Yamaha Lines up in Third and Fourth for the Showdown at Magny-Cours
The Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team has its name on two spaces on the front row of the grid for the final race of the season tomorrow, with Corser in third and Haga in fourth.
Haga set a blistering pace during this morning's second qualifying session, becoming the first rider of the session to put in a 1'39 lap time and go top. He stayed at the top of the board until the final minute when Bayliss took 0.095 seconds off his time, pushing Haga to second place for Superpole. Corser used the session to work on his set-up and joined the 1'39 club five minutes from the end to go fifth fastest.
Corser was the first man out of the box for the team and managed a good lap to go second in the rankings behind Toseland, although he was later knocked into third by Neukirchner who was 0.1 seconds in front. Haga was the penultimate man out for his flying lap but he was unable to do any better than fourth because the cooler temperatures affected his chosen tyre.
Shinichi Nakatomi's luck didn't improve today as he continued to struggle further down the grid with clutch problems. Unable to continue his good form from last weekend at Vallelunga, the Team Yamaha YZF rider qualified in 17th, just outside the Superpole allowance. With the Japanese rider only five points behind Jacob Smrz in the championship standings, Nakatomi will be keen to beat the Czech rider tomorrow and finish 14th in the championship.
Tomorrow's races will be close-run events with Haga, Toseland and Biaggi all within a chance of the Championship Title as well as the Manufacturer Title still up for grabs.
Troy Corser (3rd - 1'38.624 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) "Today went okay although I struggled to find the right set-up on race tyres. Losing the session to the weather yesterday didn't give us enough time today to try all the set-up options that we wanted to. This morning we decided to try setting one of my bikes up with Nori's settings because he was consistent in his timings. We made some fork and gearing changes and it felt better than it had been, but we just ran out of time.
I'm disappointed that I didn't put on a new front tyre for the Superpole lap. I had wanted to hold one back for the warm up session tomorrow morning but the tyre I used this afternoon had lost its edge and I even thought I was going to go down in one corner.
I'm happy enough with a front row start although it would've been nice to keep hold of the lap record. I know I can run as good lap times as anyone else here, though. I just want to go out now, get a good start and go for the win. There's going to be a few elbows and fairings clashing tomorrow that's for sure!"
Noriyuki Haga (4th - 1'38.897 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team) "I got a better feeling for the qualifying tyres during the second session this afternoon, but when it came down to it the track temperature was just too low for me to put in a really fast lap. I did my best and didn't feel like I made any mistakes; it's just one of those things. Fourth is okay, it's still the front row and I'm confident that I can get a good start. I just hope that the weather is no worse than today; it needs to be dry at least. I found a good suspension setting for tomorrow and we've made our tyre choice, so we're all set for the race. Now, it comes down to a mix of determination and luck." Shinichi Nakatomi (17th - 1'41.846 - Team Yamaha YZF) "Yesterday the bike feeling wasn't good. I didn't have enough time to find a good setting because of the rain and I also had a clutch problem. I'm disappointed with 17th qualifying position and with missing the opportunity to improve on it in Superpole. I hope to get a good start tomorrow and have a good race to end the season."