Published on 04 Aug 2012 by Toni M.
It took the treacherous weather conditions at Silverstone and a crash by Tom Sykes in SP2 to stop him from taking another Tissot watch and instead it was a flying Jakub Smrz who did the deed for the second time this season - former Liberty rider Sylvain Guintoli was the other rider that stopped the Brit - the Czech rider also denied Leon Camier not only a 26th birthday gift but also a what would have been his maiden pole position when he pipped him by just 0.036s with a last lap lunge.
Here’s what some of the riders had to say after the Superpole:
Jakub Smrz - 1st
“It was a great performance in the wet. The conditions were really difficult, the rain was changing at every moment on every part of the track, but I was trying to improve lap by lap and then on the last lap I tried my best and it was enough for first place. We are used to these conditions this year, so we must be ready for everything tomorrow.”
Leon Camier - 2nd
“With Superpole coming to a close, I really thought that I had won it because there was so little time remaining, but then Smrz went faster and ruined my birthday! Although winning Superpole would’ve been good, it’s a great feeling to be on the front row of the grid at last. It’s been a long time coming, but we always believed we could do it. The boys have worked so hard to make the bike better and the improvements in the engine and the electronics have allowed me to be competitive again. My race pace has been good in the wet and the dry and we’ve got good set-ups for both conditions. So, if it is either dry or wet, we’re ready! I hope it’s going to be dry because I think the racing will be better and it’ll be good for the fans as well.”
Sylvain Guintoli - 3rd
“I’m really happy because it’s not easy when you’re put in a new situation like this one,” he admitted. “From the start of the weekend me and the team have got on really well, we’ve been tweaking stuff like in winter testing! I’m having fun with Pata and I’ve found a good home with which to finish the season. Obviously this is the first step, but there’s plenty more performance to come.”
Leon Haslam - 4th
“I am really happy. It is always nice to start from the front row, especially at the home race. We just had two or three laps of wet weather testing on Friday and then I did not have a good feeling. But the guys worked really hard and every lap we did and every time we changed the bike we made some good improvements. The conditions were difficult. Some were pushing maybe a little bit too much too early, and there were many crashes. We took our time and went faster with every lap. When I crossed the chequered flag I was P1, which was nice for a short while! To have a front row start tomorrow is important and I am looking forward to the races. The target is always to win. We still have some more work to do before the races but I am feeling very comfortable. I think the biggest decisions will depend on the weather.”
Davide Giugliano 5th
“The weekend hasn’t been easy for us at all, what with the crash yesterday and then some small problems with the bike. I haven’t been able to put together all of the necessary elements. In the Superpole I had quite good feeling in the wet and if it hadn’t been for the crash I could definitely have been on the front row, perhaps even in pole. But anyway, we are tough and we go on. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow. One positive thing to come out of the Superpole is that we’ve shown that we have pace in the wet, so if conditions are similar tomorrow I think our chances are good.”
Marco Melandri - 6th
“This was another very tough day. The conditions were really difficult with rain showers and changing grip levels at different parts of the track. In the dry we could not have hoped for a starting position like this as we were again struggling with chattering. In wet conditions the Superpole was not too bad. Still, it was not easy. Just before I went out on my last run it started raining very hard in the second sector. I was really scared of aquaplaning. So I chose to take it easy. Tomorrow will be difficult, as you never know what weather will be like here. If it is dry tomorrow morning, we will make a small change to the setup to be ready for all conditions.”
Carlos Checa - 7th
“In the Superpole I went long and didn’t expect the white line to be so slippery – there was no way I could avoid the crash. It was a pity because I know I could have made a good lap and a good result. So that’s that, we lost the front row, but at least we know that we have a pretty strong pace in all conditions, whether wet or dry. We’ve worked hard all weekend and I’m confident. Two dry races would be preferable for us riders and for the fans I think but from what we’ve seen so far it’s all a big unknown as far as racing conditions are concerned.”
Tom Sykes - 8th
“It was a strange track today because yesterday in the wet initial grip felt better but today it felt greasy and it does not help when it is wet, dry, wet, and generally very inconsistent. We were unfortunate in Superpole but in the dry the bike is working well, so I feel confident. We put 15 laps in this morning in one go and I was on a personal best in the last of those laps, but then the rain came. So it was pleasing to see that we could have good pace so far into a simulated race. If it is a dry race day we should be OK. Superpole was wet and we have changed the balance of the bike quite a lot so we are having to learn and try to do things a bit differently, but when the track is not wet for long enough it limits our track time. It was unfortunate to fall in Superpole 2 but I had only put two laps on the tyre and I was just slowly trying to build up speed. Tomorrow is another day and we have good guys in the garage so we will make some improvements and hopefully things will be a bit more straightforward, especially with the weather.”
