AS EXPECTED, THE TWO RACES IN THE IMOLA ROUND HAD THE APRILIA RIDERS BATTLING LAP AFTER LAP. MAX BIAGGI'S TENACITY LED TO TWO FOURTH PLACES, IMPORTANT SPOILS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP. EUGENE LAVERTY, AFTER A FIFTH AND SIXTH PLACE, CAN NOW LOOK FORWARD CONFIDENTLY TO THE ASSEN ROUND.
Imola, 1 April – The more than 80,000 spectators in attendance at the Imola circuit had an exciting day with the show that the two Superbike races provided. The Aprilia Racing riders were among the key players at the “Enzo and Dino Ferrari” track, taking maximum advantage of a difficult track for the bikes from Noale.
Max Biaggi once again demonstrated his great stability. Although coming up against a few difficulties, starting from the Superpole yesterday, the Corsair gave it his all, managing not to lose sight of the front runners. Especially in the second race, after gathering important information during Race 1, Max and his team were able to close the gap with the leading riders, just barely missing the bottom step of the podium. Two fourth places are good spoils to take home from a championship point of view in the second race of the season on an historically difficult track.
“We couldn't have done any better than we did today – concluded Max – and the maths show it! Two identical placings, just off the podium, that I can say I'm fairly satisfied with. My only regret is for Race 2 because my team and I were able to make some improvements compared to the first, but unfortunately not enough to stay in the top three. We knew it would be difficult for us here and the low temperature didn't help. Now we're concentrating on Assen and how to react in order to make trouble for the leaders”.
The fourth and sixth place Eugene Laverty brought home, in light of the eleventh place on the starting grid, represent a first step in the apprenticeship process for the Northern Irish rider with his RSV4 and team Aprilia. In spite of performing well in two generous races, Eugene was forced to give in to the superiority of his rival, salvaging two results that earned him precious points.
“A fifth and sixth place are not bad at all after the Superpole yesterday, but I won't pretend I wouldn't have liked to have been battling with the guys at the front. I got a good start in both races and in the second we made some good progress on the RSV4 but the pace of the group up front was just too fast. We need to keep working. These two races were useful for providing a lot of information on the bike, we'll work on that in the tests tomorrow in the hopes that that it will give us a hand even from the next round”.
AFTER THE IMOLA SUPERPOLE APRILIA LOOKS FORWARD TO TWO DEMANDING RACES. MAX BIAGGI WAS HINDERED BY A FEW PROBLEMS IN SUPERPOLE AND HAD TO SETTLE FOR THE SECOND ROW. AN ABNORMAL VIBRATION COMPROMISED THE SESSIONS FOR EUGENE LAVERTY WHO WILL START FROM THE ELEVENTH SPOT ON THE GRID
Imola, 31 March – The Imola Superpole was more difficult than expected for the Aprilia Racing Team and its riders, five time champion Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty. After two practice sessions characterised by very close times among the rivals with Max Biaggi always in the top group and Eugene Laverty improving consistently, the Superpole which decides the starting order found Max hindered by tyre problems. The Corsair, who in any case came through the first two sessions boldly to battle in the top eight, ended with a time that earned him a spot on the second row.
As had already been seen during the sessions yesterday and today, the competition is extremely high. The time differences are still extremely close and there was a lively exchange of provisional places right down to the last available second. The tiniest mistakes are costly and the situation will most likely not change for the races tomorrow either.
“We had a few problems in Superpole – admitted Max – and it's a shame because the front row was within reach for us. We took more laps than expected and that also caused a few fuel problems for me in the last session. The work we've done over the past couple days is still valid and that gives us a positive outlook for the two races tomorrow. It certainly won't be a walk in the park, to the contrary, starting from the second row means that it will be an uphill Sunday for us”.
Eugene Laverty, after improving his feeling with the RSV4 session after session, was aiming for a good outcome in Superpole. However, the rider from Northern Ireland had some problems with abnormal vibrations which kept him from performing at the top of his game and was unable to make it past the second Superpole session, ending in eleventh place.
In spite of the fact that Superpole didn't go as he had hoped, Eugene looks forward to the races tomorrow confidently: “We made good progress with our setting today and I felt content after final free practice. Unfortunately we encountered a major issue with chatter in Superpole which stopped me from lapping quickly. I’m very disappointed because we will start the races from 11th on the grid. The team will investigate the problem and hopefully we can find the solution before the races tomorrow”.
THE FIRST VERDICTS ARE IN FOR THE IMOLA SUPERBIKE ROUND.
