The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team experienced a Saturday with mixed emotions at Dutch “TT Circuit Assen”. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) finished the Superpole qualifying session, for the third round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship, in seventh place.
In comparison to the rain yesterday, the weather had improved with dry conditions, however the temperatures were still low.
Both Marco and Chaz opted for race tyres on their BMW S 1000 RRs for their first outing in Superpole 1. Marco was fifth fastest with his first flying lap, his time was good enough for him to qualify for Superpole 2. Chaz was already struggling in Superpole 1 and was eighth fastest.
He tried to improve his time with a second outing but directly returned to the pits reporting that the issues had worsened. He dropped back to 13th meaning his Superpole qualifying was over.
In Superpole 2, Marco opted for the qualifying tyre and only had to complete one flying lap to comfortably progress to the last and deciding session. In Superpole 3, Marco used his second qualifying tyre.
He was sitting in sixth position, putting him on the second row until the last seconds of the session but then dropped one position. Therefore he will start from seventh place on the third row on the grid.
Assen also hosts the second round of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team’s Sylvain Barrier (FRA), who won the season opener two weeks ago at “Motorland Aragón”, qualified third on the grid on his new BMW HP4. His team-mate Greg Gildenhuys (RSA) finished in eighth.
Marco Melandri: - Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.043 min (P7) / Fastest lap FP: 1:37.712 min (P11) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:36.330 min (P7): “It was not a straight forward day. In the beginning, I was not happy but then before Superpole, we made an important step modifying the weight distribution so the bike improved. I think we are heading in the right direction and tomorrow we just need to make another little step.
In the race, I need a good start to close the gap to the front runners; I want to be with them immediately. In Assen, overtaking is not easy. So I prefer to be in seventh position, instead of the sixth because that means I can approach the first corner from the outside and have a better view of what the other riders do. Overall, I am quite confident for the race tomorrow now.”
Chaz Davies - Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:38.150 min (P8) / Fastest lap FP: 1:36.864 min (P3) / Fastest lap Superpole 1: 1:37.865 min (P13): “The free practice went well. We made a step forward with the bike so I was a little bit happier and we were continuing to make progress.
But then unfortunately, in Superpole as soon as I left the pits I could feel that something wasn’t quite right. I tried to do one quick lap but in the end it was not good enough to get me through to Superpole 2. I am not sure what the problem was, the guys are looking into it now.
Obviously I am very disappointed because it is not easy to pass at Assen and it is going to be two very difficult races tomorrow. Starting so far back with my rivals in the front two rows, it is easy to lose some time in the first few laps so we need to make progress in the early part of the race. I think tomorrow we just have to try and get as many points as possible.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “It was day of mixed fortunes. Marco experienced some difficulties this morning but in the afternoon before Superpole, we moved in a new direction which seems to be the right one. Marco was quite satisfied with his RR in Superpole and he is confident for tomorrow’s races.
Chaz was really happy with his lap times in the morning and could have done a good Superpole. But unfortunately a technical issue meant that he could not finish the session. Anyway, we can be confident for tomorrow and we expect that both riders can have two good races.
In the Superstock class, Sylvain will start from third place on the grid, but he has a good race pace so he will fight for the victory. We are also confident that Greg can score a strong result starting from eighth.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Today we finally got a dry track even if the temperature was still quite low. We started from our base to work on setting up the bikes for these conditions. Both riders improved their performance step by step and their feeling with the RR.
Chaz made a big step from qualifying practice to the second free practice and showed a good performance on the race tyre, riding the third fastest time of the session.
Unfortunately he could not continue this performance during the Superpole due to an issue that has to be investigated and we are very sorry for this. But we are confident that this will give him even more motivation to catch up in the race tomorrow.
Marco as well improved even if his feeling was still not perfect during the second free practice. The bike did not give him enough confidence to push. But the last change done before Superpole has improved his feeling and we are confident that he has found the right way. He has proven the potential during the Superpole with the race tyre as well as with the qualifying tyre.
He will start from the third row but we believe that he will have the right package to fight with the top guys. The race will be tough, as usual in Assen, and we will take a few steps during the night in order to offer the best possible package to our riders.”
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team