2011 World Superbike
Last weekend at Imola, Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea became the first World Superbike rider to utilize a "Ride-By-Wire" electronic throttle system, which was sanctioned for use by the FIM prior to that race.
Rea took the race-1 win at Imola, but suffered a DNF in race 2 due to a loose connection on the CBR1000RR’s battery.
It was evident that the Castrol Honda team had found something with the race-1 win, and Rea continued that momentum at Magny-Cours, France, Saturday. The Northern Irishman took the pole with a 1:37.490, his second of his career, the first being last season at Assen.
Besides taking the pole at Magny-Cours, Round 12 of 13 in the 2011 World Superbike Championship, Rea’s time also became the new fastest lap around the 2.74-mile French circuit.
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR World Superbike) says: "It was a strong lap but we’ve had a good base for most of the weekend and we knew we had to make an extra step to make Sunday more comfortable.
"The guys gave me a great bike in free practice this afternoon and transformed some things with the balance of the bike, which gave me more confidence to push. So I kind of expected to be somewhere near the front but I didn’t expect the lap time to be that fast.
"We had a good Superpole 1 and that freed us up with the qualifiers for Superpole 2 and 3, so everything worked out perfectly. The big step we made in free practice means I can be quite consistent on my preferred race tire, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow now. The team did a great job today, so I’d like to thank everyone."
Trailing Rea by 0.110 of a second was Yamaha Superbike’s Eugene Laverty at a track that’s significant to the Brit.
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike R1) says: "This was the first place I tested the R1 last year and was strong immediately so I was really looking forward to coming back here again. Its always nice to go back to a track you know well and have had good results before, it helps gain confidence.
"I was hoping to get the pole position but Rea just beat me to it so Ill be aiming for that in Portimao, it would be nice to get a Tissot watch before the end of the year. Id like to get another race win, its been a while since Monza, but Id be happy with rostrums as the last time I was up there was in Silverstone so Ill be aiming for two solid finishes on Sunday." "
Taking the final front-row positions were Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa and Alitalia Aprilia’s Leon Camier. With his 96-point lead over Yamaha’s Marco Melandri, Checa only needs to garner three points this weekend to clinch his first-ever World Superbike title.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198R Superbike) says: "We thought that we’d be able to fight for a position on the front row and we managed to do that today. We had a few problems between the first and second Superpole phases but my technicians worked extremely hard to resolve these and we took a great result in the end.
"We made a big step forward at Imola in terms of points but we’ve come here to work as we do each work, giving it our all in each session and each race. There’s a great atmosphere in the garage but my team is as professional as ever. We are enjoying the moment of course but tomorrow we will do everything that we normally do, as well as we can. There should be good weather and lots of fans and so I want to enjoy myself and make two great races – it will surely be an unforgetable day."
Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) was the top French competitor in fifth, one place up on Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike). The second row was completed by Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike).
2011 Magny-Cours World Superbike: Superpole Results
1. J. Rea (Honda) 1’37.490
2. E. Laverty (Yamaha) 1’37.600
3. C. Checa (Ducati) 1’37.932
4. L. Camier (Aprilia) 1’38.006
5. S. Guintoli (Ducati) 1’38.094
6. T. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’38.094
7. L. Haslam (BMW) 1’38.382
8. M. Melandri (Yamaha) 1’38.562
9. N. Haga (Aprilia) 1’38.137
10. J. Lascorz (Kawasaki) 1’38.204