Series debutants Red Devils Roma gave a fine introduction of themselves during the first day of action for the opening round of the 2012 World Superbike Championship by going sixth fastest in provisional qualifying.
The privateer team, formerly known as SS Lazio when it raced in the Superstock 1000 class, is stepping up to the premier Superbike series in 2012 with ex-MotoGP rider Niccolo Canepa on the Ducati 1098R and has already shown flashes of promise during pre-season testing.
Replicating that form during Q1 at Phillip Island, Canepa's best time was good enough for sixth fastest, ahead of both Kawasakis and the factory BMW of Marco Melandri. Even so, despite seeing his names in the upper portion of the timesheets, Canepa feels he has more to come.
"This afternoon we made a few changes to the bike with respect to this morning, when we worked a lot on the race. My set up was already good, so I attempted to find a strong lap time. I could not go around perfectly, but I clocked good times, so I am satisfied with my performance and the sixth place. I think the times will come down a lot tomorrow morning, because the temperatures will be lower than this afternoon.
“I have to improve myself in the last sector where I am making a few small errors and where can I shave few tenths off my lap time. It's been a very positive day and I want to congratulate the team that has today made its debut in World Superbike and has done an incredible job.”