The Althea Racing team made the best possible start to its weekend of Superbike racing at the Nürburgring today, closing first qualifying in first and second position with its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano.
In this morning’s first free practice session, which took place in sunny and dry conditions (air temperature 20 ̊C, track 35 ̊C), both Giugliano and Checa worked efficiently with their teams, making changes to the set-up of their 1198 bikes throughout the time available to them.
Checa, who won race 1 here last year, made a series of quick laps, the best of which was a 1m57.1, Thanks to this time, he closed the session in seventh position. Giugliano, after last year’s Stock 1000 win here, soon got back into the rhythm of the German track, recording some very fast laps, in under 1.57, which secured his position at the very top of the timesheets.
The young Italian talent closed in first position, thanks to a best time of 1m56.3, while Biaggi and Melandri closed respectively two and three tenths of a second behind him. The track temperature rose as high as 47 ̊C during the afternoon qualifying session and all riders were able to significantly improve on the times set in the morning.
Both Althea men pushed hard from the start and were quickly up among the frontrunners. During the course of the session, Carlos was able to improve on his time by almost two seconds, making a series of laps in under 1m56 despite less than ideal levels of grip. His best lap – made in 1m55.3 – assured him of provisional pole position for Sunday’s races. His team-mate Davide, first in practice, further improved this afternoon, by another six tenths, to close the session in second place (1m55.7), four tenths behind leader Carlos.
Carlos Checa: “This is a track where Ducati has often done well in the past and so today we have confirmed that tendency; then we will see what happens in the races which are another story! We’ve seen that the tyres are losing grip after a few laps so if the level of grip on track doesn’t improve over the weekend it will be like this with pretty slippery conditions for the races. Having said that I’m feeling comfortable with both the bike and the track and both Davide and I have worked hard, consolidating our top team status. We’re definitely on the right track and will continue with the work tomorrow.”
Davide Giugliano: “We’ve worked hard today and in a calm and methodical way which is important. We’ve started on the right foot, also because we didn’t use the softer tyre solution today but the so-called ‘standard’ one so to record an interesting time with that one, seeing as it end up being the race tyre, bodes well. There’s still room for improvement as far as my general level of comfort with the bike but I’m confident. I’m getting better physically, though my neck and arm is still hurting me somewhat, I’m probably at about 70% fitness wise.”
TIMES (Qualifying): 1. Checa (Ducati) 1’55.3; 2. Giugliano (Ducati) 1’55.7; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’55.8; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’55.8; 5. Haslam (BMW) 1’55.8; 6. Biaggi (APrilia) 1’55.8; 7. Rea (Aprilia) 1’55.8; 8. Camier (Aprilia) 1’55.9
Source: Althea Racing
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