Infront MotorSport press release:
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) continued his recent run of positive form as he powered to the provisional pole in the opening qualifying session for the sixth round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Kyalami. The 24-year-old Italian, who dominated the pre-season testing session here last December, set a new official benchmark of 1 minute 38.103 seconds around the 4.246 km circuit.
Second place went to Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), the British rider four-tenths of a second behind Fabrizio, as he continued his good form of late. Texan rookie sensation Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) moved up from 14th to third in the last few minutes of the session, while Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda) was back up at the front with the final provisional front row slot.
Shinya Nakano was next up for Aprilia, followed by points leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox), whose arm is still swollen following last Sunday’s incident at Monza. Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati), Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike), Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Ruben Xaus (BMW) make up the top 10, while South African champion Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki World Superbike Racing Team) caused a few eyebrows to be raised at one point as he was running in an impressive third place before ending the session in twelfth. Suzuki Alstare riders Yukio Kagayama and Fonsi Nieto, in for the injured Max Neukirchner, struggled today, finishing in 15th and 22nd position respectively
During the first lap of the morning’s free practice session, Regis Laconi (Ducati DFX) crashed in the section between Turn 11 and Turn 12. Unfortunately in the crash the French rider, despite not hitting any obstacle, suffered a severe trauma to the cervical vertebrae. Transported by helicopter to the nearby Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, Laconi is reported as being on the danger list. The serious injuries suffered mean that an operation will be required, which will be carried out by a neurological specialist in the next few hours.
Times: 1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’38.103; 2. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.506; 3. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’38.600; 4. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’38.865; 5. Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’38.998; 6. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’39.055; 7. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’39.230; 8. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’39.258; 9. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’39.284; 10. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’39.357; Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’39.370; 12. Morais S. (RSA) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’39.388; 13. Lavilla G. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’39.389; 14. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’39.470; 15. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’39.475; 16. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’39.788
There was a spectacular three-way battle for the quickest time of the day in the Supersport category. It looked as if it was going the way of Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport), but then Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) managed to dip under his time. In the end the quickest mark was set by the 2007 Supersport champion Sofuoglu with a time of 1 minute 41.566 seconds. Fourth place went to reigning champion Andrew Pitt (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), the Australian almost a second behind his team-mate. Fabien Foret’s positive form is continuing for Yamaha World Supersport, as the Frenchman took his R6 to fifth place, where can also be found the two ParkinGo Triumph Be1 machines of Garry McCoy and Gianluca Nannelli. Season revelation Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Provec) was also on good form in eighth position, while major progress was made by Indonesian rider Doni Tata Pradita (YZF Yamaha), who was eleventh quickest.
Times: 1. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.566; 2. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’41.812; 3. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’41.969; 4. Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’42.511; 5. Foret F. (FRA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’42.597; 6. McCoy G. (AUS) Triumph Daytona 675 1’42.735; 7. Nannelli G. (ITA) Triumph Daytona 675 1’42.797; 8. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’42.823.