FPR riders on the pace in France
Foggy PETRONAS Racing riders Troy Corser and Chris Walker enjoyed a promising opening day of qualifying for the final round of the Superbike World Championship at Magny-Cours, France.
Just two tenths of a second separated the FPR men in fifth and sixth places after the Friday afternoon qualifying. And, encouragingly, Troy was just another quarter of a second behind pacesetter Sebastien Gimbert, a local French wild card on a Yamaha YZF R1.
Both Troy and Chris were able to try out a new specification engine in the PETRONAS FP1, designed to reduce inertia, and reported the desired increased torque in bettering their times from a recent test at the French circuit. However, this was at the expense of some top end power, a factor most relevant through the first sector in the drive out of Estoril and up the Golf straight.
Chris said: "I broke down on the bike that I set my best morning time and the new engine felt different so it took a few laps to get used to. And I was disappointed not to have gone a bit faster. I should have been doing the time I did on a qualifier on race tyres. We still need to look at turning in on the brakes and work on the chatter I'm still experiencing. But I am happy because it's the best position I have been for a while."
Troy, third in the ideal times of combined best sector splits, said: "I concentrated on the new engine this afternoon. The acceleration was a lot stronger bottom to mid-range but we lost something off the top end. We will try to make the gearing a bit longer before it peaks out but that might mean we lose some of the torque. The bikes are handling well and we haven't changed too much. The front tyre is okay and the new rear tyre we have tried is not too different from the one we found at the test. I made a small mistake in my fastest lap so to be 0.2 off pole is pretty encouraging and I was doing nearly the same time on race tyres as I did on a qualifier."