Qatar : Yamaha Racing - Qualifiying 1
Troy Corser set the early pace at the first round of the 2008 World Superbike season in Qatar, posting a first day qualifying time of 1'59.627 on race tyres and getting to within half a second of the current lap record. Corser's fellow
Yamaha rider Noriyuki Haga secured a provisional front row position of fourth, despite falling heavily two-thirds of the way through the hour long qualifying session.
Conditions at Losail were problematic for all riders, with a strong and gusting wind blowing down the kilometre-long main straight, holding down top speed potentials and making corner entry a challenge.
With both riders inside the top four places, the experienced Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team made the best use of their recent testing experiences in Qatar, and few changes were made to the machine settings since that test at the 5.380km Losail circuit.
Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha GMT94) was on strong form on day one, setting ninth fastest time, with his team-mate Davide Checa (Yamaha GMT94) 17th.
Final qualifying and then Superpole qualifying take place tomorrow, Friday 22nd, before Saturday's pair of 18-lap Superbike races.
Troy Corser (1st - 1'59.627 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team)
"Having the test so soon before the race was good because we got a really strong engine setting with the bike. The chassis feels quite good but it is difficult to know how well things are working, just because of the wind. That is probably the windiest conditions I have ever ridden in...
It wasn't so bad that we shouldn't have been out there, but today was all down to how much you wanted to push. I didn't really change too many settings from the test, just left it to get today out of the way. We just need the wind to die down for tomorrow.
The track grip is comparable to what we had here at the test. I think the wind is blowing as much sand off the track as it is blowing sand back on. The only real problem is that the worst direction for the wind to blow here is down the main straight, like it was today. The bike and the team are working well so it's been a positive start.”
Noriyuki Haga (4th - 2'00.476 - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team)
"It was difficult to make the best lap times in these conditions, but the feeling with the bike was very good. Unfortunately I had a big highside at turn one, on water coming from the bike. I landed straight on top of my head. I think before the crash I was half a centimetre taller. I am in a lot of pain but I will rest tonight and be better tomorrow. Top four is a good result for the first day. Our target point for tomorrow is make some changes in suspension, but I think we have the package right now anyway."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Motor Italia WSB Team, Team Manager
"We are happy with that for a first day. We have to consider that we had a test here recently, so we should expect good results. Troy's time was great given the conditions and we know we have two very strong riders in all circumstances. We feel for Nori after his crash, we can see he is in pain, but we also know him and he is strong. Now we will look that the bike and see if there was a problem."
Press Release Yamaha Racing