Team Suzuki Press Office – April 26. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki starts tomorrow’s two eni FIM Superbike World Championship races at the Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands from the third row, as rain called time-early on a promising Superpole session.
Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes had shown encouraging pace on-board their Yoshimura-powered GSX-R machines in the opening minutes of the qualifying session; both setting their fastest times of the weekend so far on race rubber.
Unfortunately, the darkening skies were not with the British-based team and the threatening rain descended as both Laverty and Lowes came in for qualifying tyres, with neither rider having the chance to use the fresh-set due to the changing conditions.
Laverty’s time of 1’35.646 was set on his second flying lap, five minutes into the session, while Lowes recorded a 1’35.684 on his first attempt. Both riders had circulated with a steadily, improving pace throughout the weekend and are primed to continue pushing forward for race-day.
The opening laps of Superpole saw a dry and pleasant 20°C at the Assen circuit but despite the late morning sunshine, the clouds thickened as the afternoon developed, resulting in the scattered showers halting proceedings. Kawasaki’s Loris Baz took Superpole with a new Assen ‘best lap’ time of 1’34.357.
With similarly uncertain conditions – and the threat of rain forecast for tomorrow – Voltcom Crescent Suzuki is confident that both Laverty and Lowes have the pace to run a consistent and challenging race strategy. The first wheels will turn in anger at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST) with race two following at 13:10hrs local time (12:10BST).
“It had been a good weekend with the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R until Superpole and then we got caught-out by the weather! When I left on the qualifying tyre the rain started to fall so I wasn’t able to get a lap and it pushed me back to eighth position. I’m not very pleased with the starting position because I always like to be minimum front two rows; it’s going to be hard-work from there but I’ve made my bed so I can sleep in it now and look forward to two strong races!”
“It’s been nice in general to be at a track where I know where I’m going! It’s a shame because we haven’t really made the most of that. We only qualified ninth but the Suzuki GSX-R felt good, I’ve improved; and I did my best lap round here on the race tyres. It was a bit of a strange session, we didn’t get a chance to use the qualifiers and I’m not really happy to be ninth on the grid but it’s the race that counts. Hopefully the weather will be consistent tomorrow which-ever way; and we can have some good races.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“A disappointing result in qualifying today after a strong weekend so far. We didn’t do enough to secure the first two rows with the race tyre run, and unfortunately the rain came as soon as both our guys went out on the qualifiers. We should have made one timed-lap only on the race tyre and then gone straight to the qualifier but, as always, hindsight’s a wonderful tool and right now that doesn’t help us to improve the positions! We will look forward to the races; 21 laps here will be a very different proposition than one qualifying lap and I think we can vastly-improve our grid positions and see both Suzuki’s challenging the top guys tomorrow.”
Assen – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1’34.357: 2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) +0.488: 3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.954: 4. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +0.976: 5. Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1.004. 8. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.289: 9. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +1.327.