The first qualifying session of round seven of the 2007 World Superbike Championship took place in mixed conditions at Silverstone today. HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland completed the session with the third fastest lap time to secure a provisional front row start. Team-mate Roberto Rolfo qualified in thirteenth position.
After a dry morning free practice that saw some good lap times from both riders, the afternoon qualifying was marred by bad weather conditions. The session was declared wet from the start but as the rain cleared and the track surface began to dry, the riding conditions changed considerably.
By the time the 3.561km circuit had dried out, Toseland had already competed six laps on his tyres and did not have the grip to complete a fastest lap before the end of the hour-long session. However, he still qualified as the third fastest rider to secure a place on the provisional front row with a time of 1'26.203.
Rolfo proved that the form he showed in Monza looked set to continue at Silverstone. However, he was also caught out by the mixed conditions as he switched to slick tyres late in the session and subsequently got stuck behind some slower riders. The Italian rider remains positive about the weekend ahead and is looking forward to tomorrow's second qualifying session.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"We had almost all track surfaces in one session today, which is almost unique in itself. This made it a very difficult session. It was good to see that our riders were fast in all conditions, especially James, who was up at the top in the dry, wet and intermediate. He had slick tyres on the bike with a rain setting, but towards the end it was fully dry so to enable him to go faster we should have moved to the dry setting. Roby was also fast but he was unlucky in that he moved rather late to the slick tyres and he also hit a bit of traffic on his fast lap. He's a bit further down the grid but he is still strong. We'll have to see what the weather brings, but everything is looking in good shape so far."
"It's been a pretty good day all in all. It was dry this morning and we did the second fastest lap, which was pretty much equal to Haga's fastest anyway. I was pleased with that. This afternoon it started to rain and the track was pretty damp, but then it stopped and the track gradually dried out. By the end of the session it was fully dry but by that time I had already done six laps on my tyres and the grip was beginning to go. Anyway, I ended up third so I'm happy with that."
I'm very happy, everything went good and I feel pretty comfortable on the bike. Silverstone in general has got a lot less grip than where we've come from in the Misano tests so that bike didn't work here! Anyway we made a few changes today and the bike's working well. What we want now is better weather so we can do a couple of long runs and put it to the test. I thought we should be doing 25s, I did OK when the track was wet but we sat and waited until the track was dry near the end and the last ten minutes it was completely dry. It'll be difficult to find much more than what I did but all in all I'm happy."
"I am very pleased with my result today, with my choice of tyres and feeling with the bike. To set this time I used a softer tyre which I clearly will not use in the race, but I've already got a good idea on what tyre to use in the dry and for this reason I'm pleased. I managed to use a solution that was different to usual and this is important for me. I think 1m25s is a pretty good time on this track but we'll see how things go tomorrow with the weather. It's not going to be easy but we've made a good start."
"I am a little bit angry because the last lap was quite good and I feel that I had improved everywhere - particularly the first section of the track. Unfortunately some riders got in the way on the last section and I was unable to improve the lap time. This was the only chance I had and I couldn't do it. Anyway, I want to be able to regain some positions tomorrow. If it rains it is not so bad because I know I am ok in the wet and after today we have a good pace. For tomorrow we have a lot of work to do and I have to be quick immediately to be able to get a better position."
- 1. T. Bayliss - 1'25.295
- 2. L. Lanzi - 1'25.952
- 3. J. Toseland - 1'26.203
- 4. R. Xaus - 1'26.328
- 5. T. Corser - 1'26.408
- 6. N. Haga - 1'26.689
- 7. M. Fabrizio - 1'26.724
- 8. R. Laconi - 1'26.847
- 9. K. Muggeridge - 1'26.280
- 10. M. Neukirchner - 1'27.356