Haga and Corser Earn Vital Front Row Start Positions at Assen Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser put in their best performances of the weekend when it really counted to take a second and fourth place respectively in the one-lap Superpole qualifying...
Haga and Corser Earn Vital Front Row Start Positions at Assen
Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser put in their best performances of the weekend when it really counted to take a second and fourth place respectively in the one-lap Superpole qualifying session at Assen.
The Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team pairing have declared themselves ready to race after exhaustive tests of machine set-up throughout qualifying. Each also completed a successful long run to determine which tyres to use for the two 22-lap races on Sunday.
Haga, who had been sixth fastest after regulation combined qualifying, showed all his skill and speed to set a 1'38.546 in Superpole and miss out on the 'win' by only 0.118 seconds. Corser set a 1'38.761 to line up on the front row of the grid alongside pole winner Troy Bayliss, Haga and third placed rider Ruben Xaus.
David Checa (Yamaha GMT94) secured a Superpole start by finishing 13th in combined qualifying, and after Superpole he starts the race 14th, from the fourth row of the grid.
Team YZF rider Shinichi Nakatomi was desperately unlucky not to qualify for Superpole, finishing one place out of a guaranteed start on the first four rows by only 0.069 seconds. Nakatomi was only 1.099 from Jakub Smrz' fastest pre-Superpole time, of 1'39.558. Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha GMT94) was 23rd fastest, 1.3 seconds from the pre-Superpole best, after experiencing technical issues in qualifying on a machine hastily rebuilt after the Le Mans 24-Hour race last weekend.
Noriyuki Haga (2nd - 1'38.546 - Yamaha Italy WSB Team)
"It's great to be on the front row because it is the first time that has happened this year. I am already happy with the bike settings and the tyre choice for tomorrow, so I am really ready for the race. It's going to be tough and we can see that the lap times are very close, but I will try to ride aggressively from the front row and go for the best result possible."
Troy Corser (4th - 1'38.761 - Yamaha Italy WSB Team)
"I spent a lot of laps trying to find a good race set-up so I wasn't too concerned about my lack of early pace. I had struggled on day one with front and rear grip, but we went back to what we knew and were able to improve our overall set-up. I knew we could go fast in Superpole and it's very important to be on the front row here. The first corner is tight and we can't afford to let the other guys get away. We're in a good position for the races."
Massimo Meregalli (Team Manager, Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team)
"To have two riders on the front row is what we always work towards so we are very happy with that. We have to wait to see how we manage the tyre life tomorrow but the test we did were not so bad. This afternoon both riders made quite long runs and the performance did not drop down, it was very consistent, so hopefully we can do that again tomorrow. I think there will be a few riders in it tomorrow, but I think we will be there also."
Shinichi Nakatomi (17th - 1'40.657 seconds, Team YZF Yamaha)
"We changed the set-up in the beginning of the second timed session, and put in a new tyre. I pushed hard, but not enough to qualify. If it is dry on raceday than many riders will be together, so getting a good start is very important."
Christophe Guyot (Team Manager Yamaha GMT94 Team)
"It was good to have David in Superpole but he is disappointed not to be higher than 14th, because he did good times in practice and we expected him to be in about tenth or 11th position. But it is better to be disappointed with 14th place than to be happy that you got that high, like in Valencia. That means that we have improved, and our expectations have been lifted. Sebastien was very unlucky because we had very little time to prepare a new bike for Assen after last weekend's Endurance race, and that meant he had some technical problems during qualifying this weekend."