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SBK, Canepa: Haslam and Kagayama slowed me in qualifying

The Italian misses out on the top ten by 0.030 of a second but warns: "We have the pace to reach top five in the race" 

Canepa: Haslam and Kagayama slowed me in qualifying

Those thousandths of a second, 30 of them to be precise, made all the difference. Niccolò Canepa just missed out on tomorrow's Top 10 Trials at the Suzuka 8 Hours. Traffic in the final stages of qualifying slowed him down, forcing him to settle for twelfth place. He was at least the quickest of the GMT94 team members.

How disappointed are you about missing out on Superpole?

It's a real shame because Haslam and Kagayama slowed me down on my flying lap, but anyway I'm pleased, as we've proved to be fast and competitive. With the Dunlops we've again seen that we're not fantastic when it comes to the flying lap but we our race pace shows we have the potential to be in the fight”.

How are you finding the Dunlops?

The ones we're using at Suzuka are 16.5" compared to the usual 17" tyres. So it takes time to adapt, and we'll concentrate on that during tomorrow final free practice”.

It's your first 8 Hours. Is it what you expected?

“It's really exciting of course, seeing as it's the symbolic Endurance race, so expectations are high. There are riders here who have written motorcycle history and so it's fantastic to compete against them. The track is incredible, very fast, and the uphill section is particularly tough. Then there are the two chicanes which break up your rhythm. As well as all that, there's also the heat, with a track temperature of up to 50 degrees”.

So you're not inside the Top 10, but are still confident for the race.

“Exactly. At Portimao we struggled in qualifying too, but then the race was a different matter as you all know. The team can also count on the talents of two fast riders, Checa and Mahias, who also want to leave their mark on this 8 Hours”.

You goal is still Top Five?

“Yes, I think we have what we need to finish top five. In Endurance racing it's constancy that makes the difference and we've always done well from that point of view”.  

  

Translated by Heather Watson

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