.908||0.328|
|4.||58||Eugene Laverty||Yamaha WSBK Team||1:59.055||0.475|
|5.||96||Jakub Smrz||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||1:59.541||0.961|
|6.||84||Michel Fabrizio||Team Suzuki Alstare||1:59.908||1.328|
|7.||2||Leon Camier||Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team||1:59.925||1.345|
|8.||66||Tom Sykes||Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki||2:00.303||1.723|
|Out After Superpole 2|
|9.||86||Ayrton Badovini||BMW Motorrad Italia||1:59.684||0.754|
|10.||50||Sylvain Guintoli||Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati||1:59.800||0.870|
|11.||8||Mark Aitchison||Team Pedericini Kawasaki||2:00.362||1.432|
|12.||121||Maxime Berger||Supersonic Racing Ducati||2:01.011||2.081|
|Out After Superpole 1|
|13.||91||Leon Haslam||BMW Motorrad||2:00.252||0.873|
|14.||41||Noriyuki Haga||PATA Racing Team Aprilia||2:00.374||0.995|
|15.||57||Lorenzo Lanzi||BMW Motorrad Italia||2:00.619||1.240|
|16.||15||Matteo Baiocco||Barni Racing Team Ducati||2:00.864||1.485|
|Not qualified for Superpole|
|17.||111||Ruben Xaus||Castrol Honda||2:00.681||1.359|
|18.||44||Roberto Rolfo||Team Pedercini Kawasaki||2:00.710||1.388|
|19.||17||Joan Lascorz||Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki||2:00.980||1.658|
|20.||77||Chris Vermeulen||Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki||2:01.447||2.125|
|21.||22||Alex Lowes||Castrol Honda||2:01.724||2.402|
|22.||13||Victor Kispataki||Prop-tech ltd. Honda||2:02.721||3.399|
Source: WSBK; Photo: Max Biaggi Official Website