Laconi takes pole at Sugo
Regis Laconi took a surprise pole position in today’s Superpole session at round three of the World Superbike championship in Sugo, Japan.
The French rider – whose only Superbike podium was when he won the second race at Imola in 2001 - improved his time from the morning’s qualifying session by more than a second to finish just two hundredths of a second ahead of Second Place Frankie Chili with a time of 1:30.064.
Gregorio Lavilla took his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to third place on the grid on the tight and twisty mountain track. And Japanese wild-card Atsushi Watanabe, also riding a GSX-R1000, finished the front row with a time of 1:30.582.
Neil Hodgson didn’t even manage to shave a tenth of a second off his morning qualifying time and struggled to keep control of his Ducati 999 on the superpole lap finishing in fifth place 0.6 seconds down on Laconi.
Chris Walker took his HM Plant Ducati to a valiant 1:31.033 superpole lap after highsiding in qualifying breaking several bones and loosing quite a lot of skin off his left foot. He starts from sixth on the grid followed by team-mate James Toseland in seventh.
Troy Corser finishes the front two rows of the grid clocking a superpole time of 1:31.369 but team-mate James Haydon starts the race in 21st after crashing twice in Friday’s qualifying session and failing to make up enough time today.
Nello Russo crashed heavily on his superpole lap. After highsiding at turn three Russo failed to let go of the bike and it landed on top of him when they hit the bales at the end of the gravel trap. The Spanish riders injuries were not thought to be severe but he was airlifted to Sendai hospital for a full check-up.
1 Regis Laconi 1:30.064, 2 Frankie Chili 1:30.084, 3 Grgorio Lavilla 1:30.496, 4Atsushi Watanabe 1:30.582, 5 Neil Hodgson 1:30.636, 6 Chris Walker 1:31.033, 7 James Toseland 1:31.053, 8 Troy Corser 1:31.369, 9 Hitoyasu Izutasu 1:31.500, 10 Lucio Pedercini 1:31.593, 11 Ivan Clementi 1:31.833, 12 Ruben Xaus 1:31.843, 13 Noriyasu Numata 1:32.037, 14 Mauro Sanchini 1:32.612, Steve Martin 1:33.165, Nello Russo DNF.
Suzuki has will be pleased this weekend. As well as getting two GSX-R1000s on the front row of the Superbikes race two GSX-R600Rs are holding the first two positions in the Supersport race.
Fujiwara Katsuaki took pole position with a time of 1:32.044 closely followed by his team-mate Stéphan Chambon just three tenths of a second behind.
Yamaha R6 rider Christian Kellner and ZX-6RR rider Pere Riba finished the front row and if it wasn’t for wild-card Tekkyu Kayo on the Yamaha R6, four CBR600RRs would have made up the second row of the grid. Karl Muggeridge took Sixth followd by Chris Vermuelen, Iain McPherson, and Broc Parkes.
1Fujiwara Katsuaki 1:32.044, Stéphane Chambon 1:32.344, 3 Christian Kellner 1:32.823, 4 Pere Riba 1:32.995, 5 Tekkyu Kayo 1:33.059, 6 Karl Muggeridge 1:33.078, 7 Chris Vermeulen 1:33.089, 8 Iain McPherson 1:33.127, 9 Broc Parkes 1:33.129, 10 Jurgen Van Der Goorbergh 1:33.132, 11 Thierry Van Den Bosch 1:33.259, 12 Fabien Foret 1:33.305, 13 Ryuichi Kiyonari 1:33.463, 14 Jörg Teuchert 1:33.478, 15 Alessio Corradi 1:33.579, 16 Werner Daemen Werner1:33.774.
Check back tomorrow for all the action from both races at Sugo as well as the MotoGP results from Welkom, South Africa.