Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) shrugged off his recent spate of injuries to take his fifteenth career pole position and third of the year in four races. Despite a lengthy excursion into the gravel during Superpole, the Australian found the damp conditions to be to his advantage as he took the top slot from the early pace-setter Ruben Xaus (Ducati). The final two positions on the front row went to the surprise of the day, Josh Brookes (Honda) and Troy Corser (Yamaha), but few riders completed their full quota of laps, preferring not to risk everything on the wet Valencia track surface.
"I'm not going to dwell on my injuries because I've had enough time to get better" declared Troy. "I've come here feeling quite good and I was immediately quite happy with the way I felt on the bike considering my condition. The situation seems to be back to normal and the team and I are happy with the way things have gone. I think for anyone to ride around here in the rain it's pretty dangerous and when I saw Ruben's lap time I knew it was quite fast and that I would have to put my heart in my mouth to beat it. I came out of Superpole in one piece and hopefully we'll get a dry race tomorrow. I'm also really happy to see Ruben back up here with me as we were team-mates in the past. I know what he's capable of and I'm sure he's going to stick his head in there tomorrow".
Lorenzo Lanzi was quickest in the wet final free practice session for the Ducati Xerox Team and then posted sixth quickest time in Superpole, just a fraction behind championship leader James Toseland (Honda).
"I am quite pleased because I found the right feeling in the wet and in the free practice before Superpole I was the quickest" commented Lorenzo. "During Superpole, we waited a bit too long before going out onto the track, the riders ahead of me all went in before me and all improved their time. When I went in however, a few drops of rain came down and I was unable to improve. I feel OK for tomorrow and I am sure there will be two great races, either in wet or dry conditions ".
"It's been a frustrating day for all of the team today. The track conditions kept changing all the time and the timing in Superpole was everything. I'm starting from the second row for the first time this year and I can't say I'm happy about that, but tomorrow is another day so let's see what it brings!"
Troy Corser (4th - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team);
"This morning we went back to the Donington set-up and that seemed to help. The engine and bike are working well and we have made some changes to the rear suspension set-up during the day. Unfortunately, none of these changes have given us the extra grip that they normally would, and that we need. It's partly the geometry of the bike but we still have more work to do.
My objective for tomorrow is to stay upright, especially if the track is as slippery as it was today."
Noriyuki Haga (7th - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team);
"Today I tried some rain settings but I have not yet found the best set-up for this possibility - we still need to work on the best rear tyre option as I can find good grip but no tyre life, or good tyre life but no grip. I am happy with a second row qualifying position and that I didn't crash today in the wet! Today's conditions were unbelievable with no grip anywhere. Tomorrow I will push hard for a podium finish at the very least, whatever the weather."
Yukio Kagayama - 8th, 1:53.634:
"Conditions today were very difficult and it was easy to crash. It was important to concentrate at every corner, otherwise big problems. It was slippery everywhere on the track and very hard to understand how much grip you had - or did not have. What happened in every corner depended on your luck! When I came back in at the end, I had to check my hair had not turned white with the stress! I hope it is dry tomorrow, but then we might have a different problem because I haven't enough dry time to find a good set- up for the bike."
Max Biaggi -12th, 1:55.196:
I don't think I have the best set-up yet on my bike so I cannot relax and ride it as I want to. The problem in both the wet and dry is the front end feeling and that is stopping me from pushing hard. We had this problem when we tested here recently and we have not solved it yet. I know that I've always been in good in the wet in the past - normally in the top four - so to be this far down the grid is not such a good feeling for me. I don't know what the weather will do tomorrow, but
I'll be trying my hardest in both races for sure.
Shinichi Nakatomi (18th - Team Yamaha YZF);
"I really don't like the rain after a nasty incident I had last year, when I lost a lot of confidence. But, we had some success today finding a good set-up for the race. Tomorrow, I am hoping for dry weather though, and I want to finish in the points at the very least."
"I am disappointed again today to not have taken part in the Superpole, but there was no way to beat the times set yesterday in the dry. Despite all this, I actually had a good feeling on the bike today. I was in the top four in the second qualifying session, so if the conditions are similar tomorrow as they are forecast to be, I think I have a good chance of success."
"We did OK today in the wet but it was the first qualifying session, in the dry, which really counted. We are not sure what the weather will do tomorrow. I think that the tyre I tried in the dry session will not be the one to use in the race and I hope it is dry in warm-up, so that we can try the one we think will work best. In the second qualifying session the track was very slippery, and our experience on the wet track was very important. But we have all worked hard in changing conditions and a front row start is a good result."
"I recovered from my injury at Donington quite well, even if I did find out that I had broken a rib. It's OK to start from the second row but I know I could have done better if the second session had been dry. There was no possibility to improve in the wet second session today so I took very few risks. The circuit here is strange because there is not much grip in the wet but it is also very difficult to find where the limit is. So I hope the race is dry tomorrow."
- 1. Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1m51.982s
- 2. Xaus (Ducati) 1m52.085s
- 3. Brookes (Honda) 1m52.199s
- 4. Corser (Yamaha) 1m52.733s
- 5. Toseland (Honda) 1m52.801s
- 6. Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1m52.942s
- 7. Haga (Yamaha) 1m52.961s
- 8. Kagayama (Suzuki) 1m53.634s
- 9. Fabrizio (Honda) 1m53.750s
- 10. Muggeridge (Honda) 1m54.108s