Fabrizio Leads Imola Test

Gordon Ritchie | July 15, 2009

Variety was the spice of World Superbike life in the first day of testing at Imola, as far as the top four riders were concerned at least. Michel Fabrizio’s official Ducati topped the times with a 1:49.164 on the modified 3.06-mile circuit (now including a very slow first chicane) with Ben Spies second his Yamaha R1.Jonathan Rea’s continued the leading machine mix-up with third on his Ten Kate Honda, but the surprise of the first day was Ruben Xaus – fourth fastest and .6 of a second behind Fabrizio, but ahead of another 18 riders on the new-for-2009 BWM.Xaus used a new type of Pirelli race tire to set his time, and reputedly most of the top riders with access to development rubber also set their best times on this solution.With only the top riders from each team getting access to Pirelli development tires, it was up to Shane Byrne to go sixth and best privateer on a Sterilgarda Ducati that has changed little since the first race of the year. Just ahead of him was Carlos Checa, fifth, with Spies’ teammate Tom Sykes sixth.John Hopkin’s rapidly healing hip injury held out well enough in the first day to put him 13th, with Max Neukirchner going 14th in his first real test since the multiple leg injuries he suffered at Monza. In temperatures well into the 30s, it was hard work for all, not just those who were being held back by physical issues. Makoto Tamada came back on the works Kawasaki at this test, ending up 20th, one place up on his teammate Broc Parkes.In the Supersport division, Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow was king once again, from Kenan Sofuoglu and Eugene Laverty’s Hondas. With a 1:52.990, Crutchlow was .637 of a second ahead of Sofuoglu.One more day of testing remains.

Superbike Times

1. Michel Fabrizio Ducati 1:49.164 

2. Ben Spies Yamaha 1:49.262

3. Jonathan Rea Honda 1:49.684

4. Ruben Xaus BMW 1:49.823 

5. Carlos Checa Honda 1:49.842 

6. Shane Byrne Ducati 1:50.305 

7. Tom Sykes Yamaha 1:50.402 

8. Leon Haslam Honda 1:50.586 

9. Lorenzo Lanzi Ducati 1:50.797 

10. Yukio Kagayama Suzuki 1:50.861 

11. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 1:50.868 

12. Shinya Nakano Aprilia 1:51.055 

13. John Hopkins Honda 1:51.270 

14. Max Neukirchner Suzuki 1:51.276

15 Matthieu Lagrive Honda 1:51.33

Gordon Ritchie | World Superbike Editor

You may not understand Ritchie and his Scottish accent if you had him on the phone, but you can definitely understand what he writes as our World Superbike editor.