Pata Honda World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea will start from the second row of the grid at the Nurburgring in Germany on Sunday as the Northern Ireland rider hunts down his second victory of the season.
Rea, who earned his first win of 2012 at his home race of the championship at Silverstone in the previous round before the summer break, qualified in fifth position on Saturday after Superpole was held in mixed weather conditions.
Ducati rider Ayrton Badovini was the surprise pole sitter from BMW’s Marco Melandri and Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes, with Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty leaving himself with plenty of work to do from 12th position on the fourth row.
Rea, who is currently seventh in the points table, said: “Superpole was frustrating in those conditions because we really needed another dry session to try a different arrangement with the front. But the weather was what it was and when the track was fully wet I had a really good feeling with the bike.
“As soon as it began to dry I had no entry traction. It’s been an issue with the bike’s wet setting for many years and is a combination of engine brake control at the apex and the chassis setting.
“I really hope tomorrow morning is dry because I don’t have enough pace. It’s consistent but I need to find a bit more time, which I think we can do. All in all, though, it’s been a pretty satisfactory Superpole.”
Laverty, meanwhile, was left to rue the difficult conditions as he encountered his ‘worst qualifier of the season’.
The Toomebridge man is in the hunt for the world title, occupying third place in the standings behind team-mate Sylvain Guintoli and British rider Sykes.
Laverty is desperately trying to claw back ground with five rounds of the championship remaining and has described the final two months of the season as the ‘most important’ period of his career to date.
“It wasn’t exactly an ideal Superpole,” said Laverty. “It was definitely the worst qualifier of the season and that doesn’t make things easy for the races tomorrow.
“It’s a shame because in the free practice sessions the bike was really going fast on the used tyres. I’m certain that we’ll be able to be competitive in the second part of the race, but the problem will be the first few laps since we’re starting from the fourth row.”
Laverty was caught out by the change in weather conditions for Superpole, running out of time to find the optimum setting for the wet with his RSV4.
“These things happen,” he said. “Even one more lap would have been enough to gain enough confidence and maybe move up a few positions.”