Imola Superbike: Honda’s Rea Leads Q1

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2011 World Superbike

A week ago, the World Superbike Commission of the FIM sanctioned the use of electronically controlled throttle valves.

Wanting to experience with this, Castrol Honda opted to use “Ride-By-Wire” system for Imola, Round 11 of the 2011 World Superbike Championship.

And so far the experimentation has worked; taking the top time Friday in the first qualifying practice session at Imola was Castol Honda’s Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman posted a 1:48.241, which was just off the 2010 Best Lap set by Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa last season.

To no surprise, though, Checa wasn’t too far behind. The Spaniard, who currently leads the 2011 World Superbike Championship 76 points over Yamaha’s Marco Melandri and doubled at Imola last season, was only 0.159 of a second behind Rea.

Third fastest went to BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam, with the sole-Suzuki on the grid taking the final spot on the provisional front row, Michel Fabrizio on the Alstare GSX-R1000.

Melandri was fifth fastest, followed by last year’s Imola pole-sitter, Kawasaki Racing’s Tom Sykes. Two Ducati’s followed in seventh and eighth – the Team Effenbert-Liberty 1198 piloted by Sylvian Guintoli and the Supersonic 1198 piloted by Maxime Berger.

The 2011 World Superbike grid will be back on Imola’s Dino Ferrari circuit for a second 45-minute qualifying session, followed by a 45-minute practice session and finally Superpole.

2011 Imola World Superbike: Qualifying 1 Results
1. J. Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR) 1’48.241
2. C. Checa (Althea Ducati 1198) 1’48.400
3. L. Haslam (BMW Motorrad S1000RR) 1’48.701
4. M. Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000) 1’48.726
5. M. Melandri (Yamaha YZF-R1) 1’48.844
6. T. Sykes (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1’48.884
7. S. Guintoli (Team Effenbert Ducati 1198) 1’49.003
8. M. Berger (Supersonic Racing Ducati 1198) 1’49.023
9. N. Haga (Pata Racing RSV-R) 1’49.041
10. J. Smrz (Team Effenbert Ducati 1198R) 1’49.072