Nevers (France), Friday 4 October 2013: Ayrton Badovini and Michele Pirro (Ducati Alstare) took to the Magny-Cours racetrack in France today for the first practice and qualifying sessions of this thirteenth round of the World Superbike championship.
On a damp track and in cool conditions, Ayrton and Michele took part in the weekend’s first practice session. The track began to dry out in part towards the end of the 45-minute session and times therefore began to drop. Ayrton recorded his best time in the final stages, closing in fourth place with a lap time of 1’43.8. Michele Pirro, taking part in his first weekend of Superbike competition, spent time working with his technicians in order to begin to set-up the bike to suit both rider and track. He made consistent progress, concluding in eighth place with a time of 1’44.3.
A short sharp rain shower just before first qualifying this afternoon did not prevent riders from recording some fast lap times. Starting to build confidence with both the new bike and the track, Michele made significant improvement during the session, registering his fastest lap in the final seconds (1’38.8) to close in tenth place. Ayrton, citing problems during braking, closed in thirteenth position with a best time of 1’40.2.
Ayrton Badovini: “Today was difficult, both in terms of the track conditions and due to the fact that we still haven’t been able to find a good set-up for my bike on this track. This morning I was only able to complete ten laps but nevertheless finished fourth. In the afternoon I hoped to improve and remain inside the top positions but unfortunately we were unable to do so. I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow so that we can continue to work and be ready for the Superpole.”
Michele Pirro: “I’m sorry that Carlos is unable to finish the season but I’m pleased to have this opportunity here this weekend. Conditions this morning were not easy but this afternoon we made a set-up modification and I was more comfortable, we were able to improve. Tomorrow we still have work to do in order to close the gap, as today we were a second from the leaders. There is room for improvement of course, especially through the second part of the turns, but considering today was my first day on track I’m quite satisfied. We’ll do everything we can to take a good result this weekend.”
TIMES (Qualifying): 1. Guintoli (Aprilia) 1’38.7; 2. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1’39.0; 3. Davies (BMW) 1’39.3; 4. Cluzel (Suzuki) 1’39.3; 5. Laverty (Aprilia) 1’39.4; 6. Giugliano (Aprilia) 1’39.5; 7. Philippe (Suzuki) 1’39.5; 8. Melandri (BMW) 1’39.6; 9, Fabrizio (Honda) 1’39.7; 10. Pirro (Ducati Alstare) 1’39.8…. 13. Badovini (Ducati Alstare) 1’40.2