Imola Superbike: Friday Rider Quotes

World SBK Quotes

Althea Racing Ducati rider Carlos Checa topped the Friday practice time sheets at the penultimate round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship in Imola, Italy.

The 37-year-old Spaniard was 0.085 of a second quicker than Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR rider Jonathan Rea. Third quickest was Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000 rider Leon Haslam, who posted a 1:48.621.

Eight riders were within a second of Checa’s 1:48.178 lap time, including Rea, Haslam, Noriyuki Haga (Ducati), Michel Fabrizio (Ducati), Shane Byrne (Ducati), Cal Cruthlow (Yamaha), Troy Corser (BMW) and Tom Sykes, Kawasaki.

Here’s what the riders were saying after Friday’s sessions in Imola for Round 12 of the World Superbike Championship:

Carlos Checa says: “We worked really well today. We’re already ahead with renard to set-up and every time I go out on track I feel more at ease. At the last round we made an impression and I’m feeling confident here too. We have good pace and a good feeling through the corners so I think that we can be really competitive on Sunday. Weather permitting that is…”

Shane Bryne says: “I’m happy. We’ve tried a lot of things ahead of the race and have got some good results. This afternoon we concentrated on making a fast time but I was also working on pace and I’m very satisfied. The team has worked really hard and I’m feeling fit. I’m ready to do well.”

Cal Crutchlow says: “It wasn’t too bad today, my ideal time was second position, and I got held up on my fast laps at the end of the session which didn’t help. It’s going to be a bit of a gamble over the weekend with tire choices, when we tested here back in July we were 1.4 seconds quicker than we are now and that was with a hotter track temperature. Now the same tire isn’t working as well with the cooler conditions so we’ll have to look at other ways. It looks like the Ducatis’ have an advantage in these conditions so we’ll have to see what we can come up with overnight. Overall I know we can be faster so we’ll see tomorrow.”

James Toseland says: “Not the greatest day today, we had a few issues to resolve this morning so I missed some of the practice before I could get going. This afternoon wasn’t so bad, the times weren’t too far off but we’ve got some work to do to get up to pace. The weather didn’t help; it just started to rain at the end when I had a new tyre so I couldn’t get a good lap in. We’ll have a good think this evening and come back in the morning.”

Jonathan Rea says: “Free practice was OK this morning but we still had some work to do on engine braking. We’re running as open as we can but we need some engine braking in some areas, so it’s a bit of a compromise. This afternoon, I went out on old tires from this morning’s session and did a lot of work to find a set up that works when the tires are nearly finished. When we put some new tires in on that set up, it worked with the grip. The main thing for today was to get into a rhythm, so Peter (Breddels – engineer) sat me down, kind of got me by the scruff of the neck and sent me out. And it kind of worked! So, now I’ve got the rhythm, we know what tires are working – we’ve been through all the options and I think we have two to work on for the race – we’ll do some long runs tomorrow and see which is working better after 21 laps. Then we’ll be good to go.”

Max Neukirchner says: “The track felt very heavy today and was a little difficult like Nurburgring, but we made some improvements today between the two sessions. The biggest problem we have is with the corner exit where we need to find some more grip. I was in P12 near the end of the session but I had some electronics problems and then it started to rain when we put some fresh tires in and I found it hard to concentrate then.”

“We started this morning with one bike from Nurburgring and one from the July test here. Most of the bike is like Nurburgring with some parts from the test, and we have quite a good direction I think. I also have some ideas to try in the morning, but it is forecasting rain for tomorrow and Sunday.”

Max Biaggi says: “Today was a more difficult Friday than usual. This is a new track and, in spite of the good results from last year, we have always had to work hard to find the right solution. Even after having done some tests here a few months ago, I’m still not completely comfortable and I’m not able to ride smoothly. If you add to that the progress that our adversaries have made, today’s times are easily explained.”

“There’s nothing to be alarmed about – we simply need to work well as we always do and give our best. Nothing has been handed to us this season, much less now that the championship title is on the line. Unfortunately the weather doesn’t seem to be helping either as we would have needed to do a lot of testing in stable conditions. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed.”

