Troy Bayliss set the second quickest time for
the Ducati Xerox Team in the opening World Superbike qualifying session at
the Autodromo di Monza. The 37 year-old Australian, who knocked four-tenths
of a second off his own circuit lap record, set way back in 2002, was just a
fraction behind provisional poleman Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha).
"I haven't been to Monza for four years but the first exit hit the memory
button and I remembered the place pretty well. Also the bike felt pretty
good straightaway" declared Troy. "After the first session I was a couple of
tenths under my old lap record from 2002 so it was nice to go faster than
that. This afternoon we tried a few things but the track wasn't in great
condition because there was a bit of rain, but I did a race simulation and
was really fast. I had Nori sitting on me the whole way which made me go a
little faster because he was in the slipstream but honestly I expect a few
more people to do that pace if they are with me as well. It's only Friday
anyway so we'll see what tomorrow brings".
Team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi, who was riding a World Superbike machine for the
first time at the high-speed Monza circuit, was relatively satisfied with
his twelfth-quickest time but confident there was more to come as he gains
more experience with the track.
"It's the first time for me on this track with a Superbike, so I spent much
of the day on a learning curve" commented Lorenzo. "It wasn't easy because
this is a very fast track and you have to have a keen eye. In the afternoon
I was improving but then it started to rain. I stayed out and in the last
quarter of an hour I was the only rider to lap at a quick pace, together
with Corser. I didn't improve much but all the others had done their times
in the first ten minutes when I didn't have the right choice of tyres on.
All things considered I'm quite satisfied. I did a lot of laps despite the
light rain and I'm in Superpole which is always a good thing. Tomorrow let's
hope it doesn't rain, but if it does, it'll rain for everyone".
Alex Barros: "The weather was a little bit tricky today. It didn't look
so promising. Everybody expected some rain and so all the riders tried
to do some fast laps already in the beginning of the qualifying session.
When there were first rain drops some of the corners became immediately
slippery. Additional to this the surface of the track is also not so
rough. - Position 6 today is quite okay and don't forget I'm a newcomer
on the track. I did some mistakes but I like this ultra fast track very
much. We have a very high potential and if it will be dry tomorrow the
chances are really good."
James Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (4th position - 1'47.751);
"A pretty good qualifying session but I just had to be careful with the rain. There wasn't enough to wet the track but just enough to make you think about it. Fourth on the grid is pretty good but the weather outlook for the weekend doesn't look so good. We have good dry settings, just a couple of little things on the bikes, and the package is very strong here, so all things are pretty good. Around here is not so bad in the wet, quite a lot of grip."
Karl Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (22nd position - 1'49.764);
"Not the way I wanted to finish the day. It started OK but with some spots of rain out there I just didn't feel comfortable on the bike. I tried and tried and then I missed the gap when the track was driest. I should have gone quicker then. At this point I just have to see what tomorrow brings. The forecast is rain, which won't help!"
Craig Jones said: "This morning's aim was to learn the circuit and to pick my final braking markers. It was a shame that we had a technical problem with one of the bikes at the other end of the circuit, as it takes ages to get back to the pits. But, after 13 laps, I was only two seconds off Steve on my first time out here, so I didn't find the circuit too difficult to learn. The speed of the circuit and proximity to the barriers certainly didn't faze me - I had been looking forward to getting onto the big long straights and fast chicanes. We changed the gearing for the afternoon but an old gremlin popped up again as it made the bike unstable in a straight line. We already have a plan to solve that but I would have liked to have made more progress than I have today."
Steve Martin said: "We were dogged by a few unforeseen mechanical problems, which hampered us throughout the day and I couldn't get into any kind of rhythm. The team were trying to fix those problems in the afternoon, so we weren't really able to make any progress on set-up from the morning session. We now have 12 hours to regroup, although there is already a big gap to 16th and the Superpole places. We need tomorrow to be dry so that we at least have a chance of giving it our best shot."
- 1. Haga (Yamaha) 1m47.007s
- 2. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1m47.043s
- 3. Corser (Suzuki) 1m47.591s
- 4. Toseland (Honda) 1m47.751s
- 5. Laconi (Kawasaki) 1m47.763s
- 6. Barros (Honda) 1m47.769s
- 7. Pitt (Yamaha) 1m47.793s
- 8. Xaus (Ducati) 1m47.852s