DUCATI XEROX RIDERS HAGA AND FABRIZIO SNATCH PROVISIONAL POLE AND THIRD PLACE FOR SUNDAY'S RACES AT BRNO Brno (Czech Republic), Friday 9th July : elevated track temperatures did not stop the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio...
DUCATI XEROX RIDERS HAGA AND FABRIZIO SNATCH PROVISIONAL POLE AND THIRD PLACE FOR SUNDAY'S RACES AT BRNO
Brno (Czech Republic), Friday 9th July : elevated track temperatures did not stop the Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio from dominating today's Superbike action at the Czech circuit of Brno. Japanese rider Noriyuki went straight to the top of the timesheets in first qualifying this afternoon, holding this position until the close of play to secure provisional pole ahead of Sunday's races, three tenths of a second ahead of Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow and half a second ahead of his team-mate Michel.
In the early afternoon's first practice both Haga and Fabrizio immediately demonstrated their potential on the Czech track, a circuit that both factory riders list among their favourites. Mid-session, Noriyuki was the first rider to duck under 2m01, recording a string of consistently fast laps with a new tyre that propelled him to the top of the timesheets in the second half of the session. In the last ten minutes Michel went out on the same tyre that Nori had used earlier and was able to improve on his team-mate's time, recording the fastest overall lap of the session; he was the only rider to lap in under 2m.00 and concluded the session comfortably, four tenths of a second ahead of Carlos Checa; Noriyuki closed this initial session in fifth position.
Two hours later on a still steaming track (58C in temperature) first qualifying got underway with Noriyuki and Michel both setting impressive times just two laps into the session. The two Ducati Xerox riders, both very comfortable riding with the new Pirelli rear tyre (with which they obtained some strong results in the recent Imola tests), remained first and second in the classification for the first half of the session until Carlos Checa went two tenths quicker. With only five minutes of the session remaining, and on fresh tyres, both Fabrizio and Haga answered back, the Roman rider shaving six tenths of his previous best to record a 1m59.7 and the Japanese rider improving even more significantly on his time to set a 1m59.2, the fastest lap of the day.
Noriyuki Haga 1m59.2
"Feeling with my bike improved this afternoon, as we took another step with regard to the suspension and that helped, as did changing the tyre pressure. We still need to improve braking in certain sections of the track, and I'm not sure about tyres yet, because although the new one seems fairly consistent, I still want to try our "usual" tyre tomorrow and see how it works in these conditions. We've made a good start and will try to improve further in tomorrow's sessions."
Michel Fabrizio 1m59.7
"Everything's going well for now and there are no real problems. The new rear tyre seems to be working well here, as it did when we tested it in Imola recently, and I was able to complete race distance on it, so that gives me confidence, though we still have the new front tyre to try tomorrow. I'm feeling fairly positive; I really like this track and hope to be able to do well tomorrow, to qualify at the front for Sunday's races."