Silverstone (UK), Saturday 27 May: Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) will line up on the front row of the starting grid in second place for tomorrow's fifth round of the World Superbike Championship following a wet Superpole session at Silverstone. British Superbike regular Tommy Hill (Yamaha) used his wild-card status to good effect in the slippery conditions to power to the pole position, while the front row of the grid is completed by Chris Walker (Kawasaki) and Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha).
"This place and this weather remind me of the British Championship in 1998 and 1999 with red flags coming out, bikes flying everywhere and mine's done that three times this weekend," declared Troy after Superpole. "I feel like I've been rolled, bowled and sat on but I'm sure I'm going to come up OK tomorrow. I made a little mistake in that session, I was supposed to stay out for another flying lap but there was one thing we'd changed when I went out and I wasn't happy with it. I was on the limit and I'd been off three times this weekend and didn't want to do it again. It was my mistake coming in but my time was not so bad and I'm quite happy. That's racing, Tommy did a great job today. I'd like some dry weather tomorrow especially for the British fans, but I'm going to try and spoil the party for them."
Rain in the second and final qualifying session in the morning meant that Lorenzo Lanzi missed out on the Superpole cut today and the Italian will start from the fifth row of the grid.
"I am a bit disappointed obviously because I didn't take part in Superpole, it's been some time since that happened. It was surely not the weekend I had dreamt about," commented Lorenzo. "But I managed to get the right feeling in the wet conditions in the afternoon and did some good times, which is important for tomorrow because the conditions are not very clear. Anything can happen, the race is still open, I'm starting from the fifth row but I feel sure I can do two good races."
James Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (14th position - 1'41.004);
"That was a really difficult day, especially after the first day, when things looked good. I was confident and the times were not bad. But today I could not believe how it turned out. The front of the bike was OK but as soon as I opened the gas it was hard to control the rear of the bike. I waited until the last few minutes to hope that there were better track conditions than at the beginning, but things were even worse, and most other riders couldn't improve their times as much. Tomorrow, conditions should be better and I am sure that yesterday's times have proved that if I'm aggressive in the first few laps, I can get into the top group again."
Troy Corser - 10th, 1:40.181:
Obviously I'm not happy being so far down the grid, but I was lucky to complete Wet Superpole without crashing! I could've crashed on virtually every lap - that's how bad my grip problem was. I didn't want to hurt myself or damage the bike with two races to do tomorrow, so I just tried to stay upright and go as fast as I could. Every time I touched the throttle, the bike just wanted to come round. Funnily enough, the grip felt better when the track was soaking wet. When the rain eased and then stopped, my problems began. The weather forecast says it's going to be dry tomorrow and I know that we've got a pretty good set-up for a dry race, so if that's so, all I need is a couple of really good starts.
Yukio Kagayama- 16th, 1:42.262:
I am so sore! I highsided at the end of the front straight and I went over the front of the bike while I was still holding on! I remember looking at my front wheel and thinking I would wait for the situation to improve, but it never did! I hit the ground very hard and cut my finger bad enough to have three stitches in the wound. When the track was fully wet, I think the grip felt ok. Maybe it is because we were going slower and controlling the bike better. In Superpole, the grip did not feel good at all and it was very difficult. I will have an early night tonight and hope I feel ok in the morning.
Karl Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (8th position - 1'40.023);
"In the wet we have had to work on getting more drive out of corners. The bike was just spinning like mad and also spinning quite early in the turns. The front was working nicely, we could get it in, brake and turn, but if you got in too fast the back would still come around. That was interesting, let's say, several times. In the dry I think things will be working really well. We got some things changed in the chassis yesterday and it was good, so we're making improvements all the time."
Alex Barros: "I hoped to be in the front row but I don't do. I feel very
well with the Fireblade today. The set up is perfect and the machine
improved a lot. For tomorrow I hope it will be wet. This is what I
prefer. If it is dry this would be a disadvantage for me because I only
had one hour to be out under dry conditions. But whether it is dry or
wet - a race is a race - we will see."
Craig Jones said: "It's very frustrating because I know that I could have matched the time that would have had me in Superpole yesterday, although others would probably have also made progress if the conditions had allowed. I really wanted to be in Superpole because I know that I am fast around here. But it is not a massive difference between 16th and 24th and I am confident I can make up those positions at the start and then get my head down."
Steve Martin said: "It's a pity it was wet but in one way it worked in my favour because it provided an extra day's rest, as I knocked myself about yesterday. I think that landing on my hip might have damaged the tendons around that joint and I am pretty sure I have broken a toe. But I am confident I will be all right by tomorrow and I still think there is a chance I can battle for points in the dry or wet, as my ideal time yesterday was in the mid 28s."
Final WSB Qualifying:
- 1 Hill (GB-Yamaha) 1:38.001
- 2 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:38.254
- 3 Walker (GB-Kawasaki) 1:38.265
- 4 Haga (J-Yamaha) 1:38.546
- 5 Fabrizio (I-Honda) 1:38.899
- 6 Barros (Bra-Honda) 1:389.082
- 7 Xaus (E-Ducati) 1:39.388
- 8 Muggeridge (Aus-Honda) 1:40.023
- 9 Laconi (F-Kawasaki) 1:40.042
- 10 Troy Corser (Suzuki) 1:40.181