Superpole South Africa
Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland put the hammer down in World Superbike Superpole today, leaving no doubt of the potential of the 2010 Yamaha R1 SBK.
The motorcycle racing teammates took pole position and second on the grid respectively ahead of tomorrow's two World SBK races at the Kyalami circuit.
The ongoing development of the Yamaha Sterilgarda Team, which had been evident from Assen, was clear to see in this afternoon's Superpole heats, with both riders going under the lap record set by Ben Spies last year.
Toseland had been slower than Crutchlow to get on the pace this weekend, but having found the set up that works for him.
Crutchlow's Superpole score makes it his third from six rounds this year. His time of 1'37.243 gives him the current fastest WSBK lap record for the circuit. Full Report
Carlos Checa says: "It's not an easy track but the Ducati works here. Yesterday I started slowly but then, thanks to the work of the team, we found a good set-up for the races. Qualifying is not my strong point but I came very close to the pole. To start from the front row is important, also because we have a good race pace."
Shane Byrne says: "Of course I was very angry when I got off the bike", stated the English rider, "but then once I calmed down I realized that the time recorded was in line with my standards. It will be difficult to start so far back but I hope to have a good result."
Genesio Bevilacqua says: "Qualifying was positive in one respect and negative in another. After Monza we expected results that were more in line with our potential. With Carlos we have found a solid race pace. At Kyalami we will try to obtain good results so as to not lose contact with the leaders. Shane is having a more difficult time but this evening we had a meeting with his technical team to better understand how we can help him to improve."
Cal Crutchlow says: "It's been great to take three Superpoles from six meetings so far this year, I'm really looking forward to the racing tomorrow. Yamaha have been doing a really good job in developing the bike to put us on the front row, it was unfortunate we couldn't deliver more in Monza to repay them but we were unlucky. We've been up there all weekend in qualifying and practices so I think we have a good chance to deliver in the races. It's going to be tough but I'm looking forward to taking the fight to the boys, I reckon there will be five or six up there all looking for the win, I think James is going to be one of them."
James Toseland says: "I'm really happy with that result, especially after this morning's qualifying, I think we were two seconds faster this afternoon. I've got a few people to thank! The Mobile Clinica guys and everyone at Monza hospital for their service last weekend, and all the riders who managed to avoid me going into turn one at the second Monza race. My head was a bit lost yesterday and this morning, which made me head in the wrong direction with the team, but they recalculated and we've come back, two seconds faster so a big thank you to them. I haven't done too many laps in one go here because of my neck, so I'm not sure how it's going to be over 24 laps but when the lights go out I'm going to hang on in there until the end!"
Massimo Meregalli says: "It's been a really good day, I was expecting a good lap from Cal, but knowing James physical condition I wasn't expecting such a big result, I have to say he did a really good job. I know how tough it is on this circuit so congratulations to Cal and James, and also for the team for all the work they've done to get them there. Tomorrow will be a really tough race but here it is very important to start from the front row as it's very difficult to overtake so we have an advantage."
Leon Haslam says: I'm pretty happy with fifth place today and I actually prefer it to fourth because it is a better place from which to attack the first turn. It's an easier run and as long as I get a good start, I'm sure I'll be there or thereabouts. I'm happy because my race pace is good and my lap times on race rubber are good. It's going to be a tough day tomorrow and any one of about six or so riders could win a race. Kyalami is a difficult track to overtake on because there's more or less only one racing line. When you get off that line, to pass somebody for example, it's easy to get on a dirty and bumpy part of the track and make a mistake. The first corner is not very far away and after that there are a series of corners where it would be impossible to pass, so good starts are vital. Tomorrow morning we'll make a few little tweaks to the bike and see if we can improve it further. But, if not, then it's ready to race and so am I."
Sylvain Guintoli says: I am disappointed with my Superpole and but for a small mistake in a final split, I'm sure that I could have got into final Superpole. That would've given me at least a place on the second row, but now I will have to start tomorrow's races from row three. The first corner is quite close and so it's very important that I make two good starts. If I don't, I'm going to be in trouble for sure and it'll be difficult making up ground.
"The good news is that I'm happy with my race set-up and very happy with my race tyres. It's a shame that I didn't qualify better, because I'm sure that it would've made my two races easier. As I said before, this Championship is so competitive and the lap times are so close and if you make the smallest of errors you get punished a lot."
Max Biaggi says: "The second row is where, quite honestly, we could have expected to be. Sure, you take the track to do the maximum, but today this is our situation. One thing for certain is that we don't have any advantages on this track - quite the opposite! This is why starting from the second row isn't so bad. For the race, we'll have to see - it certainly won't be easy. Starting well will be essential, more than in other situations. We still have a few choices to make and one of these has to do with the tyres. The weather conditions will play a fundamental part in that decision: here at Kyalami the temperature influences tyre performance quite a bit and this is a track where grip can vary a lot. We'll have to get everything sorted and then I'll race my race, looking for the best possible result".
Leon Camier says: "We found a good feeling with the soft tyre, decisively better compared to the race pace. I'm happy to have made it into the top eight - I'm not always able to - especially since I've been struggling to find the right pace since the weekend began. My last lap was good and I could have gained a few places, but I made a mistake on the last little turn. For the race we will still have the difficulty of the really disconnected asphalt, so I hope I can get off to a good start and then give it my all, but I know already that I'll have to fight. The warm-up tomorrow morning may help us, but I won't delude myself".
