Second consecutive front row for Martin and FPR Steve Martin will start from the front row of the grid for the second consecutive time on the PETRONAS FP1 after qualifying fourth for tomorrow's Superbike World Championship third round races at...
Second consecutive front row for Martin and FPR
Steve Martin will start from the front row of the grid for the second consecutive time on the PETRONAS FP1 after qualifying fourth for tomorrow's Superbike World Championship third round races at Valencia, Spain.
The stylish Australian was just a quarter of a second off the 1:34.992 pace set by fellow countryman Troy Corser, as Steve repeated his qualifying performance from the previous round at Phillip Island.
Having qualified for Superpole in fourth place, as only a handful of riders bettered their qualifying times from yesterday on a greasy morning surface, Steve recovered from a problematic afternoon free practice session to deliver a typically composed and impressive flying lap of 1:35.255.
And Foggy PETRONAS Racing team owner Carl Fogarty heaped praise on the achievement in an increasingly competitive championship.
He said: "I think Steve's performance on the bike has been incredible and is a reward for the whole team's consistent effort. It is going to be tough in the races, because more powerful bikes will hold him up in the corners, but on a lap with a clear track he is as fast as anyone out there."
Steve said: "It's unbelievable to be on the front row for two consecutive races this year and, considering the problems we had last year, I don't think anyone expected that. I'm wrapped! It goes to show that everyone connected with the project is still putting in 100 per cent effort. We still have the challenge of the races ahead of us so I need the best start possible. Then hopefully I will have a good enough set-up to enable me to stick in there and get bags of good points. My Superpole lap could possibly have been a bit quicker, although not enough for pole position, as I had a couple of moments that were symptomatic of the grip problems I had experienced in the afternoon session, so we will have a think about that tonight. The weather forecast is not too good for tomorrow and, although nobody wants to race in the wet, it would be more of a lottery. But I have raced well here in the wet before, so anything can happen."
Team-mate Craig Jones also enjoyed an encouraging day, bettering yesterday's time by nearly a second and finishing the morning qualifying session in 17th place with a lap of 1:37.623, which resulted in a starting grid position of 27th when set against the faster times from yesterday's first qualifying session.
He said: "The morning was probably my best session of the season so far and I am starting to get closer to the front and also to Steve's times. We have worked really hard on the set-up and managed to make quite a lot of progress towards getting a good feeling. I was hoping we could take it a step further this afternoon but we lost a lot of grip as the temperature rose. We just need to have a good think now and put all the settings together for the race."