2009 World Superbike championship, round nine – Donington Park, UK
Carlos Checa and Jonathan Rea continued their familiarisation with new Ohlins suspension at Donington Park today as they prepared for Sunday’s two ninth-round World Superbike championship races.
As Michel Fabrizio took provisional pole position, Checa was ninth fastest today as changeable weather conditions put any extended dry track time at a premium. Once again, times were close, and the Spaniard finished today’s opening qualifying session just three tenths of a second off a provisional front row start.
Fresh from winning the last World Superbike race at Misano in Italy, Rea opened today’s free practice with an awkward crash at the slow Melbourne hairpin. The 22-year-old lost valuable track time and, with rain dominating this afternoon’s qualifying session, could only qualify in provisional 15th place.
9th – Carlos Checa Speaks… (1’31.736s)
"It was not really very good today but, this afternoon, when the track began to dry a little, we made some improvements from this morning. Of course, we are still finding many new areas to improve the Ohlins suspension but we are not quite in a good position for this circuit. We are losing time in the first two sections, where it is quite difficult to hold a line at high speed. It’s also difficult to control the power coming out of the slower corners, where there is not enough rear grip. I believe we can make some more steps forward tomorrow, however, to get closer to a better lap time."
15th – Jonathan Rea Speaks… (1’32.103s)
"It’s been a really tough day, actually. Because of the crash in this morning’s session, we were left with not a lot of track time and we realised pretty quickly that the settings from Misano certainly had not translated well to Donington. Then the second session started wet, which put us back a bit, although it started to dry with 25 minutes left. We made a big change this afternoon which just did not work, so at least we know which way we’re NOT going tomorrow!"
Ronald ten Kate Speaks… (Team Manager)
"We were realistic coming here and, as we are all aware, finding the correct settings for the new suspension will be quite hard for the first couple of races until we have a lot more data. In the wet and intermediate conditions, everything was working quite well but, in the dry, it is quite clear that we still have some way to go. We just hope for a lot more dry track time tomorrow to progress with finding the right setting."
Friday qualifying, results
1 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1’30.775s
2 Leon Haslam (GBR) Honda 1’31.191s
3 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1’31.294s
4 Gregorio Lavilla (ESP) Ducati 1’31.401
9 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’31.736s
13 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1’32.103s