James Toseland opened the second round of the 2007 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in spectacular style today. The former World Superbike Champion recorded the fastest lap in the first qualifying session - more than half a second quicker than his nearest competitor.
Despite high temperatures and the slippery track surface, Toseland was on great form from the off. He came in second fastest in morning free practice just 0.082 seconds behind Troy Bayliss. The British rider then defeated the Australian on his home turf to secure the best lap of 1'32.040 - 0.4 seconds inside the official race lap record for the 4.445km track.
Toseland's team-mate Roberto Rolfo started the day well and secured some excellent lap times in free practice during the morning. He showed that he is still improving and looked set to secure a top ten position on the qualifying time sheets. As the temperatures rose in the afternoon, the first half of the session went according to plan, but the final 20 minutes saw Rolfo unable to pass a pack of slower riders. His final time was 1'33.865 for 14th position on the results table.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"It's been a good day for James here at Phillip Island. He was already fast this morning and his consistency is very good. Now we just have to work on the small details to get the bike ready for the race and make James' life as easy as possible. Roby kicked off very well this morning and we were very happy with his times in the practice. It's just a shame that during the qualifying he got stuck during his last laps behind some slow traffic. We know there is more to come from him tomorrow and he is only half a second from where we want him to be."
"It's been a great day. I've had in the back of my mind all day that I wanted to be quickest - it's my manager's birthday today and I can't think of a better present for him! I knew as soon as I went out this morning that the bike was working really well. We had a great setting on the bike during the test in January so I knew we were starting from a good point. To finish 0.6 seconds ahead is a pretty good gap. I don't want to peak too early, but so far so good."
"I don't feel too bad because this morning's session went very well, I was very quick. For the afternoon it went well for the first half of qualifying as I tried to improve the race set-up of the bike. Unfortunately at the end I was in the wrong place at the wrong time because there some slower riders in front of me. I tried to overtake but it was not easy and I lost my last part of the session. I think tomorrow I get do a lot better."
Max Biaggi - 6th, 1:32.900:
"Today was ok and we tried a few things to get the bike working the way I wanted. We began with the bike more or less set up as in Qatar and then tried to improve it. I felt we were losing a little time in all the sectors so we tried some smaller discs in the first session. But the pads didn't get up to temperature, so we had to change back to the bigger discs for the afternoon qualifying session.
"Today we were using a Qatar engine and it didn't feel very strong, but tomorrow we'll put in a fresh engine. I also focussed on getting the right tyres for the races on Sunday so today's lap times weren't so important. I think that, whatever tyres we use, we'll all be having problems seven or eight laps before the end of the race.
"Phillip Island is a great track, but it's very demanding on tyres because there are many left turns and not many rights. That means one side of the tyre wears quicker then the other so you have to be careful and try and conserve the tyres the best you can.
"I really like the SBK two-race formula because you get a second chance if something happens in one of the races. At first I didn't know if my physical condition would be ok for two races but it's been fine and I'm looking forward to Sunday's races and a big fight on the track."
"I'm pretty happy with the way things went today because the track was quite hot this afternoon" declared Troy. "We did a full race simulation with one tyre and I'm quite pleased with that but tomorrow we're going to do another one to try a different solution. But I'm very satisfied with the way things are looking, we're going much better than we were last weekend at the opening race and I'm feeling a lot more confident on the bike. We'll just have to move on from here tomorrow morning."
Yukio Kagayama - 7th, 1:33.154:
"I lost the front in turn two and crashed. Very painful! I felt I had been run over by a truck! Maybe my collarbone is broken and there is pain in my spleen area so I am going to hospital for many checks. I hope I can rejoin my team before long. Good luck to Max in the races!"
Troy Corser (1.32.900 - Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team);
"We're just trying different stuff. The chassis, or at least the set-up, of the bike is different from when we tested here so I've gone for a whole new setting. The back of the bike is working a lot better (than in testing) so now we're able to work on the front. Friday is important for getting the bike ready but as far as the lap times go it's just about getting into the top 16 and not about being the fastest. I'm pretty pleased with how it's gone today and we've still got a few other things to try that should help us move forward tomorrow. The days of worrying about being fastest on a Friday are long gone for me. As long as we're there or thereabouts let's concentrate on getting the bike set up for the race, because that's what's important."
Noriyuki Haga (1.33.244 - Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team);
"The main thing I am looking to do is to make the bike turn more easily. Our lap times are not too bad but I have to work the front tyre too hard to make the bike turn and because of this the tyre is wearing out too quickly. We changed the bike setting between the morning and afternoon but it did not really make much difference. Tonight we will try some new things and tomorrow is another day - so who knows what will happen!"
- 1. James Toseland, Honda (GBR) 1'32.040
- 2. Troy Bayliss, Ducati (AUS) 1'32.641
- 3. Fonsi Nieto, Kawasaki (ESP) 1'32.769
- 4. Lorenzo Lanzi, Ducati (ITA) 1'32.774
- 5. Troy Corser, Yamaha (AUS) 1'32.900
- 6. Max Biaggi, Suzuki (ITA) 1'32.998
- 7. Yukio Kagayama, Suzuki (JPN) 1'33.154
- 8. Noriyuki Haga, Yamaha (JPN) 1'33.244
- 9. Ruben Xaus, Ducati (ESP) 1'33.315
- 10. Max Neukirchner, Suzuki (GER) 1'33.523
- 11. Michel Fabrizio, Honda (ITA) 1'33.690
- 12. Steve Martin, Honda (AUS) 1'33.748
- 13. Karl Muggeridge, Honda (AUS) 1'33.783
- 14. Roberto Rolfo, Honda (ITA) 1'33.865
- 15. Jakub Smrz, Ducati (CZE) 1'34.092