Moscow (Russia), Saturday 20 July 2013: mixed fortunes for team SBK Ducati Alstare in this afternoon’s eighth Superpole of the World Superbike season at Moscow Raceway. Carlos Checa qualified for tomorrow’s races in sixth position while Ayrton Badovini will line up in fourteenth position on the grid.
Due to a wet track, no rider was able to improve on their times set yesterday during second qualifying this morning. The Ducati Alstare pair nevertheless went out on track in order to be prepared in case tomorrow’s races prove to be similarly wet. Unfortunately, just a few minutes before the end of the session, the rear wheel of Carlos’ 1199 locked up, throwing Carlos to the ground. The team is still looking into the cause of the crash. The Spanish rider took a blow to the head in the fall but after consulting with the doctors at the Clinica Mobile, he was passed fit to participate in the subsequent track sessions, albeit on the ‘new’ bike built from the rolling chassis by his mechanics in just over an hour.
Carlos and Ayrton, fourth and thirteenth in yesterday’s first qualifying session, thus qualified for this afternoon’s Superpole thanks to the times recorded yesterday afternoon in dry conditions.
Superpole 1: both Ducati Alstare riders went out on qualifiers, having made a first exit on race rubber. With the qualifier Carlos was able to record a fast time of 1’35.4 that positioned him third. Ayrton, who struggled to make the most of the qualifying tyre, closed in fourteenth position and will therefore start tomorrow’s races from the fifth row of the grid.
Superpole 2: taking advantage of the second qualifying tyre available to him, Checa once again earned the third position thanks to a flying lap of 1’35.0, his best time of the weekend so far.
Superpole 3: back out on one of the used qualifiers, the Spaniard was nevertheless able to record a best of 1’35.2, thanks to which he closed this final Superpole phase in overall sixth position, thus ensuring himself of a position on the second row of tomorrow’s race grid.
Carlos Checa: “Considering how this morning went, with the crash, I’d say that we did well in Superpole. I felt better and we were able to record some good times. Of course we have a limitation along the straight where we’re losing at least three tenths but in the mixed section I was able to lap fast with the used tyre. My mechanics have done a great job today, providing me with a bike – built from the rolling chassis – that was well balanced and almost identical to my bike of yesterday. It was a pity that I crashed this morning, I hit my head and also my shoulder but in the end it didn’t bother me while riding, I just had a bit of a headache after the session ended. As long as I rest up this evening I’ll be fine for the races. It won’t change a lot for us if it’s wet tomorrow, the race would be more ‘open’ but that would the case for everyone so we’ll see. I feel ready whatever conditions are like tomorrow.”
Ayrton Badovini: “I am not very happy as it was a difficult day. This afternoon I had unexpected chattering problems with the qualifying tyre which prevented me from recording a fast lap. I’m disappointed because this morning I was lapping well in the wet… We have to look at the data carefully this evening but of course we’ll have to make some changes before tomorrow morning’s warm-up, I hope we can find a solution. To tell the truth I wouldn’t mind if it were wet for the races at this point.”
TIMES (Superpole): 1. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’34.6; 2. Davies (BMW) 1’34.8; 3. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’34.9; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’35.0; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1’35.1; 6. Checa (Ducati Alstare) 1’35.2; 7. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’35.2; Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’36.1… 14. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 1’36.2