Kenan Sofuoglu continued to set the pace ahead of Sam Lowes in a session split by a red flag for spilled oil. Both front-runners are in good provisional positions if the British weather affects the final qualifying tomorrow, as has been suggested.
Kenan Sofuoglu and Sam Lowes continue their close battle with Sofuoglu the fastest by under a tenth of a second. Ronan Quarmby, stepping in for Gabor Talmasci, was the only other rider to get within a second of the fastest time.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams and the organizers after Sunday's tragic events at Moscow Raceway:
The loss of Andrea Antonelli cast a very long and very black shadow over the Moscow round of World Superbikes, In his second year in World Supersport, the popular 25 year old Italian was well thought of in the paddock, by friends and rivals alike. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
On track events are all overshadowed by the tragedy, yet we were introduced to a new aspect of World Superbike racing that serves to distract us from the depressing side of the sport. The wet conditions of the only World Superbike race run today gave us the first look at how flag-to-flag racing works. On days where rain is strong enough to normally stop a race, instead, riders have to race whatever the conditions, barring conditions deemed too dangerous. The single bike rule means that riders cannot, like they do in MotoGP, change bikes from one with a dry setup and tyres to one prepared for the wet. Instead, riders enter the pits, without crossing the boundary line to the garage that would signify they are no longer taking part in the active race, and change tyres and have their mechanics make a few suspension adjustments.
In the rain of Moscow, Kawasaki Goeleven rider Andrea Antonelli died from injuries sustained in a first lap crash of the World Supersport race. The Italian Antonelli lost control of his Kawasaki ZX6R at the start of the long straight and was hit from behind by Lorenzo Zanetti who was unable to avoid the stricken rider.
Medics tried to revive him to be able to airlift him to hospital, but his injuries were too great.
The World Supersport race was red-flagged after just one lap as Andrea Antonelli was involved in a nasty crash on the straight. The one lap that was contested was a typical fight between Sam Lowes and Kenan Sofuoglu and Michael Van Der Mark was duelling with Vladimir Leonov for third.
The rain is too bad for a restart; there will be no more racing today, in any class. There is no news on Antonelli's condition as yet.
The weather at the Moscow Raceway relented just long enough to allow a nice dry Superpole. Rain in the sessions before and after luckily didn’t affect the centrepiece of Saturday’s entertainment. On a track like Moscow, with a plethora of first- and second-gear corners leading to a one kilometre straight, you would expect different bikes to perform well in different halves, with the nimble bikes owning the first two sectors, but being demolished in the last sector by the faster bikes, and qualifying played out this way.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Moscow:
Rain caused trouble for World Supersport qualifying.
As the flag came out at the end of a drying session, it looked like another session with Sam Lowes snatching the top spot on his last lap, but instead, after Lowes set his last fast time, Roberto Rolfo on the MV Agusta came from nowhere and set a time two tenths faster. The track should dry out for the final qualifying later today.
Moscow is more like a national circuit than an international world championship venue. It’s a short track in character, in spite of the long back straight that leads to the last corner, offering a last chance passing place.
In the first timed session, Kenan Sofuoglu, last year's race winner, set the provisional pole time ahead of Yamaha teammates Sam Lowes and Vladimir Leonov at their team's home race. Sufuoglu's best time weas still seven tenths of Jules Cluzel's record of 1'37.347 from last year.
Sam Lowes set the pace in the first free practice session of the weekend, just beating his title rival Kenan Sofuoglu at the flag by two hundredths of a second.
Press releases from the teams and the series organizer ahead of this weekend's World Superbike round at Moscow Raceway in Russia:
The UK came one step closer to gaining a brand new race track on Wednesday. The Circuit of Wales received outline planning permission for the project to build a racetrack and engineering center near Ebbw Vale, in South Wales. This means that the track can go ahead, once funds have been found to build it, though the project is still subject to review by Welsh government inspectors.
The development of the Circuit of Wales is aimed at bringing a major engineering and technology center to a region of Wales which has suffered massive unemployment since the disappearance of the steel and coal industries. The objective is to build a race track to attract visitors and tourists to the region, and a technology center to provide permanent employment in a region once famed for engineering excellence. The circuit is set to field motorsports in a vast range of disciplines, from MotoGP and World Superbikes to World Touring cars to motocross. A Formula One round is not envisaged for the track, as Silverstone has that contract fairly well wrapped up.