PICOTTE SETS EARLY PACE
SHANNONVILLE, ON Pascal Picotte of Granby, QC led the way on the opening day of practice for the final round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championship at Shannonville Motorsport Park Friday.
Riding the Picotte Performance Yamaha YZF-R1, the two-time defending series champion recorded a lap of one minute, 44.655 seconds around the 4.0km (2.5-mile) Shannonville 'Long Track.'
Calgary's Clint McBain was second fastest on his Team Suzuki / Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a time of 1:45.124 with his teammate Kevin Lacombe of Granby third at 1:45.470.
Rock Forest, QC rider Francis Martin, the Parts Canada Superbike Championship points leader had the fourth best time of 1:45.536 aboard the Snobgirls / Laval Moto Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Martin holds a 22-point lead in the Superbike standings, 277-255 over McBain, with Picotte third on 254 points. A maximum of 56 points is available this weekend a race win is worth 50 points, leading the most laps counts for two points and qualifying on pole position nets four.
"We're not as fast as we should be," Picotte said. "There's a little bit left. We need to work on the set-up. The game is to try for pole, lead the most laps and win. It'll be a tough race for sure."
Timed qualifying for the Parts Canada Superbike competitors takes place Saturday afternoon. In addition to the four points for pole position, the second fastest qualifier gets three points, third picks up two and fourth fastest earns one.
"Tomorrow we will try for the top three in qualifying," said Martin, who also won the Canadian Superbike title in 1999. "That will give me a little more room. Not much, but it'll be better than starting from the second row. The goal is to get on the podium. That is the safest way to win the championship."
Sunday's race is scheduled for 14 laps and is set to go at 3:00 p.m.
"I'd be confident to go racing right now," said McBain, who was fastest in the morning practice session. "The bike's working all right. Every session we've been a little quicker."
Jordan Szoke of Brantford, ON is also in the title hunt, lying fourth in the standings with 150 points. He had the fifth best time on Friday of 1:45.748 aboard the Fast Company Honda CBR1000RR.
In other action at SMP, Picotte led practice for the Hindle Exhaust Pro 600 Sport Bike Championship with a time of 1:46.172 on his Yamaha YZF-R6. Lacombe was a distant second at 1:47.182 riding the Blackfoot Suzuki GSX-R600 while Steve Crevier of Maple Ridge, BC, who has clinched the series title, was third with a 1:47.438 on the Diablo Performance Honda CBR600RR.
James Collins of Woodstock, ON edged title rival Mark Douglas for the quickest time in International Motorcycle SUPERSHOW Amateur 600 Sport Bike practice with a lap at 1:51.979. Douglas, from Warkworth, ON, leads Collins in the standings 181-154.
Alain Lefebvre of Rouyn-Noranda, QC paced the Suzuki SV650 National Cup field with a fastest lap of 1:55.864. Points leader Karl Daigle from Roxton Pond, QC was second at 1:56.376.
Friday also saw practice for Sunday's Canadian Thunder season finale. Unofficial timing had points leader Darren James of North Vancouver, BC fastest on his Buell with a lap of 1:55.13. James has 181 points in the standings to the 157 of Ducati rider Derek Vammus and the 149 of Buell's Bill Card.
Action from this weekend's racing will be shown later this year in a one-hour program on The Sports Network.