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Friday, June 17, 2011

Melandri starts weekend on top

From WSBK Pressoffice

Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) was the clear front-runner from the first day of World Superbike action at the Motorland Aragon circuit, the Italian taking the provisional pole on Friday from home favourite Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati).

Having been the fastest man in free qualifying in the morning once again Melandri was the only rider to set a sub-two minute lap in the afternoon, stopping the clocks at a new circuit record of 1 minute 59.726 seconds. Melandri has tested here in the recent past but many other riders have also taken advantage of the chance to lap this exquisite new WSBK racing facility because it has already proven to be a popular designated test track for several teams.

Checa was three-tenths off Melandri's pace, just a fraction ahead of Noriyuki Haga (PATA Aprilia), who crashed halfway through the session but then came good at the end to take the third slot. The Misano podium finisher has clearly had a new lease of racing life in his satellite Aprilia team, improving in the hot conditions of the afternoon qualifying session.

Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) were each on terrific form, the two Brits just within a tenth of Haga.

The other top championship contender Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team) registered sixth quickest on the timesheets, with all three Aprilia v-four riders clearly liking the heat of early competition at Motorland. Biaggi, the reigning champion, was followed by fellow Italian Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare) and an increasingly incisive Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia SBK).

Maxime Berger (Supersonic Racing Team) impressed in 10th place on his privateer Ducati, ending day one tenth and only 0.783 seconds from the provisional pole time. The two factory BMW Motorrad Motorsport machines of Troy Corser and Leon Haslam still appear to be in difficulty, setting 12th and 14th quickest times respectively.

The lone Castrol Honda of local star Ruben Xaus was 13th, just over a second from the best pace of the day while recent returnee rider Chris Vermeulen (Kawasaki Racing Team) was 19th. Final qualifying and Tissot-Superpole take place on Saturday.

Misano winner Broc Parkes was the man to watch in World Supersport qualifying as the expert Australian set the quickest time of 2:02.773, three-tenths ahead of his Kawasaki Motocard.com team-mate David Salom. It was a good day all round for the Spanish team as it dominated the timesheets at its home track.

Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) made a late move up into third place, half a second adrift from the poleman's time, but the British rider did well to put some clean air between himself and the Yamaha ParkinGO duo of Chaz Davies and championship returnee Luca Scassa. Both Parkes and Scassa had crashes during the session.

Danilo Petrucci (Barni Racing Ducati) took the provisional pole in the first Superstock 1000 qualifying session at Aragon, the Italian coming out on top with a time of 2:02.268. Petrucci, who was also quickest in the morning, put almost half-a-second between himself and the next man, fellow Ducati runner Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing). The current FIM Cup points leader is one of the few riders who has not previously tested at the Spanish track.

Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superstock) was third quickest, while South African Sheridan Morais finally had a good run to provisional fourth on his Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Stephane Egea (ASPI Yamaha) headed the field in the opening qualifying session for round 4 of the Superstock 600 European Championship. The 20-year-old Frenchman set a time of 2:07.649, almost half-a-second faster than 18-year-old Italian Riccardo Russo (Trasimeno Yamaha).

The top two in the championship, Romain Lanusse (MRS Yamaha Racing France) and Jed Metcher (MTM-RT Motorsports Team Yamaha) were next up, but with the Australian ahead of his French rival in third.

Superbike Qualifying Times
1. Melandri M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF-R1 1:59.726
2. Checa C. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 2:00.073
3. Haga N. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2:00.214
4. Camier L. (GBR) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2:00.253
5. Sykes T. (GBR) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2:00.267
6. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2:00.309
7. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R1000 2:00.324
8. Badovini A. (ITA) BMW S1000RR 2:00.377
9. Laverty E. (IRL) Yamaha YZF-R1 2:00.503
10. Berger M. (FRA) Ducati 1098R 2:00.509
11. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2:00.727
12. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000RR 2:00.798
13. Xaus R. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 2:00.853
14. Haslam L. (GBR) BMW S1000RR 2:01.047
15. Aitchison M. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX-10R 2:01.428
16. Lanzi L. (ITA) BMW S1000RR 2:01.475
etc.

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