Provisional Front Row For Toseland and Laconi (Ducati Fila) in Opening WSBK Session at Magny-Cours
Magny-Cours (France), 1 October 2004: Both Ducati Fila title chasers James Toseland and Regis Laconi placed their Ducati 999 F04 on the provisional front row of the grid for the World Superbike championship finale at Magny-Cours. Chris Vermeulen (Honda), the only other real challenger for the title, could only manage seventh quickest time, while provisional pole went to local rider and Bol d'Or racer Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha)
Toseland's time of 1'42.635 was just a fraction away from Gimbert's pole mark, but the 23-year-old from Sheffield was more than pleased with his performance. "It was a good qualifying session today, nice and consistent. We've made a few changes to the bike, the main problem at the moment is the tyre is moving on the rim and that is stopping me doing more laps than I want to. We're running a new rear tyre here and it looks like it's going to be a good one so I want to do as many laps as possible on it, but unfortunately I haven't been able to do that today.
"We're not far away, we just need a bit of tweaking here and there. It's a technical circuit, and it's especially difficult to get round the tight hairpins, because the lean angle is so sharp. You're going that slow that you need to have a lot of momentum through those curves. It's just a question of concentration really this weekend because every lap counts".
Team-mate Regis Laconi was also within one tenth of a second of Gimbert's time, but he was not entirely satisfied with the set-up on his 999. "I think I am just not entirely happy about the feeling on the bike" he said. "We tried to change it to improve but we didn't find the right setting today so we just tried to learn and see what's happening with the tyres.
"My position is OK and the lap times are very close. I made the fastest lap with the race tyre, I was surprised about that while with the qualifying tyre I was slower. It looks like it was not only for me. It's tight at the top, but we must try and do something better for tomorrow."
Sixth Quickest Time For Lanzi (Ducati Breil) in Magny-Cours Opening Session
Magny-Cours (France), 1 October 2004: Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Breil) produced another convincing performance in Friday qualifying for the final round of the World Supersport championship at Magny-Cours with sixth quickest time. The 22-year-old Italian, who finished just off the podium in last week's Imola race, kept the momentum flowing for the Ducati Breil team around the 4.411 km circuit, and his performance today puts him on course to end the season with another positive result.
"Considering the fact that we have never tested on this circuit with this bike, we are better placed than usual for Friday" declared Lorenzo.
"Furthermore I was almost always up against traffic on my quick laps, so I'm sure I could have shaved a few tenths off here and there. All things considered, we're not far away from the leaders.
"The red flags also came out for another bike that blew its engine, leaving oil all over the track, which after that was a bit slower. Despite everything therefore I'm sure I could have improved my time. We've still got tomorrow, but I am pleased, my Ducati Breil team has worked well and the 749R is going well.
"We are improving race after race and that's the most important thing at this end of the season" concluded Lanzi.