Phillip Island World SBK: Rea Tops Q1

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2012 Phillip Island World Superbike Friday Results

The World Superbike Championship began its 25th year Friday at Phillip Island with the first Free Practice (FP1) and Qualifying Session (Q1) of 2012.

Under clear skies in Australia, the expected occurred during FP1 when Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa posted a 1:31.973 around the 2.761-mile circuit containing 12 turns.

During FP1, the reigning World SBK Champion was the only rider to post under the 1:32 mark. Trailing behind was another expected name on top, Aprilia Racing Team’s Max Biaggi (1:32.161).

But it was during the first qualifying session of 2012 that brought some surprise, although not from the outset. When the Q1 began, three Ducati 1198 superbikes were on top – Team Effenbert/Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz, WSBK rookie Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) and Checa.

But the surprise arrived during the final laps of the Q1, when Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea posted a blistering lap of 1:31.959, giving him the provisional pole.

During Q1, Rea was the only rider to post under the 1:32 mark. The Ulsterman was joined on the provisional front row by Smrz (1:32.116), Giugliano (1:32.198), who led at one point, and Checa (1:32.228).

Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “The day started quite poorly for us as we used the smaller, less preferred tire at this track and it wasn’t going good. I got a bad rhythm and felt like I wasn’t riding good but in the afternoon we worked on a long run with the harder race tire to see what consistency is like with that.

“Consistency is really good, but the lap time is not so good, so right at the very end of the session we used the softer tire, but still the bigger one, and the lap time was good. So I know my pace is good and the bike’s working well in the conditions, but it’s still a compromise with tires. Tomorrow we’ll do more long runs on both the tires and make our mind up for the race, but the target’s to be on the front row, for sure.”

And just as Rea’s day was spent analyzing tires, so was Checa’s. The Spaniard had a small crash during Q1, but walked away unscathed.

Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1198 Superbike) says: “We’ve worked well today. All went well apart from the incident of course; I lost the rear, maybe because of tire wear, and couldn’t keep hold of it but luckily I didn’t collide with the small wall in front of me!

“I was able to get back to the garage where we sorted the handlebar and changed the tire. I had the chance to try the narrower tire but we saw that the wider tire lasts longer. The tires were the focus of our work today really, identifying the best solution to ensure good race pace. I’m satisfied with what we’ve got done. I’ve always gone well with the Ducati at Phillip Island and so I think we can benefit from this ‘track factor’ come Sunday.”

Heading up the provisional second row is Aprilia Racing’s Max Biaggi, who posted ahead of yet another Ducati rider, Red Devils Roma’s Niccolo Canepa. Seventh and eighth quickest were Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes and Joan Lascorz. Two BMW S1000RR superbikes followed in ninth and 10th – Marco Melandr (BMW Motorrad) and Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia), respectively.

Also having small crashes with Checa were Lascorz, Joshua Brooks (riding for the injured John Hopkins on the Crescent Suzuki, 20th in Q1), and Maxime Berger (Effenbert-Liberty Ducati, 16th in Q1).

Biaggi’s teammate Eugene Laverty suffered a more severe crash, bumping his head hard, but was fit to ride. Also, BMW Motorrad’s Leon Haslam returned to the track after breaking his tibia earlier in the week during the official practice, performing three laps. There’s still no word if he’ll compete in Sunday’s race.

The 25-rider grid will be back on the Phillip Island circuit Saturday for the second qualifying and free practice sessions, followed by Superpole ahead of Sunday’s race.

2012 World Superbike Phillip Island | Qualifying 1 Results:
1. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’31.959
2. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 1’32.116
3. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’32.198
4. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’32.228
5. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.318
6. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 1’32.343
7. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.402
8. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.443
9. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.553
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’32.609
11. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’32.644
12. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’32.817
13. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’32.874
14. Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’32.884
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’33.040
16. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’33.075
17. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’33.128
18. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.136
19. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 1’33.148
20. Joshua Brookes (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’33.477
21. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’33.532
22. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’34.189
23. Mark Aitchison (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’34.239
24. David Johnson (Rossair AEP Racing) BMW S1000 RR 1’34.855
25. Raffaele De Rosa (Team Pro Ride Real Game Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1’34.979