Donington Park (UK), Saturday 28th June: today was once again conditioned by the British weather and unfortunately the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio had to complete the final phase of today’s Superpole under a light rain. For tomorrow races the two Ducati men, on board their Ducati 1198s, will line up on the grid next to each other in fifth (Fabrizio) and sixth (Haga) position.
Although the Superbike riders woke up to another grey and cloudy day, the weather fortunately did not impede them in the morning’s first qualifying session and all of the strongest players were able to improve on yesterday’s lap times. Michel Fabrizio, the only rider to duck under 1m31 yesterday, continued to progress today and closed the session at the top of the timesheets, three tenths of a second faster than the best time he recorded in first qualifying. Today’s forty-five minute session also proved to be more positive for Haga who, after the problems experienced yesterday, got back on the right road this morning and, mid-session, put in a few very fast laps to record in the process the second fastest time, just two tenths off team-mate Fabrizio’s pace.
In the afternoon the first two mini-Superpole sessions took place in the dry and both Noriyuki and Michel passed from the first to the second and then to the final phase without difficulty. Michel recorded a new lap record in the second phase, lapping in 1m29.6s. Of the eight riders remaining in the third and final session, those who exited the pits immediately gained a small advantage as the rain then began, preventing the Ducati Xerox riders from pushing without taking risks. The technicians declared themselves satisfied with the performance of Haga and Fabrizio today; the riders will line up in fifth (Michel) and sixth (Noriyuki) place on the grid tomorrow, alongside Byrne on Team Sterilgarda’s 1198 in third place, and Czech rider Smrz on the Ducati of Team Guandalini eighth.
5th – Michel Fabrizio Speaks… (1m30.7s)
"It was a pity it started to rain right at that moment, in the last part of the Superpole, but I did my best and starting from the second row shouldn’t be too much of a problem. For tomorrow I’d say that we’re sorted with regard to the race tyre and as far as the qualifiers we used today are concerned it didn’t go badly. I wanted to get under 1m30 and in the second Superpole I managed that, breaking the lap record in the process. Tomorrow we have to see what the weather will do, and then based on the track temperature, we’ll decide which rear tyre we’ll use to try and get back on the podium again."
8th – Noriyuki Haga Speaks… (1m31.0s)
"We found a good solution today for the setting of my 1198 and I considerably improved my lap times. We just need to decide on the race tyre. The choice comes down to which rear, because there are two quite similar solutions, but we need to wait and see and decide tomorrow based on the track temperature. I just hope that track conditions tomorrow are not damp but either totally dry or totally wet. In the final Superpole this afternoon I could have pushed harder but to tell the truth I didn’t want to risk a crash; some of the guys made some fast laps but I preferred not to take risks and so will start tomorrow in sixth."
World Superbike Superpole Times
1. Spies (Yamaha) 1m29.8s; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1m30.0s; 3. Byrne (Ducati) 1m30.5s; 4. Nakano (Aprilia) 1m30.6s; 5. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1m30.7s; 6. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1m31.0s; 7. Checa (Honda) 1m31.3s; 8. Smrz (Ducati) 1m34.7s