Following the second day of World Superbike qualifying at Monza today, HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Tosleand will start tomorrow's 18-lap race from the second row of the grid. Team-mate Roberto Rolfo qualified in tenth position for a third row start.
Toseland has been consistently fast during the free practice and qualifying sessions at the 5.793km circuit and he entered this afternoon's Superpole session as the second quickest rider. However, a small mistake on the infamous first chicane meant that he missed out on a place on the front row by four tenths of a second. His Superpole lap time was 1'45.824.
Team-mate Rolfo has put in an impressive performance over the past two days and was hoping for a place in the second row today. He qualified for Superpole as the fifth fastest rider but lost time during his one-lap dash after falling victim to the same chicane as Toseland. The Italian rider set a time of 1'46.758 for tenth place on the grid.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"Of course it is disappointing to see James move to the second row of the grid after he has led for virtually all the sessions this weekend. Basically it all went wrong at the first chicane, so that's that. The good news is that we seem to be consistently fast so we are ready for a good race tomorrow and I am quite sure that James is motivated enough to give it a good go from the second row. It was almost the same situation for Roby, who lost most of his time in the first sector. He has moved down the grid as well, but he is confident about tomorrow. We are ready to race"
"I'm really cross with myself because I made a mistake. I braked too late into the first chicane, missed the apex of the corner and that was the lap finished. There not much more I can say other than I'm looking forward to tomorrow, we've got a good race set up and it's not the end of the world starting from the second row of the grid here. I am ready for tomorrow."
"I was feeling good this morning but this afternoon I am not so happy. The feeling on the bike this morning was really good and I improved my lap time on my own. I've never ridden a .46 lap here without a reference in front of me so I'm pleased with that. In the Superpole lap I think I was too hard on the brakes and I was wasn't good with the gas on the exit to the first corner - this was the main problem. My target was to be in the second row, but I missed this by tenths of a second. Anyway, I will try my best tomorrow to pass the other riders and get up to the front."
Noriyuki Haga (1st - Yamaha Motor Italia);
"I am very happy with pole but tomorrow is the most important day - that is when it all counts. The weekend so far has gone very well for myself and the team and I am confident for tomorrow. We have already fixed a race setting and tyre and have only a few minor suspension changes to do before the race."
Troy Corser (4th - Yamaha Motor Italia);
"Today has gone well. We got a good set-up in practice this morning and put in some good lap times. Then Superpole went well, I was just a bit cautious going into the first chicane as I have overshot there twice already this weekend. It feels good to be on the front row at the team's home round. The bike feels really good and I am looking forward to tomorrow a lot."
"It all went well. Superpole is always a difficult one especially here in Monza, there are a few nerves flying around because it's pretty special here. It's been a little bit up and down for us this weekend and we've had a few interruptions but we're getting there. I've been struggling a little bit with the bike moving around all weekend so we have to work a little bit more on that and make a small change tomorrow morning but I'm happy to start on the front row, its very important here. It's going to be a very hard day tomorrow. I'm really struggling in the second split but going really strong in the first and last split which is good because I can always tailback on the start-finish straight. Everyone's going so fast that it could be quite dramatic tomorrow!"
Max Biaggi - 3rd, 1:45.415:
"This is only my sixth Superpole and I think I am becoming more and more used to it. It doesn't stress me and, because I understand the qualifying tyres a lot better, I am confident when I go out and do the flying lap. I am surprised and happy how well the sticky tyres are working; the grip is good and it makes these kind of laps easier to deal with. Monza is a track where tactics are important. It's also a place where slipstreaming and drafting is part of the game. I didn't really have any problems today except in some high-speed corners when the front feeling was not so good. That's when it's difficult to find the limit, but it's something that we are working on and I'm sure we can improve it.
"Here, it's so important to have a bike that accelerates well and to know exactly where and when to brake. It's easy to lose a 10th of a second here and there and that can be the difference between a good result and an average one. I don't think anybody is going to make a break tomorrow and I think it could be four or five riders all fighting until the end in both races. But I'm looking forward to that kind of battle and enjoying myself at the same time."
Yukio Kagayama - 8th, 1:46.696:
"We have spent a lot of time working, working, working. And a lot of that time has been on our ignition system and trying to develop it. This track has many high-speed corners and the entries to these corners are critical if you want to make good laps. At the moment, the rear stability is not perfect and the bike is sliding a little. The feeling is a bit harsh and I do not like it, so we have to try and improve it. My engine today did not feel so strong and I feel I am losing out to the other top riders. I need better engine acceleration because Monza is a track where you have to have good engine performance and acceleration otherwise you cannot make any advantage when you pull out the slipstream and try to go past another rider. It is going to be a long, hard day tomorrow and although my body is not yet 100%, I will be fighting hard for two good results."
"We tried to limit the damage in Superpole, but as I was the first rider to go out the track was not very quick. We could see that because the last eight guys all went well. I improved on my last year's time, we'll see what the races are like tomorrow but they are not going to be easy. I did a lot of laps with different tyres and we now have a clear idea on which one to choose. I want to make a good start to remain with the leading group. I knew that this was going to be the most difficult track on the entire world championship calendar, but the bike is going well and I hope to do a couple of good races tomorrow.
"The crash in the afternoon free session just shouldn't have happened! It's a miracle that my foot is not broken because it was trapped under the bike and the pain was bad. Because of this accident I couldn't try the qualifying tyre before Superpole and this penalized my final time a lot. Then I made some mistakes in the Superpole lap because my psychological condition was not ideal after the crash. Anyway I think that getting onto the second row was not a bad result. The new engine has a good top speed, this is what we need in this kind of circuit."
"Of course I am not satisfied with the result of Superpole but I feel the race pace I have is good. I tried our new engine spec but without feeling the difference that Regis felt. We have problems entering the corners right now, as the bike wants to go wide. We have to concentrate on that during warm-up tomorrow to be able to play my cards during the races."
- 1. N.Haga, 1'44.941
- 2. T.Bayliss, 1'45.345
- 3. M.Biaggi, 1'45.415
- 4. T.Corser, 1'45.430
- 5. J.Toseland, 1'45.824
- 6. K.Muggeridge, 1'46.232
- 7. R.Laconi, 1'46.437
- 8. Y.Kagayama, 1'46.696
- 9. M.Fabrizio, 1'46.753
- 10. R.Rolfo, 1'46.758