Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox Team) powered back to the front positions at Phillip Island with his 13th career Superpole win. The two-times world champion, out of contention last Saturday in Qatar, showed that he really means business this weekend by first breaking the circuit's best lap in the morning's final qualifying session, leaving the new record at 1m31.887s, and then outpacing James Toseland (Honda) and Troy Corser (Yamaha) in the one-lap battle for pole. Team-mate Lorenzo Lanzi was not so fortunate today, the Italian qualifying in fifth place but he then had a problem with the electronic quick-shifter in Superpole, which dropped him down to tenth.
"We've come quite good in the last couple of days, trying long-runs and working hard to try and find the race tyre, but everyone knows how Phillip Island is" declared Troy. "Conditions can be very different during the day, hot and cold, wet and dry and it was very gusty this afternoon for Superpole. I thought the wind had died down but it was still blowing hard on the inside of turn 1 as I set off. My lap was actually quite messy and I was surprised to take Superpole, my last split can't have been that bad because I was down at the first one. I also ran very wide on Lukey Heights but really I can't complain and I'm very happy to be on pole in front of my friends and family. Both the races are going to be long and difficult tomorrow and we hope for cooler conditions which will help with the duration of the tyres."
"I wanted to do a good Superpole lap because starting up front is always important but unfortunately we had a problem with the electronic shifter so I will be starting from tenth on the grid on the third row" commented Lorenzo. "What can I say? Better today than tomorrow in the race. I was a bit angry with this bad luck because the weekend has already been quite difficult for us, with two crashes and twice I've damaged the bike and made the guys work really hard to repair it. However I feel quite confident about the race tomorrow, the settings are good, we did some good times in practice, now all I have to do is get a good start. Ahead of me there are a few riders who seem to have tyre problems, we are not that badly off so I think I can do a couple of good races tomorrow."
"Qualifying has been great for me. My bike is working well and is ready to go, the team are working hard and everything is looking good for tomorrow. I wanted to take the success we had in Qatar and bring it here and I feel like so far we have achieved that. Obviously I would have liked Superpole, but I am happy with the front row and I'm looking forward to the race."
"I am really disappointed. Through no fault of anyone a technical diffculty with my bike caused me problems on the Superpole lap and I dropped down in the rankings. On the positive side though, it's been a satisfying weekend overall and I have a good package for the race that will hopefully establish us in the top ten of the Championship standings after tomorrow's race."
Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team);
"I almost got blown off the bike as I rolled out on my warm-up lap and that prepared me for the big gust of wind that hit me as I went into turn one on my superpole lap. That caused me to lose the front end and I ended up running wide through the Southern Loop as I tried to make up time. That's not normally the way I would attack superpole but it worked out fine in the end. I hope it (the weather) is a bit more calm because it can get a bit hectic when you go into a corner three abreast and get hit by a gust of wind. The bike's going real well here and I'm pleased to be on the front row. We just need to see how it goes tomorrow."
Max Biaggi - 5th, 1:33.928:
"I experienced quite a few slides on my Superpole lap and that prevented me from going any faster. If it hadn't been for the slides, I would've been on the front row for sure. It's a shame but it's still possible to win from the second row of the grid here as the first turn is a long way off. My bike is more or less set-up ok for the race but we'll make a few small adjustments in the warm-up tomorrow morning and see if we can improve it. The bike has been suffering a little from vibration, front and rear, and that hasn't helped going fast in the turns. Also, the traction could be a bit better, but it's another area we'll look at in the warm-up. It would've been good to have a bit more track time today, but it's the same for everybody and now it's time to think about the race. I'm still hopeful of a couple of podiums."
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team);
"The wind made the superpole lap very difficult and I am very surprised, but of course happy, with the result. Because of the wind it was easy to make a mistake, especially coming into the corners. I took some tight lines and did not really make mistakes. It's my best lap time of the weekend so I am pleased. I expect a difficult race tomorrow. We know that the tyre can work very well for around 10 laps but we still need to try and make it work longer. We have already decided which tyre we will use but I still have to think about the suspension settings, so maybe I will not sleep so well tonight!"
Fonsi Nieto: "The only problem is that after the rain this morning we lost one second of pace. Also, I think we feel the force of the wind more than the others. But we will do our best, although we are not sure what will happen with the weather for raceday. Maybe rain is coming but if it does we have no information yet, so there will be a lot of luck in the races."
Regis Laconi: "Yesterday we tried something different from the test in January, but I didn't like the bike like that. We worked it out today OK. When you make a start to the weekend which is not so good you can recover, but it is hard to recover all the way to the pace of the front runners. But we made a good job overall, and we have a good feeling with the bike. The only problem, really, was the wind, which was crazy. Sometimes it pushed more than other times. The bike turned a lot better today but the final direction was affected by the wind."
- 1. Troy Bayliss, Ducati (AUS) 1'32.145
- 2. James Toseland, Honda (GBR) 1'32.198
- 3. Troy Corser, Yamaha (AUS) 1'32.605
- 4. Noriyuki Haga, Yamaha (JPN) 1'32.879
- 5. Max Biaggi, Suzuki (ITA) 1'32.928
- 6. Fonsi Nieto, Kawasaki (ESP) 1'33.132
- 7. Max Neukirchner, Suzuki (GER) 1'33.188
- 8. Ruben Xaus, Ducati (ESP) 1'33.367
- 9. Regis Laconi, Kawasaki (FRA) 1'33.368
- 10. Lorenzo Lanzi, Ducati (ITA) 1'33.969
- 11. Steve Martin, Honda (AUS) 1'33.994
- 12. Joshua Brookes, Honda (AUS) 1'34.731
- 13. Michel Fabrizio, Honda (ITA) 1'35.215
- 14. Jakub Smrz, Ducati (CZE) 1'35.327
- 15. Roberto Rolfo, Honda (ITA) 1'36.295