Brands Hatch (England), Friday 25 July: Ruben Xaus (Ducati Fila) was the master of the appalling weather conditions in Friday qualifying at Brands Hatch as the Spanish rider put in a quick lap at the end of the session to take provisional pole. Championship leader Neil Hodgson found the going tough on the wet and slippery tarmac and could only set thirteenth quickest time.
Ruben, winner of three of the last four races, was feeling confident after knocking Chris Walker off the top slot with a 1'36.441 lap.
"There's too much water out there and it's too cold to heat the tyres up quickly" said Ruben. "I went out to get a good feeling with the different tyres and to get to know how my 999 behaves around Brands Hatch. I wanted to do many laps with that pace in those conditions and I did it. The feeling wasn't that bad, we tried different set-ups and I'm quite happy for the moment. I'm trying to do as many laps as possible, even in the wet and although the feeling is not the same as in the dry and the track is bumpy, it's important to do that because we have already missed one day in dry conditions".
Despite only clocking thirteenth quickest time with a 1'39.535 lap, Neil was not too downhearted with his performance and was confident for tomorrow's final qualifying sessions.
"I'm getting there now in these conditions and I don't feel I'm too far off the pace" declared Neil. "I didn't have a very good feeling early on so now I'm going faster nearly every lap and feeling more and more confident. In my career in wet conditions, I've always been slow at the beginning and it takes me a lot to get the right feeling. I need more and more laps to generate more heat in the tyres to get more grip to go faster. It works like that in the wet but today it was a pity because in the final part of the session while the others were improving, my visor misted up and I had to stop and it broke my rhythm".
TIMES: 1. Xaus (Ducati Fila) 1'36.441; 2. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 1'36.575; 3. Laconi (NCR Ducati) 1'36.598; 4. Haslam (Renegade Ducati) 1'37.482; 5. Emmett ((ETI Ducati) 1'37.756 ; 6. Reynolds (Suzuki) 1'37.783 ; 7. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1'37.825; 8. Rutter (Renegade Ducati) 1'37.830; ..... 13. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 1'39.535.
TV COVERAGE : Eurosport (Europe) - Sunday, Race 1 & 2 0115 (highlights); RAI (Italy) - Saturday, Superpole 1730 (delayed); Sunday, Race 1 1600 (highlights), Race 2 1620 (live); BBC (UK) - Sunday, Race 1 1130 (live), Race 2 1520 (live).