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Bayliss Smashes Seven Year Old Lap Record To Grab Pole - March 4th 2006


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    Troy Bayliss smashed Phillip Island's seven-year-old record lap time to take a second successive pole position of the year on the Xerox-backed factory Ducati 999 machine. In scintillating form throughout the weekend, the 36-year-old Australian was quickest in every practice and qualifying session and clinched pole with a time of 1m32.159s, a full second faster than Troy Corser's 1999 mark. Bayliss's Superpole lap also made it three world champions in the top three positions as he lines up with Corser (Suzuki) and James Toseland (Honda) alongside him, while Steve Martin completed the front row for the Petronas team.

    "It's very nice to be on pole back here at Phillip Island, at the moment I'm having a bit of a dream run" declared Troy. "Everything's gone well today, my lap was good enough to take pole, but honestly I thought I was going to do a little bit better. It was messy and I had my feet in the wrong place in a few spots, but I'm happy. I'm not kidding myself however because I realise how hard tomorrow is going to be, with two long races and plenty of heat out there. I really need to get a good start if I want to try and do something special, but Phillip Island makes for great racing and it tends to bring the top few guys together and you end up having a race and then it gets sorted out at about two-thirds distance".

    Team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi made progress in the morning's second session, when he qualified 15th, and the Italian followed that up with ninth quickest time in Superpole, which was good enough for the third row of the grid. "It has been a very difficult weekend for me" said Lorenzo. "We started off well on Friday morning then we encountered a bit of difficulty. I made a few changes on the bike, which didn't take us in the right direction but now it seems that I have got it more to my liking. I made a few errors in Superpole, without them I might have been able to get on the front row, or at least the second. So all things considered I'm in a better position than I was this morning. Hopefully I can get a good start, because the most important thing is to start with a win in mind or at least a good placing. It's going to be tough seeing as the two Troys are in such great form on this track, but my aim is to stay in the second group and do a good race starting from the third row".

    James Toseland - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (3rd position - 1'33.003);

    "I'm happy to be on the front row again, it's hard out there because the two Troys are going particularly well this weekend and I didn't expect anything else. I've got a good race setting for tomorrow, so I'm happy enough. I'm also confident I can be consistent and everybody is going to have a few tyre issues tomorrow, so we'll be spinning towards the end of the race. But we'll have the same as everybody and we'll be in with a shout. I'm learning every time out there, I'm doing a lot of laps, and the bike is a great package. I've qualified on the front row here and in Qatar, then won and took a fourth, and now I'm tied for second in the championship. If we can build on that, I'll be happy."

    Alex Barros: "The conditions are perfect here at Phillip Island. I like the hot and sunny weather very much. And there are no gusts of wind from the seaside which may attack you sometimes here. But beside this we took a big step forward since Qatar. We have a very good adjustment for the race tomorrow. I start from the second row. Position 5 in the grid is not so bad at all. Bayliss and Corser, the two Australians, are in front. They are fast but it is not impossible to catch them!"

    Karl Muggeridge - SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (6th position - 1'33.571);

    "Not so bad, considering that yesterday was such a disaster. We had to chase like hell today to make everything in a better direction. I wasn't extremely happy with my Superpole lap but we made some big changes between yesterday and today, but it has worked. We still have stuff to do in warm-up on Sunday but I feel much better on the bike today."

    Steve Martin said: "I have gone progressively quicker all weekend and to do my fastest lap when it counted was great. It was just about as quick as I could go, while knowing that I would be returning! So we have given ourselves every chance for the races tomorrow, as being on the front row is a great asset for us. I have been practising starts all weekend and think I have them nailed now, so I can be nice and aggressive into the first corner. I might not be able to run the top guys but I should be able to race for the points this weekend and I am really hoping for a top ten finish, which should be achievable. The level of competition in the Superbike World Championship has always been high but to be on the front row this year, with the addition of the MotoGP riders, is a real achievement and a measure of how much progress we are continually making with PETRONAS."

    Craig Jones said: "I made a little bit of progress with the bike towards the end of morning qualifying and tried other things in the free practice which didn't make a massive difference. Trying to make the bike suit me and go fast at a track that I don't fully know is difficult. I have a setting I am reasonably happy with but circuit knowledge is important round here, but tomorrow I will be riding as hard and as fast as I can with the package I have."

    Starting Grid:

  1. 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1m32.159s
  2. 2. Corser (Suzuki) 1m32.373s
  3. 3. Toseland (Honda) 1m33.003s
  4. 4. Martin (Petronas) 1m33.206s
  5. 5. Barros (Honda) 1m33.373s
  6. 6. Muggeridge (Honda) 1m33.571s
  7. 7. Pitt (Yamaha) 1m33.598s
  8. 8. Haga (Yamaha) 1m33.631s
  9. 9. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1m33.791s
  10. 10. Walker (Kawasaki) 1m33.928s