Published on 31 Mar 2012 by Toni M.
Tom Sykes earned his second pole position of the season (and the fourth of his career) at Imola today. While the first at Phillip Island was awarded after the session was cancelled following the death of Oscar McIntyre, this Superpole was won outright after the Kawasaki rider blitzed the field with his record breaking lap.
“To get two Tissot-Superpole wins on the roll is fantastic. I dug deep after the second Superpole because I knew the times would be fast,” said Sykes. “On my fastest lap in Superpole three I had a lot of feedback from my Kawasaki. A couple of times I arrived past the limit, but the feel was good so I could finish with a good lap time. A few of us have very consistent race pace so there will be a big fight over full race distances on Sunday. I had a little bit of a problem with the Qualifying tyre in that second Superpole session but in Superpole three we made a small change, dug a bit deeper and managed to do a good lap. We have a good starting position for tomorrow and I think it will be exciting during the races.”
More rider quotes after the jump.
Sylvain Guintoli - 2nd
“I am happy with our work this weekend. This circuit for Ducati is fantastic, it is a brilliant track and took me about two years to learn it. I am just getting used to it and enjoying myself here so I think tomorrow will be a good race. There should be a be a big fight and I am going to do my best to take the first victory for the team.”
Carlos Checa - 3rd
“I used race tyres for the first and second phases of the Superpole, turning to the qualifier only at the start of the final phase. I wasn’t able to put together the lap I wanted and so, with minutes to spare, I went back out on a race tyre and made the third fastest time (though unfortunately it wasn’t a clean lap). We’re satisfied, as it would have been difficult to beat Sykes here today - congratulations to him. I expect two exciting races tomorrow and would say the forecast is good is far as we’re concerned.”
Leon Haslam - 4th
“The bike has felt good all weekend. We didn’t change too much. We found a good set-up on the first day and have been working well. We were struggling a bit with the qualifying tyre which gave us some chatter. I was actually quicker with the medium tyres. We got it a bit wrong with the tyre selection for the Superpole, but we still managed to get on the front row so I’m happy with that. A good start is very important here and Max Biaggi, Sylvain Guintoli, Carlos Checa and Tom Sykes are sure to be competitive in the race. Hopefully we can be battling with these guys and I will try to get BMW’s first win.”
Max Biaggi - 5th
“We had a few problems in Superpole and it’s a shame because the front row was within reach for us. We took more laps than expected and that also caused a few fuel problems for me in the last session. The work we’ve done over the past couple days is still valid and that gives us a positive outlook for the two races tomorrow. It certainly won’t be a walk in the park, to the contrary, starting from the second row means that it will be an uphill Sunday for us”.
Marco Melandri - 6th
“I can say I am happy because after we struggled yesterday I did not expect to make it to the second row. It is a very good result. After the free practice I was disappointed because I lost many tenths in Acque Minerali as I had some issues with chattering. I had to ride very close to the limit and could not keep to the perfect line. For the last session we kept the race tyre, as we remembered that last year on this track nearly everyone was struggling with chattering with the qualifying tyre. It was quite a good decision. For tomorrow I hope that it will be cooler than today because we go well on hard tyres. It is going to be a tough and difficult race, but we will do our best.”
Jonathan Rea - 7th
“It’s been a bit frustrating today because it seems that we’ve improved the pace from last year, but the pace to win the race is now much faster. Pirelli have brought a new tyre which is bringing some more time, but, for me, I’m a little surprised that we’re not as competitive as we’d hoped. For Superpole we made quite a good change to the bike but I got caught out with a crash at the end when I put a race tyre back in the bike. I had quite a good split and, yeah, just used a few per cent more gas out of turn five and had a big highside, so I think I’m quite lucky to escape without injury. The bike’s working OK, but it’s quite hard to know what the race pace is going to be tomorrow because quite a few riders have been working on different strategies with tyres. Second row is not so bad, though - I’ll just try to get a good start and go with the front guys tomorrow.”
Joan Lascorz - 8th
“I did my best lap with a race tyre in Superpole three and it was not so bad because I am on the second row of the grid. Normally I have been a little behind. I used both my qualifying tyres but I found no great advantage. I think in the warm-up we can make even more small changes to suit race conditions and I think we can still make the overall package better. I already know which tyres we will use if the conditions remain like they have been until now, dry and sunny.”
Eugene Laverty - 11th
“We made good progress with our setting today and I felt content after final free practice. Unfortunately we encountered a major issue with chatter in Superpole which stopped me from lapping quickly. I’m very disappointed because we will start the races from 11th on the grid. The team will investigate the problem and hopefully we can find the solution before the races tomorrow”.
Davide Giugliano - 12th
“I’m a bit disappointed of course because I thought I could have done a lot better this afternoon. Unfortunately in the first exit (of the second phase) a technical problem caused me to run off track. Then, with that resolved, I went back out on a qualifier and I was pushing hard to make the flying lap. Maybe I overdid it, because I crashed as I was following Biaggi. We’ll start from the fourth row of tomorrow’s grid so I’ll need to make a great start and give it my all if I want to make up some places and put together two solid races.”
Leon Camier - 15th
“I lost time in the qualifying session this morning after a slow-speed crash. The rear end was chattering and I just lost the front. There was no problem with me, but the bike had to be rebuilt and that meant I lost the rest of that session and also about 10 minutes of the next one. I’m happy with the chassis, but I am looking forward to further engine developments from Yoshimura. I went out on a race tyre in Superpole but made a little mistake so came back to the pits for a ‘Qualifier.’ Even before I reached the first turn, the bike was wobbling and then chattering as I went into the corner; I’ve no idea why, but there was nothing wrong with the bike! I came back to the pits, but wasn’t able to get back out in time on another tyre to set a decent lap in time to progress to Superpole 2.”
Ayrton Badovini - 16th
“I didn’t manage to get the best out the qualifying tyre during the Superpole and that didn’t allow me to qualify to the second session. I will start from the fourth row but fortunately the track has a lot of spots to overtake. I need to get a good start and to maintain a good pace to sort this weekend out.”
Michel Fabrizio - 18th
“I’m not happy with the result, as yesterday we lost a lot of useful time and today we tried to play catch-up. I worked a lot with the team, not only for qualifying but also race-wise. During the warm-up we’ll test new solutions to find the optimal balance of the bike. It’ll be tough, considering the starting position, but I will do my best.”
John Hopkins - 19th
“I was looking forward to this morning’s session and putting in the laps, but the bike had a technical problem and I wasn’t able to get out on the track for as much time as I would’ve liked: That messed up my qualification for Superpole, but sometimes things happen like that. The team put in a new engine for the second session and after a few laps I started to become more-and-more comfortable with the bike. We made a few suspension changes, which made the bike more stable, and I was really getting back in the groove by the end of the afternoon. I’ve had a long lay-off and, although I am physically fit, I need to get bike-fit as well. The more laps I do, the sooner I’ll be able to get on the pace. I normally make good starts and that’s my aim tomorrow; that and picking up a decent number of points.”
Hiroshi Aoyama - 23th
It’s been a difficult day for me. We improved things a little bit but it was not enough - we needed to find about two seconds but we still have some work to do. We have quite a lot of different problems so it’s difficult for me to put all the sectors together for one good lap. I don’t know the track so well and, of course, I am still learning the bike. Our main problem is stability under braking and getting the bike stopped. We’ll try to get the bike a little more calm and under control for warm-up because the movement under braking is affecting the whole lap.