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Jun 23, 2001

Bayliss Fastest In World Superbike Qualifying At Misano But Hodgson Takes Superpole, MacPherson Fastest In Supersport, Torto In Superstock

By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss put in a late fast lap to grab provisional pole in the final qualifying session for tomorrow's World Superbike races in Misano. Aprilia factory test rider, Alessandro Antonello, had been on pole as the session came to a close. But the Italian was dislodged, first by Tady Okada and then by Troy Bayliss, and finished third fastest. Riding for the Infostrada factory Ducati squad, Bayliss put in a time of 1:35.236 in the dying minutes of the session. Tady Okada was having a better session than his Castrol Honda teammate Colin Edwards, who crashed midway through the session after losing the front end of his RC51 and qualified seventh. Ruben Xaus was another crasher, but qualified eighth.<BR><BR>American Ben Bostrom also put in some good laps on his L&M sponsored factory Ducati, but Aprilia's top man, Troy Corser, edged him down the order. Corser was fourth-fastest, with Bostrom fifth. British rider Neil Hodgson leapt up the order late in qualifying to grab sixth spot in front of Edwards. Hodgson's GSE Ducati teammate James Toseland also put in a fast lap as the final seconds ticked away to jump from 17th to 10th-fastest, earning himself a place in the Superpole. Francesco Chili and Akira Yanagawa both looked set to miss Superpole until they also squeezed their way in the top 16 as the session closed.<BR><BR>Many riders are complaining that the track is greasy. Conditions were very hot for qualifying, and with the sun burning down on the Misano circuit, the track temperature will play its part in the rider's Superpole performances.<BR><BR>Final qualifying, fastest lap times and Superpole qualifiers:<BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, AUS, Ducati, 1:35.236<BR>2. Tady Okada, JPN, Honda, 1'35:351<BR>3. Alessandro Antonello, ITA, Aprilia, 1:35.464<BR>4. Troy Corser, AUS, Aprilia, 1:35.488<BR>5. Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 1:35.496<BR>6. Neil Hodgson, GBR, Ducati, 1:35.527<BR>7. Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 1:36.007<BR>8. Ruben Xaus, ESP, Ducati, 1:36.181<BR>9. Gregorio Lavilla, ESP, Kawasaki, 1:26.183<BR>10. James Toseland, GBR, Ducati, 1:36.284<BR>11. Lucio Pedercini, ITA, Ducati, 1:36.369<BR>12. Steve Martin, AUS, Ducati, 1:36.454<BR>13. Regis Laconi, FRA, Aprilia, 1:36.456<BR>14. Pierfrancesco Chili, ITA, Suzuki, 1:36.593<BR>15. Akira Yanagawa, JPN, Kawasaki, 1:36.612<BR>16. Mauro Sanchini, ITA, Ducati, 1:36.640<BR><BR><BR>Hodgson On Superpole<BR>Neil Hodgson stormed to his second front-row start in two meetings today in Superpole. The GSE Ducati rider set the fastest time in fine style, backing his 996 Ducati into turns to set a scorching 1:35.532 lap, shaving a thousandth of a second off Troy Bayliss's fastest lap in qualifying. Bayliss had been fastest in qualifying, but was relegated back to sixth after Superpole. Alessandro Antonello, who had been in provisional third, crashed early on in his lap, putting him to the back of the row behind, in eight, for tomorrow's race.<BR><BR>Tady Okada was another Superpole loser, he had a big shimmy between two corners, losing over half-a-second, demoting him to 11th from provisional second on the grid.<BR><BR>Hodgson was delighted to have made it two Superpole victories in a row. "It's a good habit," joked Hodgson. When asked how he had managed to beat this year's factory bike on last year's model Hodgson was modest, "I just put it down to a bit of good luck." This brought a cry from a spectator of, "It isn't luck, it's because he's a better rider." While there will be many who disagree with her sentiment, there's no doubting that Hodgson's form must be attracting the attention of Ducati's factory racing team manager Davide Tardozzi.<BR><BR>Troy Corser declared himself happy with second on the grid but reckoned that the heat had changed things since he tested here earlier in the week. "The temperature has changed things. The tires that worked so well here in testing still work, but not as well. It's so hot that as soon as you stop the bike you get really steamed up."<BR><BR>Colin Edwards agreed with Corser, "It's tough to get a good set-up, I don't really know why. Maybe the temperature has changed things, or maybe I just have my head stuck up my ass!" he quipped.<BR><BR>All the teams know that the heat will make tire choice critical but Hodgson is confident in his Dunlop tires. "My tires can go race distance," said the 2000 British Superbike Champion.<BR><BR>Final World Superbike Superpole Times:<BR>1. Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1:35.235<BR>2. Troy Corser, Australia (Aprilia) 1:35.396<BR>3. Colin Edwards, USA(Honda) 1:35.532<BR>4. Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1:35.665<BR>5. Regis Laconi, France (Aprilia) 1:35.834<BR>6. Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1:35.906<BR>7. Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Kawasaki) 1:36.074<BR>8. Alessandro Antonello, Italy (Aprilia) no time recorded (crashed)<BR>9. Steve Martin, Australia (Ducati) 1:36.339<BR>10. Akira Yanagawa, Japan (Kawasaki) 1:36.344.<BR><BR><BR><BR>World Supersport<BR>Misano, San Marino<BR>Final qualifying<BR><BR>MacPherson on top again In World Supersport- at last!<BR><BR>So far this season we've heard little of the fiery Scot Iain MacPherson. His great form of the last two seasons seemed to have evaporated, but today in final qualifying for the Misano round of the World Supersport Championship MacPherson and his Kawasaki ZX-6R emerged from obscurity. Just when it looked like another pole position for the Ten Kate Honda team, this time in the hands of the likeable Pere Riba, MacPherson nipped in to steal pole away from the Spaniard with only three minutes of qualifying left. "I've felt really comfortable all weekend," said MacPherson. "I knew I could hook it all up for today. I'm looking forward to the race, this is one of my favorite tracks."<BR><BR>Riba admitted to a little complacency, "When I set my time of 1 minute 38.125 seconds I thought I had done enough for pole," said Riba afterwards. "I relaxed a little too much and then saw MacPherson had stolen pole from under my nose."<BR><BR>Jorge Teuchert, the reigning Supersport Champion, was close behind on his Wilbers Suspension Yamaha in third. Suzuki Alstare man Katsuaki Fujiwara makes up the front row. The session was dotted with crashes, with Dean Thomas losing the front end on his Dienza Ducati and James Whitham doing the same as the session came to a close.<BR><BR>It was another disappointing time for BKM Honda rider Kevin Curtain, he beat himself up in a crash on Friday and he's struggled to ride all weekend. But the gritty Australian isn't a quitter and he'll be squeezing his swollen left arm into his leathers to compete on Sunday in an attempt to salvage his Championship assault. Paolo Casoli, who leads Curtain in the Championship by only three points, qualified down in fifth.<BR><BR>With only half-a-second covering the top 10 riders on the grid the race is sure to be a typical Supersport event, with lots of close-fought action between a big group of riders, all of them with a good chance of a win. Many riders are complaining that the track surface is greasy and the combination of a difficult surface and the searing Adriatic heat is going to make race day one of tough choices for the tire technicians. Several teams have found it impossible to select a tire that will go race distance in the heat, so it could be an inspired tire choice that wins the day. Or the race could go to the rider who can go fastest smoothly, someone able to save his tires while putting in laps at track record pace.<BR><BR>Final World Supesport qualifying results<BR><BR>1. Iain Macpherson, GBR, Kawasaki, 1:38.125<BR>2. Pere Riba, ESP, Honda, 1:38.191<BR>3. Jorg Teuchert, GER, Yamaha, 1:38.253<BR>4. Katsuaki Fujiwara, JPN, Suzuki, 1:38.442<BR>5. Paolo Casoli, ITA, Yamaha, 1:38.518<BR>6. Vitto Guareschi, ITA, Ducati, 1:38.520<BR>7. Fabien Foret, FRA, Honda, 1:38.620<BR>8. Iannuzzo, ITA, Suzuki, 1:38.638<BR>9. Chris Vermeulen, AUS, Honda, 1:38.640<BR>10. Andrew Pitt, AUS, Kawasaki, 1:38.678<BR>ENDS<BR><BR><BR><BR>Final Qualifying Superstock<BR><BR>Torto on pole in Misano<BR><BR>Italian Walter Tortoroglio will start tomorrow's Misano round of the European Superstock Championship from pole after leading the final qualifying session this morning. Torto recorded a best time of 1:40.221 on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 - around one-and-a-half seconds faster than his time in yesterday's session. He'll be joined on the grid by Mark Heckles who lapped the San Marino track in 1:40.876. Heckles is the only British rider in the top seven after reigning Champion James Ellison was forced to retire with mechanical problems. "My Suzuki didn't sound too good so I pulled in and stopped as a precaution," said Ellison after wheeling his bike back to the grid. His team set about stripping the engine immediately and soon located the problem, a loose bolt in the selector drum in the gearbox. <BR><BR>Ellison's retirement meant that he qualified down in ninth, a grid position he isn't too familiar with after so many front-row starts.<BR><BR>Some observers have begun to nickname the Championship the Suzuki GSX-R1000 Cup because of the dominance of the big new Suzuki in the class. While there are six GSX-Rs in the top 10 spaces on the grid, they are joined by Heckles on the Honda Fireblade, Lorenzo Mauri in third on a Ducati, Daniel Oliver in sixth on an Aprilia and Gianluca Vizziello in seventh on a Yamaha YZF-R1.<BR><BR>Final qualifying results<BR><BR>1. Walter Tortoroglio, ITA, Suzuki, 1:40.221<BR>2. Mark Heckles, GBR, Honda, 1:40.876<BR>3. Lorenzo Mauri, ITA, Ducati, 1:41.157<BR>4. Romanelli, ITA, Suzuki, 1:41.372<BR>5. Four, FRA, Suzuki, 1:41.663<BR>6. Daniel Oliver, ESP, Aprilia, 1:41.739<BR>7. Gianluca Vizziello, ITA, Yamaha, 1:41.802<BR>8. Notman, GBR, Suzuki, 1:41.949<BR>9. James Ellison, GBR, Suzuki, 1:42.016<BR>10. Jerzenbeck, Suzuki, 1:42.063<BR><BR> <BR>
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