Portimao (Portugal), Saturday 8 June 2013: the sixth Superpole of the 2013 World Superbike season proved to be an encouraging one for Team SBK Ducati Alstare today at Portimao; during today’s sessions and subsequent Superpole Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini further improved on yesterday’s performance to qualify for tomorrow’s races in seventh and tenth position respectively.
Second qualifying took place under cloudy skies on a much cooler track (20˚C) than yesterday. The track conditions allowed almost all of the SBK riders, Checa and Badovini included, to improve on times set yesterday already in the opening phase. Towards the end of the session Badovini recorded a fast lap of 1’43.9 while Checa closed with a best time of 1’44.1. The Ducati Alstare pair thus qualified for the afternoon’s Superpole in eleventh (Ayrton) and twelfth (Carlos) position.
Superpole 1: on race rubber Checa was able to record a 1’43.7 while Badovini stopped the clock at 1’44.1. Both riders returned to the track on the first of two available qualifying tyres. With that tyre each rider improved on his time by roughly a second which meant that Checa closed the first phase in impressive third position (1’42.6), just two tenths of a second from Cluzel, first, while Badovini finished twelfth (1’43.0), with only four tenths of a second separating him from his team-mate.
Superpole 2: the session was suspended with a red flag as soon as it started to rain, before being restarted a few minutes later as a ‘wet’ Superpole. Unfortunately Ayrton had already gone out on his second qualifying tyre so was left without a new qualifier for this restarted second phase. During the 20 minutes available, Checa, using the second qualifying tyre, was able to improve even further on his earlier time to record a flying lap of 1’42.4. Badovini repeated the performance seen in phase one, completing a fast lap in 1’43.0. Thanks to this afternoon’s result Checa will start seventh on tomorrow’s race grid, Badovini tenth.
Carlos Checa: “In the end we went quite well today. Conditions were a little unstable during Superpole and we didn’t benefit from that but we were able to improve, and I think I deserve the seventh position I’ve obtained today. We’ve worked well up until now and should have good race pace. We’ll see tomorrow because it will depend on my shoulder too, and how it behaves during the races. I’m feeling tired now after Superpole but my shoulder hasn’t really troubled me during today’s sessions so that’s a good sign. We’ve made a small step forward here, both in terms of my physical condition and technically-speaking. Tomorrow I hope to be able to keep up the pace and close in on those ahead.”
Ayrton Badovini: “I’d say that we’ve completed our best Superpole of the season so far. We were unlucky in the second phase because I’d already gone out on the second qualifier just before they gave the red flag. We could have done slightly better but I don’t think it went too badly, considering that I did my best lap on a qualifier that had already done five laps. We still need to understand how to improve through the last two corners where I’m having some trouble but I hope we can find some kind of solution in tomorrow’s warm-up. I’m feeling fairly confident ahead of tomorrow’s races.”
TIMES (Superpole): 1. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’41.3; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’41.3; 3. Rea (Honda) 1’41.7; 4. Melandri (BMW) 1’42.1; 5. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’42.2; 6. Baz (Kawasaki) 1’42.3; 7. Checa (Ducati Alstare ) 1’42.4; 8. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’42.6; 9. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’43.0; 10. Badovini (Ducati Alstare ) 1’43.0