WSBK: Rain Causes Crash-Filled Superpole at Misano

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Checa led Biaggi, Corser, Haslam, and Camier as the fastest five in the first free practice of the Misano weekend, and continued to lead through the first qualifying practice with a lap time of 1:36.024. Friday afternoon, Biaggi, Melandri, and Fabrizio completed the provisional front row after the first qualifying practice. Corser caused that session to end early, crashing just minutes from the flag. He hit his head and was taken to the medical center but was cleared to continue riding for the weekend. James Toseland did not participate in either session and would not race with a relapse in the recovery of his right wrist. He has been replaced by Italian Lorenzo Lanzi both this weekend and at Aragaon.

In Saturday’s Superpole sessions, Tom Sykes (1:55.197) held off a late charge from Carlos Checa to take pole position for the World Superbike round at Misano despite the damp conditions. Rain began falling minutes before Superpole 1 began, leading to crashes by Ruben Xaus, Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Carlos Checa, and Jakub Smrz. Neither Xaus nor Camier, despite being the earliest crashers, were able to complete a timed lap and were knocked out in Superpole 1. Smrz led much of the final run for pole, fighting with Sykes. In the end, Skyes, Checa, Smrz, and Marco Melandri will start from the front row for tomorrow’s races.

Checa remained on top for Saturday morning’s qualifying practice, despite the continued battle with Biaggi and a crash in the session. Third fastest Fabrizio also fell, as did fourth fastest Joan Lascorz, completing the provisional front row. In a bit of a surprise, Haga was only seventeenth fastest and did not progress to Superpole. In the final practice Saturday, Checa continued to lead, followed by Fabrizio, Camier, Laverty and Haga, as Biaggi had a crash during the session. Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Noriyuki Haga, 18. Matteo Baiocco, 19. Lorenzo Lanzi, 20. Alessandro Polita, 21. Roberto Rolfo, 22. Chris Vermeulen, 23. Mark Aitchison.

Superpole 1:
Rain began to fall minutes before Superpole 1 began, with the session soon declared wet. The riders were quickly onto the track on wet tires, with Xaus crashing on the colder tires on his first lap. He ran back to the garage for the second bike. Camier also soon crashed in the slick conditions, as did Checa. The latter picked his bike up while the former also ran back to the garages. Soon, Smrz led Rea, Corser, and Laverty as the front row while Guintoli, Checa, Xaus, and Camier were all in the knockout zone.

With five minutes remaining in the first of three superpole sessions, Smrz was on top, followed by Sykes, Melandri, Corser, and Badovini the top five. Guintoli, Berger, Xaus, and Camier were all in the knockout zone. Neither Xaus nor Camier had yet to set a time, as Camier crashed for the second time. Laverty joined him on the deck, as did Smrz with the greasy and slippery conditions catching out most of the field. All were unhurt.

The session ended a bit of a mess, as Biaggi’s Aprillia blew an engine. Smrz was quickest on the session, with Sykes, Badovini, Lascorz, and Melandri the fastest five. Meanwhile, neither Xaus nor Camier managed to complete a timed lap after crashing. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Michel Fabrizio, 14. Maxime Berger, 15. Ruben Xaus, 16. Leon Camier.

Superpole 2:
The rain continued for Superpole 2, with Badovini taking a shocking early lead, only to lose to Haslam’s faster lap. Melandri (1:57.544) was quickest with five minutes to go, only to have his time bettered by Haslam (1:57.311) and Sykes seconds later. Badovini, Rea, Guintoli, Corser, and Lascorz completed the top eight while Laverty, Checa, Smrz, and Biaggi were in the knockout zone.

As the riders got a better handle on the conditions the times continued to drop. Melandi was soon on top again, the only rider down to a 1:56s lap, but he was soon joined by Sykes and Smrz, who both improved upon the Italian’s time. Guintoli, Rea, Corser, and Lascorz were in the relegation zone with seconds left on the session. Checa (1:55.730) went from eighth to fastest on his final lap, going nearly seven tenths faster than Sykes and posting the first 1:55s lap since the rain began falling. Sykes, Smrz, Guintoli, and Biaggi completed the fastest five while Laverty crashed on his last chance to get out of S2 and did not progress to Superpole 3 and the fight for pole.
Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Ayrton Badovini, 10. Eugene Laverty, 11. Jonathan Rea, 12. Joan Lascorz.

Superpole 3:
Checa was the first rider with a quick time in the race for pole, but Smrz topped the timesheets early in S3, followed by Sykes, Haslam, and Biaggi as the front row with five minutes remaining. Sykes was soon quickest, only to have Smrz fight back straightaway. Checa was fifth and a second off their pace with three minutes to go, only to gain six tenths on his next lap. Sykes, however, improved by more than a half second to keep his commanding lead. Smrz remained second fastest when one minute remained, with Haslam and Checa the top four. Checa improved again to go second fastest and less than two tenths slower than Skyes as the seconds ticked away. In the end, the Spaniard could not quite catch Sykes in the damp conditions and Sykes put the Kawasaki on pole at Misano.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Misano:

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1. 66 Tom Skyes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1:55.197
2. 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1:55.373 0.176
3. 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:55.745 0.548
4. 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 1:55.768 0.571
5. 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 1:56.034 0.837
6. 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 1:56.285 1.088
7. 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 1:56.480 1.283
8. 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 1:57.054 1.857
Out After Superpole 2
9. 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 1:57. 374 1.644
10. 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 1:57.454 1.724
11. 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda 1:57.831 2.101
12. 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:58.509 2.779
Out After Superpole 1
13. 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 2:02.235 4.557
14. 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 2:02.440 4.762
15. 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda no time
16. 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team no time
Not qualified for Superpole
17. 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 1:36.728 1.119
18. 15 Matteo Baiocco Barni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C. 1:36.742 1.133
19. 57 Lorenzo Lanzi BMW Motorrad Italia 1:37. 077 1.468
20. 53 Alessandro Polita Barni Ducati Racing Team S.N.C. 1:37.104 1.495
21. 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedericini Kawasaki 1:37.178 1.569
22. 77 Chris Vermeulen Paul Bird Racing Kawasaki 1:37.220 1.611
23. 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedericini Kawasaki 1:37.362 1.753

Source: WSBK; Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0