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Donington WSBK Superpole highlight action with rider quotes

While air and tarmac temperatures were down right chilly at Donington Park for yesterday’s Superpole, temperatures and tempers were sizzling hot on and off track.
Check out this highlight video of the session and decide for yourselves if Marco Melandri and Max Biaggi deserved to be warned by the race direction for their on track antics.

(Biaggi’s fine for slapping Melandri was totally justified).
Thankfully Noriyuki Haga who had his own little run in with Biaggi, decided to play it cooler.
Rider quotes after the jump.
Carlos Checa: “What can I say? Everything is working so well here at Donington, we expected to go well and we did it.

Our progress from yesterday to today was quite comfortable, basically today the tyres were working well with these conditions and this cold.
With one lap to get going it was not easy to get confidence but I was able to get a good enough time to get the pole and that’s important for tomorrow.
” Leon Haslam: “Donington is my local circuit and me and Tom have had some great battles in the past in BSB, I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.

We got a front row start which we wanted.
I’ve definitely made some good progress from Australia to this event so hopefully it’ll be a dry day tomorrow and I can try and beat Carlos this time.
”Tom Sykes: “I’m really happy now with this good starting slot for tomorrow’s races.
I think that’s the hardest part of the weekend because qualifying is always important.
We had a little problem in SP2 and had to waste a qualifying tyre but for SP3 we went out on a race tyre.
The second row was guaranteed but to squeeze onto the front row was something unexpected.
”Jakub Smrz: “Donington is one of my favourite races.
I had a crash this morning at the very fast Craner Curves, where I have crashed before in the past but I was OK.
I am satisfied with my front row position and I have a good set-up for the race, I would have liked to go a bit better in qualifying but the front row is good for me.
” Noriyuki Haga:“We’ve done a great work all weekend long, reaching a good set up to face the round with.
We still have a few little details to work on and we’ll do this during the warm-up tomorrow morning, when we’ll try to chose the best tyre to adopt.
Hopefully my forearm pain won’t put a strain on the round.
Its probably caused by a fracture I suffered here a few years ago and with this cold is much easier to feel some aches.
”Max Biaggi:“Today we had some difficulties due both to the low temperature and some choices on the bike set-up that weren’t dead on.
In fact, in view of the races tomorrow I’ll talk things over with my team.
I think we’ll backtrack, at least partly, to recover a bit of feeling.
Unfortunately we only have the warm-up session to verify the feelings we’ve perceived today, so we’ll have to really give it our all to be at our best racing conditions”.
Leon Camier:“We arrived at the last Superpole session with no qualifier left; I had to use them to get into the top eight.
In spite of that we’ll be starting from the second row tomorrow after working well on our race pace.
I think we’ll be able to do well, both here and in the races to come, now that I feel well physically and I’m beginning to gain familiarity with the RSV4.
A bit of extra motivation – riding at home – can’t but help me more”.
Jonathan Rea:“Today was not so bad really, although I guess we could have gone a bit faster in Superpole 1 on the race tyre so that we didn’t have to use a qualifier.
But we wanted to make sure of getting into the last eight and I then had to go out on a second-hand qualifying tyre which ran out of grip pretty quickly.
We’ve worked hard all day trying to cover all the bases for tyre options.
With the temperature changing, we need to know which of the three combinations works best in all conditions but the track temperature tomorrow will really dictate which one we use.
We still need to find some time in the final corner – I need a little bit more en gine braking at the end of the turn and a bit more punch to get out.
I feel OK in the first three sectors though but it’s going to be a very tactical race.
The ones who’ve worked hardest over the weekend will be the ones who choose the right tyre for the race conditions.
Hopefully we’ve done our homework.
”Marco Melandri:“I’m disappointed to be starting on third row of the grid tomorrow, but that’s what happens in Superpole.
I’m just sorry that it was another rider’s fault.
Biaggi showed his true professionalism today, he cut in front of me even though he clearly had seen me and that’s not how a World Champion should be riding.
I’m going out there tomorrow even more determined than ever and I believe our race pace is good.
”Troy Corser:“We had no serious issues, but there were some small vibrations in the rear tyre on the second qualifier.
We are still just trying to find a good set-up.
The cold weather was no problem, just a bit hard on the tyre.
It seems to be tearing up quite a bit with the cold, but that is okay.
Overall I am happy, but not with the qualifying result.
