Updated: Corser Wins Superpole; Xaus, Biaggi, Neukirchner Also On World Superbike Front Row In Qatar

Updated: Corser Wins Superpole; Xaus, Biaggi, Neukirchner Also On World Superbike Front Row In Qatar

© 2008, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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FIM Supersport World Championship Losail International Circuit Doha, Qatar February 22, 2008 Superpole Results: 1. Troy CORSER (Yam YZF-R1), 1:58.053 2. Ruben XAUS (Duc 1098RS), 1:58.689 3. Max BIAGGI (Duc 1098RS), 1:58.767 4. Max NEUKIRCHNER (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:58.964 5. Lorenzo LANZI (Duc 1098RS), 1:58.975 6. Noriyuki HAGA (Yam YZF-R1), 1:59.017 7. Troy BAYLISS (Duc 1098F08), 1:59.224 8. Yukio KAGAYAMA (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:59.285 9. Carlos CHECA (Hon CBR1000RR), 1:59.417 10. Michel FABRIZIO (Duc 1098F08), 1:59.450 11. Fonsi NIETO (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:59.921 12. Jakub SMRZ (Duc 1098RS), 1:59.984 13. Gregorio LAVILLA (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:00.095 14. Kenan SOFUOGLU (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:00.313 15. Roberto ROLFO (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:01.208 16. Ayrton BADOVINI (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:01.238 The Rest of the Grid: 17. Sebastien GIMBERT (Yam YZF-R1), 2:00.554 18. Karl MUGGERIDGE (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:00.607 19. David CHECA (Yam YZF-R1), 2:00.643 20. Ryuichi KIYONARI (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:00.698 21. Vittorio IANNUZZO (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:00.854 22. Russell HOLLAND (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:00.971 23. Makoto TAMADA (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:01.303 24. Luca MORELLI (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:01.396 25. Regis LACONI (Kaw ZX-10R), 2:01.429 26. Shinichi NAKATOMI (Yam YZF-R1), 2:01.675 27. Shuhei AOYAMA (Hon CBR1000RR), 2:02.059 28. Loic NAPOLEONE (Yam YZF-R1), 2:05.516 More, from a press release issued by Xerox Ducati: A CHALLENGING SUPERPOLE FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM Losail (Qatar), Friday 22nd February: Both Ducati Xerox Team riders Bayliss and Fabrizio took part in today’s closely fought Superpole to take seventh and tenth place respectively on the grid for tomorrow’s races. Another positive qualifying session this morning was followed by Superpole in which Bayliss failed to match the lap times he had recorded earlier. Team-mate Fabrizio improved on his best qualifying time but a competitive field and decisions regarding tyre usage meant that unfortunately neither rider was able to secure a front-row start. Troy Bayliss 1m59.2s “We changed bikes just before the session and I didn’t feel totally happy. I think it would have been better to do Superpole on a race tyre. I was really happy earlier this afternoon when we used race tyres during the session so that’s a positive thing. It doesn’t take much for the lap to be less than perfect and there are several of us running with times that are really close , so the result is that I’ve taken seventh place which is not as good as I had hoped.” Michel Fabrizio 1m59.4s “I hoped to do better today in Superpole but I wasn’t feeling totally well, I have a bit of a temperature, so at the end of the day I’m quite happy with how I went. I’m ready for tomorrow, we seem to be ready with regard to the bike’s settings so if we can get the right tyre combination then we should be able to do well. The wind was again an issue but now we just have to wait and see how it is tomorrow and whether I can get a good start from my place on the grid.” More, from a press release issued by HANNspree Ten Kate Honda: Qatar Superpole Qualifying The first Superpole session for the HANNspree Ten Kate Honda Superbike riders Sofuoglu and Checa concluded the second day of qualifying for the first round of the 2008 World Superbike Championship at Losail today. Carlos Checa will start tomorrow’s race from the third row of the grid, while team-mate Kenan Sofuoglu managed to improve yesterday’s dissapointing performance and qualified in 14th position for a fourth row start of his first World Superbike race. Teammate Riyuichi Kiyonari continued his struggle to find the right set-up for his machine and only slightly managed to improve his lap times. The sympathetic Japanese rider set his best time at 2’00.698 and failed to qualify for the Superpole. Carlos Checa, 1’59.417; Today was the first time for me to ride the Superpole. We have made some changes to the bike but still have to understand the best way to improve our lap times. We have already managed to narrow the