Local hero Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) set a blistering 2:05.664 second lap at Silverstone to head the first Superbike World Championship qualifying session at his home track, with no fewer than five of his compatriots inside the top ten places.
The 5.902-kilometre Silverstone circuit is new to almost all of the 25 Superbike riders on show, making Crutchlow’s advantage of 0.342 seconds over the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda of Jonathan Rea an impressive first day result.
“It’s nice to come back to Silverstone. The new circuit’s really good, really enjoyable,” Crutchlow said. “It’s fast and flowing, but then there’s some tight stuff so it all equals out. Our bike is better on the faster corners, but you have other bikes, like the Ducatis, that are better in the chicanes, so it equals out quite nicely.
“There are a few more opportunities to overtake on the new circuit – around the tighter chicanes really, and you’ll see some good passes at the end of the Hangar Straight.”
Australia’s BMW Motorrad Motorsport rider Troy Corser was third quickest, with British rider Leon Camier fourth on his Aprilia Alitalia RSV4. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) made it five different bikes in the top five places with one qualifying session to go, and James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) secured sixth place.
“Silverstone is a completely new circuit for our team. The track is very bumpy, and you feel them a lot because it is quite a high speed track,” Corser said. “There are a couple of corners that are bumpy at the entry. We still haven’t got the bike set-up right, as it is not really absorbing the bumps very well. Therefore I have to take a lot more risks than I like to set a good time.
“As usual, on a completely new track, we have to find the right braking points and the right lines. This can create some confusion for the engineers. But I am not too worried. The guys now have a lot of data to look at, and I know we can set good lap times. I am a 100 percent fit and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Championship leader Max Biaggi, Camier’s teammate, was a steady seventh, one place ahead of his main championship threat, Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare). ‘
Privateer Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) was 0.811 seconds away from Crutchlow, in ninth, with the top 10 rounded out by Tom Sykes on his official Kawasaki Racing Team four-cylinder machine.
Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) was a happy 11th, as he was one place up on the official machine of Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox). Shane Byrne (Althea Ducati) was 13th, the Team Pata B&G Aprilia of Jakub Smrz 14th, and 15th was a rider returning from injury, Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati).
The wildcard HM Plant Honda duo of Josh Brookes and Ryuichi Kiyonari were only 21st and 22nd on day one, with Brookes experiencing an engine problem in the opening practice and forcing him out for much of the session.
Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) eased to the top of the first World Supersport qualifying session at Silverstone, 0.090 seconds ahead of UK-based series regular Gino Rea (Intermoto Czech Honda) and 0.161 seconds up on Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com).
Championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was fourth, Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) fifth.
Australian wildcard Billy McConnell rode his CAME Yamaha to 10th, with Mark Aitchison making a return for 19th position in his first appearance of the season.
Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Junior Honda) earned the best time in the first Superstock 1000 qualifying session in the last minute, heading off championship leader Ayrton Badovini (BMW Italia STK). Third was the Team Lorini Honda of Andrea Antonelli, with the 88 Lazio Motorsport Ducati of Lorenzo Zanetti fourth.
A good day for Ducati saw Luca Baroni (Pata B&G) fifth, and the Team Pedercini Kawasaki of Danilo Petrucci finished off a cosmopolitan top six in terms of motorcycles. Loris Baz was top Yamaha man, eighth on his MRS Racing R1.
Wildcard rider Luke Mossey (Sondelsport Yamaha) was the provisional Superstock 600 pole man at Silverstone after the first day, holding off the push of championship challengers Florian Marino (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) and Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha). Berardino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) was a top four early qualifier, ahead of Guarnoni’s team-mate, Romain Lanusse.