Imola SBK: Ducati’s Smrz Leads Friday

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2012 World Superbike Championship

The second round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship got underway Friday at Imola, a track that typically caters to Ducati.

How much does it cater to Ducati? Out of the 17 races held at the 4.396-mile circuit since 2001, Ducati won 11.

So it’s no surprise that a Ducati 1198 finished Friday’s sessions on the provisional pole, although it may not be the most famed Ducati rider in 2012 World Superbike. Taking the provisional pole was Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati’s Jakub Smrz.

At the very end of Imola qualifying 1 (Q1), the Czech posted a 1:48.146, just enough to edge out the Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R of Joan Lascorz. The Spaniard posted a 1:48.176, and was trailed 0.070 of a second back by teammate Tom Sykes.

Fourth on the provisional grid was Aprilia Racing Team’s Max Biaggi, a home favorite, who was followed by Honda World Superbike’s Jonathan Rea. As for the reigning World Superbike Champion, Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa was seventh fastest, 0.229 of a second behind Smrz.

The American John Hopkins had his debut qualifying session aboard the Crescent Suzuki GSX-R 1000 at Imola Friday. Hopkins, who missed the season opener at Phillip Island due to a hand injury that required surgery, was 18th fastest Friday following a best lap of 1:49.790.

All together, though, the times were very impressive following Friday’s Q1 at Imola. The top 10 riders were covered by only 0.410 of a second, and the top 15 by 0.813 of a second.

The 25-rider grid will return to the Imola circuit Saturday morning for the second qualifying and practice sessions ahead of Superpole.

2012 Imola World Superbike: Qualifying 1 Results:

1. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1198R 1’48.146
2. Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’48.176
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’48.246
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’48.247
5. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’48.321
6. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.328
7. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1198R 1’48.375
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1198R 1’48.555
9. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’48.555
10. Leon Camier (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’48.556
11. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 1’48.728
12. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.741
13. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1198R 1’48.762
14. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 1’48.773
15. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’48.959
16. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1198R 1’49.343
17. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1198R 1’49.617
18. John Hopkins (Crescent Fixi Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1’49.790
19. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.031
20. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’50.085
21. Mark Aitchison (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.810
22. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 1’51.511
23. Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1’51.645
24. Brett McCormick (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1198R 1’51.703
25. Lorenzo Alfonsi (Team Pro Ride Real Game Honda) Honda CBR1000RR 1’52.993