Troy missed out on getting into Superpole 3 by the narrowest of margins at Imola today. Less than three hundredths of a second separated Troy and a place in Superpole 3, and so he will now start from the third row of the grid tomorrow. Ruben achieved his first goal of qualifying for Superpole 1, but his lack of track time with the new spec engine in his S 1000 RR prevented him from pushing harder and getting into Superpole 2. Nevertheless he was enjoying his riding again and, like Troy, is looking forward to tomorrow’s two 21-lap races.
Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) stole the Superpole 3 victory right at the death. Ben Spies (Yamaha) had laid down what looked like an unbeatable time of 1:47.778, but in the closing minutes Fabrizio put in a stormer of a lap and just managed to beat Spies. Third went to Jonathan Rea (Honda), with Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) fourth.
Troy – 9th, 1:48.971
Of course, it is disappointing to miss out on Superpole 3 by such a small margin, but that shows just how competitive the championship is and the difference between the second row of the grid and the third. But generally, things have gone pretty well this weekend, despite losing an hour yesterday, and we know which front tyre we’ll use in the race tomorrow. The rear is a choice of two, so hopefully we’ll sort that one out in the warm-up tomorrow morning. This circuit has three chicanes and these first gear corners do not suit our bike at present. It’s an area that the team know about, are working on and this problem will be fixed in the next engine spec. I feel that maybe our bike is the fastest out of the turns, but I can’t use the full power on the exit because it wants to wheelie. This is another area that will be sorted out soon, but at least the bike is easier to ride than it was earlier in the year and that means that I am enjoying myself again.
Ruben – 19th , 1:50.152
My first goal was to qualify for Superpole 1 and I did that, so that made me happy. But having done that, I wanted more and that was not possible today because I am not quite up to speed yet after nearly eight weeks off the bike. But the good news is that I feel good physically and I have no pain from my injuries. Even my arms were better today and now I just need time on the bike and work on understanding the improvements the team have made since I last rode it. For sure, the throttle connection is much better and the bike is easier to ride, but I am having some small problems braking and I have to work on that. I had a little tip-off this morning, but picked the bike up straightaway and rode back. No problem for me or the bike. Starting from so far back down the grid is going to be hard, but at least I should be able to avoid any trouble at the front if there is some. I want to have two good races, enjoy myself and be ready for the rest of the season.
Berti Hauser (Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director)
Firstly, I am happy that Ruben qualified for Superpole. This series is so hard and competitive and to qualify for Superpole is difficult enough, so he has done very well, considering his condition and circumstances. He has returned strong mentally and that’s what we were hoping for. It’s a big pity that Troy just couldn’t get into Superpole 3, but the times were very close and it shows how small the margins are. The track doesn’t suit our bike, because there are so many chicanes, but the next step of the bike should solve this problem. We’ve seen Troy make good starts before, so we will just have to wait and see what happens in the races. For Ruben, I would like him to survive the weekend in a good condition and continue his superb physical improvement before Magny-Cours next weekend.