Magny-Cours: Yamaha Racing Friday report

Haga tops Magny Cours practice with Pitt in close attendance Yamaha Motor Italia's Noriyuki Haga topped the timesheets in today's opening practice session at Magny Cours, while team-mate Andrew Pitt also impressed with the fourth fastest time of...

Haga tops Magny Cours practice with Pitt in close attendance

Yamaha Motor Italia's Noriyuki Haga topped the timesheets in today's opening practice session at Magny Cours, while team-mate Andrew Pitt also impressed with the fourth fastest time of the day.

In a close qualifying session that saw the top ten riders covered by less than one second, the Japanese rider topped the timesheets for virtually the whole session. Haga set a best time of 1:40.474 just six minutes into the session and was never to be topped. The Yamaha man went on to work at finding the best possible settings for Sunday's two 23-lap races and declared himself generally happy with his day's work, despite an off-track excursion midway through the session.

Pitt ended the day four-tenths of a second behind his team-mate, fourth in the overnight standings. The Australian also worked on race set-up, although he lost a little track time when one of his machines developed a minor technical problem in the morning free practice session. Confirming the R1's potency at the French circuit, Pitt and Haga sit jointly at the top of the speed charts, gunning their Yamahas through the speed trap at 285kph.

Both riders go into Sunday's races with similar objectives: Haga is looking to overhaul James Toseland (Honda) for second place in the championship while Pitt looks to consolidate his best ever season by retaining his fourth place in the points' standings.

Home rider Sebastien Gimbert was the quickest of the Yamaha Motor France riders, ending the day 13th on a circuit he knows like the back of his hand. Shinichi Nakatomi was less than one tenth of a second behind his team-mate in his first competitive outing at the circuit. Norick Abe tried various machine set-ups throughout the day and ended the day 18th fastest.

Final qualifying positions will be decided by tomorrow's superpole session for the top 16 riders. Making up the provisional top four is second placed Toseland and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati), in third.

Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia)
"As always we are working to make a good setting for the race, but it is still nice to be at the top of the timesheets, even if it is only on the Friday. I like this circuit and the feeling with the bike is already very good, although we will continue working hard and trying to make the bike a little better at a few points on the track."

Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia)
"I found a good rhythm this afternoon and we were able to get through lot of work. Overall it's not been a bad day. The main thing we need to improve are the gearbox settings but I know that the team will look at all the data tonight and try and find a solution for tomorrow."

Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha Motor France)
"I lost some time in the morning session as we had problems with both bikes, but in the afternoon I was able to make some good laps. My fastest lap was not perfect, as I made mistakes in the first two sectors, and I know that I can go faster tomorrow."

Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha Motor France)
"We made a test here a few weeks ago so this circuit is not new to me. I'm happy to be so close to the top riders and I hope to remain in the superpole tomorrow. It would be good to get some strong results at my team's home race and end my first season in Europe on a high."

Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France)
"We changed the bike settings from the morning to the afternoon but it turned out that what we had in the morning was better, as we had less grip and stability in the afternoon. For tomorrow we will try to go in another direction again and hopefully this will help us make a better lap time."

Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italia)
"It's been a good day, certainly better than at Imola last weekend. Both riders were able to do a run a lot of laps and we're pleased that both are at the top end of the timesheets. Andrew needs to find a better gearbox (setting) but otherwise I think we are in good shape for the races."

-credit: yamaha racing

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