Unfortunately, McCormick’s steady progress in his debut at the ‘ring wasn’t enough to earn a slot in this afternoon’s SuperPole session. The top sixteen qualifiers so far, lead by Honda’s hot shot Jonathan Rea, will do battle to establish the front of the final grid for tomorrow’s two World SBK races.
“The first session we were five seconds back, then yesterday afternoon I was four seconds back and now I’m three seconds behind,” smiled McCormick, who just turned 21 years of age. “We’re getting there, we’re playing with our electronics, increasing the engine braking, and we’ll add some more in the next session at noon.”
“I’m getting comfortable, and good things happen when I’m comfy on the bike,” continued McCormick. “When I’m having fun, then I get on form, then the times come, and things are getting good here. This track is sick, it has a great flow, and the whole thing just works really well for me.”
“We tried a new front tire,” continued the 2011 Canadian Pro Superbike Champ of his spec Pirelli slick rubber. “They say this tire has more side grip, and it felt exactly like that. It was sweet, and we’ll try in again with a little more air pressure. The SC1, our regular race tire, feels good too, but this softer tire might be OK for a race distance on the Ducati. Some people might try to race on the new tire, depending on the conditions, so we’ll see what turns out to be our best choice.”
After dire predictions for bad weather at the frequently wet and wild Nurburgring, the track conditions have been surprisingly warm and dry so far, with increased heat predicted for Sunday’s two 20-lap races of the 5.136 G.P. venue.
Rea was fastest in the first 45 minute Saturday qualifying session for the Ten Kate Honda CBR100RR squad, turning a best lap at 1:55.157. Next up was Championship points leader Marco Melandri, setting a best of 1:55.182 on the lead BMW Motorrad S1000RR racer. Title contender Max Biaggi netted third for Aprilia, turning a tour at 1:55.24 on the RSV4 Factory model. Completing the top four was reigning SBK World Champ Carlos Checa on the Althea Ducati 1098R Desmo at 1:55.260. Over what is one of the longest lap times on the World Championship calendar, just over a tenth of a second separated the top four – an impressive result that promises much over a race distance at the daunting ‘ring.