|Starnone Leads All-Italian Front Row for Yamaha R7 SuperFinale at Barcelona|
|The inaugural Yamaha R7 SuperFinale grid is set, with Fabio Starnone leading an all-Italian front row in Spain, beating Filippo Rovelli to pole position by just 0.075s at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
After setting up yesterday, the first on-track action of the R7 SuperFinale got underway with a 30-minute Free Practice this morning. As the 27 riders settled into their Yamaha R7 bikes, Rovelli and Argentine rider Matias Perez traded fastest times throughout much of the session.
In the end, Rovelli came out on top, with Perez 0.129s behind in second. Italian duo Nicola Campedelli and Lorenzo Gasperini ended the practice in third and fifth, split by French rider Marcus Delestre.
After the FIM Superbike World Championship and support classes completed their first practice sessions, the R7 SuperFinale qualifying began in early afternoon and Rovelli looked to have an edge on his rivals through the early stages. But with just over 10 minutes remaining Starnone had recovered from an earlier crash at Turn 4 to go 0.061s faster.
Representing Moto Shop Parma, and assisted by owner Giovanni Buratti, Starnone bested his time late in the session to solidify his pole position, with Rovelli unable to improve his time.
Joining them on the all-Italian front row is Gasperini, with French duo Delestre and Romain Maitre completing the top five. Perez was unable to match his earlier pace, and will start at the back of the second row in sixth, narrowly beating Spain’s Eric Molina and Oscar San Emeterio; the trio separated by just 0.093s.
Italian Michael Girotti and France’s Clement Giabbani rounded out the first-ever Yamaha R7 SuperFinale top 10, while points will be on offer down to 15th, currently occupied by Campedelli, with several yellow flag periods hampering his chances to match his practice pace.
Both races will get underway tomorrow, and with potential rain forecast throughout the day, the battle to become the first R7 SuperFinale winner is sure to be tense.
Fabio Starnone: Pole Position
“It’s amazing, because in Free Practice I conserved the tyre for two or three laps, so the grip was still good for qualifying. I had a small crash on an earlier lap following contact with another rider, but after a slow lap, I was able to pick up the pace and take pole position. Of course, P1 is the goal for tomorrow’s races!”