Phillip Island – Qualifying Practice 2 & Superpole. Saturday, 23rd February 2013.
- Weather conditions: Sunny.
- Temperature: Air: 25 – 29 °C, Track: 30 – 52 °C
- Number of riders participating: 21/20 from 13 teams
- Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma) 1:30.387 min
Fastest lap Superpole 3: Carlos Checa (Team Ducati Alstare) 1:30.234 min
The 2013 season opener of the FIM Superbike World Championship will see the BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team start from the second row on the grid after factory rider, Marco Melandri (ITA), was classified fifth in today’s Superpole qualifying at Phillip Island (AUS).
His team-mate Chaz Davies (GBR) struggled with a technical issue that prevented him from riding consistently fast laps, as a result he will start from 12th position on the fourth row on the grid. A rule change for this season means that the individual grid rows consist of three riders rather than four, as it was previously the case.
Marco set the fastest time in the free practice session at noon and then progressed comfortably through the first two Superpole sessions to reach the final and deciding session, Superpole 3. In both the first and second sessions he only rode one fast lap on his BMW S 1000 RR to securely qualify for the next part, once on a race tyre and once on a qualifying tyre. In Superpole 3 he completed one outing on his second qualifying tyre, setting the temporary fastest lap time of 1:30.615 minutes on his RR. Later, Tom Sykes (GBR) clocked exactly the same time and due to the regulations was classified in front of Marco.
The pair were topping the time sheets until the closing stages of Superpole 3, however then dropped down onto the second row of the grid. Chaz started the day confidently after achieving two top-5-results yesterday. In Superpole 1, the Welshman did two outings, one on a race tyre and one on a qualifying tyre. With the ninth fastest time he progressed easily to the second session. There, he went out but returned to the pits immediately due to a technical issue. With three and a half minutes to go, he made another attempt but had to settle with 12th place on the grid.
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:30.931 min (P5) / Fastest lap FP: 1:30.814 min (P1) / Fastest lap Superpole 3: 1:30.615 min (P5)
“Compared to last year, when we struggled a lot on this track, we have improved a lot. Now the bike is performing quite well and we had a good qualifying session. This afternoon the track conditions were worse than yesterday and this morning, but the team has done a great job on the bike to improve the tyres’ life. In the end we are satisfied and we got the best out of our bike. Tomorrow’s races will not be easy for all of us because of the high temperatures and the wind. While I hope that the wind will not be too strong, I don’t mind if it is warm.My shoulder is also getting a little better, probably because it is getting used to the stress from being on the bike. I am confident that tomorrow we will be consistent on the long distance of the race.”
Fastest lap Qualifying Practices: 1:31.526 min (P11) / Fastest lap FP: 1:32.210 min (P11) / Fastest lap Superpole 2: 1:31.870 min (P12)
“I’m very disappointed. After yesterday I thought that we were consistently going in the right direction but today just seemed a little bit more difficult. We were very happy with the long run we did this morning in the second qualifying practice, but from free practice onwards it became difficult. Unfortunately in Superpole I was struggling with a technical issue a little bit. We are working on solving this and apart from that, I am happy with the bike. We showed that we are quite strong in our race setup and if I get a good start a lot is possible. It is just a shame that we had that issue at that critical point of the weekend.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We are happy with the results. The team and the riders have done a good job. Unfortunately, Marco had a crash during the free practice session, but he is really professional and kept fully concentrated until the end of Superpole. The incident did not affect his shoulder which is getting a little better. Chaz had a technical issue during Superpole that prevented him from scoring a position further towards the front of the grid. But we are confident for the races and are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team):
“We are satisfied with the results from today’s Superpole. Both crews have worked a lot on the chassis and the electronics and have found a good balance to preserve the life of the tyres. Marco will start from the second row and Chaz from the fourth. We are sure that for Marco this should be no problem; he is fast and will try to overtake his competitors. It is unfortunate that Chaz could not improve his position due to a technical issue, but he is also talented and fast, so overall we are confident for tomorrow. We have already found a good setting for the races. We have done a simulation and the results show that we should be competitive on the longer distance of the race. We are looking forward to the race and the team is in a positive mood.”