Jakub Smrz says: "We tried to qualify in the front row and we barely missed it. However, after getting out of the track in Superpole 2 , I have to be satisfied with the result. We're very confident for tomorrow, when we hope to finish in the top 6 because we have a very performant bike, on which I set a series of very fast laps today. However, I'll have to work on improving the braking performance in warm up tomorrow. We'll see what the track conditions will be and then we'll choose the type of tyres".
Michel Fabrizio says: "Today's Superpole was not at all easy. I had to really push and at one point I risked finding myself on the ground. I thought I'd finished in second but in the end it was fourth. Anyway, I'm on the front row tomorrow and am confident that I can make two great races. We've been going strong both today and yesterday and I know I have good race pace. Of course the competition is always the same but, from fourth on the grid, I think I can push for the win."
Noriyuki Haga says: "Today I had problems due to a lack of rear grip. In the Superpole, even on the qualifier, I didn't have enough grip to be able to turn the bike and really push. We still have tomorrow morning to work on the bike and we'll do our best to improve."
Troy Corser says: "Today's result is frustrating. On race tyres the bike does not feel too bad. We can be quite consistent with good lap times. As soon as we fit the qualifying tyre, we cannot benefit from the additional grip and I have trouble steering the bike. I have understeer in a lot of places, and in the slow, tight corners the front wheel is closing, especially in the second half of the circuit. I have to be very sensitive with the brakes. Tomorrow's races will be tough. I had good starts in the last couple of races and usually I make up positions just after the start, but here we approach the first corner quickly. There are not many places where you can overtake here."
Ruben Xaus says: "We were not too far away from Superpole 3. Although the bike has improved a lot, I struggle with a closing front wheel in nearly every corner. The rear pushes the front, and the front wheel is just sliding. The bike does not really allow me to brake properly. We somehow need to find a solution for this problem. I would like to thank my mechanics today, they have worked really hard over the course of the weekend as we have been trying out a lot of things."
Davide Tardozzi says: "Today's result is a shame. Both riders are really quick in the first and second split times of the track, but they are struggling in the second half of the circuit. Both Ruben and Troy complained about a closing front wheel and understeer. We will now try to fix this issue and work on tomorrow's set-up. We still believe we can have good races."
Jonathan Rea says: "The bike isn't perfect, but we're certainly not in the worst shape we've ever been the night before the race. Our race pace is pretty good, really, so it's doubly frustrating to be on the third row, because we went well in the other sessions. The problem seems to be that we're not finding the extra grip and speed from qualifiers that the other guys seem to. That's going to make things difficult for tomorrow for sure, and I can't afford a bad start. I'm not nervous or anything - in fact, I'm quite excited and looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow's races. But there's only one direction I can go in."
Max Neukirchner says: "I've been having quite bad chatter in the sessions so far and this is not helped by the bumps here at Kyalami. The problem begins when I let the brake off in the corner, and I am having to wait a long time to get on the throttle. We haven't really been able to move forward since Friday morning, so I guess I cannot expect anything more than the starting position that I've got. We will have to try something new tomorrow morning and then do the best I can in the races and see what happens."
Ronald ten Kate says: "Jonathan's race pace is fast, so it is particularly frustrating that while on the qualifying tyres other seem to find perhaps one-and-a-half to two seconds, we only chip away 0.7. So the third row is disappointing but we're still confident that Jonathan can play a role in the leading group in tomorrow's races. Max continues to look for a solution that wil l allow him to open the throttle earlier in the corners, and we'll keep trying to find that for him tomorrow during warm-up."
World SBK Podium Quotes
1st Cal Crutchlow says: "It didn't look like we were going to be one and two on the grid this weekend. Coming to what was Yamaha's worst track last year results-wise, as a team we have done a fantastic job to get first and second. It will be interesting tomorrow but today is today and we are first and second. If we get away and make a good start then it will make for entertaining racing."
2nd James Toseland says: "I went wide twice in my fast lap, and felt there was a high 1'36 in there. But to go from high 1'39s at the start of the weekend to even thinking about a high 1'36, it just gives great credit to the team. I came out this afternoon thinking, ‘right this championship is still there and I am not prepared to just let it slip away.' To be second on the grid after being 17th this morning means I have to give thanks to everybody from the team and Clinica Mobile."
3rd Carlos Checa says: "Here again we are at track where the bike works quite well. We did the best qualifying job of the year because we did not know the track, but we knew that the Ducati was going to work. Finally it was very exciting in qualifying, one of the closest. I though these guys in front would maybe be in the 1'36s but we all did 1'37.2s. I think we will have exciting racing."
4th Michel Fabrizio says: "I pushed very hard in Superpole and when I did a 37.3 I thought that was it, I would be second, but then I saw I was only fourth. But I have a lot of faith in myself and tomorrow I am going to do well in the races."
World Superbike - Superpole
1 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'37.243
2 52 Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1'37.260
3 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'37.296
4 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'37.368
5 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'37.401
6 96 Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'37.561
7 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'37.613
8 2 Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'38.148
9 99 Scassa L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'37.756
10 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'37.875
11 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'37.953
12 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1'38.206
13 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.210
14 32 Morais S. (RSA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'38.404
15 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1'38.471
World SBK Event Schedule
Sunday May 16th, 2010
09.20-09.40 20' WSBK WARM UP
12.00 WSBK RACE 1 (24 LAPS KM. 102.312)
15.30 WSBK RACE 2 (24 LAPS KM. 102.312)