The BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team has a good base for the two races tomorrow at British track, Donington Park. Factory riders, Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will start the fifth round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship from the second and third row. Marco finished today’s Superpole qualifying in sixth and local hero Chaz put his BMW S 1000 RR onto seventh place on the grid.
After yesterday’s cold and wet weather, today saw the return of spring to the middle of England. With sunshine and milder temperatures, the conditions allowed the team to start working properly on setting up the RRs for tomorrow. Marco finished the second qualifying session and the free practice in fourth and second respectively, Chaz was sixth and ninth in these sessions. In Superpole 1, both riders did their first outing on race tyres. Marco’s time allowed him to proceed to Superpole 2 and the Italian just did one more lap on used tyres when he went out for the second time. Chaz opted for a second outing on qualifying tyres and finished the session in second place. In Superpole 2, the RR riders chose different strategies. Chaz first went out on a used race tyre and then changed to his second qualifying tyre. With this, he rode the fifth fastest time to progress to Superpole 3. Marco did both of his outings on qualifying tyres and finished eighth. This also qualified him for the final and deciding part of the Superpole. There, both of them only had race tyres available, with Marco finishing sixth and Chaz directly behind him in seventh.
Marco Melandri: “I’m quite satisfied. Tomorrow I will start from the second row, which is not bad here at Donington. But I need to have a good start in order to keep in contact with the front runners. In Superpole we unfortunately could not use the additional grip that the qualifying tyres offer. It was much better with the race tyres. With them, I constantly improved and did a very good lap time. I am still looking for some more grip on the rear but we have some ideas how to improve. Tomorrow, we need to find a few more tenths of a second to have a good race pace. Overall, I’m positive for tomorrow. I just hope that we will have good weather.”
Chaz Davies: “We are improving, but not quite enough unfortunately. But it is actually a better grid position than I have had in the last few races. I think we made a good step forward regarding the settings and now I feel like I have a bike which could be reasonably competitive tomorrow. We are getting closer. But yesterday’s rain has hurt us a little bit. It has taken us too long to find the set-up because of the bad weather on Friday – as it already was the case at the last two races. I don’t have experience with the RR on this circuit so we have to just work a little bit more than the guys who are familiar with their bikes here. Anyway, it is all a learning process and we will see what we can put into play tomorrow. The plan is to first make a good start and get away with the front group. It would have been nice to be on the second row, but even from my position on the third row, it is not so bad.”
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “This morning, finally, the sun came out. The forecast for tomorrow is good too and we are confident we will have two dry races. We had a good day, apart from the fact that in Superpole we struggled a little bit with the qualifying tyres. Marco rode very well on race tyres and did his fastest lap with them. We’ll continue working in order to improve by some more tenths of a second so that he is even more competitive and able to fight for the front position. Chaz also did a good job on race tyres. We have to improve a little bit on his side too, especially in the first sector. On this basis I’m really positive for tomorrow, Donington is Chaz’ home race and this will boost him further.”
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Our target is always to start from the first two rows. We succeeded with Marco and with Chaz we missed it narrowly. Today we had to compress the work we normally do on two days into one day as yesterday we had bad weather. We had to look for the best set-up and we had to select tyres as well. We have not achieved our targets one hundred percent yet and some work has still to be done, even if we could see that both our riders improved their performance step by step with race tyres. Unfortunately we are still struggling with the qualifying tyre – mainly with Marco – we are not able to make the best use of the increased grip they offer. But we are confident that with race tyres he will be able to fight with the top guys tomorrow even if he is not one hundred percent happy with the rear end of the bike. We have some ideas and we will try something during the warm-up.
Chaz would like to be a bit more comfortable because the races will be tough as they have to do a lot of laps. So, it is important that the riders are able to be fast, not for one lap, but for the race distance and the bike should allow them to do that without requesting a lot of effort from the riders. So Chaz is looking for a bit of improvement regarding the handling of the bike.