May 25, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR><BR>By Glenn LeSanto<BR><BR>Bayliss gains last-gasp pole<BR><BR>Troy Bayliss grabbed a last-gasp pole position from Colin Edwards in a dramatic Superpole at Silverstone.<BR><BR>A shower before the start of the session meant that the usual one flying lap format was dropped in favor of a 50-minute session where the riders had a maximum of 12 laps to set their fastest time. It was Bayliss who set the early pace with a lap at 1:48.399. The Infostrada Ducati rider could see the gathering storm clouds and knew that setting the good laps straight away was the key to pole.<BR><BR>Edwards was right behind, though. The 2000 World Champion had grabbed pole in the previous session by getting in a good lap before the heavens opened and was looking to do this again. He was on the pace from the second his garage door went up, pipping Bayliss for pole, before the Aussie bettered his time with a lap of 1:47.991.<BR><BR>This looked like it would be the lap that took pole because, just after the Ducati crossed the line, the rain that had been threatening to engulf the session began to drop. This was bad news for a number of riders, most notably British rivals Neil Hodgson and Chris Walker. Both had been slow getting up to speed in the blustery conditions with Hodgson in eighth and Walker languishing back in 15th place with clutch trouble on his Fuchs Kawasaki.<BR><BR>As the rain splashed onto the circuit, the chances of anyone improving their times seemed to be going down the drain with the water. Luckily, this time Silverstone's notoriously changeable weather meant the rain passed as quickly as it came. Surely, though, there was no way that the track could dry in time for anyone to improve, right?<BR><BR>Bayliss certainly didn't think so. The reigning World Champion was so confident, he sheltered in the warmth, behind the closed doors of his garage. Edwards had other ideas and as soon as the track looked like it was drying, he started putting the laps in.<BR><BR>The Texan was in awesome form around the 3.5-mile circuit, spinning up his RC51 out of almost every corner in a bid to carry every last rev onto the track's long straights. His pace was impressive and Edwards nicked pole back from Bayliss, giving the Aussie a wake-up-call and forcing him out onto the track with only three minutes to go to better his rival's time.<BR><BR>Bayliss didn't disappoint. With an uncannily smooth lap, reigning Superbike World Champion Bayliss snatched pole back with a lap at 1:47.991. It was classic Bayliss, not a single mph was wasted as he carried huge speed around Silverstone's sweepers. Edwards had completed all his laps and couldn't respond.<BR><BR>Steve Hislop was also on the pace. Hizzy's Monstermob Ducati--rumored to by down on power by 13 bhp compared to the factory bikes--looked good and the Scot seemed set to break into the top two until a slide at Priory halted his charge.<BR><BR>Aprilia-mounted Noriyuki Haga rounded out the front row, with Michael Rutter in fifth and Frankie Chilli in sixth. Hodgson was unable to improve his position and will start both races from the back of the second row. Shane Byrne will get his first taste of WSB action from 10th on the grid, with Chris Walker and James Toseland just behind in 11th and 12fth.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Silverstone World Superbike Qualifying Results:<BR><BR>1. Troy Bayliss, Ducati, 1:47.729<BR>2. Colin Edwards, Honda, 1:47.883<BR>3. Steve Hislop, Ducati, 1:47.902<BR>4. Noriyuki Haga, Aprilia, 1:48.561<BR>5. Michael Rutter, Ducati, 1:48.567<BR>6. Pierfrancesco Chili, Ducati, 1:49.001<BR>7. Ruben Xaus, Ducati, 1:49.108<BR>8. Neil Hodgson, Ducati, 1:49.127<BR>9. Lucio Pedercini, Ducati, 1:49.523<BR>10. Shane Byrne, Ducati, 1:49.629<BR>11. Chris Walker, Kawasaki, 1:49.687<BR>12. James Toseland, Ducati, 1:49.732<BR>13. Ben Bostrom, Ducati, 1:49.783<BR>14. Glen Richards, Kawasaki, 1:49.923<BR>15. Gregorio Lavilla, Suzuki, 1:50.136<BR>16. Steve Martin, Ducati, 1:51.309<BR>17. Eric Bostrom, Kawasai, 1:52.266<BR>18. Dean Ellison, Ducati, 1:52.541<BR>19. Juan Borja, Ducati, 1:52.578<BR>20. Mauro Sanchini, Kawasaki, 1:52.616<BR>21. Marco Borciani, Ducati, 1:52.890<BR>22. Serafino Foti, Ducati, 1:53.405<BR>23. Peter Goddard, Benelli, 1:53.509<BR>24. Ivan Clementi, Kawasaki, 1:53.753<BR>25. Alessandro Antonello, Ducati, 1:53.908<BR>26. Broc Parkes, Ducati, 1:54.249<BR>27. Mark Heckles, Honda, 1:54.370<BR>28. Jiri Mrkyvka, Ducati, 1:55.529<BR><BR><BR>More, from an Aprilia press release:<BR><BR>HAGA AND THE APRILIA RSV MILLE GRAB FIRST ROW <BR><BR>Silverstone (Great Britain), Saturday 25 May 2002 - Noriyuki Haga and the Aprilia RSV Mille fought their way up the ratings to make first row at the end of the British GP qualifying sessions for the sixth round of the World Superbike Championship to be raced on the historic Silverstone track. Bad weather on Friday rather messed things up but today the Playstation2-FGF Aprilia Team was once again back in the limelight. Haga made fourth quickest time in the Superpole which, threatened by imminent rain, followed the procedure for racing in the wet: fifty minutes, with a total of 12 laps. Yet it was raced on a dry track. Again at Silverstone, the Aprilia RSV Mille registered the fastest top speed: 284 kph. The British Grand Prix is raced in two legs of 20 laps each on the 5,094-metre circuit of Silverstone. <BR><BR>NORIYUKI HAGA (Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team rider) said "I'm really pleased with the work we've been doing: the bad weather on Friday did make things difficult but we've rapidly gained ground. On the fast lap, I went round the Abbey curve in sixth, instead of fifth, to see if I could slice off a few hundredths: I was real chuffed with myself." <BR><BR>GIACOMO GUIDOTTI (Technical Manager, Playstation2 - FGF Aprilia Team)commented: "There are some extremely fast British wild card riders racing here at Silverstone, so we're very happy to be on the front row. In spite of the quirks of the weather, we're keeping to schedule for the set-up programme and we saw the results right from the race simulation: Noriyuki kept up a fast pace of 1:49 and we think he's in the running to take on the very best of them. Haga was just fantastic today and made some excellent times in the wet as well." <BR><BR><BR>