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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Demanding Superpole for Voltcome Crescent Suzuki


Team Suzuki Press Office – May 9. Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes secured a fourth-row start for Sunday’s Italian World Superbike races at the Imola circuit after a demanding Superpole saw him place 11th this afternoon.

The early progress shown with his Yoshimura-powered Superbike as the weekend began had buoyed the British rider. However, the complexity of the new system combined with the legendary technical track and the rising Italian temperatures created obstacles as the second day of action developed. Qualifying directly into Superpole 2 after the morning’s final timed free practice session, Lowes’ best lap of 1’48.730 on the qualifying rubber this afternoon sees him line-up in the middle of the fourth row for tomorrow’s contests.

Randy de Puniet continued his development with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 by improving on his weekend’s best as his familiarity with the Imola circuit progressed after his 16-year absence. The Frenchman, still battling with underlying engine brake issues, set a 1’50.378 in the opening Superpole session, placing him 17th on Sunday’s grid.

The jubilant crowd watched as returning ‘Roman’ Davide Giugliano secured pole position for Ducati’s home race – after his pre-season accident had seen him sit out the opening four weekends – with the Kawasaki pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea rounding out the front row.

Tomorrow’s main event will see Lowes and de Puniet take to the grid at 10:30hrs local time (09:30BST) and 13:10hrs (12:10BST) respectively for the two 19 lap races around the iconic Imola circuit.

Alex Lowes:

“We came in to the weekend thinking we had broken the back of the development work, but disappointingly it seems that it has not translated to the Imola Circuit. We have suffered with big inconsistencies in the engine braking strategy and as a result the bike was tough to ride today, as Imola is a really technical track with lots of critical braking areas. It is frustrating as I know we have the potential to challenge but we will continue to work hard, step-by-step and come out fighting as always on Sunday.”

Randy de Puniet:

“Another difficult day for me as we are struggling to find the solution I need with the GSX-R’s new electronics. The team is working hard to resolve the problem and we will continue to focus on this overnight, push hard and see what we can achieve in the races tomorrow. Imola is also a new track for me and this doesn’t help, but we need some steps tomorrow to be more confident.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“There is no hiding from the facts and today’s qualifying result, combined with the continued struggle to find the right solutions with the Marelli ECU and new hardware, is of course very disappointing.

“The base yesterday was better than today, but the team has now hopefully uncovered a problem which has been masking the required setting changes. There is also a greater sense of frustration, as the development work completed since Assen appeared to be very successful. The lack of performance at this track means that we have to revisit every area of that work and effectively start again. However, there is no chance of us ‘giving up’ and we will keep working to achieve our goals.”

Imola – eni FIM Superbike World Championship – Superpole: 1. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1’46.382: 2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.084: 3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) +0.121: 4. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +0.290: 5. Leon Haslam (Aprilia) +0.472. 11. Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) +2.348. 17. Randy de Puniet (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) – SP1.

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