Italian Alex Baldolini had a mixed day in Phillip Island, Australia for the opening round of the World Supersport Championship.
After an encouraging test earlier in the week, the former 250cc GP and Moto 2 star was optimistic of a good result but a crash in the opening free practice session this morning left the Italian nursing a bruised knee and facing a race against time to make it out for qualifying.
The Lorini Honda team worked their magic and despite missing the opening ten minutes Alex qualified in a provisional 17th.
This may appear on paper to be a lowly position but with less than 0.7 seconds covering the riders placed 3rd to 18th, Alex is confident of qualifying stronger tomorrow.
Alex Baldolini (P17) - 'It's been a tough day. In the morning there were lots of crashes and I also crashed at the end of the session. It was an unusual crash and hurt quite a lot especially my hips and my knee. We were late to start qualifying as the bike wasn't ready but the team managed to fix it. I was improving at the end of the session but I had a big moment in the last corner and I almost crashed again so I couldn't improve. Third position is not so far, I just need to lower some tenths. Tomorrow we will try to improve the settings and do our best to qualify strongly.'
Sunday's race has been reduced to 15 laps on the grounds of safety concerning tyre wear.
Lorini Honda rider Alex Baldolini declared himself satisfied after 2 days of official World Supersport testing at Phillip Island, Australia.
The former 250cc, Moto2 and WSS podium finisher switched from Triumph to Honda during the winter and has had little testing aboard his new machine.
The likeable Italian ended the final test sessions in 12th position overall and is confident that he can improve in qualifying ahead of the opening round of the championship on Sunday.
"Today was better. We made some more changes and I improved my time from yesterday within 3 laps. On my final lap today I was going pretty fast but there was some traffic which meant I didn't improve again. I am confident that we can go faster and I am looking forward to qualifying and the race." commented Alex.
(Michael Hill Promotions)
The rain may have stopped but the track was still very much wet when the final round of the 2012 World Supersport championship got underway at the Magny Cours circuit in France earlier today.
From the start, Alex Baldolini maintained his qualifying position of tenth on lap one and then set about challenging the riders ahead.
As the track dried, the Suriano Triumph rider looked more and more comfortable and was soon battling with Gabor Talmasci for 6th. Alex followed the Hungarian for a couple of corners before passing the former 125cc World Champion and over the next 5 laps was quick enough to open up a 3 second gap, leaving him in a secure 6th position.
With Sheridan Morais finishing 14th, the result today maintains Alex Baldolini in 7th position overall in the World Supersport Championship in his debut season.
Results: 1. Cluzel (Honda) 22 Laps/97.042 km in 42'20.985 average 137.487 kph; 2. Lowes (Honda) 1.591; 3. Linfoot (Kawasaki) 27.615; 4. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 27.854; 5. Foret (Kawasaki) 31.601; 6. Baldolini (Triumph) 46.745; 7. Scholtz (Honda) 50.820; 8. Antonelli (Yamaha) 50.934; 9. Talmacsi (Honda) 53.090; 10. Metcher (Yamaha) 55.664; 11. Marino (Kawasaki) 57.222; 12. Nemeth (Honda) 58.375; 13. Toth (Honda) 1'00.363; 14. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'16.824; 15. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'17.175; 16. Erbacci (Yamaha) 1'17.492; 17. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'26.293; 18. Jessopp (Honda) 1'36.675; 19. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1'38.983; 20. Stamm (Suzuki) 1'40.174; 21. Menghi (Yamaha) 1'47.916; 22. Praia (Honda) 1'48.178; 23. Maurin (Kawasaki) 1 Lap; 24. Carr (Honda) 1 Lap; 25. Tamburini (Honda) 1 Lap; 26. Quarmby (Honda) 1 Lap; 27. Parkes (Honda) 1 Lap; 28. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 2 Laps; 29. Polzer (Yamaha) 2 Laps; RT. Marrancone (Honda); RT. Debise (Honda); RT. Blokhin (Yamaha).
Riders Championship: 1. Sofuoglu 231; 2. Cluzel 210; 3. Lowes 172; 4. Foret 171; 5. Parkes 135; 6. Morais 96; 7. Baldolini 96; 8. Quarmby 84; 9. Iannuzzo 60; 10. Antonelli 60; 11. Leonov 52; 12. Tamburini 50; 13. Talmacsi 44; 14. Metcher 40; 15. Roccoli 30; 16. Scholtz 28; 17. Lanzi 25; 18. Linfoot 25; 19. Lanusse 25; 20. Toth 19; 21. Cruciani 19; 22. Nemeth 17; 23. Marconi 16; 24. De Rosa 15; 25. Day 14; 26. Marino 14; 27. Richards 11; 28. Debise 10; 29. Linortner 8; 30. Van Poppel 8; 31. McConnell 7; 32. Voskamp 6; 33. Pesek 6; 34. Caiani 4; 35. Jacobsen 3; 36. Menghi 3; 37. Lombardi 2; 38. Clarke 2; 39. Mossey 1; 40. Jessopp 1.
Suriano Triumph rider Alex Baldolini will line up 10th on the final World Supersport Championship grid of 2012 tomorrow after a last lap push saw him improving his lap time significantly in final qualifying earlier today.
The Magny-Cours circuit in France is the 3rd circuit in a row that the Italian rider has never ridden at which makes his grid position even more impressive.
The weather conditions yesterday restricted Alex's ability to find a competitive setup and a small crash in the opening dry session also hampered him early on in the weekend.
The final qualifying session saw Alex again working hard on setup and his final lap was executed perfectly to ensure that the likeable Italian will be in a strong position to consolidate 7th overall in the World Championship standings in his debut year in the World Supersport Category.
Tomorrow's race will run over 20 laps and is due to start at 1330 local time.
Results: 1. Parkes (Honda) 1'41.545 average 156.380 kph; 2. Foret (Kawasaki) 1'41.742; 3. Cluzel (Honda) 1'41.886; 4. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 1'41.937; 5. Lowes (Honda) 1'41.943; 6. Talmacsi (Honda) 1'42.108; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 1'42.265; 8. Iannuzzo (Triumph) 1'42.440; 9. Roccoli (Yamaha) 1'42.454; 10. Baldolini (Triumph) 1'42.499; 11. Linfoot (Kawasaki) 1'42.577; 12. Quarmby (Honda) 1'42.630; 13. Marino (Kawasaki) 1'42.684; 14. Leonov (Yamaha) 1'42.714; 15. Metcher (Yamaha) 1'42.725; 16. Scholtz (Honda) 1'42.829; 17. Debise (Honda) 1'42.952; 18. Antonelli (Yamaha) 1'43.002; 19. Toth (Honda) 1'43.222; 20. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 1'43.283; 21. Marrancone (Honda) 1'43.517; 22. Stamm (Suzuki) 1'43.939; 23. Nemeth (Honda) 1'43.954; 24. Jessopp (Honda) 1'44.288; 25. Menghi (Yamaha) 1'44.361; 26. Tamburini (Honda) 1'44.403; 27. Praia (Honda) 1'44.458; 28. Lombardi (Honda) 1'45.084; 29. Carr (Honda) 1'45.306; 30. Erbacci (Yamaha) 1'45.664; 31. Polzer (Yamaha) 1'45.840; 32. Maurin (Kawasaki) 1'46.569; 33. Blokhin (Yamaha) 1'47.614.