Imola: Yamaha Racing Saturday report

Another front row for Andrew as Haga shows more improvements Yamaha Motor Italia's Andrew Pitt rode a super-smooth lap during today's superpole session to take a front row start for tomorrow's races in Imola, with team-mate Noriyuki Haga on the...

Another front row for Andrew as Haga shows more improvements

Yamaha Motor Italia's Andrew Pitt rode a super-smooth lap during today's superpole session to take a front row start for tomorrow's races in Imola, with team-mate Noriyuki Haga on the second row after making big improvements to his machine set-up.

Having worked methodically on finding a good race setting throughout the four one-hour practice sessions, Pitt demonstrated his ultimate pace with a blistering 1:49.433 lap time to take third on the grid for tomorrow's races. Despite being almost half-a-second quicker than his previous best lap of the weekend, the Australian's YZF-R1 looked like it was running on rails as he shot himself up from seventh to third on the final grid.

Haga had struggled to find a perfect set-up for his machine around the demanding five kilometre Imola track on Friday, hindered in no small part by ligament damage to his left wrist. The Japanese rider's pit crew made changes to the chassis set-up of his R1 overnight to find something closer to a satisfactory solution for tomorrow's races, although the Yamaha Motor Italia team will make some further changes to the set up overnight in a bid to further improve Haga's competitiveness. Like Pitt, Haga set his best lap of the weekend on his superpole outing, dipping into the 1:49 bracket for the first time of the weekend.

Norick Abe was the fastest of the Yamaha Motor France riders in qualifying. The Japanese rider qualified for superpole after ending the two one-hour timed practice sessions in 14th position, although he was unable to improve his qualifying position on his grid-deciding lap and will start the race from 15th. Abe's team-mates both failed to make the cut for superpole. Shinichi Nakatomi will start his first race at the circuit from 22nd position, while Frenchman Sebastien Gimbert struggled with set-up and fitness problems throughout the weekend. He will start tomorrow's races from 25th on the grid.

Pole position for tomorrow's races goes to series leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati), with a superpole lap of 1:48.804. James Toseland (Honda) will start second, with Pitt and outgoing champion Troy Corser (Suzuki) completing the front row.

Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia)

"We had a difficult day yesterday and even this morning we were still trying to find that little bit extra. We finally found the right direction this afternoon, so thanks to the team for their efforts. Te lap itself felt good, although I ran out of tyre towards the end of the lap and wasn't sure just how quick I was. This is a track where it is important to be on the front row and I'm really pleased as it has turned out to be a good day's work for us."

Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) "As usual we made a lot of changes overnight and the feeling of the bike is definitely better, although still not quite good enough. For me, qualifying is not so important, so second row is ok. Tonight we will try to make another step forward for the races, so we will see how it goes in the morning. One of the problems is that this is a bumpy track and I still have pain in my wrist. I still need a painkiller to race, so I hope that the wrist does not affect my performance tomorrow."

Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia)

"I'm happy with the performance of the riders today. Both found improvements today, not big changes but enough to help improve the balance of the bike for superpole. As always you never know what is going to happen in the races but I am happy and looking forward to tomorrow."

Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France)

"This morning went quite well and I was able to run in the 1:50 bracket. For the afternoon we put in a new engine which has much better performance but which meant the gearbox settings needed changed. Because the gearbox setting was not quite right it was difficult on the superpole lap, but still my lap time was ok. I think we can make some improvements tomorrow. Always the second race is better for us anyway, so hopefully we can have a good first race and a better second one."

Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha Motor France)

"Step by step we are improving the bike but there are many fast riders in superbike and this makes it difficult. I am sure I can make some more improvements for the races but we must wait and see what tomorrow brings."

Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha Motor France)

"For sure I am disappointed to be starting 25th, especially as this is a track that I like and have done well at before. After riding at the Bol d'Or it's proving difficult to adapt to this bike again. I am still not 100 percent fit after my crash in Assen and because I destroyed the bike there we are still having to work on finding a good set-up."

-credit: www.yamaha-racing.com

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Andrew Pitt , Noriyuki Haga , James Toseland , Troy Corser , Sébastien Gimbert , Shinichi Nakatomi , Abe Norick