Noriyuki Haga says: “Even though I don’t have exactly the level of feeling that I had during the tests, I must say that I’m satisfied. The conditions, the track temperature for example, are very different compared to how they were in the summer of course and unfortunately the tyres might not be the best ones for today’s conditions but, if we manage to improve rear feeling, we’ll be able to make two great races on Sunday I think.”

Michel Fabrizio says: “We’ve started well, after the initial technical problem that is! We have been making good progress this afternoon and I’ve feeling quite confident. They say it will be wet tomorrow which will complicate things of course but for now I’ve not got any problems really, though I hope I can improve further tomorrow, weather permitting.”

Troy Corser says: “The day was not too bad. We are still working on improving the stability of the bike and its performance under braking. The engine feels strong and fast, but a little bit unstable on the exit of the corners. My lap times were not too bad, but at the moment I feel like I am making the bike do the time rather than the bike letting me do it. But I am sure we can solve this. The track’s grip was also a little bit down, so this also makes the bike more difficult to ride. All in all we made some improvements today. As it could rain tomorrow, it was important to get a good lap time in, so we are sure to be in the Superpole qualifying. I was able to push and do the time, so I am reasonably happy.”

Ruben Xaus says: “This morning my feeling on the bike was not too bad. In the afternoon we made some changes to it, and I had no grip at all, which meant I had no traction. Because of this it was quite difficult to do a proper lap time. Now we shall try to find a solution for this. The basis is not too bad, and I hope we can make the next step tomorrow to allow me to ride in the low 1:48s. But, of course, this depends on the weather.”

Leon Haslam says: “In the morning session my knee felt really bad and the whole session was a bit of a struggle, even though I had some strapping on it. So for the afternoon qualifying, we made the strapping much stronger and I had some pain-killing injections before I went out. I definitely felt a bit more comfortable and was able to put in some decent laps. My thumb is a bit irritable, but I forget about when I am on the bike and it’s OK as long as it doesn’t move in a certain direction!”

“Today the track didn’t feel as good or as quick as the tests and it is a bit more slippery. Hopefully, as more rubber goes down, it will improve. This afternoon, my lap times were quite comfortable and I really didn’t have any big problems. Obviously my main competition is Max and I have to beat him in both races if I want to keep my title dream alive. I’ve heard that he’s not so good in the wet, so maybe it would be better for me if it did rain on Sunday. But, the weather is something I cannot do anything about so I will be doing my best, whatever the conditions.”

Sylvain Guintoli says: “For me, for a Friday, today wasn’t so bad. We’ve made some good progress even though it has taken me a bit of time getting back into a rhythm. At the moment we’ve been working on getting a good balance for the bike on race tires and I am happy because I think we’ve more-or-less decided what tyres we’ll use in the races on Sunday. Of course, if it rains we’re all going to suffer, but I really don’t want a wet race. The track felt a bit greasy this morning, but it was better in the afternoon. I am determined to do my best this weekend – as usual – and feel that I am very close to that elusive podium. I have four chances left and my aim is to make them count.”

Akub Smrz says: “We set a fast time pretty easily and so we decided to focus on the race. Hopefully we will score the results we could have scored in the past rounds.
I believe I can get a good starting position at the end of Superpole tomorrow, if the weather condition will allow it. In the last lap I was improving my time and I wasn’t really going for it, but Fabrizio slipped in front of me and I had to get up again.”

Matteo Baiocco says: “I’m not satisfied with my today qualifying result because I know I can do somewhat better. This afternoon I was not able to reach one the first twenty positions that’s an attainable results. I think we still have a bit of work to do to find the best bike balance, but we are not that far from obtaining the best motorcycle setting that will help me lower my best lap time by more than two seconds.”

Roger Lee Hayden says: “This morning I spent most of the time to understand the track that’s not so easy to learn and with a lot of bumps. This afternoon we change something on the bike trying to improve my best lap time. We worked a lot on the rear suspension because of the bumps. In the last minutes of the qualifying I pushed very hard to enter the provisional Superpole. I’m happy with my nineteenth position also because we have a good base to improve for tomorrow’s qualifying session.”


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