Giugliano grabs emotional Superpole at Imola
Sykes and Rea complete the front row ahead of Davies and Haslam.
Today’s Tissot-Superpole qualifying sessions at the 4.9km Imola circuit was scintillating, with Davide Giugliano (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) securing the 4th Pole Position of his WorldSBK career, the 166th for Ducati in the series, thanks to a 1.46.382s lap time and despite a near crash at “Variante Bassa” while changing direction. For Giugliano today’s result marked an emotional return to the series following his injury at the official pre-season test in Australia last February.
The Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea will join the Italian rider on the front row of the grid tomorrow in what are shaping up to be two very unpredictable races as the top-5 on the grid are separated by a mere 0.472s.
Row two will comprise Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team), Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), despite a small crash in the session and the second Aprilia RSV4 RF machine of Jordi Torres.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) heads the third row with his so far best ever qualifying performance in the series, he will be joined by Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), while David Salom (Team Pedercini), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will start from row 4.
Camier was unable to take part in the final Pole Position shootout after suffering a technical problem in the closing minutes of the opening Superpole session.
Michel Fabrizio, his Althea Racing team mate Matteo Baiocco, reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) complete the top 15 riders on the grid ahead of tomorrow’s two 19-lap races.
Davide Giugliano #34 - Aruba.it Racing - Ducati SBK
Tissot-Superpole – 1st
“I knew that I could put in a fast lap – that’s one of my strengths. We can only be pleased with this result and I think it’s a nice reward not only for myself but also for the team, the sponsors and all my fans. Tomorrow will be more difficult; I believe that we’re in a good place as far as set-up is concerned, and we’ve already chosen the tyres, but I’m not physically fit and think I’ll struggle a bit in the races. Anyway, that said, never say never, maybe adrenalin will help me! For now I’ll celebrate the Superpole with my team.”
Tom Sykes #66 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Tissot-Superpole - 2nd
“I was relatively happy with my Superpole lap but it was a shame to miss out on the pole position. Pole does not give me 25 points, however. For me our main target was the front row and it was really nice to see Davide Giugliano come back from such a potentially serious injury to take Superpole. Marcel, my crew chief, has been cracking the whip again this weekend trying to get information for us to use on raceday. It has been so unusual for us to drop our pace after 12 laps or so in the previous two events. That is something we are not used to so it is something we have worked on this weekend.”
Jonathan Rea #65 - Kawasaki Racing Team
Tissot-Superpole – 3rd
“My best Superpole lap was good but not perfect. To qualify on the outside of row one is a little bit of a handicap as you almost start on a corner. The Ninja ZX-10R has been giving me some good starts recently, so I hope I can make a clean getaway and settle into my pace. Hopefully I can stay in the 1’47s in the races, but there are some other strong guys in there as well. It will be a tough 19-laps in each race and the temperatures are high. I think in the afternoon, when the temperature is hotter, our bike works a bit better.”
WorldSBK Imola - Tissot-Superpole
1 - Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team 1'46.382
2 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.084
3 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.121
Rea tops timesheets on opening day at Imola
Rea celebrates his 150th WorldSBK race with another win