Silverstone (Great Britain), Saturday 30 July 2011 – John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki) rocked the WSBK establishment with the Tissot-Superpole win at Silverstone. The American rider, a regular in BSB this season, took a new track best of 2’04.041 in the last of the three superpole contests.
Hopkins held off the challenge of Irish rider Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike), Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) and championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati). The front row featured machines from four different manufacturers – Suzuki, Yamaha, Aprilia and Ducati.
John Hopkins: “I’m over the moon right now. I know it’s just qualifying and Superpole, but I’m so grateful to be here and racing a wild-card in the World Superbike series, and just to be racing a motorcycle at all because last year I was told by many doctors that I had to retire because of my wrist. A big thanks also to the Samsung Crescent team, they’ve been working their butts off to build an amazing bike. But now the real work starts tomorrow and I’ll be giving it my best!”
Eugene Laverty: “It was a close lap time to Hopkins, in the last session it was pretty much a perfect lap, I thought I had it but John did an even better one and deserved it. I’m happy with the second place, in the race it looks like we can be strong. The four guys in the front row will be strongest so if I can get a good getaway it’ll be a good fight.”
Leon Camier: “It’s pretty good, but I was a little bit less confident in the whole package for the qualifying session and am a bit frustrated about that, but happy to be on the front row, it makes a change for me! Tomorrow’s going to be difficult for sure, for race pace it’s going to be hard with everyone doing a good couple of laps today and then struggling a bit.”
Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert Liberty Ducati) was fifth and Laverty’s team-mate Marco Melandri sixth. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) finished up seventh for a second row start, with Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team Aprilia) eighth after a tough first day. Hometown rider Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was in the leading mix early on but missed out on a second row start by one place. Championship challenger Max Biaggi had his worst qualifying of the year, taking his Aprilia Alitalia machine to eleventh on the grid, having crashed in Superpole 1.
Top British talent Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) missed Superpole after crashing hard and spraining his right ankle, and suffering cuts and bruises. He is ranked sixteenth on the grid as he qualified for Superpole but was not fit to ride. Comeback rider James Toseland ended up fourteenth on his BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) machine.
Tissot-Superpole Times: 1. Hopkins J. (USA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’04.041; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 2’04.068; 3. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’04.303; 4. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2’04.362; 5. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’05.456; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 2’05.639; 7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2’05.997; 8 Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory; 9. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.091; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.115; 11. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2’05.184; 12. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’06.238; 13. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 2’05.400; 14.Toseland J. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 2’05.403; 15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2’05.709; 16. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R; etc.
David Salom of the Spanish Kawasaki Motocard.com team took his second pole position of the year on his ZX-6R machine. The young Spaniard got the better of British charger Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) by three-tenths of a second. The front row of the grid will be completed by the promising French talent Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Brno winner Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda).
Championship leader Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO) could only manage eighth quickest time, right behind two of his closest rivals Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Australian Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com). The best of the Italians are Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T. Yamaha) and erstwhile points leader Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO).
Times: 1. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’08.527; 2. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’08.823; 3. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’08.964; 4. Rea G. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.105; 5. Harms R. (DEN) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.141; 6. Foret F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 2’09.161; 7. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 2’09.345; 8. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’09.405; etc.
Some terrific form in qualifying saw Danilo Petrucci take his fourth Superstock 1000 pole position in a row for the Barni Racing Ducati Team. The youngster from central Italy will head an all-Italian front row, with FIM Cup points leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati), Niccolò Canepa (Lazio MotorSport Ducati) and Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock team) taking the next three slots.
Brno winner Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock team) heads up row 2, with Argentina’s Leandro Denis Marcado putting together a good run to sixth for the Pedercini Kawasaki team. The second row was completed by Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati) and Eddi La Marra (Lorini Honda) in seventh and eighth. Britain’s Danny Buchan (Goeleven Kawasaki) was the first home-bred rider on the grid in 15th place.
Times: 1. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.582; 2. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’08.779; 3. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’09.168; 4. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.215; 5. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 2’09.576; 6. Mercado L. (ARG) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2’10.005; 7. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 2’10.254; 8. La Marra E. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 2’10.268; etc.
Michael van der Mark (Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) soared back to the top of the timesheets with pole position for the European Superstock 600 Championship race which will be held tomorrow instead of in its usual Saturday evening slot. The Dutchman will be flanked by Spain’s Nacho Calero Perez (Orelac Racing Yamaha), Joshua Elliott (WMT Yamaha) from Britain and Frenchman Stéphane Egea (ASPI Yamaha).
Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France), the current points leader, will start from the second row with seventh quickest time, with Aragon winner Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Yamaha) in fifth and Brno winner Dino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) down in tenth.
Times: 1. Vd Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR 2’13.344; 2. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.649; 3. Elliott J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.688; 4. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.702; 5. Metcher J. (AUS) Yamaha YZF R6 2’13.742; 6. Duwelz G. (BEL) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.033; 7. Lanusse R. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.188; 8. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 2’14.216; etc.