Saturday morning’s second and final qualifying round of the eni Superbike World Championship race at Assen was a good news/bad news outing for reigning Canadian Superbike champ Brett McCormick of Saskatchewan.
The good news is that thanks to a strong performance yesterday afternoon during the few dry minutes of qualifying, McCormick has made it into SuperPole this afternoon aboard the Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R – a terrific achievement in just his second career World Superbike outing.
The bad news is that the 20 year old is nursing a sore hip thanks to a relatively low speed tumble during Saturday morning’s very wet second qualifying session. McCormick slipped off his Desmo v-twin Ducati on his initial “out” lap, meaning that he missed the entire session – the only rider not to record a time.
The weather at Assen in the northern Netherlands is typically changeable, the rain arriving early this morning even though none was predicted. The current expectation is that this afternoon will be dry while occasional showers will play havoc with Sunday’s race program.
“I don’t know how to explain that. It really caught me off guard,” explained McCormick of his fall. “I was straight up and down, at maybe thirty percent throttle, and I really didn’t expect that. The guys say that you have to be really gentle on your out lap with these rain tires when they are new, maybe ten percent throttle, so that is a lesson learned.”
McCormick promised to be ready for SuperPole, and still has one session to test the bike before this afternoon’s trio of outings to determine the front 16 positions for tomorrow’s two races. His crew had much of the relatively light damage inflicted to the right side of the Ducati repaired by the end of the 45-minute qualifying session.
The session was a busy one as all the top guns spent time in the unpleasant, slippery conditions, in preparation for possible rain later in the weekend. McCormick teammate and roommate, hard charging Jakub Smrz, was quickest with a lap at 1:55.6, almost 20 seconds slower than the typical dry track pace. Leon Haslam was second on the works BMW S1000RR, while Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja-mounted Tom Sykes placed third.
Niccolo Canepa did many laps with the Red Devils Rome Ducati, and wound up a solid fourth, confirming his front running status if the rain persists. Honda’s Johnny Rea looked quick but high sided his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade late in the session, winding up fifth best. He was unhurt in the fall.
Provisional pole belongs to Team Effenbert Liberty’s Sylvain Guintoli, courtesy of his strong early pace in yesterday’s briefly dry qualifyifier. All of the top 16 from the combined qualifying sessions, including McCormick, will be on track this afternoon to set tomorrow’s front grid locations.
SuperPole report to follow exclusively at Inside Motorcycles.