Brett McCormick returned to action in the eni Superbike World Championship at the Nürburgring this morning, turning the 24th fastest time in the opening practice session. In his first serious outing in over four months, McCormick rejoined his Team Effenbert Liberty Racing squad to make his first ever outing on the twisting German venue, turning a best lap at 2:01.46.
“It felt right to be back out, to get the back issues behind me and really ride,” stated McCormick after his first 45 minute session on the Ducati 1098R Desmo twin. “Obviously, when everyone knows the track from previous events and it’s your first time, that first session isn’t going to produce any great times. You need to just build your experience, get those laps in.”
“So I’m all right with last of the group, but I’m close and we’ll get better as the weekend progresses. For instance there is probably three seconds alone just in turn one, that is a tough one, and I was playing it smart through there on the first session.”
“The track is sweet,” confirmed Saskatoon-born, Italy-based McCormick. “Honestly, you can pretty much see through all the corners, you can pick up your entry and exit points right away. There was a fourth gear sweeper, and by the fourth lap I pretty much had it pinned. I think I can do well here, it feels like a real Superbike track.”
“I’m happy, I’m good with the progress with the bike, it’s great to be back working with my crew chief Luca and all of my Effenbert team,” smiled 21 year-old McCormick. “Getting back up to speed, that’s obviously going to be good for me right now. We had no issues with the bike, it was running well.”
“Prior to the session, Luca and I discussed the plan, and since I hadn’t ridden for four months, I want to be consistent in my approach, don’t get out there with something to prove. So I’m approaching things a little different, want to work on my flow, be able to put the laps together in the races.”
There was a surprise for the squad prior to the first session, when Italian veteran Lorenzo Lanzi joined the team, replacing long time Effenbert stalwart Jakub Smrz. “I had no idea until the dude was changing next to me,” laughed McCormick. “But it isn’t a distraction; we have our own plans to work through.”
The best lap in the opening session belonged to Davide Giugliano on the Althea Racing Ducati 1098R, turning a tour of the 5.135km long venue at 1:56.395. Championship contender Max Biaggi was second on the works Aprilia RSV4 Factory at 1:56.52, series points leader Marco Melandri third on the factory BMW Motorrad S100RR entry at 1:56.601.
Fourth best was a strong effort for the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR of Jonathan Rea, the popular Brit busy doing double duty these days, leading the Honda effort in SBK while also substituting for injured World Champ Casey Stoner in the Repsol Honda MotoGP team. Usually slow while working on set-up during the first day of on-track action, Rea turned a lap at 1:56.68. The third potential SBK World Champ for 2012, Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja mounted Tom Sykes, was fifth best at 1:56.868.