World SBK Practice #1
Round 4 of the WSBK motorcycle racing action saw the provisional pole position go to Jakub Smrz at Assen. The rider of PATA B&G Racing was the fastest in the first qualifying practice on the newly configured racing circuit. He was followed by Jonathan Rea, Troy Corser and Leon Haslam who make up the provisional front row.
The prestigious result was obtained despite the fact that Smrz was working exclusively on the road race, for which he is preparing in order to score an important result. It was on this very track that Jakub took his first career podium in World Superbikes.
A crash at over 200 kmph stopped Lorenzo Baroni, who had done very well in practice this morning to set the fourth fastest time. The Italian had to retire after only eight laps due to the crash, fortunately without consequences.
Top 3 World Superbike Quotes
1. Jakub Smrz says: "I have a very good feeling with this track and every time I come back it is very satisfying to ride here. I like the new section but I do not have the gearing correct yet for that part, so there is more to come. I am ready for the rest of the weekend and I hope I will be battling for the top positions, especially at this track."
2. Jonathan Rea says: "We did a nice race run this morning and also went through a few tyres to find the best choices for the race, and I think we will try the best combination of front and rear tomorrow. I am really enjoying riding and in a rhythm now. I do not have to ride on the edge to achieve a lap time. We have more grip on the rear after our test here and we still managed to keep a good front end feeling."
3. Troy Corser says:"The team has done a great job and the traction control is working very well. The bike feels very connected. Both throttle and engine braking systems have given me a good feeling and our engine is pushing strongly. From first to fifth gear the acceleration is really hard. Overall, the bike is a good package now. Unfortunately, someone crashed in the last chicane when I was on my flying lap at the end of qualifying, and I lost another chance to go faster."
Additional World Superbike Quotes
Jonathan Rea says: "It’s been a positive Friday, really – maybe one of the best I’ve had in Superbikes. We’ve already found a good race pace and I was able to go four tenths quicker this afternoon than I did in the morning, when I found it quite easy to go fast. We already did a race run this morning, doing 24 laps on the rear, and then I was happy with the front that we used this afternoon. It’ll be even better when I use the right tyre combination. It’s still only Friday, of course, and because we tested last week, the others have probably got a bit more to find than I have. But we’re not playing catch up this weekend and we mustn’t go to sleep tomorrow. I’m really enjoying riding the bike and feel like I’m in the zone."
Max Neukirchner says: "I’m actually quite happy that we made a good step forward today. I went faster than at the test here last week and was able to find a second from this morning to this afternoon. The biggest thing we’ve been able to find is more stability with the bike and this has improved its turning. All this helps me to adapt my riding style as well, so it’s all helping. I hope to improve in all these areas some more tomorrow and keep making up some positions like I was able to today."
Troy Corser says: "The team really did a good job. The traction control is working very effectively and the bike feels very connected. Both throttle and engine braking feel good to me. The engine is pushing strongly – from first to fifth gear the acceleration is really good. Overall, the bike is now a good package. The modifications at "Ruskenhoek" make the section really fast. It might be somewhere else where you can actually pass. Unfortunately, another rider crashed in the last chicane when I was on my flying lap at the end of Qualifying. I saw yellow flags and oil flags and just took it easy through the corners. There was a lot better time possible. However, we are quite consistent on race tyres. I am quite confident for the weekend."
Ruben Xaus says: "The bike is incredible in the fast corner, and the stability is just amazing. However, I am struggling in the slow corners. I am really losing time in these stop-and-go sections. We made some good steps forward towards the end of Qualifying. Still, something is missing, and we have to find the last tenths of a second. When the session was re-started after Jonathan Rea’s technical problem I had traffic and was not able to improve my lap time."
Michel Fabrizio says: "We’ve improved throughout the day but there’s still more work to do tomorrow. I expected better results but tomorrow we’ll more further changes to improve the overall set-up of my bike and I hope this will allow me to drop the times. Rea is going strong, and he’s not the only one; it will be challenging this weekend."
Noriyuki Haga says: "I’m still trying to understand how best to tackle the new corner, I don’t especially like that point of the track and I’m losing precious tenths in the second split. We have however improved somewhat during the day and I know we can perform better tomorrow, I just need more time on the track but I’m feeling confident."
Cal Crutchlow says: "It’s been a good day speed-wise, I felt quite comfortable keeping the pace I had. We had two stupid crashes, both when I lost the front end. I was using my usual tyre for the first one, I hit a bump and crashed, on the second one I used the new harder front tyre but didn’t have any feeling in it, I came into the last chicane maybe 6km slower than usual and just crashed for some unknown reason. Still, as I said I’m happy with the pace so looking forward to tomorrow and seeing if we can improve and achieve something good in the Superpole session."
James Toseland says: "We’ve been trying a few things with the geometry to see if we can improve the front feel and the rear feel. Over the last three rounds we’ve either got the one or the other so we’re trying to find a better balance using head angles and offsets. On one bike I had a setting very similar to what we used in Valencia, and the other bike had something completely different, I’ve been jumping between the two, and towards the end of the session I think we were getting there. My best lap time of the session was on the harder rear tyre which is generally not the quick tyre which is encouraging. I’m pleased with what we’ve done today, we’ve got through a lot and we’ve got some good ideas for tomorrow. There’s a lot more time in me and the bike to come.
Jakub Smrz says: "We did a great job and the result is a consequence of our hard work. I always look forward to returning to this track, I feel great on it and I really have a lot of fun when I race here. The change that has been made this year will require us to make some modications as well because we seem to have some issues but we have all the time we need to do that tomorrow. I need to be in top form for the race in order to battle for the top slots and so I have to replicate today’s performance".
Lorenzo Baroni says: "I lost control of the bike in the fastest corner (over 200 km/h) and I literally flew over and crashed. Fortunately I didn’t get hurt, but the bike was smashed and I couldn’t continue. I hope to redeem myself tomorrow, I was doing pretty well and I’m confident I can get a good result".
Top Ten: World Superbike Friday
1. 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’36.041
2. 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’36.339
3. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’36.489
4. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’36.618
5. 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’36.752
6. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’36.805
7. 2 Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1000 F. 1’37.064
8. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’37.081
9. 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’37.165
10. 52 Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’37.166