Today’s first practice session at the Imola World Superbike 12th round was abandoned after less than two laps due to the very slippery nature of the track and so Alstare Brux rider Yukio Kagayama and Karl Muggeridge one hour of valuable track time.
A WTCC race had taken place at the circuit the week before and the spillage of a lot of diesel fuel was blamed as the possible cause for the slippery track surface. It took the circuit staff many hours to clean the track and so the team had to go out at 17.45 for their only practice session of the day.
In addition to the track problems, Team Suzuki Alstare Brux were trying out Ohlins suspension for the first time and so the lost one-hour was even more deeply felt. Nonetheless both riders got to grips with the new system and reported back very favourably.
Kagayama rode superbly, despite some slippery areas in the track, and finished sixth fastest. Team mate Muggeridge (standing in for Max Neukirchner) continued his steep learning curve and ended 15th.
Yukio Kagayama – 6th, 1:50.516:
“Conditions in the first practice were very scary and it was good that the session was stopped and the track was cleaned. I have never ridden on a track like that and the feeling was very strange and not good at all! So, we lost one hour and that is a shame because we need as much time as possible to understand our new suspension. In the short time we used it, in the one session at the end of the day; I was happy with it and left the track smiling. And it has been a while since I have done that. Of course, there is a lot of work to be done, but at least I can see a good and positive future right now.”
Karl Muggeridge – 15th, 1:51.527:
“It’s not so good for me to lose one hour when I am still learning the bike and now also learning a new suspension system. That’s a lot to learn in one day and so I feel at a disadvantage compared to the other riders. Also, I didn’t test here when the teams came in July and so I had to relearn the track because it has changed since I raced here in 2006. But things went pretty good today and I am satisfied with the progress we made in such a short time and I am looking forward to two sessions tomorrow and understanding the bike better.”
Friday WSB qualifying: 1 Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) 1:49.895, 2 C Checa (ESP-Honda) 1:50.125, 3 Spies (USA-Yamaha) 1:50.213, 4 Rea (GBR-Honda) 1:50.308, 5 Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia) 1:50.515, 6 Yukio Kagayama (JPN-Suzuki Alstare Brux) 1:50.516. 15 Karl Muggeridge (AUS-Suzuki Alstare Brux) 1:51.527.