The two Ducati Alstare flag-bearers therefore qualified easily for this afternoon’s Superpole.
Assen (The Netherlands): After a hard-fought Superpole, Carlos Checa qualified in eighth position with Badovini ready to line up in eleventh place for tomorrow’s races.
Carlos closed with a best time of 1’37.8, positioning himself sixth, while Ayrton, having resolved a small issue in the first part of the session, finished twelfth with a fastest time of 1’38.4. The two Ducati Alstare flag-bearers therefore qualified easily for this afternoon’s Superpole.
Times continued to drop in the final free practice session, with Carlos able to take another eight tenths off his morning’s best time. Ayrton too was making some improvement but a highside at turn 11 put a premature end to his session – fortunately he was not seriously hurt and was able to participate in the Superpole.
Superpole 1: both riders made a first exit on race rubber and Carlos’ first lap was sufficient to see him through to the next phase. Ayrton meanwhile decided to return to the track with his first qualifying tyre and thanks to two fast laps he was able to finish tenth, thus also progressing to the next stage.
Superpole 2: in the second phase Ayrton, having difficulty using the clutch due to a swollen and blistered left hand, went out on the second qualifier but was unable to push as he wanted to, closing his Superpole in eleventh position today, thanks to a best lap of 1’36.9.
Carlos took advantage of the first qualifier in this stage, recording a very fast lap of 1’36.1 that projected him into third position.
Superpole 3: Carlos went out on his second qualifier but had to return to the garage to make a small change to the suspension. Unfortunately the performance of the tyre had already dropped after making a first lap and so he was unable to make the fast lap that he needed. Checa will line up from the third row of tomorrow’s grid in eighth position.
Carlos Checa: ‘In the third phase I missed a gear in an important and fast point of the track. I tried to make a second fast lap but I wasn’t able to improve with that qualifier. Maybe my position should have been fourth or fifth today but it’s ok anyway. We have to understand which direction to take in order to secure two strong results tomorrow.
Today was our first day in the dry with a bike that’s never been ridden here before and so I don't think it's gone badly considering. We’re concentrating on tomorrow, although it’s impossible to predict how the races will go. No-one’s really done a lot of consecutive laps today and so pace is something of a question mark. We’ll see which group we’re with during the races and do all we can to fight.’
Ayrton Badovini: ‘Unfortunately I hurt my fingers in the crash during practice. I hoped it wouldn’t be a problem in the Superpole but I had a glove that was really rubbing against my hand and making the problem worse. I was also riding a bike built from the rolling chassis of course, so it was a rush for my team to get it ready in time, they worked so hard today.
I lapped quite well with the qualifying tyre and if it hadn’t been for the physical problem I think I could have done much better in the second phase of the Superpole. Anyway the work completed today gives me confidence for tomorrow’s races – I’ll do my best from the fourth row.’