Published on 26 May 2012 by Toni M.
Today’s opening free practice for the sixth round of the World Superbike championship at Miller Motorsports Park in the USA started wet, cold and windy, and everyone was out on full wets.
Halfway the session Liberty Racing’s Jakub Smrz moved to the top of the timesheets and stayed there until the final minutes when Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa put in last minute flyers, but the Czech rider wasn’t having any and retaliated, first with a 2.04 and then shaved off a further two seconds to finish in 2.02.138.
No one was even able to get close to the Liberty rider. Marco Melandri moved up to second as the chequered flag was waving after spending the better part of the practice in higher top ten, but he was a massive 2.7 seconds off pace. Sylvain Guintoli also made a final lap flyer and grabbed third, while GoldBet’s BMW rider Ayrton Badovini was fourth and bumping back Carlos Checa to fifth.
WSBK rookie Niccolò Canepa had an impressive session and even led the timecharts at the start, he finished in sixth ahead of fellow Ducati rider Davide Giugliano. Wet weather specialist Tom Sykes was eighth and more than four seconds from Smrz. Jonathan Rea and Eugene Laverty closed out the top ten.
Loris Baz who is replacing injured Joan Lascorz again, was 14th for Kawasaki while John Hopkins who is returning to action after his foot and hip injury took it easy, putting in only eight laps and he was 17th.
Points leader Max Biaggi who isn’t suffering from injuries had only four laps to his name that left him 20th. Wild card Shane Turpin with his Boulder Motor Sports prepared Ducati 1198 was 16th, while Jake Holden who replaced axed Mark Aitchinson in Grillini Progea Superbike team was 23rd and was black flagged after he had technical problems with his transponder, but he did finish half a second faster than last place Honda rider Hiroshi Aoyama.
WSBK Miller FP1 results:
1. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1098R 2′02.138
2. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 2′04.832
3. Sylvain Guintoli (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2′05.124
4. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 2′05.298
5. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 2′05.326
6. Niccolò Canepa (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R 2′05.836
7. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R 2′06.087
8. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2′06.211
9. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 2′06.278
10. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2′06.337
11. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR 2′06.841
12. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR 2′07.191
13. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2′07.380
14. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2′08.336
15. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R 2′09.589
16. Shane Turpin (Boulder Motor Sports) Ducati 1098R 2′10.080
17. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2′10.162
18. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2′11.525
19. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R 2′12.387
20. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2′13.349
21. Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2′13.575
22. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2′13.935
23. Jake Holden (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR 2′14.614
24. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR 2′16.095