Phillip Island World SBK: Aprilia’s Fabrizio on Provisional Pole
2013 Phillip Island World Superbike FP1 & Q1 Results
When the 2013 World Superbike “unofficially” got underway last week, FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was quickest, breaking the lap record (Max Biaggi, Aprilia 2011) during the private testing at Phillip Island.
The GSX-R1000 rider was once again quickest during day one of the first “official” testing session of 2013 World SBK at Phillip Island, but was beat on day two by 2011 WSBK Champion Carlos Checa (Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale R).
But when the first practice and qualifying sessions wrapped up Friday for the 15-round season opener at Phillip Island, another rider/manufacturer was on top – Red Devils Roma Aprilia’s Michel Fabrizio (RSV4).
The Italian, who has four wins in 161 World SBK starts, was immediately quick during the first free practice session, regardless of windy conditions mixed with high heat. Fabrizio took the top time with a 1:31.218 during the 45-minute session.
During FP1, Pata Honda World Superbike’s Leon Haslam followed 0.5 second back, with Camier in third.
Not as many crashes occurred during FP1 as they did during the first official test sessions held earlier this week, but Checa suffered a huge high side at Turn 5. His teammate, former BMW Motorrad S1000RR pilot Ayrton Badovini, also crashed his Ducati 1199 Panigale R at Swan Corner.
During Qualifying 1 held later in the afternoon, Fabrizio battled intensely for the top time with Aprilia Racing’s Eugene Laverty. But when the 45-minute Q1 session was complete, Fabrizio would be quickest with a 1:31.317 to take the provisional pole, beating Laverty by 0.075 of a second.
In third 0.222 of a second back was BMW GoldBet’s Marco Melandri, who was followed by Camier and the other BMW GoldBet rider Chaz Davies.
Like the first official practice session, the grid was showing much competitiveness in Q1 as the top 13 riders where within a second of each other, and the five manufacturers (Aprilia, Ducati, BMW, Suzuki, Honda) were in the first seven positions..
2013 Phillip Island World Superbike Friday Rider Quotes:
Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 Superbike) says: “We are working very well. Yet I am not fully satisfied because in long distances the tires do not ensure the right grip we are looking for. We are still missing five more laps and if tomorrow we can find the right setting then we will be ready for the races.
“In the afternoon the weather conditions were more difficult than in the morning, because I can feel the changes in wind direction. Also on Monday during the practices a seagull hit my arm it’s still very painful. I can say, however, that I am satisfied and tomorrow we planned to make some small changes that should allow us to improve further. I would like to thank the team which has done a great job.”
Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing RSV4 Superbike) says: “This morning we weren’t extremely fast, but in the afternoon we made some changes on my RSV4 to adapt it to the conditions and we took a big step forward.
“My single lap is good, but the key is to maintain consistency for the entire race. There are a lot of riders who don’t stand out in the single lap but they’ve got an excellent race pace, and we’re also doing well in that department. I don’t have any particular problems and even when I’m lapping fast I’m careful not to wear the tires quickly so that helps me to be consistent.”
Marco Melandri (BMW GoldBet S1000RR Superbike) says: “I’m happy with both of the sessions today. We have made good progress for the race. Our goal was to find a solution to preserve tyres and we have suceeded. The track and the bike have improved a lot and my shoulder is feeling much better. For the first time I was able to ride more than two laps without the pain increasing too much, so now I’m confident for the race. Tomorrow we’ll continue our work. I’m feeling positive and looking forward to the race.”
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike) says: “I never felt quite as comfortable out there today as I did in the tests, the conditions had changed quite a bit – the wind was in a different direction and it was a bit hotter. I struggled to get in one quick lap, but the quickest one that I did achieve I managed to do three or four of them in a row.
“If I could have put together a perfect lap I’m sure I could have been right up there and a good step quicker. All-in-all it’s not too bad, but with the change of conditions again it has altered the way the bike works and feels, so we’ve got to be really understanding of that come race-day. Also for one lap we need to understand exactly what we need to do for the conditions and how to manage it to get a good lap and grid position for Sunday.”
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda CBR1000RR Superbike) says: “It felt really good today and we were just concentrating hard on our race set-up. We got a tire that we did race distance on and the lap times were as good as anybody’s so I’m happy with that. A couple of tires are definitely not the option – they’re just blistering and I think a couple of people are suffering with that.
“I think I was only one of a few riders that didn’t use the soft tire this afternoon so I was quite happy with the lap time, which felt quite easy and comfortable, and I’m happy with the progression we’re making. We’ll spend tomorrow working on tire life and fine-tuning the electronics, which seem to change day-by-day with the weather and the wind. It’s getting stronger each day so I hope it doesn’t change direction tomorrow – otherwise we’ll have to start all over again!
Carlos Checa (Alstare Ducati 1199 Panigale R Superbike) says: “I was looking forward to today and improving the bike after the official tests, but things didn’t turn out how I wanted. This morning, after only seven laps, I crashed exiting Siberia. It was one of the biggest highsides of my career and I think I went up a long way before hitting the track. I was lucky not to break anything but I hurt my left shoulder and my right foot, which is a bit of a problem because I use the rear brake quite a bit. The crash ended the session for me, but fortunately I was able to get out in the afternoon, put in some laps and get a time. Once again, I completed seven laps and ended 12th fastest overall.
“It was a shame because, up until the crash, we had been heading in the right direction with the bike once more. We’d changed the set-up just before the crash, but we’ll have to look at the telemetry before we draw any conclusions. In the afternoon we went back to the original set-up – the one we’d used in testing – to make sure of a decent lap time. I’m sorry for all the work I’ve caused the mechanics, but hopefully I will feel better tomorrow morning and we can get back to improving the bike.”
2013 Phillip Island World Superbike Qualifying 1 Results:
1. Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Aprilia 1m31.317s
2. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aprilia 1m31.392s
3. Marco Melandri (ITA) BMW 1m31.539s
4. Leon Camier (GBR) Suzuki 1m31.608s
5. Chaz Davies (GBR) BMW 1m31.638s
6. Leon Haslam (GBR) Pata Honda 1m31.687s
7. Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki 1m31.754s
8. Davide Giugliano (ITA) Aprilia 1m31.793s
9. Syvain Guintoli (FRA) Aprilia 1m31.863s
10. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Pata Honda 1m31.884s