Belfast Telegraph

Superbikes: Laverty ready to rock

By Paul Lindsay

Reigning champion Max Biaggi set the fastest time in the opening qualifying session for tomorrow’s World Superbike second round at Donington Park.

Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty was fourth quickest with countryman Jonathan Rea down in 16th.

Italian Biaggi, second in the points standings after two second places in the opening round in Australia, left it late in the session to put his factory Aprilia in first with a lap time of one minute 28.794 seconds.

Second spot went to the factory Yamaha of another Italian, Laverty’s team-mate Marco Melandri, third in the points as championship leader Carlos Checa was pushed back to third.

The Czech Republic's Jakub Smrz (Ducati) is in fifth and Britain's Leon Haslam a disappointing sixth on the factory BMW after topping the timesheets earlier in the session.

Troy Corser (BMW), Ruben Xaus (Honda), Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki) and Leon Camier (Aprilia) rounded out the top 10.

Melandri and Laverty both spent yesterday’s free practice and subsequent qualifying session working through further electronic set up possibilities with their Yamaha YZF-R1s, focusing on the rear of the bike.

Laverty said: “It was a very good first practice. We were low down in the classification but we knew that what we were testing in the afternoon would make a big step and guarantee a provisional front row which is perfect.

“Now we’ll work on our race setting and be ready for the two races on Sunday.”

Laverty’s Yamaha World Superbike team manager Andrea Dosoli added: “We had a good start to the event here in Donington Park. The first day went well.

“Both Marco and Eugene were working on a different set-up, concentrating mainly on the rear of the bike.

“At the first round in Phillip Island, in Australia, we used an extreme set up and now we have gone back to original settings.

“We are satisfied having both riders in the top four positions — now they are both working on a few details, to be ready for the second qualifying practice.

“The bike has performed well at both Phillip Island and in Donington on completely different set ups, so that proves the bike is very competitive and the riders are fast.”

Former champion James Toseland misses Donington, the first of two home rounds this season, after the BMW rider suffered a wrist injury during testing following a poor showing in Australia.

Belfast Telegraph


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