Martin on provisional second row at Valencia Foggy PETRONAS Racing's Steve Martin recovered from a slow start to the third round of the Superbike World Championship at Valencia, Spain, to finish the first day of qualifying in eighth ...
Martin on provisional second row at Valencia
Foggy PETRONAS Racing's Steve Martin recovered from a slow start to the third round of the Superbike World Championship at Valencia, Spain, to finish the first day of qualifying in eighth place.
Team-mate Garry McCoy also made significant steps forward during a sunny afternoon qualifying session and was one of 16 riders within one second of third place.
Using a new specification of engine, only previously tested for one day at Phillip Island, both riders were restricted in track time during the morning session during fundamental set-up work.
But, on swapping to the softest rear tyre, Steve slashed nearly 1.5 seconds off his previous best in one lap and was lying in sixth place on race tyres before the end-of-session dash to record a time on qualifying rubber.
Garry was also able to record a top speed of 282kmh, just 3kmh behind the pacesetting Troy Corser, the only rider to break into the 1:35s.
Steve said: "It has been a tough day but I am still close to my fastest time around here. We are still working on the mapping of the new specification of engine at this tight track, as we have only previously tested it at Phillip Island where the throttle is open all the time. The gearing has also totally changed, so we will work on that overnight. We are also still trying to get rid of some chatter and trying to alter the balance of the bike a little bit. The new engine is definitely stronger but at this stage we still need a little more torque at lower revs, so that we can come out of the corners better."
Garry said: "The new specification of engine is definitely more aggressive and `peaky', so I am still getting used to it and have had to be careful on the accelerator. But I can feel it is stronger and we are closer to the top speeds. I wasn't able to do too many laps this morning and I am probably a bit disappointed to be one place out of Superpole, which means I have a little bit of work in front of me tomorrow. But I made a couple of mistakes on my fastest lap, probably because I had to push hard on the sighting lap in order to just get past the line before the end of the session. We have also made the wheelbase shorter than in Australia, which has changed the suspension characteristics."
Free practice times: 1 Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona) 1:36.742; 2 Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona) 1:37.123; 3 Laconi (Ducati Xerox) 1:37.193; 4 Haga (Yamaha Italia) 1:37.470; 5 Vermeulen (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:37.582; 6 Toseland (Ducati Xerox) 1:37.613; 7 Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:37.703; 8 Neukirchner (Klaffi Honda) 1:37.799; 9 Chili (Klaffi Honda) 1;38.011; 10 Gimbert (Yamaha France) 1:38.027; 24 McCoy (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:39.361; 25 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:39.375