LAST-MINUTE EFFORT BY LACONI POWERS THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM RIDER TO SEVENTH WORLD SUPERBIKE POLE IN QATAR QUALIFYING Losail (Qatar), Friday 25 February: Ducati Xerox Team's RÃ©gis Laconi powered to his seventh World Superbike pole position with a...
LAST-MINUTE EFFORT BY LACONI POWERS THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM RIDER TO SEVENTH WORLD SUPERBIKE POLE IN QATAR QUALIFYING
Losail (Qatar), Friday 25 February: Ducati Xerox Team's Régis Laconi powered to his seventh World Superbike pole position with a splendid last-minute effort at the Losail Raceway in Qatar. The Frenchman edged out his closest rival Troy Corser (Suzuki) in the final seconds of the fifty minute Superpole session, which was run to wet-weather procedure, to take the pole with a time of 2m01.593s. His Ducati Xerox team-mate James Toseland was unable to get his 2005 season off to a good start and will line up on the fourth row of the grid after qualifying in thirteenth position.
"It was dry for the first few minutes and for the last few laps of Superpole but no one went out for 30 minutes in the middle because it was wet", commented a delighted Laconi. "I went out at the start but I knew I could do better. We changed both the front and the rear and I pushed very hard on the final lap; to do a 2m01.5 in these conditions is really good. For the race I am pleased with the set-up and with the duration of my tyre, we have been working really hard to get the best feeling all weekend and now it is working OK. Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow for the race, because it's going to be a really tough battle. The other guys will make life difficult for us, but for sure that's good for the championship".
Toseland's efforts to improve during the morning's second and final qualifying session were thwarted by the rain. The world champion then missed out on a good position in Superpole, slipping down to thirteenth on the grid with a time of 2m03.357s.
"Today was not such a good day" declared Toseland. "In the wet this morning we weren't too bad but you couldn't do much in that session. This afternoon I had a few problems so came back in and was unable to get much of a long run. I just needed more dry time on the track because every time we seemed to try something it started to rain. We were just unable to get back into a rhythm. Physically I feel a bit battered but that's not the problem, the weather has not allowed us to get the time, and when you haven't got the right feeling, you can't set a good time in Superpole. Unfortunately I just didn't get it together when I should have done, but I'm sure I'll be able to run a good race tomorrow".
TIMES: 1. Laconi (Ducati Xerox) 2m01.593s ; 2. Corser (Suzuki) 2m01.641s ; 3. Gimbert (Yamaha) 2m01.889s; 4. Kagayama (Suzuki) 2m02.643s; 5. Pitt (Yamaha) 2m02.670s; 6. Cardoso (Yamaha) 2m02.745s; 7. Haga (Yamaha) 2m02.766s; 8. Vermeulen (Honda) 2m02.960s; 9. Silva (Yamaha) 2m03.049s; 10. Chili (Honda) 2m03.100s; ... 13. Toseland (Ducati Xerox) 2m03.357s; etc.
TV COVERAGE: British Eurosport (UK): Friday 25 February 17.45 - 18.45 Superpole (delayed), Saturday 26 February 07.30 - 13.45 SBK 1 + SSP + SBK 2 (live); Eurosport (Europe) Sunday 27 February 21.30 - 22.30 all races (highlights).