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HR Owen

The Yamaha R1 Takes Control

Qualifying 1 - Superpole - Race Report

Impressive Performance Sees Provisional Front Row For Melandri and Laverty at Donington

The second round of the World Superbike Championship got underway at Donington today with Yamaha World Superbike Team riders Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty taking provisional front row starts from the first qualifying session. Both riders spent today’s free practice and subsequent qualifying session working through further electronic set up possibilities with their Yamaha YZF-R1s, focusing on the rear of the bike.

Melandri was on competitive form for his first experience of the Donington track with a Superbike. The Italian rider moved up to the top of the time sheets with five minutes to go, dropping to second at the end of the session just 0.047 seconds from the front and one of only two riders to go below the 1’29 second mark with a 1’28.841.

Melandri’s teammate Laverty was on similar form, the young rider from Northern Ireland focusing on set up for the majority of the sessions before switching to a softer tyre in the last minutes. Laverty then climbed to fourth on the standings for a provisional front row ahead of tomorrow’s second qualifying session and Superpole heats, just 0.585 from the front of the pack.

Marco Melandri, Yamaha World Superbike Team

2nd, 1'28.841 (24 laps)

“It was a very positive first day, the bike’s basic set up is good and that’s a good sign, so overall I’m very happy. I feel much better physically and I’ve become more confident on the bike. We have to decide what race tyres to use as the temperature of the asphalt changes from the morning to the evening and therefore it’s not easy to decide. The team is working very hard to be ready for everything so let’s see what happens tomorrow and let’s hope for a good Superpole. I’m looking forward to it!”

Marco Melandri

Eugene Laverty

Eugene Laverty, Yamaha World Superbike Team

4th, 1'29.379

“A very good first practice this morning. We were low down in the classification but we knew that what we were testing this afternoon would make a big step and a guarantee a provisional front row which is perfect. It’s nice to put a safe lap in now which should put us through to Superpole. Tomorrow morning we’ll work on our race setting and be ready for the two races on Sunday.”

Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager - Andrea Dosoli

“We had a good start to the event here in Donington Park, the first day went well. Both Marco and Eugene were working on a different set-up, concentrating mainly on the rear of the bike. In Phillip Island we used an extreme set up and now we have gone back to original settings. We are satisfied having both riders in the top four positions, moving forward they are both working on a few details, to be ready tomorrow for the second qualifying practice. The bike has performed well in both Phillip Island and in Donington on completely different set ups, so that proves the bike is very competitive and the riders are fast.”