The first day of free practice did not go according to plan at Imola today. The first scheduled Superbike free practice session lasted for just two laps, with less than perfect conditions resulting in a huge high side crash for rider Tom Sykes. Luckily he walked away uninjured. Touring Car racing the weekend previously had resulted in a dirty track with minimal grip and spilt oil in places. The track was re-cleaned and practice got underway after several hours delay. Spies was quick from the word go, dropping into second position two tenths behind leader Byrne as soon as he started. He went on to take the lead until the closing moments, dropping to third as the free practice session ended.
Team mate Tom Sykes was working hard lower down the board, starting in 21st, the British rider improved his times to take 18th spot at the end. Sykes was still suffering from his huge high side crash which brought the first session to a premature end.
As a result of the closures and delays there will be just one qualifying session for the Superbike riders this weekend on the Saturday.
Ben Spies, Yamaha World Superbike Team (3rd, 1’50.213)
“we got straight down to it this afternoon when we could finally get on track. Since we lost a lot of time today we’ve been focusing on the race set-up. There’s a tyre that I think most people where on today which we haven’t tried yet so we’ll throw that in there tomorrow. We’ve got some time still to find, but we’re on it. The cleaning made a big difference to the track, and felt a lot better, although still slower than the test. I think it will get better tomorrow.”
Tom Sykes, Yamaha World Superbike Team (18th, 1’51.922)
“It was a very strange day today, the first time I can remember most of the day being cancelled that’s for sure. It was a big crash for me this morning, I thought I was feeling ok from it but in the afternoon session I felt a bit sick so the knock was a bit more than I first thought. I’m going to have a nice sleep tonight and I’ll come out tomorrow swinging. I’m a bit disappointed in my times as I was doing good 1.50s and 1.49s in the test and am a bit off that so far today. We’ve got different settings on the bike to try so we’ll go back to basics and see what we can do tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha World Superbike Team
“Today was definitely a strange day, we lost a complete session. Fortunately they found a way to clean the circuit so we had at least one practice today. In the end we are lucky to have already tested here so although we’ll miss the practice, we still have a good set up to work from. Tom had a big crash today but we’re happy that he’s fine and ok. We will have some work to do tomorrow, the bike needs some improvement as the temperature is very different from the test, so we are looking forward to getting started in the morning.”