Aprilia USA fastest in first ever SunTrust MOTO-ST Series qualifying session Danville, Va. -- The defending SunTrust MOTO-ST Series champions Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports will start on pole position for Sunday's VIR SunTrust MOTO-ST...
Aprilia USA fastest in first ever SunTrust MOTO-ST Series qualifying session
Danville, Va. -- The defending SunTrust MOTO-ST Series champions Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports will start on pole position for Sunday's VIR SunTrust MOTO-ST 500k at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Va.
In the first qualifying session in the series two-year history Ty Howard of Weatherford, Tex. took the No. 1 Aprilia Tuono 1000R around the 3.27-mile VIR track in one minute, 59.443 seconds for an average speed of 98.557 miles per hour.
Howard and teammate Mike Himmelsbach of Quakertown, Penn. won the season opening event at Daytona International Speedway and the No. 1 Aprilia leads the standings in the Buell Motorcycle Company SuperSport Twins (SST) class heading into this weekend's second round of the series.
The No. 8 Bruce Rossmeyers Daytona Racing Buell 1125R of Shawn Higbee and Dan Bilansky will start second in Sunday's race. Higbee, from Oconomonoc, Wis. set a time of 1:59.814 in Saturday's qualifying session.
Third fastest was the No. 75 Touring Sport Ducati 848 of Doug Polen and James Chance III. Camarillo, Calif.'s Polen turned the bike's fastest lap at 2:00.820.
The No. 1 Aprilia was also fastest in Saturday's one-hour practice session with a time of 2:01.020, although Howard said the team had a rough time.
"Pretty much the whole deal was a disaster," he said. "I think I got in three flying laps. Something was wrong with the gearing and that took up a lot of time. Then we had some trouble with the clutch and just before we went out for qualifying a tire warmer got hung up in the brake disc."
The 20-minute qualifying session was held immediately after practice.
"I got hung up in traffic a few times," Howard said of his qualifying laps. "But the bike was running good."
A red flag early in the qualifying session upset the No. 8 Buell team's plans to run both Higbee and Bilansky on the 1125R, and it was left to Higbee to put in the qualifying laps for the team.
"The Buell is running good and we've got a good set-up for the race," Higbee said. "I gave up a couple of laps when I was running close behind one of the Aprilias. I didn't want to show him anything and I didn't want to get into a battle with him, so I just hung back a bit."
The No. 75 Ducati finished second at Daytona's season opener with Polen teamed with Peter Friedland, although for this race Friedland is riding the Touring Sport team's entry in the BMW GrandSport Twins (GST) class while Chance joins Polen.
"The bike is consistent and feels decent," said Polen, a former World Endurance champion. "As long as we're starting near the front, that's all that matters."
Fourth quickest at VIR was the No. 6 Aprilia USA/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Zac Chapman and Henry Wiles, which set a time of 2:01.282.
Rounding out the top five starters for Sunday's race will be the No. 25 Team Hooters Aprilia Tuono 1000R of Mike Luke, Andy Deatherage and Benny Carlson, which turned a lap at 2:03.582.
Seventh fastest overall and fastest in the Sport Twins (ST) division was the No. 86 SpeedWerks.com Suzuki SV650 of Danville, Va.'s Brian Kcraget and Ben Walters of Chesterfield, Va., which set a time of 2:05.285.
Second in ST was the No. 67 M4 Avteq Racing Suzuki ridden by Dustin Dominguez and Kyle Martin with a time of 2:06.236 and third fastest was the team's No. 66 entry shared between Dane Westby and Ryan O'Donnell with a time of 2:06.950.
The No. 20 Wagner Motorsports Racing Ducati PS1000LE of Boston rider Gus Holcomb and Mark Reynolds from Woodstock, Conn. led the way among the GST qualifiers with a time of 2:06.420.
Second fastest was the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducati PS1000LE of Frank Shockley, Friedland and Brad Phillips, whose time of 2:08.258 just edged the No. 7 Richie Morris Racing Buell XB12R of Clint Brotz and Mike Smith, which set a time of 2:08.326.
The VIR SunTrust MOTO-ST 500k gets the green flag at 9:15 a.m. Sunday. The race is scheduled for 96 laps or two and a half hours.