News 16 Jul 2009

WSBK: Fabrizio and Crutchlow lead tests in return to Imola


Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) stormed to the top slot in the first day of official Superbike group testing at the Autodromo di Imola today. After 265 minutes of heat-sapping track action at the revised Santerno circuit, the young Italian slammed in an impressive time of 1 minute 49.164 seconds in the final seconds to edge Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) off the top slot. Fabrizio is running singleton for the Ducati factory squad at Imola as points leader Noriyuki Haga is scheduled to return at Brno following his recent Donington crash.

“On the last lap I put on a new tyre to set my time, one of the development tyres that Pirelli brought along for this extreme heat” declared Fabrizio. “We worked a lot on the set-up, something we’ve never managed to do really well during the championship, and we worked on the traction control to try and get the best out of the engine in view of Brno. I really wanted to prove to Ben that I’m right there with him. There are still five rounds left and I think he realizes that by now!”

Right throughout the day the battle had been between Spies and Fabrizio, but they were joined at the end by a group of riders who also set impressive times. Next up was Britain’s Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), just five-tenths down on the front man, while Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad) showed great progress for the German squad by powering through into an impressive fourth slot with his quickest time of the day in the closing stages. Carlos Checa (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), fastest in the morning, maintained his good form in the afternoon, improving his time to end up fifth.

Three Brits took the next three positions, but all were over the 1m50s mark, Shane Byrne (Sterilgarda Ducati) coming in ahead of Tom Sykes (Yamaha World Superbike) and Leon Haslam (Stiggy Racing Honda), while Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati DFX) and Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki Alstare BRUX) completed the top ten runners. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Alstare BRUX) eased himself back into the WSB scene with an encouraging 14th position, but there was little joy today for Aprilia Racing, as Shinya Nakano and Max Biaggi could only take their RSV4 machines to 12th and 17th respectively.

In the Supersport sessions, Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) proved to be too strong for the opposition on the first day, the Coventry man posting a time that was six-tenths quicker than Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda). Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) hauled himself up to third place, one tenth behind, Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) also lapped within a second of the leader to finish fourth, just ahead of Mark Aitchison (Honda Althea) in fifth.

Wednesday times: 1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’49.164; 2. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’49.262; 3. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.684; 4. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’49.823; 5. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’49.842; 6. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’50.305; 7. Sykes T. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R1 1’50.402; 8. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.586; 9. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’50.797; 10. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’50.861; 11. Kiyonari R. (JPN) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.868; 12. Nakano S. (JPN) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’51.055; 13. Hopkins J. (USA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’51.270; 14. Neukirchner M. (GER) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’51.276; 15. Lagrive M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’51.339; 16. Polita A. (ITA) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’51.683; 17. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’51.738; 18. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’51.746; 19. Nieto F. (ESP) Ducati 1098R 1’51.909; 20. Tamada M. (JPN) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’52.008; 21. Parkes B. (AUS) Kawasaki ZX 10R 1’52.482; 22. Iannuzzo V. (ITA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’53.535.

Click here for detailed Superbike results

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