Reigning Canadian Superbike Champ Brett McCormick enjoyed his second career session as a World Championship Superbike competitor at Imola, Italy today, riding his Effenbert Liberty Racing Team Ducati 1098R to the 24th best qualifying time. In his debut at the famed Imola venue, the 20 year old earned praise for his steady improvement, shaving almost three seconds off his best time between his first session in the morning and the afternoon’s first official qualifying period.
“Yeah, I’m really pumped, the bike is good, and it’s improving, too,” explained McCormick in a busy, sun drenched paddock. “We had a little issue with the rear shock and that cost us a few minutes of track time, but it was no big deal. Overall, I’m riding a lot, and for me in my situation, track time is key.”
“I struggled a little in that first session,” confirmed McCormick after turning 14 laps in his second ever on-track session as a World SBK class competitor. “This track is a little like Mosport back in Canada, sections are blind, and you have to figure some things out.“
“I dropped those three seconds, (from a best of 1:54.6 in the morning to a second session lap at 1:51.703) and I’m beginning to get comfortable with the track and the bike. I’d done a few sessions with a Ducati, but this is my first race, and so far in 2012 I only have some test laps on the new Ducati Panigale at Phillip Island in Australia, so it’s good to get busy again.”
With his improved pace and comfort level, the Saskatchewan ace is now closer to most of the other series riders in terms of lap times and pace, and able to run with them on-track.
“I’m getting to ride with some people, see a few things, work on some things,” continued McCormick. “You learn a little bit here and there, it all goes into the memory banks. Really, just getting the time on track helps so much; some of these guys have hundreds of laps this year, and it will take some time to catch up.”
“I’m really comfortable on the bike, the front end is so great, just the way I remember it from those Ducatis, from the tests I’ve done. Even when I’m in way deep, even when I can get the bike to seriously fold, the front end hangs in there.”
Tomorrow’s schedule features SuperPole, a grid-setting format that McCormick is somewhat familiar with from the Canadian series. However, as a newcomer to the tour, he will be happy to make it into the second tier of track time – a practical, short-term deal for a World Championship rookie. On Sunday, McCormick will compete in two 21-lap points races, his debut on the tour.
McCormick’s teammate (and roommate to boot) Jakub Smrz set the best time of the second Friday session with a lap at 1:48.1 aboard another Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati 1098R desmo twin. Second and third were the Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninjas of Joan Lascorz and teammate Tom Sykes. Local hero and former World Champ Max Biaggi rounded out the top four aboard the works Aprilia RSV4.
The best top speed of the session was set by Leon Haslam on the works BMW S1000RR, running a strong 280.7 kph through the traps. McCormick best top speed number was a 267.2 reading.