Jonathan Rea will start tomorrow’s two 11th-round World Superbike championship races from the front row of the grid after setting the second fastest time in this afternoon’s Superpole session at Nurburgring in Germany.
It looked as though Rea might take his first WSBK pole start but Japan’s Noriyuki Haga pipped the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland with his final lap, beating Rea to the top slot by two hundredths of a second.
Rea has been running at the top of the timing sheets all weekend but he lost almost 20 minutes of the free practice session just before Superpole. His main bike developed a technical problem and Rea then crashed his spare machine, cutting his left index finger and thumb. However, his technicians were able to repair his number one bike in time for Superpole.
His Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team mate, Carlos Checa, progressed to Superpole 3 this afternoon and will start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s two 20-lap races.
Jonathan Rea – P2, 1’55.749s (Superpole 3)
I put a pretty good lap in at the start of the last Superpole session and thought it would be enough. But all credit to Nori – it was a really good lap on a not exactly 100% qualifying tyre. But my package was working really well and I’m glad the guys didn’t go to sleep during the summer break. We’ve come here with some really good development parts for the bike and I can’t thank the boys enough for digging deep. I really love this circuit but didn’t ride so well in the Supersport race here last year but this is a new year and I think our race package is pretty good. I can sleep solidly tonight and really look forward to tomorrow.
Carlos Checa – P8, 1’56.699s (Superpole 3)
We changed a little bit for the last run and I thought I would be able to do a low 56 or even a high 55, but it did not come. I am pretty happy with the race tyre, though and the package is feeling good, even though I am still struggling a little in the first sector. I wasn’t feeling so good today – a headache and maybe a little temperature. So we’ll hope for more tomorrow, both from me and the bike.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
I think we can all be quite happy with the results achieved today. It’s good to see that the work we did during the summer break has paid off. We honestly thought that Jonathan had secured pole position and I think Haga’s lap caught everyone in the paddock by surprise! Anyway, we are quite ready for the races tomorrow with both Jonathan and Carlos strong on race tyres. So hopefully we’ll get some good results to maintain our recent progress.
Ten Kate Honda Racing’s Ryuichi Kiyonari qualified for Superpole after this morning’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s two 11th-round World Superbike championship races at Nurburgring in Germany.
However, the Japanese ace was not able to find the right feel with his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade in order to progress beyond Superpole 1 from which the 16 fastest riders proceed to the final two sessions.
A disappointed Kiyonari finally qualified 18th fastest on the fifth row for tomorrow’s two 20-lappers at the 5.13km Nurburgring.
Pole position was taken by his fellow Japanese Noriyuki Haga with Kiyonari’s Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Jonathan Rea, taking the runner up slot.
Ryuichi Kiyonari – P18, 1.57.522s
I am very disappointed with today’s qualifying sessions and Superpole because yesterday it felt like we were making some good progress with the bike and I had a good feeling in the wet. Today in the dry the feeling was not so good and I’m not so sure what we can do to improve things. But we will look at everything again later to see where we can improve the bike and maybe the rider. Of course, I will try my best in tomorrow’s races and hope for a better result than today.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We felt that we were making some good progress with Kiyonari-san’s new suspension set up yesterday, but he appears to have lost some of that good feeling today. I strongly believe that we are still moving forward, however, so the Superpole result today is a real shame. Kiyo is a fighter though, and we all know he will give it his best shot in the races tomorrow.
Stiggy Racing Honda rider Leon Haslam claimed an impressive third place on the second day of qualifying for the eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship at the Nurburgring in Germany today.
After he only made his first appearance at the track yesterday, Englishman Leon Haslam quickly found his pace and superbly worked himself through the three 12-minute Superpole shoot-outs today that determine the positions on the grid. He took the number three slot for tomorrow’s two 20-lap races behind fellow countryman and Honda rider Jonathan Rea and current championship leader and pole-sitter Noriyuki Haga.
A minor electronic problem reduced valuable time on track for John Hopkins today, and the American rider had to work hard to string a consistent series of fast laps together in the second qualifying practice to enter the Superpole session. He was pushed out of the first shoot-out and will start the German round of the championship from a 19th place at the grid. Hopkins will use Sunday’s 20-minute warm up session to chase the speed he will be needing to compete with the front of the field in the two superbike races around the 5.137km long German track.
Leon Haslam – P3 – 1’55.776s:
1C;I am really happy with my results today. I had a very good summer break, and then to come back to the championship and put the machine on the front row is just fantastic. I will be starting from the front row for the first time this season so I am over the moon. I am really looking forward to racing tomorrow. I had a good wet practice on Friday and after today’s results I am feeling really confident I can ride a good race tomorrow.”
John Hopkins – P19 – 1’57.523s:
1C;I had some minor technical problems that kept me in the garage a lot. I could not put as many consistent laps as I would have wanted to. Without that consistence it was hard to push for a good lap time. It left us too far behind from where we would like to be. Leon has shown what the bike is capable of and has definitely set the bench mark. I will try to get into a good rhythm in the warm-up sessions and try to get off the line as best as possible to improve the situation we are in now.”
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager:
“Today has been a fantastic day for our Superbike team. I am very happy with the qualifying result we achieved here. It is the starting position we have had so far this season. I am glad to see Leon starting from the front row. It’s definitely what we needed after coming back from our summer break. I think it will be an interesting race for Leon tomorrow. John has been dealing with a technical problem all weekend and I think he would have done a lot better, if we had been able to give him a machine that performed consistently. If he gets off the line fast tomorrow, then I am confident that he can ride a good race as well.”