Loris Baz - 9th
“I am confident for the race at Silverstone and we have been in the top ten most of the time in practice, no matter the conditions. That is another step forward for us. In my crash in Superpole I touched the white line a little. Not a big mistake but a big consequence. It is a shame but sometimes these things happen. We had a good pace in the wet and at least I did not crash pushing, just for a small mistake. We have a good pace for the race in dry or wet so I am confident for tomorrow. I do not care about the weather we have because we cannot change it!”
Jonathan Rea - 10th
I’m still frustrated today because, although we improved the bike from yesterday with a dramatic step, it’s still not in the direction I need. What’s more frustrating is that we’re making changes to the bike but it’s not affecting the area that I’m having problems with. I need to build confidence again after being off the bike and having to re-learn it, but until we can get the bike to inspire a bit of that confidence it feels like I’m riding around and banging my head against the wall. One thing for sure is that the guys around me are smart people, and the bike’s been amazing before, like two or three races ago. It seems like the settings are pretty similar but there’s something wrong. If we can get something like we had back then, there’s no reason why we can’t ride at the front again. It’ll be another late night thinking about a change we can make for warm-up but the good thing about Silverstone is that we only need to find a little change because it’s such a long lap around here. The guys are doing their best, I’m doing my best, but this position is not a reflection of where we should be.
Max Biaggi - 11th
“That’s just the way Superpole went. I pushed to the limit, but there was no way to do any better. To be honest, we’re not very far off the race place. We need to work on tweaking a few things in order to have a good pace. Given the way the weather shifts I think that it will be important to aim for consistent performance rather than pure performance, in the hopes that the warm-up conditions tomorrow morning will be useful in view of the races”.
John Hopkins - 12th
“This morning I felt very confident and it was like business as usual again. I pushed hard in the dry, felt comfortable and was pretty happy to set the second quickest time. Then it began to rain, so we started sorting out a wet set-up for my FIXI Crescent Suzuki. Having qualified easily for Superpole meant that some of the pressure was off, so when it rained this afternoon and a ‘Wet Superpole’ was called it was just a matter of seeing what the weather would do and then try and find the limit of the tyres. In the first session I improved lap-by-lap and I tried my best on my final one, but just missed getting into the second Superpole by the smallest of margins. It was a shame because I would’ve liked to have been further up the grid and show the potential of the bike. I don’t mind if it is wet or dry tomorrow, but I don’t think anybody wants mixed conditions. For the sake of the fans, I hope it is dry, but whatever the conditions we have good set-ups. I think this is my best qualifying result this season and although the bike has made a huge improvement, the biggest improvement is in me.”
Eugene Laverty - 14th
“We had a problem with the front of the bike from the beginning of Superpole, it felt like the steering dumper was broken. Otherwise the bike was feeling ok in the wet so it’s unfortunate that this problem stopped me from pushing. We’ll start from the fourth row of the grid and so a good start will be vital”.
Michel Fabrizio - 15th
“The Superpole 1 crash made us lose a bit of time. I got too hot into ‘Vale’ and I tried to keep the line, but I lost the bike. It’s a shame, but now we need to focus on tomorrow’s races.”
Ayrton Badovini - 18th
“I made a small mistake in Qualifying 2 on my quick lap attempt that didn’t allow me to get into the top 16 by just a tenth of a second. Then rain fell in the last part of the session which didn’t give me the chance to better my lap-time. I was faster with race tyres than the soft ones on though. The pace is not bad and tomorrow’s races will be very long, I’m sure the pace of the leading pack will drop after the opening laps.”
Hiroshi Aoyama – 20th
This morning we missed the last ten minutes of qualifying because the rain came back. We had just put in a new tyre to make a good lap time but we couldn’t do it. In the afternoon free practice in the dry, I was faster so we could see that I could make the lap time, so it’s a pity. At least in the dry the feeling from the bike is better, certainly better than yesterday. We can see the improvement in the bike with the improved lap time and for tomorrow, if it’s dry, I think we can make two good races. If it rains, I’m not so sure – we’ll see how the weather is tomorrow.