Checa Fastest In Opening Timed Session
The Superbike World Championship riders were welcomed to Valencia by warm sunshine and a dry track surface, allowing them to make rapid improvements in their race set-ups.
The battle to set the fastest lap in the qualifying session was won by local rider, Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati), in a good session for vee-twin machines. His 1'34.220 was less than one second from the outright best lap, as the Spaniard once more put himself into the reckoning for a top result on Sunday.
It was a great day for the privateers, as Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) was an impressive second fastest, and Checa's team-mate Shane Byrne third. The first non-Ducati was the Aprilia Alitalia machine of Max Biaggi, with points leader Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki) fifth.
The official Ducati Xerox machines of Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga were down in sixth and seventh places today, with Fabrizio falling late on in the timed session. Another Ducati rider, Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Ducati) reminded us all he was a winner here two years ago by going eighth fastest, 0.829 from Checa's best lap.
Top Yamaha rider proved to be Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) ninth fastest, while reigning BSB Champion Leon Camier placed the second Aprilia Alitalia factory bike tenth.
Honda, BMW and Kawasaki riders had some high points today but Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was 13th in qualifying, Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) 14th and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) 19th today. Corser was inside the top four in the first unofficial session of practice, but fell late on in the timed session, losing a chance to make an even better lap.
Carlos Checa: "This bike works well at this type of circuit, especially in the tighter sections in the middle of the lap. I worked this morning on finding a rhythm and working with the soft rear tyres. I have decided which rear tyre to use already, but not the front yet. There is not such a long straight here, so there are possibilities for us. But it is only Friday and I think Biaggi, Haga and Haslam will be in there also."
Jakub Smrz: "I feel quite confident but we are still working to find a set-up for the race. For some laps the bike feels OK. We just need to improve the set-up and my general feeling on the bike. We are not perfect yet. The bike is basically the same as last year but we have a new front fork."
Supersport World Championship
Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki Motocard.com) was unbeatable in the first timed session as he set a 1'36.319 lap, resisting the late charge from his team-mate Joan Lascorz. Fujiwara's opening day fastest lap compares well with the existing best lap, being 0.454 seconds off the 1'35.865 set last year by Cal Crutchlow.
Michele Pirro (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) earned a provisional front row start, third fastest, with Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) also in the top four. David Salom (ParkinGO BE-1 Triumph) was the top three-cylinder rider on show, and the second Spaniard in the top five.
Superstock 1000 FIM Cup
Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) secured the fastest time in the opening qualifying session at Valencia, with a 1'36.952. Next fastest rider, Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) was 0.849 seconds off in second, while Davide Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki) was third fastest, close behind Berger. Loris Baz took his Yamaha MRS R1 to fourth spot on the provisional grid, with one more qualifying session remaining. Pere Tutusaus's Goeleven KTM 1190RC8R, in fifth place, put five different machines in the top five places.
Superstock 600 European Championship
Florian Marino (Ten Kate Race Junior) led the pack in the first day of action at Valencia, running his Honda ahead of Bernardino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha), Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) and Fred Karlsen (MTM Yamaha).