Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took his sixth Tissot-Superpole win of the season on his Ducati at Imola, heading off Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) with a new track best of 1 minute 47.196 seconds. Rea came within a tenth of Checa in the final session, with Aprilia rider Noriyuki Haga (PATA Racing Team) third and fastest man from combined qualifying, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) fourth, and the last rider on the front row.
Carlos Checa: “Jonathan has been very strong all weekend and we knew it was going to be hard to beat him. Basically we’ve been struggling with the qualifying tyres, and in the end we put on the race tyre and improved. I did a really good clean lap with no mistake, and when I saw the time, I was pretty sure that no one was going to beat it.”
Jonathan Rea: “It’s been such a big journey to get here on my side with my family, the physio and the doctors, and on the team’s side because they’ve worked so hard with the new ride-by-wire system and Cosworth are helping us a lot so I can’t thank everyone enough for their belief in me. I think we can be really competitive tomorrow but at this point I’m really looking forward to 2012!”
Noriyuki Haga: “I’m really happy for this position, especially because I made a little mistake in the second exit of Superpole, but finally I got third position with a race tyre and the front row and I’m feeling good.”
Eugene Laverty (Yamaha World Superbike Team) was fifth, Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) sixth, Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team) seventh and Sylvain Guintoli (Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati) in eighth place.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team), Checa’s championship rival, exited in Superpole 2, and he now starts from ninth place on the grid, at the head of the third row. Behind Marco is a bunch of potential top finishers come raceday, with Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) tenth, and perennial hard trier Michel Fabrizio Suzuki Alstare) 11th. Maxime Berger (Supersonic Ducati) is the final rider on row three, on his privateer machine.
The riders who exited Superpole in the first of three sessions were Jakub Smrz (Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati), Federico Sandi (Althea Racing Ducati), Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Alessandro Polita (Barni racing Ducati). In all 22 riders qualified, with 21 of them within 1.869 seconds of each other.
Times: 1. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'47.196; 2. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'47.274; 3. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.442; 4. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'47.468; 5. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.929; 6. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.081; 7. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.234; 8. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.416; 9. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R1 1'47.781; 10. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'47.858; 11. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'48.126; 12. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'48.334; 13. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'48.741; 14. Sandi F. (ITA) Ducati 1098R; 1'48.812; 15. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1'48.89; 16. Polita A. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'49.091; etc.
Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) held off the challenge of Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO) to take pole at Imola, earning his second top starting position of the season. Parkes also set a new track best of 1 minute 51.592 seconds on his way to pole, in a session twice interrupted by red flag incidents. Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was in sparkling form and went third, one place up on Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO). David Salom, Parkes’ team-mate, was fifth with Yamaha rider Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service RT) sixth. Massimo Roccoli (Kawasaki Lorenzini by Leoni) and Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) completed the second row.
Times: 1. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'51.594; 2. Scassa L. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'51.669; 3. Marino F. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'51.737; 4. Davies C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6; 1'51.852; 5. Salom D. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.120; 6. Tamburini R. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1'52.140; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'52.353; 8. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'52.543; etc.
FIM Cup leader Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Ducati) set the quickest time in Superstock 1000 qualifying, putting almost four-tenths of a second between himself and his chief rival Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Team Ducati). Alongside the two Italians in third can be found Frenchman Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia STK), who crashed towards the end of the session, while the front row will be completed by Lorenzo Baroni (Althea Racing Ducati). Lorenzo Zanetti (BMW Motorrad Italia STK), currently lying second in the FIM Cup 23 points behind Giugliano, set the fifth quickest time, followed by Niccolò Canepa (Lazio Motosport Ducati).
Times: 1. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.016; 2. Petrucci D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.402; 3. Barrier S. (FRA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.588; 4. Baroni L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.768; 5. Zanetti L. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'50.794; 6. Canepa N. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'50.940; 7. Antonelli A. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1'51.220; 8. Reiterberger M. (GER) BMW S1000 RR 1'51.396; etc.