Phillip Island (Australia), Saturday 2 April: Régis Laconi and James
Toseland (Ducati Xerox Team) will start tomorrow's Australian Round of the
World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island from rows 2 and 3 of the grid respectively as a highly-competitive Superpole qualifying session produced a few surprises.
Neither the Frenchman, seventh after the two qualifying sessions, nor
his British team-mate, five places lower, were able to make much of a surge
up the grid in the one-lap dash despite both shaving vital tenths from their
times and they ended up eighth and tenth. Both riders are confident with
their race set-up however and are convinced that the two 22-lap races will
see a different outcome.
"I didn't do a good lap in Superpole, it wasn't that bad because we
got under the 1m34s mark but we were missing a bit everywhere" declared
Laconi. "I'm on row 2 and I absolutely have to get a good start otherwise
the others will get away. We are all more or less there, no one rider has
that much of an advantage. Superpole is becoming more competitive race after race, it's only a question of tenths, but remember that's only in
qualifying, the race is another thing".
After setting the top speed record of 316 km/h yesterday, Laconi went
even quicker today, ending up at 318 km/h, an extraordinary performance from
the twin-cylinder Testastretta-engine Ducati 999 that was achieved with the
contribution of the special fuels and lubricants developed for the Factory
'05 machine by technical partner Shell. "Yesterday we were already quick at
316 km/h and today we went even faster. If we go any quicker tomorrow, at
this rate we'll be approaching the speed of the MotoGP bikes!" added Laconi.
Toseland was clearly disappointed with his row 3 starting position,
but is confident that his good race set-up will enable him to be up at the
front tomorrow. "I don't know what happened there with everyone in the 33s,
I thought my 34 flat in the free practice would have put me second or third
and I'm tenth on the grid" he declared. "I'm not happy, I really stuck my
neck out even to do a 34 flat so we've got a bit more work to do on the
bike. It's going to be difficult from the third row of the grid, but we've
been very consistent on race tyres and hopefully we can get into the low 34s to be there or thereabouts, but the main problem is if the leaders get away.
It's going to be a real endurance test tomorrow, the tyres will be a problem after half distance and whoever keeps it together will bring it home. It's going to come round to grip in the end and who's got the best race set-up and that's what I've been concentrating on all weekend".
- 1. Kagayama (Suzuki) 1m33.241s
- 2. Martin (Petronas) 1m33.301s
- 3. Neukirchner (Honda) 1m33.375s
- 4. Corser (Suzuki) 1m33.398s
- 5. Pitt (Yamaha) 1m33.461s
- 6. Muggeridge (Honda) 1m33.557s
- 7. McCoy (Petronas) 1m33.676s
- 8. Laconi (Ducati Xerox) 1m33.837s
- 9. Vermeulen (Honda) 1m34.053s
- 10. Toseland (Ducati Xerox) 1m34.068s