Jun 22, 2002
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From a press release:<BR><BR>The heat is on at Misano<BR><BR>HM Plant Ducati/GSE Racing's Neil Hodgson and James Toseland flew the Union Jack proudly at Misano by recording their fastest ever lap times, but it wasn't enough to beat reigning World Champion Troy Bayliss in an incredible Superpole. Bayliss hammered his Ducati 998 F02 around the 4km track in an amazing time of 1:33.525, just over 0.5 seconds faster than team-mate Ben Bostrom, Colin Edwards, Hodgson and Toseland.<BR><BR>The heat was certainly on during qualifying for the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship with scorching afternoon sunshine providing the ultimate test for the riders, superbikes and tyres. However, the Ducati riders responded to dominate the final grid positions – eight of the top ten riders will line-up on the Italian machines for Sunday's two races on home soil.<BR><BR>Neil Hodgson's fastest lap of 1:34.356 was almost a full second inside his pole position time from last year. The HM Plant Ducati star was delighted with his time and is looking forward to race day: "I achieved my objective of going under the 1:35 barrier this morning and knew that I could go even faster with a qualifying tyre on a clear track. That's the way it turned out, but fair play to Troy who seems to have an awesome set-up here at Misano.<BR><BR>"HM Plant Ducati/GSE Racing has had a good practice day and haven't really had any problems. We've worked hard to get the best out of the HM Plant Ducatis and I'm confident that I'll be able to jump back on to the podium tomorrow. My main aim is to consolidate my third position in the championship and maybe take some points off the front two [Bayliss and Edwards] if I have the opportunity."<BR><BR>Fifth position represented Toseland's best qualifying position in the series and he was delighted with his breathtaking Superpole lap: "I've often performed well in qualifying, only to make a mess of my Superpole lap. So, I'm over the moon to have made it on to the front of row two. A good start is imperative at Misano and I'm in a good position to achieve it. I said at the start of the season that I'd be hoping for the odd rostrum finish, so that has got to be my goal tomorrow."<BR>