MAX BIAGGI STAYS AMONG THE TOP FOR THE FRIDAY TEST SESSIONS.
EUGENE LAVERTY CONTINUES WORKING ON HIS RSV4 AND IS IN NINTH PLACE.
Imola, 30 March 2012 – The first day of tests and the first verdicts are in at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola. The Aprilia Racing Team arrives at the first Italian round after the excellent start at Phillip Island, which saw Max Biaggi as key player in both races. The Corsair aims for the first success of his career on the track that saw his world victory in 2010, an ambitious goal, but one that Max and his Team began working on from the first Friday test sessions.
The day ended with a fourth qualifying time with extremely close times: an astonishing 15 riders are grouped to within less than one second of one another. This is a characteristic of the Imola track, decidedly improved (according to the riders) after the partial resurfacing. The last few tenths, notoriously the most difficult, will have to be shaved off tomorrow before the Superpole which will decide the starting order for the races on Sunday.
“As often happens here at Imola the times are really close – confirms Max – Every tenth of a second is important here because it can mean various positions in the race. We're quite happy with the work we did today, I'm back on this track after missing the races last year due to an injury. I found it pleasantly improved after the resurfacing, but it is still an old school track. Tomorrow we'll build on what we started today to improve even more. I saw a lot of riders in excellent shape who will definitely put the pressure on during the races on Sunday”.
Continuing his apprenticeship on the bike from Noale is Eugene Laverty, on the heels of a bit of an unlucky Australian round. The Northern Irish rider's physical conditions are good, so now what Eugene is missing is the right feeling with his RSV4 that he'll be riding on the Imola track for the first time. The twelfth time he put on the boards during the free practice session and the ninth during qualifiers are a testament to his improvement. Tomorrow Eugene will have to look for an edge in order to turn up at the races in the best possible condition.
“This morning I struggled a bit to find the best setting but in the afternoon we moved in the right direction. Now we're 4 tenths behind the front runners which is a good place to start for tomorrow. In any case we need to keep improving if we want to fight for a spot on the podium. A good outcome here would be very important for the season and that is certainly our goal, especially since my fitness is good and I can finally give 100%”.
AFTER THE AUSTRALIAN VICTORY MAX BIAGGI LEADS IN THE RANKINGS BUT HE DOES NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE DIFFICULTIES IN A CHAMPIONSHIP THAT IS ONLY AT THE START.
EUGENE LAVERTY'S CONDITION IMPROVES AND HE WILL BE AIMING FOR REDEMPTION AFTER MISFORTUNE AT PHILLIP ISLAND.
Imola, 28 March 2012 – The three colours of the Italian flag fly over World Superbike, with the first Italian round being held at Imola this year. A warm welcome is expected from the fans, since this year has all the makings for a decidedly exciting championship, a fact that was reconfirmed by the close times seen during the recent testing in Aragon.
The first race weekend at Phillip Island, which saw Max Biaggi take a first and second place after two colossal performances, gave the Aprilia Racing Team confidence. The five time world champion demonstrated that he is in good shape and has a perfect feeling with his RSV4, well supported by a team that has quickly metabolised the pace and commitment that World Superbike demands.
We have a long road ahead of us, Max confirms: “We can't let ourselves be deceived by what we demonstrated at Phillip Island. Every race makes its own history. Imola isn't our favourite track. We'll see how much the resurfacing does to change things. I'm in perfect shape and so is the team: if there is battle to be done we will certainly not be retreating. The two days of testing at Aragon confirmed the progress our rivals have made. This is shaping up to be a championship with quite a few contenders for the title. We aren't frightened by the challenge, to the contrary, it's what we need to keep us vigilant and 100% committed race after race. A lot of our fans will be at Imola and that is just more motivation to do well”.
Eugene Laverty's situation in the garage is different. After excellent results in the pre-season tests, an injury to his hand kept the Northern Irish rider from showing his true potential at Phillip Island. Eugene's physical conditions are improving constantly and his goal for the Imola races is to get on the podium.
"Imola is the most physically demanding circuit on the calendar – admits Eugene – so I'm pleased that I'm nearly back to full fitness. I've twice finished on the podium at Imola in the World Supersport Championship but it's one of the few circuits where I haven't won at so I'd love to challenge for the victory this time around. It's a long season though so the most important thing for me at this stage is to build up some momentum after such a tough start to the season. We enjoyed a two day test at Aragon recently where I had the chance to get more comfortable on the Aprilia so hopefully that will be evident at Imola".