It's all about Foret.
Fabien Foret is a man on a mission: he wants to win the World Supersport Championship. He leads the title by 17 points from closest rival Katsuaki Fujiwara, and he's got off to the best possible start in Imola by going provisional pole.
The flying Frenchman only has to finish in the points if his rival Fujiwara finishes first or second in the race, any lower than that and Foret could technically just pull into the pits and drink his victory champagne.
Will he do that? Will Foret just ride for a finish? Of course not and anyone who expects him to simply doesn't know Fabien! He only races to win, any less and he's not happy. Instead we can expect him to try to finish the title with a win.
"I'm happy to go to provisional pole today," said Foret. "But it's the race that matters and I'll be giving 100% all the way. My bike feels great, the Pirelli tyres are working very well here and WP Suspension are working very hard to get my set up perfect for the race. I think we'll all need to go faster tomorrow, the track was very dirty today after a rider dropped oil this morning, there's still dust on the track from that making it very slippery. Hopefully it will be cleaner on Saturday."
Foret's team mate Iain MacPherson will be hoping to improve on his provisional grid position so he's able to help Foret during the race. Although there are no Honda team orders this weekend, Iain would be expected to support Foret's championship effort if the situation were to arise.
"I'm struggling a little on set up here today," admitted MacPherson who qualified ninth. "But I have total confidence in my team and the WP technician to find a solution for Saturday."
Ten Kate Honda's team manager was happy with the weekend's start, "It's a great way to get the weekend rolling, going to provisional pole in the opening session," said Ronald Ten Kate. "We still have some work to do on set up, but we're definitely heading in the right direction. It's going to be a very exciting weekend, that's for sure!"
<pre> Qualifying times Friday Imola:
1. F. Foret, Ten Kate Honda 1'53.376 2. K. Fujiwara, Suzuki 1'53.500 3. C. Vermeulen, Van Zon Honda TKR 1'53.652 4. A. Pitt, Kawasaki 1'53.729 5. S. Chambon, Suzuki 1'54.105 6. G. Bussei, Ducati 1'54.154 7. A. Corradi, Yamaha 1'54.171 8. P. Casoli, Yamaha 1'54.243 9. I. MacPherson, Ten Kate Honda 1'54.657 10. R. Ulm, Yamaha 1'54.866