gap, but those last tenths of seconds are without a doubt the hardest ones to win. We’ll focus on tomorrow’s race now and improve the area in which we can be competitive. If we make no mistakes this weekend we can further develop the new bikes and improve our lap times. On the whole I am feeling positive, I hope we can have a good race tomorrow and make some more improvements to the bike. Ryuichi Kiyonari, 2’00.698; The setting of the bike is getting slightly better but I am still finding it hard to improve my lap times. I am happy with the performance of the machine but not all with my own. I know I can do a lot better on the new CBR1000RR and that the bike has a lot more potential. Tomorrow is another day in which I will hopefully be able to put in a better result. It’s still a learning curve for both the bike and me. Kenan Sofuoglu, 2’00.313; Tomorrow will be another difficult day riding two races in one day for the first time in my life. I made a good improvement on the bike compared to yesterday and managed to take some seconds off my lap time. Riding my first Superpole lap was not too bad but I do need to find a better set-up for the bike to become faster and win those important seconds. I am still learning to ride the bike which I will hopefully manage before we return to race in Europe. More, from a press releaqse issued by Alstare Suzuki: Front row for max ! Alstare Suzuki rider Max Neukirchner rode a superb Superpole and booked himself a place on the front row of the grid at Qatar today. The young German had only been in the top ten in regular qualifying, but he pulled out all the stops in the 16-rider shoot-out, ending up on the front row behind Superpole winner Troy Corser (Yamaha), Ruben Xaus (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Ducati). Suzuki Alstare riders Yukio Kagayama and Fonsi Nieto finished eighth and eleventh respectively and both know that good starts in the 18-lap races tomorrow will be crucial. Max – 4th, 1:58.964 I’m very happy with how my Superpole lap and getting on the front row of the grid. Today my bike worked very well on the Superpole lap and whenever I tried a really soft tyre, but it didn’t work so well when I tried to do a long run. So now we will look at all the data and telemetry and see if we can adjust the bike so that it works as well in a race distance. I hope we can find out what to do so that I can run with the top guys throughout the race, but whatever happens, this has been a very good start and that makes me happy. Yukio – 8th, 1:59.285 My Superpole was a bit of mixture, but it should’ve been so much better. On my out lap I felt some vibration in my rear tyre and that made it a little difficult to concentrate fully on riding as fast as I wanted. It was a problem in many corners and then, to make matters worse, I made a bit of a mistake with the throttle exiting the last corner and I lost some more time. But second row is not so bad and, as long as I make a good start, I think I can get a good result here. My race set-up is pretty OK, though we may make a small adjustment to the electronics in the warm-up tomorrow morning to see if we can improve the bike. I don’t anybody has done a really long run here, so tyre choice and tyre conservation will be critical. I think the winner will be the rider who conserves his tyres best and is the most consistent in the race. Fonsi – 11th, 1:59.921 I guess my problem in Superpole is… Superpole. For some reason I never go as well in Superpole as I do in practice and qualifying. That has caused me problems in the past and now I need to find a way round this problem and learn how to attack Superpole in the best way. The problem with a bad Superpole is that you end up way down the grid and that means you have to push very hard in the early part of the race. That wears the tyres out quicker, which means that the tyres are in not such good condition at the end of the race. Today I tried a qualifier in practice, but I got so much chatter from it that I could not use it in Superpole. Instead I used a very soft race tyre (like many other riders) and tried to do my best. It’s going to be a long hard day tomorrow, but I am determined to give everything I’ve got to get some good results. More, from a press release issued by Troy Corser’s publicist: TROY TAKES HIS 41st SUPERPOLE! Troy started the new season in the best possible way by storming to yet another Superpole win – the 41st of his career. His lap of 1:58.053 was nearly half a second quicker then his winning Superpole lap here at Qatar last year and was six tenths of a second quicker then his nearest rival – Ruben Xaus (Ducati). Troy I really like this track. It’s different and although the grip can sometimes be a problem, I seem to get on with it quite well – especially