Catalunyan GP: Ducati Saturday report

A FRUSTRATING SUPERPOLE FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT BRNO TODAY Brno (Czech Republic), Saturday 10th July: The Ducati Xerox team and riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga were disappointed with today's Superpole results, having performed much...

A FRUSTRATING SUPERPOLE FOR THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT BRNO TODAY

Brno (Czech Republic), Saturday 10th July: The Ducati Xerox team and riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga were disappointed with today's Superpole results, having performed much better in previous sessions on the Brno track. Michel, having comfortably reached the final Superpole phase, was unable to make the most of the tyres and closed in seventh, while Noriyuki, victim of two crashes in the first two phases, had to be satisfied with fifteenth position on the grid for tomorrow's races.

In this morning's second qualifying session, on a cooler track than yesterday (42C), the Ducati Xerox riders continued to work hard with their technicians to optimize the set-up of their 1198 machines. Noriyuki, having registered the fastest time in first qualifying, was unable to improve on that this morning, citing a lack of front grip. Despite this, he closed qualifying in third position overall, thanks to yesterday's flying lap, a solid result for the Japanese rider after last year's tough Brno event. Michel, third yesterday, waited for the very end of the session before making his impact, going out on a new tyre and recording the fastest lap seen so far, in a very impressive 1m58.6 that projected him to the top of the timesheets, ahead of Max Biaggi and team-mate Noriyuki.

Superpole 1: both factory riders went out on race rubber on a track that had reached 60C in temperature. Michel immediately set a very fast time that placed him fourth on the timesheets and meant he could return to the garage, certain of safe passage to phase two. Noriyuki on the other hand was less fortunate; during the third split of his first lap, which looked like being a very quick one (under 1m59), he lost the front and found himself on the ground. Fortunately unhurt, he had time to return to the garage and make a second exit, with his second bike. This time Haga was able to set the ninth fastest time, though he cited a lack of rear grip and less feeling with regard to his first bike.

Superpole 2: Fabrizio decided to go straight out on a qualifier in this second phase, a wise decision as it allowed him to record a 1m59.2 on his very first lap, which translated into fourth position at the session's end. Haga, not satisfied with the time set on a race tyre, returned to the track on the second qualifying tyre but unfortunately today was not his day. He lost the front of his bike once again and a second fall was enough to put an end to the Japanese rider's Superpole session. Noriyuki will line up on the fourth row, in fifteenth position, for tomorrow's races.

Superpole 3: Roman rider Michel went out on the second "Q" but subsequently recorded a faster lap time on a race tyre. His best time (1'59.4) in this final phase was enough to secure a position on the second row of tomorrow's grid, in seventh.

Michel Fabrizio
"We've been going really well in all the sessions so far and this morning was no different. I'm just sorry that Superpole didn't really go as planned, as I had hoped to be on the front row to be honest but a few small things prevented me from putting together a clean lap and I finished in seventh. I'm still confident for the races as I know we have a good pace and, if I can make a good start, I think I can be up there with the guys at the front."

Noriyuki Haga
"In this morning's qualifying I didn't have the same level of feeling as yesterday, but we still found good pace and this gives me confidence for the races. Then came the Superpole and what can I say? We didn't need two crashes like that. In the first I was maybe pushing too hard because I was very comfortable on the bike and knew I could make a fast lap; then in the second phase, and on the second bike, I immediately had a strange feeling, as if the front was too high and before I could react the same thing happened again - I lost the front and found myself back on the ground. Starting from the fourth row will be difficult but we hope we can get back on the path that we were following yesterday."

-source: ducati

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Noriyuki Haga , Michel Fabrizio