James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) scored second in an intense Superpole competition at a warm and dry Imola, having secured his best lap time of the weekend with a 1'49.394. Superpole was taken by championship leader Troy Bayliss, with a blitzing 1'48.804, with Andrew Pitt and Troy Corser now also on the front row of the grid thanks to their Superpole performances. James' immediate championship rival, Noriyuki Haga, was seventh fastest, and starts from row two.
In 13th place Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) will now start from the fourth row of the grid for Sunday's 21-lap Superbike races, after not setting a Superpole lap as fast as his best time from the opening day of qualifying. Sliding off his machine shortly before Superpole began restricted Muggeridge's speed in Superpole, but he his confident in his race pace for Sunday's competition.
Ronald Ten Kate - Team Manager;
"Good for James to be on the front row and I would say his time was quite good. I never expected that anyone would go into the 1'48s, to be honest. On race tyres we are pretty consistent; we have shown that in all the sessions so far. With raceday to come James always has a little extra to bring, so we are looking forward to the races, which should be very good around here, and all the top guys are up there. Karl I feel sorry for a bit, because crashing out before Superpole does not boost your confidence so he'll have to put up a fight tomorrow to show what we all know - that he is worth more than his Superpole starting position. We have some work to do in the garage tonight with the electronics package, because finally we have time to do it, now that the chassis set-up is basically OK. We need to fine tune the electronics system and that should bring us quite a bit for tomorrow's races as well."
James Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (2nd Position - Superpole lap time 1'49.394);
"My Superpole lap was good but I saw Troy's lap before I went out and that was pretty good also, so he deserves a round of applause for that one - going from a 50.2 to a '48.8! But we've been good all weekend, top three all weekend, and I put a good consistent lap together to get a front row start. That was important because there is hardly a straight in a straight line here, it's all braking on angles and braking into corners, then it's straight into the next one, so it will be tough to pass. It will be tough to win tomorrow over the full race distance but it is possible - and I will be going for it. I want to finish off the season strong."
Karl Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (13th Position - Superpole lap time 1'50.892);
"Due to fall I had in the last session, I wasn't confident enough to push the bike the way I would normally do in Superpole. I could have done better without the crash but I will have warm-up tomorrow to set the bike up the way I want it again, to be competitive in the race."
"We put a good lap together in Superpole but Imola is a really difficult track" declared Troy Bayliss. "It's very technical and has a strange surface so we've been working hard with the bike to make it do what I want and honestly it took until the last session to find what we're looking for. Right at the end of the session, we found it and straightaway I just felt comfortable on the bike. I knew I was going to do a good lap anyway but wasn't sure about a 1m48. Now I'm really confident and I've done a lot of laps on the race tyre. The situation I'm in right now in the championship, I'm really happy with pole. We'll wait and see how it all goes tomorrow but it'll be interesting for sure".
Lorenzo Lanzi: "My lap in Superpole was not bad but it could have been better", commented Lorenzo. "It was my best lap of the weekend but it wasn't enough. Pity, because it means I start from the third row. However after my long-run in the afternoon session I am quite happy with the pace on my race tyre. I aim on getting a good start because at Imola it's not easy to overtake".
Troy Corser- 4th, 1:49.442:
I'm pretty happy I am on the front row and that's important here at Imola because there are not that many passing places. Taking Superpole was a possibility, but when the rear of the bike started moving around like it did, it was hard to go faster then Bayliss. But I'm satisfied with my bike set-up on race tyres and we'll have to see how it goes tomorrow. I hope that I will not be involved in a big fight at the start of the race because I want to conserve my tyres a little for the end of the race. When it's hotter, our tyres don't seem to work as well, so I'd prefer cooler conditions than today.
Yukio Kagayama- 5th, 1:49.497:
I am sort of happy with the set-up of my bike for the race but a lot will depend on how hot it is tomorrow. For me, the tyres do not work the same way in hot conditions as cool conditions, so the end of the race is going to be very interesting if it is as hot as it was this afternoon. I am bit disappointed with my Superpole lap. I tried very hard and I really wanted a front-row place. So now I need two good starts and for me usually that is not a big problem. I want two podiums tomorrow and I will try my best to get them.
Alex Barros: "I made a mistake in my Superpole lap, missed three corners in a row going through the Aque Minerale. I think a time about 1:49,4 was possible for me. That would have put me in up to fourth or fifth. Our race-setup and my pace under racing conditions are quite promising. Tomorrow will try to get two good starts and be with the leaders as soon as possible, without letting anybody to escape."
Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia);
"We had a difficult day yesterday and even this morning we were still trying to find that little bit extra. We finally found the right direction this afternoon, so thanks to the team for their efforts. Te lap itself felt good, although I ran out of tyre towards the end of the lap and wasn't sure just how quick I was. This is a track where it is important to be on the front row and I'm really pleased as it has turned out to be a good day's work for us."
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) "As usual we made a lot of changes overnight and the feeling of the bike is definitely better, although still not quite good enough. For me, qualifying is not so important, so second row is ok. Tonight we will try to make another step forward for the races, so we will see how it goes in the morning. One of the problems is that this is a bumpy track and I still have pain in my wrist. I still need a painkiller to race, so I hope that the wrist does not affect my performance tomorrow."
Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia);
"I'm happy with the performance of the riders today. Both found improvements today, not big changes but enough to help improve the balance of the bike for superpole. As always you never know what is going to happen in the races but I am happy and looking forward to tomorrow."
Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France);
"This morning went quite well and I was able to run in the 1:50 bracket. For the afternoon we put in a new engine which has much better performance but which meant the gearbox settings needed changed. Because the gearbox setting was not quite right it was difficult on the superpole lap, but still my lap time was ok. I think we can make some improvements tomorrow. Always the second race is better for us anyway, so hopefully we can have a good first race and a better second one."
Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha Motor France);
"Step by step we are improving the bike but there are many fast riders in superbike and this makes it difficult. I am sure I can make some more improvements for the races but we must wait and see what tomorrow brings."
Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha Motor France);
"For sure I am disappointed to be starting 25th, especially as this is a track that I like and have done well at before. After riding at the Bol d'Or it's proving difficult to adapt to this bike again. I am still not 100 percent fit after my crash in Assen and because I destroyed the bike there we are still having to work on finding a good set-up."
- 1. Bayliss - Ducati - 1'48.804
- 2. Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda - 1'49.394
- 3. Pitt - Yamaha - 1'49.433
- 4. Corser - Suzuki - 1'49.442
- 5. Kagayama - Susuzki - 1'49.497