Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) notched up the quickest time in the opening qualifying session for round 8 of the World Superbike Championship, powering his Ducati 999F06 around the 3.703 mile Brands Hatch circuit in 1m26.272s. His team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi was provisional tenth quickest, but with just one second separating the top 10 in the opening session, the Italian is in a good position to make progress tomorrow.
"It's nice to come back to Brands Hatch, nice to be here with cooler weather than the last few races and we had a good day" declared Troy. "I did quite a lot of sub-1m27s laps and I'm feeling pretty comfortable. Brands is a strange track, you have to make a few changes to the bike because no matter what you ride here, the bikes bottom out with all the braking that's done in dips and uphill, but honestly it's got some good character to it and I love riding around here. We've got a couple of little ideas for tomorrow to improve, nothing special, and we'll work a bit more with the tyres but I don't think we're going to go a lot quicker than that on the race tyre."
"Here things are going much better for me, I've got off to quite a good start even though I still have to improve because for me it's the most difficult track on the calendar" commented Lorenzo. "If I can start from the front two rows of the grid then I'll be happy. It's only the second year on a Superbike here for me, and last year I had just got back on track again after breaking my collarbone, so I haven't done many laps around here. This year I'm already one second quicker but for the moment it's not enough. We'll try and improve tomorrow and get further up the grid. Considering that I did this time on my own, on a track where someone ahead of you can help you a lot, I'm satisfied with my performance but there is room to improve."
James Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider;
"We had a few problems out with our control and that wasted some of our time in that session. We couldn't try the things we wanted to try because of it. We are getting a good direction with the set-up of the bike but the problem was really holding us back. I can assure you that we won't have the same problem tomorrow."
Troy Corser - 2nd, 1:26.494:
I felt today was quite good because I had a good feeling with the bike straight away. We started with last year's Brands setting and then tried our set-up from Brno in the last round and the Brno set-up felt a lot better and the bike felt easier to ride. The lap times came pretty easily and I wasn't pushing at all, so I know there's more to come tomorrow. All we'll do tomorrow is make some minor changes in gearing and get a set-up good enough to finish in the top four in Superpole. At Brands it's crucial to be on the front row and make a good start otherwise you get held up and it's easy to lose touch with the leaders. So that's tomorrow's objective - the front row, preferably on pole!
Yukio Kagayama- 9th, 1:27.165:
Today my lap time was not good enough but my feeling for the bike's set-up for the race is good! I had no big problems today and we will not do too much to the bike tomorrow morning except try some different suspension settings. But we will not be making any big changes because we already have a good base. I have to be on the front row of the grid because otherwise it is very difficult to finish in the top three. My plan is to be steady tomorrow, but do enough to be on the front row on Sunday. I have never won a race at Brands Hatch before so this weekend will be a good chance to change that.
Karl Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider;
"A good first day, all-in-all. The bike is getting better; we just need to improve it a bit on the corner entry, to stop the bike vibrating a little. There are a few more bumps on the track than last year. Maybe this has been our best start to the weekend of the whole season."
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia);
"As always we are working for the race and today we were able to complete a lot of laps and understand how the bike works on worn tyres. The bike is working very well from the very first session and I was able to do two race simulations. There are a few small things for us to try out tomorrow and hopefully these will help us to make some slight improvements for the race."
Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia);
"No real troubles today. The bike's working pretty good already but there are still some more things for us to try and improve tomorrow. I had a slight problem with the front end running wide on the entry to the corners today, but we were quickly able to solve that. We've now got to try and make the bike ride better over the bumps and I have to try and go quicker through the third sector, as I am losing some time there. Most of today was spent trying out tyres and we still have some work to do in deciding what to use in the race. Nothing is standing out as the obvious choice for the race, as all the options we have available seem to work well."
Tommy Hill (Virgin Mobile Yamaha);
"We came here with what we thought was a good package and I'm pleased with how things went today. We're maybe a little bit down on power (compared to the Yamaha Motor Italia machines) but we're able to make a bit up through the corners. We're also using development Pirelli tyres in the British championship, so we've got a few more adjustments to make to get the bike work better on these tyres. It's a great experience riding with these guys and I'm sure we can find that little bit extra tomorrow."
Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France);
"I have raced here once before but I was so bad in the first session I think I forgot which way the track went! After the session my mechanic looked at the computer and we were able to find some big improvements. It felt much better in the afternoon and I think now we have a good starting point and I will be able to make a much better lap time tomorrow."
"Brands is fantastic. I really enjoyed it today. But I need
some more laps. I'm not fast enough yet. And there is still some work to
do. We have to improve the set-up of the bike for the course. Tomorrow I
hope I even feel better. So I can ride faster than today."
- 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1m26.272s
- 2. Corser (Suzuki) 1m26.494s
- 3. Haga (Yamaha) 1m26.563s
- 4. Pitt (Yamaha) 1m26.702s
- 5. Muggeridge (Honda) 1m26.741s
- 6. Walker (Kawasaki) 1m26.844s
- 7. Xaus (Ducati) 1m26.955s
- 8. Hill (Yamaha) 1m26.987s
- 9. Kagayama (Suzuki) 1m27.165s
- 10. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1m27.285s