Silverstone (Great Britain), Friday 29 July 2011 – Two Ducati bikes slotted in at the top of the timesheets following Friday’s first qualifying at the new-look Silverstone circuit. On a track that is more suitable on paper to four-cylinder power, points leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) led the way with a time of 2 minutes 05.477 seconds, four-tenths quicker than the surprise of the day, the young Frenchman Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team Ducati).
The pace on the first day was fast under overcast skies, with Checa’s time on race tyres close to lap record pace (set in race conditions) only 0.218 seconds from the Cal Crutchlow’s official 2010 time of 2 minutes 05.259 seconds. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) was the first Brit on the provisional grid, taking third place ahead of Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team).
After going quickest in the morning free practice session, the provisional second row was headed by American wild-card rider John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki), followed by a similar Suzuki GSX-R1000 machine, the Alstare version piloted by Michel Fabrizio. Hopkins has some WSBK racing experience and his wildcard pace gave evidence that he should be a factor at this recently revamped circuit.
Fast privateer Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) was a strong seventh, with the top Yamaha World Superbike rider proving to be Eugene Laverty, eighth fastest. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) is currently down in ninth, a normal position for the Italian after Friday seeing as he prefers to focus on set-up work. The top ten was rounded out by local hero Leon Haslam, the fastest BMW rider on show so far.
James Toseland (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK) went 12th in his comeback ride, one place ahead of his team-mate Ayrton Badovini, while Troy Corser, Haslam’s team-mate, was 18th in his comeback ride.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2’05.477; 2. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’05.870; 3. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’05.899; 4. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’05.937; 5. Hopkins J. (USA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’05.974; 6. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’06.023; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2’06.029; 8. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 2’06.037; 9. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’06.044; 10. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’06.116; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’06.176; 12. Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’06.316; 13. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’06.647; 14. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 2’06.697; 15. Lowes A. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 2’06.740; 16. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’06.752; etc.
Gino Rea (Step Racing Honda) followed up his Brno race win with quickest time and provisional pole in the first qualifying session for World Supersport. Rea set a time of 2 minutes 09.362 seconds to finish a couple of tenths ahead of Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda). Italian Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) was back up at the front in this first day of action, another couple of tenths behind.
There were two more Honda machines in the next two places, the Hannspree Ten Kate version of Frenchman Fabien Foret ahead of the Harms Benjan CBR600RR of Denmark’s Robbin Harms. Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha) and another Brit, James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) took sixth and seventh.
Times: 1. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.362; 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.590; 3. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’09.804; 4. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’10.004; 5. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 2’10.414; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’10.789; 7. Ellison J. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’10.951; 8. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’10.972; etc.
Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati) continued his impressive form in Superstock 1000 qualifying, setting the quickest time of 2 minutes 08.730 seconds. The Italian, who has been on pole in the last three races, was ahead of two of his compatriots, points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) and Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK Team).
Brno winner Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK Team) was the first non-Italian in fourth place, ahead of Niccolò Canepa (Lazio Motorsport Ducati), Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) and Andrea Antonelli (Lorini Honda). The international calibre of Superstock 1000 racing continued with Argentinean Leandro Denis Mercado (Pedercini Kawasaki), South African Sheridan Morais (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) and Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Yamaha Racing France) rounding out the top 10.
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.730; 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’09.060; 3. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.497; 4. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.576; 5. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’10.108; 6. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’10.572; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2’10.785; 8. Mercado L. (ARG) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’11.089; etc.
Joshua Elliott (WMT Yamaha) set the provisional pole in Friday’s first Superstock 600 qualifying session with a time of 2 minutes 13.688 seconds. The British rider was a full half-a-second quicker than the rapidly emerging Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha), who confirmed his positive early morning form. Russo was ahead of the American Joshua Day (Revolution Racedays Kawasaki), Assen winner Michael VD Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team) from the Netherlands and Spain’s Nacho Calero Perez (Orelac Yamaha).
Three other winners this year are slightly down the field; Aragon victor Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team) in eighth, one place ahead of points leader Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) and Brno conqueror Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) one place further back.
Times: 1. Elliott J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.688; 2. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.216; 3. Day J. (USA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’14.496; 4. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 2’14.760; 5. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.944; 6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 2’15.059; 7. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’15.424; 8. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 2’15.491; etc.