Hodgson and Xaus (Team Ducati Fila) struggle in the wet as bad weather affects first qualifying at Sugo. Team Ducati Fila riders Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus battled against the appalling weather conditions at Sugo Sportsland as Friday qualifying...
Hodgson and Xaus (Team Ducati Fila) struggle in the wet as bad weather affects first qualifying at Sugo.
Team Ducati Fila riders Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus battled against the appalling weather conditions at Sugo Sportsland as Friday qualifying for the Japanese World Superbike round was first delayed until late in the afternoon and then cut short before the end.
Thick fog shrouded the 3.737 km circuit shortly before the 2.15 start of the afternoon session, and this, coupled with steady rain, led the organisers to postpone the session until 4 o'clock from its original time slot. It was then brought to a halt due to continuing rain with ten minutes left.
Today's action saw championship pacesetter Hodgson set seventh quickest time in 1m48.629s as he got to grips with the wet for the first time on the Michelin-shod Ducati 999. "There's not much to report really" declared Neil, "because things were really difficult out there today. I'm struggling a bit with the tyres for the moment. Hopefully it's not like this on Sunday because although I can certainly get my time down, I'm still five seconds off the guys at the front and it's going to be difficult to find that sort of pace without falling off."
Ruben Xaus had two harmless slides during the session as he also made his wet-weather 'debut' on the 999. The Spanish rider was fourteenth quickest with a time of 1m50.050s. "This was my first time in the wet on the bike," confirmed Ruben. "I've always been good in wet conditions in the past but today was really difficult. I wasn't paying attention out there and I crashed at the chicane round the back and then turn 7, it was as simple as that, because conditions were really terrible."
TIMES: 1. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 1m43.829s; 2. Laconi (NCR Ducati) 1m44.227s; 3. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1m44.588s; 4. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) 1m45.135; 5. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1m45.845s; 6. Izutsu (Honda) 1m47.545s; 7. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 1m48.629s; 8. Watanabe (Suzuki) 1m48.914s ... 14. Xaus (Ducati Fila) 1m50.050s.
TV COVERAGE : Eurosport: Sunday 27 April - Race 1 0500 (live), Race 2 0830 (live). RaiTre (Italy): Saturday 26 April - Superpole 1620 (delayed); RaiDue (Italy): Sunday 27 April - Race 1 0455 (live), Race 2 0055 (highlights).