Jun 22, 2001
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By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>After weeks of struggling with injuries sustained after crashing out at Monza, Ben Bostrom made it clear that he was back with the fast guys in the World Superbike Championship.During the first qualifying session at Misano on Friday there was a titanic battle between Bostrom, Troy Corser, Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards for the four provisional front row grid spots in the searing afternoon heat. Bostrom headed the time sheet on his L&M Ducati until the closing minutes when Bayliss edged his Infostrada Ducati ahead to snatch provisional pole from the American. The other Australian, Corser, had been fastest but both he and Edwards finally succumbed to hold third and fourth spot respectively.<BR><BR>Steve Martin, who rides a privateer Ducati, showed that both he and his Pirelli tires have got what it takes to qualify well up the order. Martin, who was on the provisional front row until the final minutes, finished seventh behind another privateer Pedercini Ducati rider, Mauro Sanchini. The pair are joined on the provisional second row by Tady Okada, who was fifth-fastest on his Castrol Honda, and Infostrada Ducati rider Ruben Xaus, who had a big crash late in the session.<BR><BR>If conditions remain the same then both Saturday's Superpole and Sunday's two races will be a severe test of the staying power of the riders and their tires. The circuit is situated within the principality of San Marino on the Adriatic coast of Italy, where the weather at the moment is very hot and very dry. Air temperatures reached the mid-30 degrees centigrade mark (86 degress F) while track temperatures hover at around 50 degrees centigrade (122 degrees F).<BR><BR>Britain's Neil Hodgson, who has enjoyed great form recently, struggled in the heat and finished the session ninth fastest. Peter Goddard managed to get plenty of attention on the fabulous Benelli Tornado, competing in the World Superbike series for the first time. However the bike isn't yet as good as it looks, and he qualified way down in 23rd.<BR><BR>Friday Qualifying times:<BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, AUS, Ducati, 1:35.749<BR>2. Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 1:35.999<BR>3. Troy Corser, AUS, Aprilia, 1:36.155<BR>4. Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 1:36.558<BR>5. Tady Okada, JPN, Honda, 1:36.594<BR>6. Mauro Sanchini, ITA, Ducati, 1:36.640<BR>7. Steve Martin, AUS, Ducati, 1:36.791<BR>8. Ruben Xaus, ESP, Ducati, 1:36.922<BR>9. Neil Hodgson, GBR, Ducati, 1:36.936<BR>10. James Toseland, GBR, Ducati, 1:37.084<BR><BR><BR><BR>World Supersport Championship<BR>Misano, Italy<BR>Friday Qualifying<BR><BR>Guareschi sets the pace<BR><BR>Alstare Suzuki rider Katsuaki Fujiwara was on provisional pole until the final minute of Friday's qualifying practice in Misano. Vitto Guareschi set the fastest time as the clock ticked away the last moments of the session, leaving no chance for his rivals to better his lap. Behind them were the Ten Kate Honda duo of Pere Riba and Fabien Foret, who had also both sat on the top of the timesheet only a few minutes before the end of the session.<BR><BR>Fujiwara was the first rider to depose the pair - but then he was shifted one place down the order by Dienza Ducati rider Guareschi who had crashed midway through qualifying.<BR><BR>Foret claimed that he was holding a little something in reserve. "When I qualify on pole on Friday," explained the Frenchman. "I then lose the position on Saturday. This weekend I am trying a different strategy and will push harder on Saturday to keep pole for the race." Despite claiming to be ‘taking it easy' Foret still managed to have a big moment, and although he didn't fall he did manage to snap off the heel plate on his Honda CBR600F4i with his foot while saving the slide.<BR><BR>Chris Vermeulen tried to capitalise on his success during the testing earlier in the week when he was the fastest rider on the track. He was fastest in the early stages of the qualifying, but slipped down the order to finish seventh fastest on his Castrol Honda. Kevin Curtain struggled to put fast laps in due to a nasty flesh injury to his left arm he sustained in a crash in the morning's free practice. He's way down the order on his BKM Honda at 34th.<BR><BR>World Supersport Friday qualifying times:<BR><BR>1. Vitto Guareschi, ITA, Ducati, 1:38.520<BR>2. Katsuaki Fujiwara, JPN, Suzuki, 1:38.976<BR>3. Pere Riba, ESP, Honda, 1:39.011<BR>4. Fabien Foret, FRA, Honda, 1:39.119<BR>5. A. Pitt, AUS, Kawasaki, 1:39.139<BR>6. Jorge Teuchert, GER, Yamaha, 1:39.160<BR>7. Chris Vermeulen, AUS, Honda, 1:39.178<BR>8. V. Iannuzzo, ITA, Suzuki, 1:39.252<BR>9. N. Russo, ITA, Yamaha, 1:39.320<BR>10. I. Macpherson, GBR, Kawasaki, 1:39.522