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”.