News 9 May 2010

WSBK: Biaggi scores first career Superpole at Monza

As remarkable as it sounds, six-time Superbike World Championship race winner Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) scored his first career pole on Saturday at Monza, holding off a field packed with potential pole men at his home race in Italy.

The Roman’s best Superpole lap was a new track best 1:42.121, putting him on pole for the first time in his four year Superbike World Championship career. His average lap speed for his new record lap was 203.653 km/h. Biaggi also set the fastest top speed in WSB history today, hitting a recorded 330.2km/h.

Biaggi was followed by Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Sterilgarda) on a 1:42.154, only 0.033 from topping the pre-race rankings.

Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) finished off the first row, with the second row headed by championship leader Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare). Ruben Xaus (BMW Motorrad), who fell late in the session, James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the top eight riders.

Sykes gave Kawasaki its best qualifying performance for some time and with slipstreaming ruling the races at Monza, the Englishman is keen to get to grips with tomorrow’s races. Crutchlow had set a new best mark in Superpole 2 with a 1:42.255, until Biaggi improved it still further in Superpole 3.

Daisaku Sakai (Yoshimura Suzuki Racing Team) was 21st in qualifying at a track that is new to him and his entire team. A fall in practice hurt his right shoulder, which also held him back when it came to final qualifying.

Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) took his ninth career pole with a new track best of 1’47.848 in final qualifying, outpacing a late charge from Parkalgar Honda rider Eugene Laverty. Only those two went into the 1:47s, with championship leader Joan Lascorz ( Kawasaki) third fastest. Michele Pirro from Hannspree Ten Kate Honda was a creditable fourth, and former WSS Champion Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) fifth on his privateer machine. The best Triumph on show belonged to David Salom (ParkinGO BE-1 Triumph), in sixth place.

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) took his third Superstock 1000 pole of the year today, ending up 0.252 seconds ahead of another BMW rider, Sylvain Barrier, from the Garnier Junior team. Three Honda riders followed the leading duo with Michele Magnoni (SCI Garvie Image), Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior) and Andrea Antonelli (Team Lorini) completing the top five. Badovini set the new track best with his 1’46.092, as the sun shone on Monza once more.

A thrilling Superstock 600 race between riders on three different types of machines finally went to Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) after an express train of leading speed was only derailed on the final corner. Florian Marino (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) tried to pass leader Guarnoni but ran wide at the Parabolica, and Leandro Mercado (BWG Racing Kawasaki) was pushed wide and crashed. Marino would get going again to score third, with pole man Federico D’Annunzio (Yamaha Martini Racing) second. In the championship, Guarnoni leads on 86 points, 20 ahead of Marino. A rash of fallers in the early laps of the race ensured that only nine riders made the finish.

Click here for detailed results


Max Biaggi: “It’s been a great Saturday for us but it’s not Sunday! So far it’s the best qualifying we did ever, there are no points for Superpole but it’s the emotion that counts! I want to dedicate it to all the team, because they are working very hard. This is a big step forward for us because at the last race we started on the third row. We are running a good pace compared to Yamaha and Honda and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. A good tyre at the end of 18 laps is going to make all the difference, especially at the Parabolica.”

Cal Crutchlow: “All credit to Max, he did a good lap. We seemed to do a very good lap in Superpole 2 – a 1’42.2 on a seven lap old race tyre, then we put two qualifiers in the last session and never had any grip so I think the race tyre is better than the qualifier around here. It was a good lap and the races are going to be close and tough tomorrow.”

Michel Fabrizio: “It went very well and we are happy with this improvement, we really needed a result like this today. After three races in which we had been ‘missing’ it was vitally important to be up there. I’ve got a good chance of winning tomorrow’s races because my race pace is good, I feel like I’m down a few horsepower on the straight, I’ll have to find a rope and tie it to the closest four-cylinder bike to pull me along!”

Jonathan Rea: “I am happy because my bike is working pretty good and I am excited for the races tomorrow and it looks like we can be in a position to fight for the front. In the qualifying the other guys did a very good job and I could not match their pace but there will be some exciting races and for anyone sitting in the grandstands watching it should be cool tomorrow.”

More to come