Donington Park (UK), Friday 24 May 2013: In cold, wet and windy conditions, the Ducati Alstare trio, Carlos Checa, Ayrton Badovini and wildcard Niccolò Canepa, took part in today’s first practice and qualifying sessions of the fifth round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship, taking place this weekend at Donington Park.
The weather, as is often the case at the English track, conditioned proceedings in the opening free practice session, and faced with a track temperature of just 2˚C, each of the three riders made only a brief exit on track, simply to assess conditions and test settings in the wet should conditions prove similar for the qualifying sessions.
Conditions were, as expected, much the same for the afternoon’s qualifying session. The times of all riders began to drop in the second half of the session, once the track had started to dry, but after only a few minutes the rain was back, meaning that very few riders had chance to lap with slick tyres on a dry track. At the end of today’s qualifying Canepa was lying twelfth, Checa fifteenth and Badovini sixteenth.
Carlos Checa: “The important thing is that my shoulder hasn’t bothered me today – I know we’ve only completed a few laps at relatively low speeds but that fact it hasn’t been hurting gives me confidence. I’m not 100% of course but today went well considering that this injury has conditioned recent races. Tomorrow, if it’s dry, our work will start again because today we were only really able to make a few laps with the intermediate tyre, just enough to test settings and for me to get back into a rhythm with my bike.”
Ayrton Badovini: “We’ve got very little done today unfortunately – the conditions didn’t allow us to work as we’d hoped to but then we also had a small technical problem. Tomorrow conditions should be dry and so we hope to be able to get a lot done without interruptions.”
Niccolò Canepa: ‘Conditions were extremely difficult today, it was so windy and the track was soaking wet so this morning we were unable to get anything useful done. In the afternoon it was raining at first, then it stopped but when I went out with a slick tyre it came on to rain again almost immediately and I didn’t have chance to complete any dry laps. Today really only allowed us to collate some useful data and now we’re ready to work tomorrow in (hopefully) dry conditions.”
TIMES (Qualifying): 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.2; 2. Rea (Honda) 1’31.5; 3. Melandri (BMW) 1’31.5; 4. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’31.7; 5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’31.9; 6. Camier (Suzuki) 1’31.9; 7. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’32.0; 8. Davies (BMW) 1’32.1… 12. Canepa (Ducati Alstare) 1’33.1… 15. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 1’33.5, 16. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 1’34.1