Following a tough second day of World Superbike qualifying at the Misano World Circuit today, HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland will start tomorrow's 24-lap race from the front row of the grid. Team-mate Roberto Rolfo qualified in ninth position for a third row start.
The difficulties that the team experienced yesterday continued in this morning's second official qualifying, which saw Toseland and Rolfo finish in ninth and eleventh positions respectively. However, this afternoon's Superpole session proved to be the turning point as both riders pushed hard aboard their CBR1000RRs to secure their grid positions.
Rolfo was the first HANNspree Ten Kate Honda rider to enter the one-lap dash and despite a slight mistake on the second to last corner, he achieved an impressive lap time of 1'36.489. Toseland followed and put in a bold performance to finish his lap in 1'35.572, securing fourth position on the grid. He completes the line-up alongside Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss and Noriyuki Haga.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"It's been a difficult couple of days for the whole team. James has worked really hard today to improve his time and in the end it worked out. To get the front row after the problems we have had is a real surprise and we have to be pleased with that. Roby just missed out on the second row, but he has also improved a lot today. He put in a really good lap in the Superpole and I know that he wants to do well in front of his home crowd. All in all, I think we are ready to race."
"To be honest, we have really struggled for not having tested here. I went out on Friday and with the problems with the bike I knew it was going to be a long weekend. We had quite a lot of problems and problems that were not easy to fix, but the team has worked really hard and I've really tried to concentrate on what the problems are so we didn't waste time making any wrong decisions. In the end we got it together, which was nice, and to get on the front row is a bonus. I just have to focus on tomorrow and I hope I can bring in the result."
Troy Corser (1st - 1'34.948 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team);
"It is good to finally get my fortieth pole; I haven't been consciously chasing it but we've been so close over so many race weekends that it was starting to seem a bit elusive. I'm really happy with the bike; we've got it working well and we've also found a good race tyre for this circuit. Because I had concerns yesterday with tyre life in this heat I did a long run in this morning's session to reassure myself and it seems fine. Tomorrow is going to be a tough race. It's going to be tough on the tyres because of the heat. I like the track with the new direction though. It's technically more challenging but that's good. I'm just really pleased with how the day has gone, from practice to Superpole."
Noriyuki Haga (3rd - 1'35.458 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team);
"Today has been okay for me, not perfect though. Superpole went okay but I haven't yet found the right set-up for tomorrow. This evening I need to think more about my suspension settings as I made some changes and it hasn't fully worked. The hot weather conditions only leave me with one tyre option really but I am happy to be on the front row as I know I can make a good start."
"I'm pretty happy with how everything went, I did a good lap but made a bit of a mistake in the last part. I didn't have a good line through the fast part and then coming onto the straight I didn't put the gear in properly and missed it twice and that cost me pole but never mind, I'm on the front row and that's important".
"I did my lap and saw I was fastest so came in with a couple of minutes left but my chief mechanic Moro gave me the sign like I was second and I thought 'Oh no! Now I've got to go out again!' so I rolled straight though for a fly-by and put in a good lap to end up quickest in the session".
"It's a pity not to start from the front row, but today in Superpole I just couldn't go any better than sixth place so I'll be starting from row 2. Here it's vitally important to start up at the front at this circuit because the first corner is very close and the first part of the circuit is really tough". "We worked well all day to improve, we didn't alter the set-up very much but found a few things that I like. I'm particularly pleased because I lapped more or less at the same times as in the tests. The feeling with the bike is good and all the team did a great job today".
"We had a lot of issues with chatter so in Superpole I elected to use a soft racing tyre. It held me back a bit compared to the others but it would be worse if I had to use the qualifier myself. It will be a hot and long race tomorrow but we will be doing our best to make two good finishes."
"I am very disappointed with Superpole because we made a change and it had the opposite effect from what it should have had, and I lost time. I will try to overcome the fourth row start tomorrow but I think it may be impossible at a track like this."
"Today has been a lot better than yesterday because we worked very hard this morning to improve the feeling in the front of the bike. This is very important for this track. I am running almost a second faster than I was yesterday and I feel more confident now. Free practice was very important because we were working towards a good race set-up and I think we are almost there now. Unfortunately, the last part of the Superpole was difficult because I was pushing very hard and just made a mistake on the last section. Anyway, the lap time was not too bad. It's a pity not to be on the second row, but I will try hard for a good start to the race and hopefully I can get a good result."
- 1 T. Corser - 1'34.948
- 2 T. Bayliss - 1'35.104
- 3 N. Haga - 1'35.458
- 4 J. Toseland - 1'35.572
- 5 M. Biaggi - 1'35.578
- 6 L. Lanzi - 1'35.026
- 7 R. Xaus - 1'36.131
- 8 Y. Kagayama - 1'36.206
- 9 R. Rolfo - 1'36.489
- 10 M. Neukirchner - 1'36.548