MUGGERIDGE SECOND FASTEST IN FRANCE
Winston Ten Kate Honda rider, Karl Muggeridge, set the second fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session for the final World Superbike championship round at Magny-Cours, France on Sunday. The Australian was just three tenths of a second behind provisional pole sitter Yukio Kagayama.
Muggeridge's Winston team-mate, Chris Vermeulen, winner of four of the last five races, set the eighth fastest time; again, the 23-year-old opted not to use one of his available qualifying tyres from Pirelli, concentrating instead on perfecting his race set-up.
Ronald ten Kate -- team manager:
"Although both riders seem to be pretty close, we still have quite some problems to rectify. Tomorrow we'll concentrate on fine tuning the settings further to find the right set-up for Sunday's last two races of the season. Karl used a qualifier towards the end of the session but still found some problems, so we still have some work to do tonight. Chris used his normal strategy of no qualifier so his time is actually pretty good, although he is only in eighth place."
Karl Muggeridge -- second fastest, 1m40.854s
"I'm really struggling with grip here today, especially in the corners around the top of the circuit. We tried a lot of things this afternoon to find some grip -- up, down, everything. We improved it slightly in that session but, unfortunately, that meant the bike not working properly around the rest of the lap. But our data guys have something they think will work in the rear so we'll give that a go tomorrow morning. I want to stay where I am on the grid for Sunday's race because it's been a long time since I tasted some champagne. I'm feeling thirsty, for sure."
Chris Vermeulen -- eighth fastest, 1m41.473s
"No real problems apart from the fact that it's a lot colder than when we tested here in June and the grip level offered by the track surface has fallen off dramatically. But I did my fastest lap towards the end of that session on race tyres that were both around 20 laps old and the bike felt OK. There's really only a choice of one front and one rear here -- nothing else is close. I'm happy enough to stay in about eighth place for Superpole tomorrow and then use a qualifier."