Jul 26, 2002
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From Ducati Corse:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR><BR>Round 10 – Brands Hatch (UK), 28 July 2002<BR><BR>FRIDAY QUALIFYING<BR><BR>BAYLISS & XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) POWER TO PROVISIONAL 1-3 IN FIRST QUALIFYING AT BRANDS HATCH – BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) TWELFTH<BR><BR>The Ducati Infostrada pairing of Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus set first and third quickest times in Friday first qualifying for the European Round of the World Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch as the Australian and the Spaniard sandwiched Honda's Colin Edwards. The Texan was quickest for much of the session, but after Pierfrancesco Chili (Ducati NCR) had a spell at the top, Troy bolted on a qualifying tyre and powered to a time of 1'26.398. Despite suffering from shivers and a high temperature, Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) concluded his quick lap right behind Troy, ending up third quickest with a time of 1'26.599. Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was unable to get on the pace of the leading group and ended up with a 1'27.523, which earned him twelfth fastest time in today's session.<BR><BR>"I'm happy to be fastest, who knows what tomorrow can bring at Brands Hatch" declared Troy. "We still have to work on a few more little things but in general the day has gone OK. We tried a lot of tyres and on my race tyres I set a pretty good time, a flat 27, but I need to improve the bike set-up before I'm entirely satisfied. On my first lap on qualifiers at the end I had a big slide at Graham Hill Bend so I had to pass on that but I just managed to squeeze one more lap out of the tyre to set my time."<BR><BR>"I'm so exhausted" said Ruben Xaus, "but things have got a lot better since Thursday morning when I was shaking with a high fever. It's difficult to do a qualifying session when you feel like that but in the end on the bike it was not too bad. When eventually I had a tyre at the front that gave me confidence, it was quite late but then I put a qualifying tyre on the rear and I set my good lap. Really I was thinking so much about the way I was today so I wasn't able to concentrate 100% on the bike. Tomorrow it'll be better and I'm sure I can improve my time but for the moment I'm happy with third place. Now I've set a good time, I can concentrate on race set-up and get ready to do a good Superpole tomorrow".<BR><BR>"We've still got some way to go at the moment, but Friday doesn't mean much, tomorrow is the important day" declared Ben Bostrom. "The bike feels good and I'm pretty happy, but we played around too much in that session. I tried too many tyres and too many different gears. It's OK though, tomorrow we'll only focus on the set-up and things will improve for sure".<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from HM Plant Ducati: <BR><BR>Getting the balance right<BR><BR>The European round of the Superbike World Championship at Brands Hatch got off to a positive start for HM Plant Ducati riders Neil Hodgson and James Toseland. The pair are anxious to put in the kind of performances that the 120,000-plus crowd that is expected to flock to the Kent circuit for Sunday's two Superbike races knows they are capable of. In the first of the weekend's timed qualifying sessions Hodgson earned himself fourth place on the provisional grid, while his team-mate managed to go 13th quickest. <BR><BR>Brands Hatch has always been a special event for Hodgson and the scene of some spectacular victories over the years. He realises more than anyone else the weight of expectation that hangs over him and is determined to take his first victory of the season in front of the massive contingent of HM Plant Ducati fans. He also realises that victory does not come in the first qualifying session.<BR><BR>"Of course I'd have liked to have been on provisional pole," says Hodgson, "but I have a few things to sort out before I can really begin to push it and, providing it stays dry tomorrow, today's times don't really mean that much. Plus I'm only 0.3secs off Bayliss' pole time anyway. The most important thing at the moment is to find the right tyre and adapt my bike to the circuit. My HM Plant Ducati 998 F01 is quite different from the bike that I last raced here and I know this track so well that any tiny little difference stands out a mile. So, I'm just getting used to the way it behaves compared to my old bike. I tried too many tyres out to get into a decent rhythm as well, but I'm going to sort it out for tomorrow because I'm expecting things to hot up and I think that we'll see some 1:25sec laps. Once the bike's right there's no reason why I can't do that sort of time and take pole." <BR><BR>Toseland also used the first timed session wisely and made good progress in his search for the optimum set-up for his machine.<BR><BR>"I'm having a few problems getting the bike settled after braking," he explains. "The way it is at the moment means that I can't get on the power quick enough on the way out of corners, and that's costing me time. I don't think that I'm the only one struggling out there but we are getting closer to finding a solution. It'd be nice to get on the second row straight-away, especially as there's so much support for the team, but that's just not the way it works most of the time. It's early days and it'll be a different story by the time Superpole rolls around." <BR><BR><BR>