Spaniard Carlos Checa has started the ‘Panigale’ era of Ducati in World Superbike by winning the Tissot-Superpole at Phillip Island. The Ducati Team Alstare managed to take the best out of the new Borgo Panigale superbike by setting an incredible 1’30.234, that means a brand-new Best Lap for the series and the 10th pole position of his career.
Checa saved a Superpole tyre for the final minutes of a hard-fought Superpole 3, with all 9 riders desperate to find a way into the front rows for tomorrow’s World Superbike races. The choice made by the former champion and the team led by Francis Batta proved to be successful, as Checa got the nod from an extremely competitive Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) by just 0.195 seconds.
Carlos Checa: “Winning Superpole was a great surprise for me and is down to all the hard work put in by my mechanics, the physiotherapists and the rest of the Clinica Mobile medical staff. This morning, I felt pain in both my shoulder and foot and I really didn’t think I’d be competitive in qualifying and Superpole. The mechanics did a great job and made the bike easier for me to ride and by the time Superpole started this afternoon, I felt pretty good really – better than I thought I would! Today was good, but we’ll have to see how the bike is in race conditions and also how the tyres perform after a lot of laps. Hopefully we’ll be competitive tomorrow and can be in the mix at the end of the race.”
Eugene Laverty: “After using my last qualifier in Superpole 3 I was on the second row, but I really wanted to be in the top three like I was in the last races last year. I threw myself into a fast lap using a race tyre and I must say that everything went perfectly. It was just a bit rocky in the turn that comes out onto the straight stretch, but second place is excellent, especially since we’ve worked well on our race pace. Starting from the front was important. It simplifies things and now I am looking forward to the races tomorrow with confidence”.
After being the fastest rider in qualifying, Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) gave his fans another pleasant surprise by ending up in third place. This good performance tells a lot about the good shape of the Rome-born rider, who has always been more of a Sunday racer than a qualifier.
The second row of the grid will be headed tomorrow by 2012 Mr. Superpole Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), whose lap-time was exactly matched by fifth place Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team). Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) and Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) will aim to be part of the battle for the rostrum position moving off from the 6th and 7th grid slot, as well as following Pata Honda World Superbike duo of Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea.
Tissot-Superpole times: 1. Checa (Ducati) 1’30.234 average 177.339 kph; 2. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’30.429; 3. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1’30.581; 4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’30.615; 5. Melandri (BMW) 1’30.615; 6. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’30.683; 7. Camier (Suzuki) 1’30.991; 8. Haslam (Honda) 1’30.998; 9. Rea (Honda) 1’31.742; etc.