May 12, 2001
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By Glenn LeSanto<BR> <BR>Ducati has three bikes on the front row for the company's home round of the Superbike World Championship, at Monza. Troy Bayliss put his full factory Ducati 996R on pole a few thousandths of a second in front of Neil Hodgson on the semi-factory 996RS. Riding for the GSE Ducati team, Hodgson qualified down in 11th after his bike broke again in the last session. But in Superpole he showed again that he is a force to be reckoned with, even if he is riding last year's model, by scorching to his best time of the weekend's practice sessions.<BR><BR>Championship leader Bayliss had dominated the weekend's practice sessions, and was only forced from top spot in qualifying by a last-dash fast lap by local hero Francisco Chili. But the Italian, riding for Suzuki Alsatare, was unable to repeat his performance in Superpole, and slumped to ninth on the grid. Bayliss kept his head and turned in yet another fast lap in Superpole to grab the lead spot for Sunday's two Superbike races at the historic Monza circuit.<BR><BR>Ben Bostrom crept up one place from fifth-fastest in qualifying to fourth on the grid with his Superpole performance. The only bike on the front row of the grid without a Ducati tank badge is Akira Yanagawa's Kawasaki ZX-7R. Yanagawa pulled a fast Superpole lap out of the bag, leaping up the order from 12th in qualifying to third on the grid. His Superpole time was just over a second faster than his previous best time in qualifying.<BR><BR>Colin Edwards was forced off the front row, dropping from third in qualifying to fifth on the grid. Edwards was on course for a front row start-–his times at the first two splits put him ahead of Hodgson--but he lost a lot of time on the third section. He is joined on the second row by Troy Corser and Alessandro Antonello, both on Aprilias, and Ruben Xaus on the third full-factory Ducati 996R.<BR> <BR> <BR>World Superbike Championship, Monza, Italy<BR>Superpole result and times <BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, Australia, Ducati, 1:48.649 <BR>2. Neil Hodgson, Great Britain, Ducati, 1:48.701 <BR>3. Akira Yanagawa, Japan Kawasaki, 1:48.812 <BR>4. Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 1:48.837 <BR>5. Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 1:48.842 <BR>6. Troy Corser, Australia, Aprilia, 1:48.960 <BR>7. Alessandro Antonello, Italy, Aprilia, 1:49.525 <BR>8. Ruben Xaus, Spain, Ducati, 1:49.830 <BR>9. Pierfrancesco Chili, Italy, Suzuki, 1:49.869 <BR>10. Regis Laconi, France, Aprilia, 1:49.994