Wet weather plays havoc at Lausitz
Following a tough second day of World Superbike qualifying at the Eurospeedway Germany in Lausitz, HANNspree Ten Kate Honda's James Toseland will start tomorrow's 24-lap race from the second row of the grid. Team-mate Roberto Rolfo qualified in tenth position for a third row place.
This morning's qualifying session took place in hazardous conditions as persistent rain fell onto the 4.265km circuit. Rolfo once again proved his wet-weather riding skills with an impressive performance that saw him set four fastest laps in quick succession. However, the rainy conditions meant the existing best lap times were unbeaten and the Superpole entrants were determined by yesterday's results.
The rain stopped in time for Superpole and although it was declared wet, the track surface had almost dried out. All 16 riders took to the circuit for a 50-minute session of 12 timed laps, only for the majority to be caught out on the first lap when the rain made an unwelcome return. Both Toseland and Rolfo crashed out and although both riders re-joined the session later, the time set by Fonsi Nieto on the only dry lap was impossible to beat.
Both riders made good use of their remaining lap allocation, working on the wet weather set-up of the Honda CBR1000RRs. The team is confident that Toseland and Rolfo are ready to race come rain or shine.
Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:
"I think we can say that this is the weirdest Superpole session of the season. Although it was declared wet, it was actually quite dry when the riders went out. Half way through the first lap everybody got caught out by the rain so some of the boys went down - almost all of them actually. The only man still standing took the pole position. Afterwards, it was a case of trying to come through the ranks in wet conditions. We have seen some of the best ever wet riding from James, so we are pleased with that. It seems we are now competitive in wet and dry.
"I feel very sorry for Roby because he also missed out on the fast lap on the dry and had a crash. All season we have seen him in the top four positions if the conditions are wet, but he had another small crash that kept him a bit further down the grid. Anyway, we are hoping for dry weather tomorrow, but the race is on and we are ready."
"It's been an interesting day with the weather conditions playing a major part. Unfortunately, I didn't get out of pit lane exit quick enough at the start of wet Superpole and those 30 seconds would have made all the difference. It started to rain half way round the first lap - I had to keep pushing hard but I came off. If I'd made the lap I think it could have put me on the front row and potentially pole, but that's life. Today has made me work hard on my wet weather settings and I'm much more comfortable after wet Superpole than I was before."
"I am very disappointed after the Superpole because this morning in the wet conditions I found a very good feeling on the bike. Unfortunately, on the only dry lap it started to rain and I had my first crash of the session. All the guys on the front row did there best time on that first lap. Later on in the wet, I tried to find the same feeling as the morning but I crashed again in the middle of my best lap. It was then difficult to re-set the bike for the end of the session. Anyway, I will do my best tomorrow."