Jun 21, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss claws his way to the top in a hotly contested qualifying session<BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>The provisional front row had a few surprises in it for the first three-quarters of today's World Superbike timed qualifying at Misano. But it was the irrepressible Troy Bayliss who pushed up to the top of the time sheet with a 1:34.420 lap. The Australian put the time in on his final circulation of the twisting Misano circuit, just as the clock ticked away the last few seconds of the session.<BR><BR>For a while though, it was Lucio Pedercini and Steve Martin who got in the limelight. Both lapped fast enough to put themselves on the provisional front row during the session. But as the big guns came out with their special qualifying tyres the pair slipped down the timesheet. Martin managed a 1:35.641 lap on his DFX Racing Ducati to qualify sixth. This made him by far the quickest of the three riders using Pirelli tyres in WSB. Pedercini was seventh.<BR><BR>Neil Hodgson pulled himself up the order in the final moments, going fourth behind Edwards in third and Bostrom who finished second fastest. Noriyuki Haga was fifth fastest despite trashing two bikes in heavy crashes. Haga was unhurt in both incidents. Edwards also crashed during qualifying, but like Haga, he was unhurt.<BR><BR>Friday's World Superbike qualifying times:<BR><BR>1 Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1:34.420<BR><BR>2 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1:35.067<BR><BR>3 Colin Edwards, USA (Honda) 1:35.077<BR><BR>4 Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1:35.136<BR><BR>5 Noriyuki Haga, Japan (Aprilia) 1:35.411<BR><BR>6 Steve Martin, Australia (Ducati) 1:35.641<BR><BR>7 Lucio Pedercini, Italy (Ducati) 1:35.689<BR><BR>8 Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 1:35.818<BR><BR>9 Pier-Francesco Chili, Italy (Ducati) 1:36.096<BR><BR>10 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Suzuki) 1:36.272<BR><BR><BR>More, from Bayliss publicist Steve Reeves:<BR><BR>TROY BAYLISS Racing<BR>Media Information<BR>For immediate release<BR>Friday, 21 June 2002<BR><BR>Round 8, 2002 Superbike World Championship<BR><BR>Autodromo di Misano, Misano Adriatica, Italy<BR><BR>First Qualifying Session Report<BR><BR>BAYLISS FASTEST IN FIRST SUPERBIKE QUALIFYING SESSION AT MISANO<BR><BR>Misano, Italy (Friday, June 21) - In a time that was almost one second faster than the existing superbike lap record, defending World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss scorched around the Italian Misano circuit to record the fastest time in the opening qualifying session for round eight of the Superbike World Championship.<BR><BR>Bayliss was at the top of the time sheets for much of the one-hour session, but was momentarily headed by American Ben Bostrom (L&M Ducati) who recorded his best lap of 1-min 35.067-secs with approximately three minutes remaining. Bayliss was already out on the track at the time and pushed his Infostrada Ducati 998F-02 to an amazing 1:34.420 in the closing minutes, eclipsing Neil Hodgson's current lap record of 1:35.403.<BR><BR>"I was quite happy with the time that I set this afternoon as it matched my fastest time from the test we had here about a month ago and given that it is so hot today, I think it was very good," said Bayliss. "It's forecast to stay hot all weekend, but I feel that there is still a bit of time to trim off the one that I did today.<BR><BR>"I'm very happy with how the Infostrada Ducati is working at the moment along with the Michelin tyres," added Bayliss. "We managed to test a few different tyres today and have narrowed it down to two that I really like. Tomorrow we'll continue the process of sorting through the tyres to find the combination that will be best suited to Sunday's races. At the end of today's session we put on one soft qualifying tyre and that was the one I used for my quick lap. We didn't get time to try another, but it gives us a bit of an understanding of what we may need tomorrow."<BR><BR>Bostrom held on for second, pushing fellow American Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda) to third, who after being the early pace setter of the session, crashed mid-way through the session before rejoining the session aboard his spare machine to record a best time of 1:35.077. Completing the provisional front row of the grid is Brit Neil Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) with a 1:35.136.<BR><BR>Fifth fastest was Japan's Noriyuki Haga (Playstation2 Aprilia, 1:35.411), just ahead of Steve Martin aboard his Pirelli shod DFX Ducati. The former Australian Superbike Champion had been as high as third fastest for a lengthy period of the session, but slipped down the order in the closing frantic minutes of the session with a 1:35.641. Lucio Pedercini (Pedercini Ducati, 1:35.689) was seventh, followed by Ruben Xaus (Infostrada Ducati, 1:36.818), Pierfrancesco Chili (NCR Ducati, 1:36.096), with Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla (Alstare Suzuki, 1:36.272) rounding out the top ten.<BR><BR>Qualifying concludes tomorrow morning, followed by Superpole in the afternoon. Sunday will see the SWC stars take to the grid for two 25-lap races in front of an expected huge crowd of emphatic superbike fans.<BR><BR><BR>More, from a Ducati press release:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>Round 8<BR>Misano Adriatico, 23 June 2002<BR><BR>SAN MARINO ROUND - FRIDAY QUALIFYING<BR> <BR>BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) AND BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) HEAD THE PACK AT SUN-BAKED MISANO ADRIATICO<BR><BR>PROVISIONAL ROW 2 FOR XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA)<BR><BR>Championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) and Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) led the way on the first day of qualifying for Sunday's San Marino Round of the World Superbike Championship in searing heat at Misano Adriatico. <BR><BR>The Australian, winner of eleven races so far this season, was on terrific form at the 4.060 km Santamonica track and bolted on a qualifying tyre at the end of the session to end with a time of 1:34.420, eight-tenths of a second quicker than the qualifying lap record. Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) finished the day in eighth place on the second Ducati 998 Factory '02 with a time of 1:35.818, while Californian Bostrom (Ducati L&M) revelled in the hot conditions and powered to second-quickest time of 1:35.067 on a qualifying tyre at the end of the one-hour session. Colin Edwards (Honda) and Ducati-contracted rider Neil Hodgson (HM Plant) make up the provisional front row in third and fourth. <BR><BR>Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) and Edwards dominated the session until the final quarter when the Texan had a crash and was then overtaken by Bostrom in the timesheets. "Everything's going really well, I've matched the time I did in the test here a month or so ago when it was a bit cooler" commented Troy. "It's been really hot today but my chief engineer Luca did a good job with my bike and it's really working well. We've got a couple more things to try tomorrow so I'm feeling very confident for Sunday's two races. Although Ben was right behind me in qualifying, I still feel that Colin is the main man to watch for the weekend. I did my time on a qualifying tyre but I'm happy with my race tyre performance as well because I did a flat 1:35 for quite a few laps". <BR><BR>Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) complained about lack of grip around the Santamonica track but was confident he would be further up the grid tomorrow after the second qualifying session. "I was only eighth fastest today but everything is OK. It's very hot out there but I'm confident I can move up the timesheets tomorrow morning in the second session. The grip is coming better and better all the time, but I feel sure it's the same for everyone. The good thing is that I did my best lap time ever here around here and I'm sure I can improve even more tomorrow".<BR><BR>Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was pleased with his bike set-up but declared that he needed more rear grip to put together a quicker lap. "We're second quickest but I think we should go quicker tomorrow morning" declared Ben. "The bike's very good but the conditions are really hot and slimy and its really tough to put together a quick lap because when you think you're on the right line you just slide right off it because the track is so hot. Sunday's races are going to be very interesting if the conditions stay the way they are now."