Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) loves Donington Park and today it loved him right back as he took provisional pole after posting the fastest lap in the opening qualifying session.
After the rain flags came out momentarily at the start of the 45-minute session track conditions improved and a flurry of fast times in the last few minutes of qualifying put Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) second, Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) third and true home boy Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) fourth. Rea had two falls today, one shortly after the start of this morning’s free session and one at the end of this afternoon’s qualifying run, without injury.
British riders were, predictably, to the fore, as Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) was fifth and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing team) sixth. Sykes had headed up the first unofficial practice session in the morning.
The overnight second row was completed by Michel Fabrizio’s BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet machine, and the first Aprilia Racing entry in the rankings, ridden by 2010 champion Max Biaggi.
Two local riders were given the opportunity to run as wildcards at Donington, with Peter Hickman (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) in 17th place and Gary Mason (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) 23rd. New Kawasaki Racing Team rider Loris Baz was 20th in his first ever SBK qualifying session.
One more regulation qualifying session remains tomorrow, before the top 16 riders move on to Tissot-Superpole.
Times: 1. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1'29.336; 2. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1'29.394; 3. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1'29.507; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000 RR 1'29.604; 5. Camier L. (GBR) Suzuki GSX-R1000 1'29.614; 6. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'29.719; 7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'29.918; 8. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'29.973; 9. Giugliano D. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1'29.977; 10. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'29.986; 11. Guintoli S. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'30.225; 12. Melandri M. (ITA) BMW S1000 RR 1'30.245; 13. Davies C. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'30.392; 14. Aoyama H. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1'30.522; 15. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 1'30.539; 16. Laverty E. (IRL) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1'30.577; etc.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) came close to setting a new best lap in the Supersport World Championship class during the first qualifying session at Donington. By grabbing provisional pole with his 1 minute 31.155 second lap time he was almost a second ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki DeltaFin Lorenzini) and just over a second ahead of Monza race winner Jules Cluzel (Honda PTR). Wildcard Australian team-mates Glen Richards and Billy McConnell (Smiths Gloucester Triumph) were fourth and fifth respectively. Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) and Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) were the last riders into the 1 minute 32 seconds lap times.
Times: 1. Lowes S. (GBR) Honda CBR600RR 1'31.155; 2. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'32.053; 3. Cluzel J. (FRA) Honda CBR600RR 1'32.281; 4. Richards G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1'32.397; 5. McConnell B. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1'32.505; 6. Quarmby R. (RSA) Honda CBR600RR 1'32.724; 7. Parkes B. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1'32.856; 8. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1'33.064; etc.