Italian flavour for opening Brno qualifying Two Italians, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) powered to the top two slots on the opening day of World Superbike qualifying at Brno in the Czech Republic. The multiple ...
Italian flavour for opening Brno qualifying
Two Italians, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) powered to the top two slots on the opening day of World Superbike qualifying at Brno in the Czech Republic. The multiple world champion was the only rider to dip under the two minute mark, when he set the quickest time of 1 minute 59.982 seconds right at the very end of the session. Less than one-tenth behind was Fabrizio, with both riders confirming their exceptional feeling with the Czech circuit. Third place went to another man with considerable experience of the Brno track, Spain's Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), while Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike), who has never seen the place before, was fourth quickest.
Italian colours were also held high by Lorenzo Lanzi, in fifth place for the private DFX Ducati team, while BMW confirmed its recent Imola testing progress as Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus set sixth and eighth quickest time respectively for the German manufacturer. One illustrious top 10 outsider at the moment is the returning Japanese rider Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), the points leader, who was injured at Donington, preferring to ease back into the pace without taking any risks and guarantee himself a position in Superpole. Haga currently lies in 15th.
Kawasaki also showed some progress in the first session, with Broc Parkes placing ninth and Makoto Tamada 17th, but the Japanese rider's fourth quickest time at the end was annulled because he had started his quick lap after the chequered flag had been shown. While some way down the field for the moment can be found Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and home favourite Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) in 13th and 14th place respectively.
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) got right down to business in today's opening free practice session, the championship leader powering to an impressive time of 2 minutes 02.334 seconds around the Brno circuit. Crutchlow's time was nine-tenths quicker than the previous best lap set by Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) twelve months ago. Second behind Crutchlow, but an abyss of almost 1.5 seconds behind, was team-mate Fabien Foret, while third and fourth quickest were Crutchlow's title rivals Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) and Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), two and three tenths further down. Katsuaki Fujiwara this time went better than his team-mate Joan Lascorz with fifth time, with the Spaniard two places further back and behind Stiggy Racing Honda's Anthony West in sixth. Garry McCoy took the ParkinGo Triumph to a positive eighth place, with Gianluca Vizziello (Stiggy racing Honda) and Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) making up the top 10.
The opening Superstock 1000 free practice session was dominated by Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Honda), the young Frenchman however only able to lap half a second slower than his own record set last year. His rivals were all well down, the closest being Davide Giugliano, making his debut with the Celani Suzuki machine, while points leader Xavier Simeon (Ducati Xerox) was in third, a second off Berger's pace. Czech rider Ondrej Jezek (MS Racing Honda) took the final 'virtual' front row slot ahead of Andrea Antonelli (Yamaha Trasimeno). The third title contender Claudio Corti (Alstare Suzuki) was in difficulty, the Italian struggling with handling problems and unable to go any higher than tenth place, over 2" slower than Berger.
Quickest time of the day in the opening free practice session went to Danilo Petrucci (Yamaha Trasimeno). The Italian, the only rider under the 2m08s mark, for the moment has the advantage over his two title rivals, Gino Rea (Ten Kate Honda) in third and Marco Bussolotti (Yamaha Trasimeno) in fifth, respectively three and five tenths behind. Second place went to Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Yamaha) with two more Italians Eddi La Marra in fourth and Nico Morelli (both Honda Lorini) in sixth.