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Fabrizio takes charge as BMW go 1-2-3

4 May 2012

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BMW's quest to claim a maiden World Superbike Championship victory at this weekend's Monza round remains firmly on track as its four riders continued to dominate proceedings during Q1.

The manufacturer set an impressive pace to lock out four of the top five positions during FP1, a feat it has gone on to repeat during provisional qualifying, albeit this time with its satellite rider Michel Fabrizio leading the way.

Picking up where they left off from FP1, factory BMW riders Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam looked to be the clear contenders for Q1 honours, though Aprilia's Eugene Laverty was able to get close to them towards the end of the session.

However, it was Fabrizio impressive late lap of 1min 42.327secs that would undercut all three riders as he assumed his spot at the head of the timesheets, three thousandths of a second quicker than countryman Melandri, while Haslam held station in third.

Laverty maintained fourth fastest, though less than a tenth would prevent Ayrton Badovini from completing a BMW clean sweep of the top four positions. Along with Laverty, Tom Sykes and Max Biaggi were the only rivals to challenge the BMW rout, albeit still four and five tenths adrift respectively.

Making use of his rapid Aprilia RSV-4, Chaz Davies ended his Friday a strong eighth on the ParkinGO MTC machine, while Carlos Checa at least had the honour of leading Ducati's frustrated charge in ninth, just ahead of Althea team-mate Davide Giugliano.

Outside the top ten, Jonathan Rea and John Hopkins headed Honda and Suzuki's efforts in 11th and 12th, while Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz were able to squeeze themselves into the provisional top 16 ahead of the all-important Q2 session tomorrow morning, the latter doing so despite a crash.

Indeed, it was a tough day for the Ducati contingent as they struggled for top end speed, Lorenzo Zanetti, Niccol Canepa and Maxime Berger all currently outside the top 16, together with Hiroshi Aoyama, Lenadro Mercado, Mark Aitchison and newcomer Sergio Gadea, the latter managing just six laps after a technical issue.

Fastest through the speed traps during Q1 was pace setter Fabrizio, who topped out at 334.8km/h, equalling the quickest speed ever officially recorded by a Superbike.


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