Track action on the opening day of practice for the twelfth round of the Hannspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola was delayed for four hours due to the request by a number of riders to clean the surface, which they considered to be slippery. The session had been red-flagged after just five minutes when Yamaha World Superbike rider Tom Sykes crashed on his first lap, without any major injury. After consulting the riders Claude Danis, the FIM safety officer, together with the circuit organizers and the Race Direction, decided to clean and dry the track, despite several riders and team managers maintaining that it was only necessary for the riders to stay out on the track to continue to lay down rubber. When Supersport and Superbike action resumed at 4.30, it did not substantially modify the surface condition, which was confirmed by the times subsequently obtained, in line with July testing, and by the fact that no crashes were recorded in the two sessions. Due to the delay Superstock 1000 and 600 free practice did not take place, but tomorrow’s schedule will remain unchanged.
Fastest time in SBK went to Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), who was the only rider to dip under the 1m50s mark with a time of 1 minute 49.895 seconds. Hannspree Ten Kate Honda man Carlos Checa was next up, just a couple of tenths behind, with points leader Ben Spies (Yamaha World Superbike) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) third and fourth. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) made a major step forward from the July tests to slot in fifth place, while stand-in 250 cc world champion Marco Simoncelli eased into Superbike with twelfth quickest time. Japans’s Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was one place behind in thirteenth.
Times: 1. Fabrizio M. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’49.895; 2. Checa C. (ESP) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.125; 3. Spies B. (USA) Yamaha YZF R1 1’50.213; 4. Rea J. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.308; 5. Biaggi M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’50.515; 6. Kagayama Y. (JPN) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’50.516; 7. Haslam L. (GBR) Honda CBR1000RR 1’50.716; 8. Byrne S. (GBR) Ducati 1098R 1’50.801; 9. Smrz J. (CZE) Ducati 1098R 1’50.806; 10. Corser T. (AUS) BMW S1000 RR 1’50.876; 11. Lagrive M. (FRA) Honda CBR1000RR 1’51.003; 12. Simoncelli M. (ITA) Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1’51.090; 13. Haga N. (JPN) Ducati 1098R 1’51.112; 14. Lanzi L. (ITA) Ducati 1098R 1’51.333; 15. Muggeridge K. (AUS) Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K9 1’51.527; 16. Xaus R. (ESP) BMW S1000 RR 1’51.769.
Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Supersport) waited until the track had improved grip in final 20 minutes of the free practice session before going out to make his mark. The points leader set a time of 1 minute 52.751 seconds to put almost half-a-second between himself and the next man, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda). The other two top championship contenders, Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Motocard.com) and Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) were next up in third and fourth. Britain’s Chaz Davies made an encouraging start to his World Supersport career, the ParkinGo Triumph man ending up tenth quickest on his 675 machine, six places ahead of team-mate Garry McCoy.
Times: 1. Crutchlow C. (GBR) Yamaha YZF R6 1’52.751; 2. Sofuoglu K. (TUR) Honda CBR600RR 1’53.234; 3. Lascorz J. (ESP) Kawasaki ZX-6R 1’54.897; 4. Laverty E. (IRL) Honda CBR600RR 1’55.270; 5. Pirro M. (ITA) Yamaha YZF R6 1’55.354; 6. Aitchison M. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’55.499; 7. Roccoli M. (ITA) Honda CBR600RR 1’55.564; 8. Pitt A. (AUS) Honda CBR600RR 1’56.198