in Superpole! I tried a qualifying tyre in practice, but couldn’t get it to work for the whole of a lap, so I used a soft race tyre instead and that did the business OK. It’s not a tyre you can use in a race, but it was certainly good enough for Superpole today. Superpole went pretty well, except for a little wobble mid lap, but I felt pretty comfortable really. Today we struggled a bit in our long run, probably because we were trying something out at the same time and it didn’t work. So we’ll go back to what we know works here and take it from there. Also I was pushing very hard today and I think that this is the kind of circuit where it is better not to push too hard. When I eased off, I went quicker! I would like to thank my team for doing such a good job and also our new Ohlins suspension technician, Rob. He’s brought quite a few new ideas with him and I think we’re going to have a good season. At this race last year, I was new to the team and it took a while for us to get everything, including the bike, dialled in. Now I feel very much part of the team and think we’re going to be much stronger. More, from a press release issued by Team YZF Yamaha: Difficult qualifying sessions The practices of the Qatar race were not completely satisfying for Shinichi Nakatomi who could not qualify for Superpole. On the first day, the strong wind was a problem for the riders and Nakatomi started with a set up that was not perfect. On Friday, the situation was better and the times were faster, but not as much as it was hoped. Troy Corser was the quickest of the Superpole on his Yamaha. Shinichi Nakatomi: “We were late on the first day, and the wind was a problem. We made progress later on, but it was not enough. Tomorrow, I hope to have a good start and gain positions during the races.” Martial Garcia (team-manager): “The set up we used during the preseason tests had to be modified because the wind was lifting the motorcycle. Later we found the right set up during the last free practice session, but it was too late to qualify for Superpole. The sand made the track slippery and it was more difficult to work on the right settings and to choose the tyres.” Qualifying results: 1-Corser (Yamaha) 1’58.053, 2-Xaus (Ducati) 1’58.689, 3-Biaggi (Ducati) 1’58.767, 4-Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1’58.964, 5-Lanzi (Ducati) 1’58.975″¦26-Nakatomi (Yamaha) 2’01.675 More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office: Alstare Suzuki rider Max Neukirchner will start the season’s opening World Superbike race from the front row after taking fourth place in today’s Superpole. The young German had only been in the top 10 in regular qualifying, but he pulled out all the stops in the 16-rider shoot-out, ending up on the front row behind Superpole winner Troy Corser (Yamaha), Ruben Xaus (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Ducati). Suzuki Alstare riders Yukio Kagayama and Fonsi Nieto finished eighth and 11th respectively and both know that good starts in the 18-lap races tomorrow will be crucial. Max Neukirchner – 4th, 1:58.964: “I’m very happy with how my Superpole lap and getting on the front row of the grid. Today my bike worked very well on the Superpole lap and whenever I tried a really soft tyre, but it didn’t work so well when I tried to do a long run. So now we will look at all the data and telemetry and see if we can adjust the bike so that it works as well in a race distance. I hope we can find out what to do so that I can run with the top guys throughout the race, but whatever happens, this has been a very good start and that makes me happy.” Yukio Kagayama – 8th, 1:59.285: “My Superpole was a bit of mixture but it should’ve been so much better. On my out-lap I felt some vibration in my rear tyre and that made it a little difficult to concentrate fully on riding as fast as I wanted. It was a problem in many corners and then, to make matters worse, I made a bit of a mistake with the throttle exiting the last corner and I lost some more time. But second row is not so bad and, as long as I make a good start, I think I can get a good result here. My race set-up is pretty OK, though we may make a small adjustment to the electronics in the warm-up tomorrow morning to see if we can improve the bike. I don’t think anybody has done a really long run here so tyre choice and tyre conservation will be critical. I think the winner will be the rider who conserves his tyres best and is the most consistent in the race.” Fonsi Nieto – 11th, 1:59.921: “I guess my problem in Superpole is… Superpole. For some reason I never go as well in Superpole as I do in practice and qualifying. That has caused me problems in the past and now I need to find a way round this problem and learn how to attack Superpole