The race tyre is quite good and consistent.
We just need to get a good start and then we will see what is possible.
”Michel Fabrizio:“Considering that I ended 17th fastest yesterday, I guess you could say that 11th today is a good improvement.
But of course, I would’ve preferred a place on the second row of the grid because that would’ve made the starts a little easier.
Now I will have to make sure I make good starts in both races to be able to fight with the leaders.
It feels a bit like a funnel going into turn one, so I definitely do not want to get held up entering the turn.
It’s going to be a bit hectic for sure, but I certainly want to be in the top six by the time I exit the turn.
Today’s conditions were very different to yesterday and it was very cold indeed.
That didn’t seem to affect our grip level though, so we were able to concentrate of finding a good set-up for the bike.
At the moment we are not quite there yet, but we have improved a lot since the first session yesterday.
The feeling of the bike in Superpole 2 was good.
It is this that we want to build on for the races, so we will try a few little things in the warm-up tomorrow.
The difference in lap times from pole to me are pretty small, so I don’t think anybody is going to clear off and easily win the races.
There are going to be some big battles tomorrow and I am really looking forward to them.
”Joan Lascorz:“I improved on my best lap time when I put on the first qualifier and that is what we are aiming for.
We used the second qualifier and I was not able to do the same lap time and that is why I could not go into the next Superpole session.
I need a bit more understanding of the bike but I am happy, and Tom is showing that the new bike is working pretty well.
”Eugene Laverty:“It wasn’t an ideal Superpole today, Phillip Island went problem free and we finished fifth there so we were hoping to do much better here.
We saw how cruel Superpole can be sometimes, we are starting from 13th on the grid tomorrow, however I’m confident I can get through the pack.
Marco is just ahead of me on third row and he’s strong on the first lap so I’ve got to tuck in behind him and slice through together.
Whatever set up we choose I feel confident I can ride the track to its maximum.
”Ruben Xaus:“For me, this weekend is like another pre-season test.
We tested during the race in Phillip Island in 30 degrees and now the conditions are much colder so we must test some more things here at Donington! The way the bike behaves is completely different here to Australia.
Yesterday we were OK and had some problems in the final section of the track.
We tried to improve that today, when it was much colder, and we went the wrong way and I couldn’t improve.
We had grip and braking problems.
As the crew said: “We know the bike, but we don’t know you so well yet.
” Of course, I know myself, but I don’t know the bike so well yet! I’m much happier than I was in Phillip Island though, because there we were lost.
I hope tomorrow we can make two good races and get some good top ten points and go to Assen with even more good information.
”Roberto Rolfo:“I’m a little bit disappointed with today’s qualifying practice.
We still have some set up problems to solve and in these conditions I can’t push hard enough to improve my lap times so as to enter Superpole.
I worked with my team trying some different settings but I was not able to find the right feeling with my bike.
I’m satisfied with the work we have done over these two days and also this afternoon we worked a lot on suspension and electronics to find a solution for our setting problems in view of tomorrow races.
Anyway I will be trying my absolute best for the races although I expect it to be very tough tomorrow.
”Mark Aitchison:“In the morning’s qualifying we tested some new settings to make me more comfortable on the bike, but unfortunately we did not move in the right direction and so I missed out on Superpole.
The weather conditions were colder and there was less grip, but the main problem was that I did not find the right feeling with my Kawasaki.
In the afternoon free practice I worked very hard with my technicians and we found some good improvements on my bike set up.
Tomorrow’s races will be very difficult, starting from fifth row, but I’m still feeling positive, also because the bike’s potential is very high and the team is doing a great job considering the little time we’ve had”.
Ayrton Badovini:“Today the track was not in the same conditions of yesterday and fall in first qualifying session prevented us from time to hit the decisive moment.
In today’s free practice we worked on the duration, since the rythm does not is bad and we hope to have a good race.
”Chris Vermeulen:“It was great to get the chance to ride here and we made the most of it on the first day.
My knee is just too sore to ride any more this weekend but I hope to get some more track time in on my Ninja ZX-10R before the Assen round and do a complete weekend there.
The new bike feels good and I have been able to start making changes to the handlebar position and so on, so the track time at Donington has been very useful.

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