Yamaha riders working ahead Down Under
In a close first qualifying for Sunday's Australian round of the Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team riders Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga rode strongly to set the fifth and eighth fastest times respectively.
Corser, the 1996 and 2005 world champion, was the quickest of the YZF-R1 riders - setting a best time of 1:32.900 on the first lap of his final run. Haga, celebrating his 32nd birthday today, recorded his daily best of 1:33.244 on just his second flying lap and spent the rest of the session on endurance testing duties.
The team was able to take advantage of data gathered during testing at Phillip Island in January, although further development work meant that the settings require further refinement. With that in mind the team continued working on finding a good race set-up for Sunday's race. The development work carried out since that January test has endowed the R1 with greater rear end grip, making the riders' focus on fine-tuning the front suspension of their machines.
Shinichi Nakatomi, sole rider in Team YZF Yamaha, ended the day 18th out of 22 entrants. The 28-year-old Japanese rider recorded a best lap of 1:35.572.
The superbike riders will have another two hours' of track time tomorrow, before the grid deciding Superpole session. Fastest man in today's timed practice was James Toseland (Honda) with a 1:32.040. World champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati), Fonsi Nieto (Kawasaki) and Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati) complete the overnight top four.
Troy Corser (1.32.900 - Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team)
"We're just trying different stuff. The chassis, or at least the set-up, of the bike is different from when we tested here so I've gone for a whole new setting. The back of the bike is working a lot better (than in testing) so now we're able to work on the front. Friday is important for getting the bike ready but as far as the lap times go it's just about getting into the top 16 and not about being the fastest. I'm pretty pleased with how it's gone today and we've still got a few other things to try that should help us move forward tomorrow. The days of worrying about being fastest on a Friday are long gone for me. As long as we're there or thereabouts let's concentrate on getting the bike set up for the race, because that's what's important."
Noriyuki Haga (1.33.244 - Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team)
"The main thing I am looking to do is to make the bike turn more easily. Our lap times are not too bad but I have to work the front tyre too hard to make the bike turn and because of this the tyre is wearing out too quickly. We changed the bike setting between the morning and afternoon but it did not really make much difference. Tonight we will try some new things and tomorrow is another day - so who knows what will happen!"
Shinichi Nakatomi (1.35.572 - Team YZF Yamaha)
"We made a lot of changes today and it has cost us some time. We can improve tomorrow and hopefully will be able to make a faster time."
Massimo Meregalli (Team Coordinator - Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team)
"After our test here in January I was expecting more problems today but it looks like we have solved many things. Also we are looking now to see what changes we can make tonight to improve the rider feeling a little bit more. I have spoken to the riders and they are quite content. Both say that they have no major problems and have a good direction to work in tomorrow."