Out of five rounds (10 races) in the 2010 World Superbike season, Ducati only garnered one win at Valencia, Noriyuki Haga taking the checkered flag on his 1098R.
But if things remain steady for Ducati as they did during the first day of on-track action at Kyalami for Round 6, that statistic just might change.
Posting the fastest lap in Free Practice 1, and then taking the provisional pole was Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio.
The Italian had a best lap of 1:38.477 on the 2.64-mile circuit near Johannesburg, South Africa, a time that already under his own lap record pace from 2009.
Michel Fabrizio says: "We made a good start today. We started from last year’s set-up but then made a variety of changes to both the front and rear of my bike. I have a good feeling and didn’t have any particular problems today. The only thing we need to work on is tire wear as I did a mini long-run today with the new tire that’s available to us but after nine laps the grip was already dropping off."
Impressively, all seven manufacturers currently competing in WSBK were represented in the top-11 places, all within 0.859 seconds of each other, with five different makes in the top five.
Second quickest was Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow, who piloted his R1 to a 1:38.529.
Cal Crutchlow says "I think today went ok, I’m pretty pleased to be honest. I should have been fastest but I got held up on my last hot lap. I think it’s going to be difficult in race conditions; tire wear is a big issue as the track is very abrasive. Overall second fastest isn’t too bad on the first day, we’ll go away now and will look at more improvements for tomorrow with the team."
Arriving in third was HANNspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea. The team spent most of the day dialing in the CBR1000RR, but Rea’s performance didn’t get up to speed until fresh rubber was installed towards the end of his hour-long session at Kyalami.
Jonathan Rea says "We did a lot of work on old tires today to set the bike up for the bumps and its demands for grip. We definitely found a good base to start with tomorrow morning and when we put new tires in at the end all that hard work made sense. So, it’s been a good and satisfying first day here without any major drama. We’ll look a little more at the front of the bike tomorrow and try to get it to deal with the bumps even better, but everything feels pretty good so far."
Rounding out the top five were BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Troy Corser and Team Suzuki Alstare’s Leon Haslam, respectively.
WSBK Kyalami Qualifying, First Session (Friday, May 14):
1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1198, 1’38.477 (155,220 km/h)
2. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1, 1’38.529
3. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR 1000 RR, 1’38.687
4. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S 1000 RR, 1’38.896
5. Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R 1000, 1’38.951
6. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1198, 1’38.954
7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1198, 1’39.027
8. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory, 1’39.094
9. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1198, 1’39.281
10. Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1198, 1’39.288
11. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10 R, 1’39.336
12. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory, 1’39.336
13. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1198, 1’39.630
14. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR, 1’39.462
15. Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1, 1’39.656
16. Morais S. (RSA) Aprilia RSV4 1000 Factory, 1’39.798
17. Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX R 1000, 1’39.894
18. Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR 1000 RR, 1’40.024
19. Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10 R, 1’40.646
20. Hayden R. (USA) Kawaski ZX 10 R, 1’41.054
21. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10 R, 1’41.216
22. Baiocco M. (ITA) Kawsaki ZX 10 R, 1’42.172
According to a WSBK Press Release…
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) secured the top spot in the opening qualifying session with a 1’41.363 lap, before a red flag came out to halt proceedings with almost four minutes left to run. He carried on in the lead after the session had been completed but Matthieu Lagrive (ParkinGO Triumph BE1) used the last minutes to improve to second, just in front of Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Kenan’s team-mate Michele Pirro.
Championship leader Joan Lascorz was fifth fastest on his Motocard.com Kawasaki. The best-placed local wildcard was Ronan Quarmby (Bike Fin Safe Sky Honda), eighth.
WSS Kyalami Qualifying, First Session (Friday, May 14):
1. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR 600 RR, 1’41.363 (150,801 km/h)
2. Lagrive M. (FRA) Triumph 675 Daytona, 1’41.418
3. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR 600 RR, 1’41.613
4. Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR 600 RR, 1’41.872
5. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX- 6R, 1’42.834
6. Salom D. (ESP) Triumph 675 Daytona, 1’42.545
7. Fujiwara K. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1’42.569
8. Quarmby R. (RSA) Honda CBR 600 RR, 1’42.644
9. Isaacs L. (RSA) Honda CBR 600 RR, 1’42.743
10. Harms R. (DEN) 1’42.791