Imola (Italy), Saturday 31 March 2012 – The best possible starting position was taken by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) for the second round in succession after he set a new track best of 1 minute 46.748 seconds in Superpole 3. This was Sykes’ fourth career Superpole win and the second at Imola, as he took the pre-race prize on the previous model of Ninja ZX-10R here in 2010. Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) was second, after a late charge from Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) was ultimately unsuccessful. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) was fourth and first BMW rider in the final pre-race rankings, while Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) made it to the head of the second row, fifth overall. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) went sixth at his home circuit.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was seventh but suffered a very fast high-side crash, walking away after a heavy impact on the tarmac. The last place on the second row went to Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team).
Some big names missed out on the optimum starting spots on the first two rows, as Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) experienced a technical issue in Superpole 2 that held back his final push and went to 11th on the grid, while early fast man Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) was only one place up on the Irish rider, tenth.
Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team Ducati) made his team proud with a fine ninth at his home race, while a troubled second superpole session saw Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) run off track and then finally crash, finishing 12th on the grid. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) was top Suzuki rider, 15th.
Tom Sykes: “To get two Tissot-Superpole wins on the roll is fantastic. I dug deep after the second Superpole because I knew the times would be fast. On my fastest lap in Superpole 3 I had a lot of feedback from my Kawasaki. A couple of times I arrived past the limit, but the feel was good so I could finish with a good lap. A few of us have very consistent race pace so there will be a big fight over full race distance.”
Sylvain Guintoli: “I am happy with our work this weekend. This circuit for Ducati is fantastic, it is a brilliant track and took me about two years to learn it. I am just getting used to it and enjoying myself here so I think tomorrow will be a good race. There should be a be a big fight and I am going to do my best to take the first victory for the team.”
Carlos Checa: “I feel quite good after practice and third position is positive, considering that Tom did a really good lap time and I could not get that kind of lap. We expect our pace to be much better in the race. We are in a good starting position for the race and I think we have good pace for the race tomorrow.”
Leon Haslam: “It’s been a good weekend so far and we have been making progress with the BMW in the past few weeks. My leg is getting stronger day by day but in the evenings it is a little bit sore. To be fair, on the bike it is not that much of a problem. By Assen, the next race, I think I will be fully fit.”
Times: 1. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’46.748; 2. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’47.221; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’47.423; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.458; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’47.611; 6. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’47.642; 7. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’47.643; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’47.740; 9. Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’48.108; 10. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’48.137; 11. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’48.299; 12. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’48.650; 13. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1’48.267; 14. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’48.382; 15. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’48.415; 16. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.631; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) secured pole at Imola after the final session was halted and restarted with just a few minutes left on the clock. Lowes’ time of 1 minute 51.436 seconds is a new track record in the class. As the final chance came for one fast lap Lowes overhauled long time leader on the time sheets Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini). Morais’ team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu pushed himself to third despite recent left knee and right foot injuries. Fourth was class rookie and Imola novice Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) with Ten Kate Racing Products Honda rider Broc Parkes fifth. Phillip Island podium man Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) took sixth place.
Times: 1. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1’51.436; 2. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’51.901; 3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.028; 4. Cluzel J. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.100; 5. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.167; 6. Foret F. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’52.264; 7. Tamburini R. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.406; 8. Roccoli M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.743; etc.
Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia) will start from pole in Sunday’s Superstock 1000 race after setting the fastest time in the second qualifying session on the brand-new Ducati 1199 Panigale. Lorenzo Baroni (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet STK Team) was originally credited with second but cut the chicane and was docked that lap, promoting Markus Reiterberger (Team alpha Racing BMW) to second, with Baroni now third. The front row line-up has been completed by Baron’s team-mate Sylvain Barrier. The top Kawasaki runner was MRS team rider Loris Baz, fifth.
Times: 1. La Marra E. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1’50.403; 2. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.734; 3. Baroni L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.743; 4. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.819; 5. Baz L. (FRA) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.160; 6. Savadori L. (ITA) Ducati 1199 Panigale 1’51.770; 7. Bussolotti M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’52.056; 8. Massei F. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’52.459; etc.
Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) won the Superstock 600 event by a large margin of 2.534 seconds after 11 laps of front running action at Imola. The series regular was unchallenged at the end, with Nacho Calero Perez (Team Trasimeno Yamaha) second and closing but still well down at the flag. A distant third was EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda rider Michael van der Mark. As this is the first round the points positions are a mirror image of the race positions, with Russo on 25, Calero Perez on 20 and van der Mark on 16. Fourth spot in race and championship went to wildcard rider, Nicola Jr. Morrentino (Elle 2 Promotion Yamaha).
Results: 1. Russo R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 21’04.967; 2. Calero Perez N. (ESP) Yamaha YZF R6 2.534; 3. Van der Mark M. (NED) Honda CBR600RR; 4. Morrentino N. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 10.627; 5. Egea S. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 11.049; 6. Chesaux B. (SUI) Honda CBR600RR 11.219; 7; Morbidelli F. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 19.334; 8. Casalotti S. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 20.789; etc.
Points (after 1 of 10 rounds): 1. Russo 25; 2. Calero Perez 20; 3. Van der Mark 16; Morrentino 13; 5. Egea 11; 6. Chesaux 10; etc.