Fabrizio on a roll in Donington qualifying Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) confirmed himself to be one of the quickest men currently around as he powered his 1098 round the 4.023 km circuit in a time of 1 minute 30.775 seconds in Donington's ...
Fabrizio on a roll in Donington qualifying
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) confirmed himself to be one of the quickest men currently around as he powered his 1098 round the 4.023 km circuit in a time of 1 minute 30.775 seconds in Donington's first qualifying session. Lapping just four-tenths of a second off the record held by Troy Bayliss, the Italian was the only rider to dip under the 1'31" mark on a dry track after the initial rain showers. Next up, but four-tenths behind, was the first of the numerous British riders in the 31-strong field, Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda), followed by Texan rookie Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike), a fraction slower. The final provisional front row grid slot went to the surprising Gregorio Lavilla (Guandalini Ducati), who knows Donington well after several seasons in BSB.
Fifth quickest time went to one of the race favourites, Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati), who also had a harmless crash in the session. Excluding Fabrizio, the top 17 riders are all separated by one second. So far points leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) has failed to shine and he could only manage tenth, three places ahead of Max Biaggi with the first of the Aprilia RSV4 machines. It was a difficult day for the Misano race 2 winner Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), the Northern Ireland youngster ending up with a sore back after crashing in free practice and setting 15th quickest time. The two BMWs, once again showing encouraging signs in the wet conditions, found the dry pace more difficult and Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser could only finish 17th and 20th respectively. The latest arrival in World Superbike, Blake Young (Alstare Suzuki) was 28th on his debut, while John Hopkins (Stiggy Racing Honda) set a positive time despite still not being fully fit
Points leader Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) got his Donington weekend off to a terrific start with the quickest time of the day of 1 minute 33.323 seconds, knocking half-a-second off the previous record set in 2007 by Katsuaki Fuijiwara. Crutchlow was also the victim of a crash in the early stages but after a quick check at the medical centre Cal resumed his record-breaking pace. The second slot went to the talented youngster Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Provec) from Spain, three-tenths behind. Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), Crutchlow's chief rival in the title fight, was another couple of tenths behind, with Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) in fourth place. 2007 champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was fifth, but his team-mate Andrew Pitt could only manage 12th while fellow Aussie Garry McCoy took the ParkinGo Be1 Racing Triumph to an encouraging eighth place.
The first free practice session again saw a battle for supremacy between the top three in the championship, quickest time of 1 minute 34.653 seconds going to points leader Xavier Simeon (Ducati Xerox), the only man to dip under 1'35". The Belgian looked particularly impressive as he reeled off a string of laps at that pace and he looks to be favourite for the win this weekend. Second went to Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Honda), who dominated last week's race at Misano, but who was half a second behind. Third place went to Claudio Corti (Alstare Suzuki), who was one tenth slower than his French rival. The Italian was quick at the start of the session, but proved to be less effective on used tyres. Davide Giugliano (MV Agusta) made it four different manufacturers in the top 4 with fourth place, while Spain's Javier Fores added another one to the list with fifth quickest time for Kawasaki Pedercini.
Three Yamahas took the top three places in the opening European Superstock 600 free practice session, with quickest time going to Belgium's Vincent Lonbois (MTM), who put almost three-tenths between himself and the dominator of the championship Danilo Petrucci (Trasimeno). Third place went to Frenchman Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS), ahead of home rider Gino Rea (Ten Kate Honda). Petrucci's Trasimeno team-mate Marco Bussolotti did not take part in the first day of practice as he had to undergo school exams back in Italy, but he will be present for qualifying tomorrow.