in the best way. The problem with a bad Superpole is that you end up way down the grid and that means you have to push very hard in the early part of the race. That wears the tyres out quicker, which means that the tyres are in not such good condition at the end of the race. Today I tried a qualifier in practice, but I got so much chatter from it that I could not use it in Superpole. Instead I used a very soft race tyre – like many other riders – and tried to do my best. It’s going to be a long hard day tomorrow, but I am determined to give everything I’ve got to get some good results.” More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing: Corser Takes Superpole Win Number 41 Troy Corser continued his dominance in Losail qualifying to further his record Superpole winning tally today, posting a remarkable new track best of 1:58.053, nearly four tenths of a second faster than his Superpole record from ’07, using a race tyre on his YZF-R1. It was Corser’s 41st career pole win in WSB racing, and it could have been a 1’57 lap but for a slight wobble in the middle of his high-speed chase around the 5.380km Losail circuit. Corser was fully 0.636 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, Ruben Xaus, in the kind of competition that Corser has made his very own. Noriyuki Haga shook off the effects of a big highside crash on day one to record the sixth fastest Superpole time, and earn a second row start. Haga feels confident in his race set-up, and was not worried to be off the front row, as he had qualified fourth fastest going into Superpole, and has good race pace. The winds that plagued day one at Losail continued today, albeit at a reduced level, but final set-up adjustments may remain to be made in warm up on raceday morning, Tyre choices will be vital at this most changeable of WSB circuits, and therefore the team members expended a lot of time and effort in trying to choose a suitable combination for raceday. Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha GMT94) just missed out on Superpole qualification by going 17th in practice, his team-mate Davide Checa (Yamaha GMT94) was close to him, in 19th, in a field of 28. Shinichi Nakatomi (Team YZF Yamaha) found the windy conditions at Losail a real challenge in qualifying, after a very positive test at Qatar shortly before race weekend. He qualified a lowly 26th today but found better settings for the races in the final free practice session this afternoon. Troy Corser (1st – 1’58.053 – Yamaha Italia WSB Team) “I do like this track although the grip levels are not always that good. The bike is in balance even if I did have some sort of a tank-slapper halfway through the Superpole lap – mainly because I was pushing it so hard. I had chosen a soft race tyre over the qualifying tyre because it makes the bike easier to control. For the qualifying lap you just need to ride very smoothly and it worked out fine. During the regular qualifying sessions today we did some long runs in order to test tyre life and I am confident we have a good set-up for tomorrow. Last year, when I joined Yamaha, it took a couple of races to adapt. We ended the year on a high note, however, and started that way again this year. I have to thank my team and our new Ohlins technician. I pretty pleased with my latest Superpole win and looking forward to starting from the first row.” Noriyuki Haga (4th – 1’59.017 – Yamaha Italia WSB Team) “I almost made a perfect Superpole lap but at one point the rear started chattering, so I missed a bit of time there. Otherwise I am quite satisfied with Superpole, because we tried so many things for our race set-up that I didn’t find a great feeling with the Superpole tyre before I started my lap. I am thinking about race strategy tonight, but I can’t make too many predictions. This track is peculiar, but I will try to do my best as always.” Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team, Team Manager) “There can be no better way to approach the first races of the championship than with a pole position, and a new record time. But we have to wait until tomorrow because making the tyre choice will be important. Today we worked hard to find the right tyre, and we hope that we have made the right choice. For a few degrees of change in track temperature, identical tyres work differently on this track. Noriyuki spent a lot of time trying out race tyres today and not so much with a qualifier getting ready for Superpole. He used a soft tyre in the last minutes of the session only. For Nori, starting from the second row is not so different than starting from the front. Troy was great in the last two days and did a fantastic lap in Superpole. Both he and the bike are ready for the race.”

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