Checa the early leader at a hot Phillip Island Scorching weather conditions for the first qualifying session at Phillip Island saw Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea) continue his good testing form with a 1'32.155 lap, leading Michel Fabrizio (Ducati...
Checa the early leader at a hot Phillip Island
Scorching weather conditions for the first qualifying session at Phillip Island saw Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea) continue his good testing form with a 1'32.155 lap, leading Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare). Checa was only 0.007 seconds ahead of Fabrizio, 0.218 ahead of Englishman Haslam.
The air temperature in qualifying was 33o.C, the track temperature a very high 51o.C, which made the hour-long session hard work for all competitors. Checa's team-mate Shane Byrne went fourth fastest but suffered a fast highside crash at the final corners of his last lap, while trying to improve his ranking still further. Several riders fell in what was an expectedly close and intense period of qualifying.
Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was fifth today, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing) went sixth fastest but was also a faller in the final session of the day.
Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was top Honda rider in the opening qualifying battle, seventh, with Sylvain Guintoli's Suzuki eighth.
Jakub Smrz was ninth fastest on his privateer Pata B&G Racing Ducati, and the top ten was rounded out by Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Superbike) the top Yamaha rider.
Chris Vermeulen scored 12th on his Kawasaki Racing Team bike, Troy Corser, another late faller, put his BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR 16th, but was on course for a vast improvement in lap time before his fall.
James Toseland was a faller in the session, while Ruben Xaus crashed three times today, but recovered each time and went 19th in the ranking.
One more session remains for riders to try and qualifying for Superpole on Saturday, with Superpole determining the final top 20 grid places.
The top 20 riders were all within 1.910 seconds, the top ten within 0.883 seconds today.
Carlos Checa: "I know what I can do. I have to confirm my time tomorrow but I know that I wish we had the same weather as today for the race. The crash in qualifying was not a problem. Ducati's work very well at Phillip Island and my pace at the moment is very good. I do not know yet if it is good enough for the race."
Michel Fabrizio: "We tried different tyre solutions this morning and various small things that my engineer wanted to test. I had a fall, losing the front, but without causing myself, or my bike, too much damage thankfully. Then in the qualifying session we sorted a lot of things out and with the tyre solution that may well be the one to choose for the race many riders were able to drop their times. During my fast lap I lost a couple of tenths through the last corner but I'm fairly happy anyway; we've worked well and I'm satisfied with the results. We have a good race pace but a lot will depend on Sunday's weather."
World Supersport Championship
Lascorz leads on day one of new school
The first qualifying session of the year proved to be the property of Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com rider Joan Lascorz, who was also fastest man in the official tests a few days ago.
Second was the perennially powerful Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), who left it very late to move up.
Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) posted third while another old stager in this class, Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki) was fourth. Sofuoglu's team-mate Michele Pirro secured fifth best lap time, while changes in set-up allowed Chaz Davies to jump up the order to sixth on his Triumph BE1 triple, ahead of another Kawasaki rider, Fabien Foret. The top six riders were within only 0.310 seconds of each other.