Martin takes provisional pole at Laguna Seca

Although the WSBK championship has been coming to Laguna Seca for nine years, 2004 is the first year most WSBK riders will race at the Monterey track on Pirelli tires. So while Pier-Francesco Chili, Troy Corser, Noriyuki Haga and others are...

Although the WSBK championship has been coming to Laguna Seca for nine years, 2004 is the first year most WSBK riders will race at the Monterey track on Pirelli tires. So while Pier-Francesco Chili, Troy Corser, Noriyuki Haga and others are familiar with the track, they were faced with the challenge of adjusting to the track on the new tires.

Chili was the second rider to get into the 1:27 range (1:27.788), which placed the Italian at the top of the time sheets. The most recent WSBK winner, Chris Vermeulen, struggled to come to grips with the track. However, his troubles were expected, as the young Australian has never raced at Laguna Seca.

Perhaps one of the most exciting riders out to watch was Troy Corser, as he manhandled the FP-1 triple around and out of the corkscrew. His efforts did not go unrewarded, as he sat alongside Chili by the midway of qualifying.

Further back, the Ducati Corse boys struggled, as Regis Laconi could only manage fifth, while his teammate sat ninth.

But as the clock drew closer to the 50 minute mark, the times were due to come down, and the current standings were set to shuffle as the sticky tires were on the way. James Toseland was the first to benefit from the qualifying tires, as he slotted himself fourth in the initial stages of the last minutes, though he eventually finished sixth.

The biggest surprise was Steve Martin who shot himself to first at the last minute, and Chili was not able to counter, leaving him in the second position.

WSBK First qualifying:
1. Steve Martin
2. Pierfrancesco Chili
3. Regis Laconi
4. Chris Vermeulen
5. Noriyuki Haga
6. James Toseland
7. Marco Borciani
8. Troy Corser
9. Lucio Pedercini
10. Mauro Sanchini
11. Garry McCoy
12. Ivan Clementi
13. Leon Haslam
14. Chris Walker
15. Piergiorgio Bontempi
16. Jiri
17. Mrkyvka
18. Gianluca Nannelli
19. Miguel Praia
20. Horst Saiger
21. Alessio Velini
22. Warwick Nowland


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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Garry McCoy , Noriyuki Haga , Steve Martin , Marco Borciani , Chris Walker , Mauro Sanchini , Ivan Clementi , James Toseland , Lucio Pedercini , Troy Corser , Chris Vermeulen , Leon Haslam , Warwick Nowland , Miguel Praia , Alessio Velini , Horst Saiger , Gianluca Nannelli , Laconi Régis