MONZA, Italy – Mixed weather did not prevent eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders from tackling most of Friday’s qualifying session in dry conditions, so they were able to get up to full speed at the super-fast Monza Autodromo Nazionale, following the rain that hampered the first part of the day.
Home star Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) got the best out of the powerful BMW S 1000 RR to storm to first place with a lap time of 1:42.883. The Italian is finally feeling comfortable with the front end of his bike and he’s looking forward to some more track time in order to find a proper set-up for race day.
“It is great to be back at the top,” Melandri said. “Today I had such a good feeling on the bike, which I haven’t had for a long time, I am so happy. In the team, we are doing such a great job and I think we now really understand what went wrong at the beginning of the season. We struggled with the front part of the bike. It was not absorbing the bumps and it was difficult to turn, now this is much better.
“Of course, we still don’t have the perfect set-up, because 30 minutes track time in the dry is not enough. But we are starting from a good base and that means that we can fight for a good position at the end of the weekend.”
Following Melandri in second place was a revived Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), who showed some good potential after a productive test last week at Assen by finishing ahead of Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), who set an incredible top-speed of 333.6km/h.
The four-brand top-four was completed by the KRT Ninja ZX-10R of Tom Sykes, who lapped almost identically to the current Championship leader (0.011 seconds gap between third and fourth place).
The ‘well-known’ top-speed performance of the RSV4 was also displayed by sixth place Michel Fabrizio (Red Devils Roma), who recorded 331km/h at the speed trap (matching Melandri) but was preceded by another private Aprilia rider, fellow Roman Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing), and followed by works rider of Noale’s manufacturer Eugene Laverty.
BMW’s mixed day saw Chaz Davies’ spectacular crash at Turn 10 that almost destroyed his bike.
World Supersport qualifying saw improving conditions throughout the 45 minutes on track, with a bit of sunshine popping out from behind the clouds in the closing stages. Scotsman Kev Coghlan (DMC-Lorenzini Kawasaki Team) proved to be very comfortable on a damp Monza Circuit by setting a 1:59.339 towards the end of the session to precede home rider Andrea Antonelli (Goeleven Kawasaki) and the reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki).
Sheridan Morais (PTR Honda) rode his CBR600RR to fourth place ahead of Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) and Luca Marconi (PTR Honda).
In qualifying for Superstock 1000, Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) and Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Ducati) renewed their rivalry after Assen to finish in first and second position, respectively.
Championship leader Gauthier Duwelz (MTM Racing Yamaha) doesn’t want to leave anything to chance, even under the soaking wet conditions found in Friday’s Superstock 600 qualifying at Monza. The 19-year-old from Belgium took advantage of slightly improving conditions during the last 20 minutes to start pushing for better lap-times.
Duwelz managed to put in a 2:06.536 towards the end to secure first place over Italian Federico D’Annunzio (PATA by Martini Yamaha).
Friday’s Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda 45-minute free practice saw France’s Guillaume Raymond (Activebike) having the better of Augusto Fernandez (DS Junior Team) thanks to a 2:16.837 lap-time set on dry conditions at Monza.
World Superbike Qualifying Times
1.Melandri (BMW) 1:42.883 (202.144km/h);
2. Rea (Honda) 1:43.157;
3. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:43.510;
4. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:43.521;
5. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1:43.623;
6. Fabrizio (Aprilia) 1:43.849;
7. Laverty (Aprilia) 1:43.956;
8. Baz (Kawasaki) 1:43.961;
9. Camier (Suzuki) 1:44.106;
10. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1:44.466;
11. Checa (Ducati) 1:44.763;
12. Badovini (Ducati) 1:44.823;
13. Davies (BMW) 1:44.992;
14. Neukirchner (Ducati) 1:45.855;
15. Sandi (Kawasaki) 1:46.336;
16. Lai (Kawasaki) 1:47.192;
17. Akiyoshi (Honda) 1:47.201;
18. Iannuzzo (BMW) 1:47.509;
19. Aitchison (Ducati) 1:47.521.