Foggy PETRONAS Racing pair in close contention at Brands

Craig Jones and his Foggy PETRONAS Racing team-mate Steve Martin were separated by just three thousandths of a second after the first day of qualifying for the eighth round of the Superbike World Championship at Brands Hatch.

Although both were hindered by niggling problems they remain confident of making the top 16 for Superpole tomorrow morning. Troy Bayliss once again set the fastest time with a lap of 1:26.681.

Steve once again improved on his best lap on race tyres from last year but his time of 1:28.232 left him in 22nd place, with Craig one place higher, although only four tenths off the top 16.

Craig said: "I am fairly pleased because I managed to improve my time despite the problems. And once those problems are solved and out of my head I am sure I can take some more time off and challenge for Superpole, even without the improvements that we are going to make overnight. I had to re-learn Brands Hatch today for riding a superbike. You constantly have to fight the bike and I have discovered bumps that I never knew existed. The problems were minor, such as with the rear wheel speed sensor, but this caused difficulties with gear changes. I knew I could get into the mid-27s but wasn't able to because the problems occurred when I was out on new tyres."

Steve said: "I am going quicker on race tyres than last year but the competition has also moved on. I am good through the first split but the rest of the circuit is where the extra power and torque comes into play. My major problem was that I had a gear shifter problem towards the end of the afternoon session when I had just put in a new tyre and was expecting to go faster. So now I am behind the eight-ball as I have wasted one of my better new tyres for tomorrow."

-fpr