Scott Smart altered the suspension set-up on his Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the dying minutes of today's practice for the fifth round of the British Superbike Championship at Mondello Park and immediately slashed a full second from his lap times.
Smart crashed at the super-fast turn three in the morning session and was bruised and battered for the afternoon practice. He finished the final few minutes of the day using a new suspension setting and was getting faster with every lap. He claimed 10th quickest and is confident there is a lot more time to come.
James Haydon, standing in for the injured British Superbike Champion John Reynolds, suffered a slow speed off in the afternoon while tyre testing on his Rizla Suzuki. He ended up 16th fastest while still learning the circuit. Honda's Michael Rutter was fastest.
Superbike racing starts at 1:15pm on Sunday, May 15th, at Mondello Park in County Kildare, the Republic of Ireland. It will be shown live on Sky Sports and a highlights package will be broadcast on Channel 4 the following Sunday morning.
"I lost the front of the bike at turn three this morning while pushing for a fast lap time. It was a case of missing the clean line on the circuit by a few inches and running on to a dusty surface and losing grip. My fingers are bruised and my neck slightly stiff - nothing that will slow me down.
"In the afternoon session we methodically tested tyres and settings. It was only with a few minutes to go that we found a setting that I was comfortable with. It completely transformed the bike and I was a lot faster straight away. If there had been another 10-minutes of track time then we would have been a lot further up the time sheets, but that will come tomorrow."
"Mondello Park is a bumpy track with a lot of turns and I am still learning the fast lines. Tomorrow I will follow another rider or two to see if that gives me some ideas where I can make up time.
"I had a slow-speed crash today when I changed into neutral instead of first and ran into the gravel trap and toppled over. I was unhurt and got back on my spare bike straightaway. We have a tyre that we tested at the end and a plan to alter the power delivery via the electronics that should help cut our lap times in qualifying."
Robert Wicks, Team Manager:
"Today has been frustrating for both Rizla Suzuki riders. At the end of the day Scott found a big improvement from changing his suspension and James improved his times with a new rear tyre - but both ran out of time to make any impact on the top of the time sheets. Both sessions were dogged by red flag interruptions, making it difficult for James and Scott to maintain their momentum.
"Both sides of the Rizla Suzuki garage now have a clear direction to take during qualification and we are aiming for both riders to be competing for first and second row starting positions."
- 1: Michael Rutter (Honda) 1:39.990
- 2: Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +1.292
- 3: Leon Haslam (Ducati) +1.391
- 4: Jonathan Rea (Honda) +1.489
- 5: Sean Emmett (Yamaha) +1.954
- 6: Michael Laverty (Honda) +2.091
- 7: Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +2.106
- 8: Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +2.190
- 9: Karl Harris (Honda) +2.292
- 10: SCOTT SMART (RIZLA SUZUKI) +2.516
- 16: JAMES HAYDON (RIZLA SUZUKI) +3.048