Team Suzuki Press Office – June 20. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes secured a top-six position at the Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’ in Italy today after the opening two free practice sessions of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship.
Lowes set his fastest time of 1’36.689 on his 16th lap, after two red flag’s had delayed the afternoon’s second free practice session by almost half-an-hour. The British racer remained in the top-10 for the duration of the day’s two 45 minutes on track after initially completing set-up work with his Yoshimura-powered machine on used tyres. Improvements mid-way through the final session saw him advancing to hold fourth in the closing five minutes before dropping to sixth as the times improved.
Eugene Laverty continued his consistent lap times throughout the afternoon stint after finishing the morning’s track action in seventh; and having also spent the entire session working-on used tyres. Laverty secured ninth-place overall with a time of 1’37.149 and with less than a second separating the top 11 riders the Irishman is confident of his long-term race-pace aboard the Suzuki GSX-R1000, but is looking to further improve in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying sessions.
Blue skies and 30°C temperatures welcomed the championship back to the Adriatic circuit after a year’s break. Two red flag’s caused by technical issues to the Team Hero EBR machine of Aaron Yates and the MV Agusta of Michael Savary delayed the end of the afternoon’s second session – the final 10-minutes getting underway at 16:31hrs local time – with Ducati’s Davide Giugliano taking the fastest lap in the day’s combined times.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will continue to work on improvements to Lowes and Laverty’s GSX-Rs ahead of Saturday’s final timed free practice session commencing at 09:45hrs local time (08:45BST) with the first Superpole scheduled for 15:00hrs local time (14:00BST).
“I really like the Misano track; it’s a lot of fun. We completed some work on old tyres which felt ok and then made some steps forward towards the end of this afternoon’s session. We have some work still to do tonight to make some improvements for the end of the lap, but I feel good. Now I need to work hard in the final practice tomorrow to make sure we are in a position to challenge for podiums on Sunday!”
“The position is not where we want to be. Race-pace we are good but we are still lacking the ability to push for one hard lap, we can’t use the grip of the tyre; and it’s something we still need to work on. For the second-half of the race I’m confident but it’s for the first half – and for Superpole tomorrow – that we need to put-in some more work.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It’s been a good first day’s work for the team and it’s a pleasure to be back in Misano on the Adriatic Coast. The GSX-R is working well at this track and the lap-times are ferociously close amongst the top-10 riders, so it is going to be a question of maximising every-single aspect of the performance that we possibly can overnight and making sure the riders can use the full potential of the bike.
“Alex took a big-step forward towards the end of this afternoon’s session and is right on the pace with the fastest guys. Eugene, as always, showed great consistency, particularly when the tyres had taken a drop, so there are a lot of positives; but at the same time a lot of work to do to improve the level for tomorrow.”
Misano – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Free Practice combined times: 1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’36.370: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.127: 3. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) +0.130: 4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.266: 5. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) +0.291: 6. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.328. 9. Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +0.779.