The World Supersport race was halted after four laps after the front four riders all went down on oil that was not spotted from a third lap crash at Variante Della Roggia. The restart lasted for two laps before a rider crashed out of the Ascari chicane, immolating the motorbike and destroying the ablative air fencing; an automatic red flag. On the third start of the race, a ten-lap dash, a rider ploughed through Prima Variente, the first chicane, taking a few other racers with him. A third red flag was waved and the race was postponed until after the second World Superbike race. Nobody was significantly hurt in any of the incidents.
Eighteen laps at a dry Italian speed track that rewards a clear head and a fast bike.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at Monza:
Rain topped and tailed the day, hopefully squeezing the last drops out before the races tomorrow so that Monza can enjoy a very Italian mother's day. One lucky mother will be getting a set of Jules Cluzel leathers, stolen from his trailer, unless they're recovered before tomorrow. Another mother hoping to be lucky is Mrs Lowes, mother of Alex and Sam, who saw Alex Lowes win a BSB race on Monday and Sam Lowes win last Superbike race at Assen.
World Supersport qualifying looked more like a race, with large groups of riders clumped together in the fast sections, trying to get a slipstream advantage.
Superpole was blessed with the promised good weather, allowing the riders to get on with pushing their machines down the multiple high-speed sections of the old Italian track. The qualifying tyres were pink-ringed for Mother's Day instead of having their usual yellow stripe.
Eugene Laverty led Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes, all within a quarter of a second. Sylvain Guintoli was once again the fastest bike through the speed trap, at 337.1kmh, while Leon Camier ensured there were four different manufacturers of motorcycle in the top five.
For race-pace, Laverty, Sykes and Guintoli registered the most 1'42 laps, with Laverty stringing together a decent run at the end of the session.
Toward the end of the morning's free practice session, it looked likely the front row would end up an all-Kawasaki affair, but Sam Lowes was able to snatch his familiar position at the top in the flag. With both Kenan Sofuoglu and Fabien Foret recording higher speed trap figures, the slip stream effect in the race should prove important, as usual.
A storm hit Monza overnight and, in spite of the sun, the morning's qualifying session was declared wet. The track dried out towards the end, allowing a few riders to improve their positions from yesterday and sort out the lower slots for Superpole later. Without a complete dry session, the afternoon's free practice will be crucial to get a setting for both qualifying and racing. Marco Melandri remained in provisional pole, alongside Jonathan Rea, but Sylvain Guintoli was fastest in the session, improving his time, if not his position, from yesterday.
Carlos Checa underwent examination for shoulder pain after the Assen round and found he had an osseous edema on the head of the humerus of the left shoulder, probably the result of an older injury, enraged by the weekend's exertion. This morning, it was confirmed that he would be pulling out of the remainder of the Monza weekend. The 2011 world champion aims to be fit in time to race at the Donington round in two week's time.
Hector Barbera and his 23-year-old girlfriend have both been convicted of assault in a summary justice procedure in the Spanish courts. An altercation between the couple in a hotel in Jerez got out of hand late Thursday night, resulting in physical violence between the two, leading to them both being convicted for assault. Barbera was given a sentence of six months, and his girlfriend, referred to in reports only by her initials D.P., received a sentence of five months, both of which were commuted to fourteen months' community service, Spanish media are reporting.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Monza:
At Italy's temple of speed, last year's World Superbike weekend was ruined by rain and tyres. This morning's session was equally plagued, giving everyone a wasted morning as the forecast for the remainder of the weekend is sun, sun and more sun. The good weather finally turned up, courtesy of a delay in qualifying, and the slicks went on. Top speeds increased by 50kmh and lap times decreased by 20 seconds.
After a delayed start caused by an oil spill at the Ascari chicane, one that required cleaning up, the track was dry enough to warrant slick tyres. Marco Melandri was quickest with his BMW, pipping a surprising Jonathan Rea, while Sylvain Guintoli was the fastest in a straight line, clocking a respectable 333.6kmh in his weekend's effort to break the outright top speed record of 339.5kmh, set by Max Biaggi on a similar Aprilia RSV4.
As this was the first dry session, it's difficult to judge what the multiple 1'43 and 1'44 laps registered by the front-runners means, but there's a second to lop off the laptimes before they can beat Max Biaggi's 1'41.745, and that might require qualifying tyres.
Kev Goghlan takes provisional pole alongside Andrea Antoneli, showing once again that they have skill and speed in the wet.