In the morning, a lap of 1 minute 47.854 seconds from Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) allowed him to top the first World Superbike session of Imola testing on day 2, holding off Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare WSBK) was third but fell, bringing out the red flags to stop the session a few minutes early.
Three British World SBK riders made it into the top four this morning, with Cal Crutchlow fourth on his Sterilgarda Yamaha, while Ruben Xaus hauled his German BMW machine up into a promising fifth place. The final hours of testing get going again at 14.30.
In the afternoon, Crutchlow was in dazzling form in the final session of Superbike testing at Imola, posting the fastest time of 1’47.478 to beat the previous track best from last year’s race.
The English road racer used a race tire to set his best time. The next three World SBK riders who were fastest over the two days of the tests had to rely on earlier lap times to take their places in the final rankings, with Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) second, on a 1’47.854 that he set this morning.
Cal Crutchlow says: “I got through a bit of stuff today. It was a good enough job and we strung quite a few good laps together and did 30-odd laps on one of the new tyres. So all-in-all, not too bad. We will keep going and see what we can do in the next races.”
Cal continued: “I’m happy with result of the test but we’ve got to win the races as well. We’ve tried a lot of different settings here, finally the best are close to how we started at the beginning. Hopefully over the summer break we’ll get some new parts and make more of a difference. We’re going to Brno with good confidence and we’ll take away from this test some good positives.”
James Toseland says: “It’s been a bit of a frustrating test for me. We’ve been concentrating over the two days on trying various different settings to try and maximise the grip on the bike as opposed to focusing on getting the fastest lap time. At the end of it I don’t feel I’ve managed to get closer so I’ve been struggling a bit.”
Massimo Meregalli says: “We tested quite a lot of different things here at Imola, including various areas of electronics, we’ve also looked at the chassis to see what we can do to improve the balance. Both riders also spent some time testing some new tyres that Pirelli bought to the test. Cal finished fastest at the end and put in an impressive performance. James was not as fast so we need to look at our data and see what we can do to improve this.”
Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki) had two big crashes today, the second a collision with his fellow Briton Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati), with Shane cutting his hand and suffering a suspected broken second metacarpal bone.
Haslam was still third fastest overall, but was reliant on his day one best time. Jonathan Rea was faster today than yesterday on his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR, and the last rider with a time inside the 1’47s.
A somewhat rejuvenated Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was fifth, heading off third place rider in the overall championship standings, Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati). Ruben Xaus was fast in the morning session today, going seventh overall in the standings, but stopping early to rest the leg he hurt in a collision with another rider at Misano on Sunday.
Michel Fabrizio says: “We continued with the tire testing today and with one of the new rears I had a particularly good feeling and went half a second faster than yesterday which wasn’t bad. We’ll see how the tires behave when we return for the race but on hot tarmac they have worked well, providing a good level of grip. Now I’ll start to concentrate on the next event at Brno, a track a like very much.”
Noriyuki Haga says: “These two days of testing have gone very well. As usual we’ve tried various settings over the two days and I found a good feeling with the front; it’s only a shame that I had a crash this morning – let’s say that the new front tire solution is not for me. With the new rears on the other hand I was able to get into a good rhythm, with a good pace. We will continue with the work during the September race weekend to see if we can further improve absorption levels, but I can say that I’m satisfied with what we’ve achieved here.”
Genesio Bevilacqua (Checa’s General Manager of Althea Racing) says: “We tried something new that we can use as a back-up plan at the next races. Making the most of these two days, we gave Carlos some (electronic) solutions that he had evaluated. I’m sorry for what happened to Shane but we hope that he is fine in time for Brno. An English rider like him will surely be able to fight back with determination, also considering his results at Brno last year.”
Before his late session fall, Byrne had done enough to secure eighth place, one up on championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia). Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) rounded out a top ten of great variety, with all seven competing manufacturers represented.
Tom Sykes says: “We have done a lot of testing over these two days and that has been really good. We have tested just about everything, made a lot of progress and also seem to have found some consistency on tyres. Overall, a very positive test. Hats off to the whole of the team; they have worked hard and lots of things have been changed on the bike. It has been a busy two days and I will definitely sleep well tonight!”
Chris Vermeulen says: “We have gone through some of the parts that have been introduced through the year and this is the first chance I have been able to do something on the bike, without being under the pressure of race weekend, since my accident. Conditions were pretty extreme so we were trying to get as much good information as we could. Consistently we are a lot closer to the front, so that is very positive. The new tyres that Pirelli brought have been good. We did not run a qualifier at these tests because that is only to get a number on a time sheet.”
Overall World Superbike Test Times
1. 35 Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’47.478
2. 84 Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’47.854
3. 91 Haslam L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’47.966
4. 65 Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’47.990
5. 41 Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’48.096
6. 7 Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’48.147
7. 111 Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.329
8. 67 Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’48.666
9. 3 Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’48.690
10. 66 Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’48.943
11. 52 Toseland J. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’49.031
12. 11 Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’49.079
13. 2 Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’49.186
14. 50 Guintoli S. (FRA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’49.214
15. 76 Neukirchner M. (GER) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.423
16. 23 Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.054
17. 77 Vermeulen C. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’50.074
In the Supersport division, which was scheduled alongside the Superbikes for two days, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was the fastest, with a 1’51.572 lap from this morning.
In yesterday’s session for the Superstock 1000 runners the rankings were headed by Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia STK) who recorded a lap time of 1’52.375.
Supersport and Superstock Test Time
18. 54 Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’51.572 (WSS)
19. 26 Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’51.781 (WSS)
20. 51 Pirro M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’52.244 (WSS)
21. 86 Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’52.375 (STK)
22. 20 Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1’52.876 (STK)
23. 21 Berger M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’53.146 (STK)
24. 87 Zanetti L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’53.616 (STK)
25. 29 Beretta D. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1’53.622 (STK)
26. 6 Baz L. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’54.835 (STK)
From the start of July pre-sales will be getting underway for the Imola round of the Superbike World Championship on September 24-26. For further information, go to ticketone.it