“Now I've got to keep my head down”
Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) powered to the 41st pole position of his career in the opening round of the 2008 HANNspree Superbike World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar but he had to work hard to hold off
the challenge of Ruben Xaus and Max Biaggi, second and third respectively.
Corser's time of 1'58.053 was four-tenths of a second quicker than the circuit's best lap, which the 36-year-old Australian set for Yamaha last year. Xaus and Biaggi, both on Ducati 1098 RS08 machines from the private Sterilgarda Go Eleven squad, were heading for a sensational 1-2 before Corser put in his quick lap. Alongside them on the grid for the two races tomorrow will be Alstare Suzuki's young German rider Max Neukirchner.
“I really like this track and the Yamaha seems to work well round here”, declared Corser. “Last year was a good result but now I feel more relaxed and at ease with the team. I've got to thank all the guys, they worked really hard in the tests which helped us a lot but now I've got to keep my head down and be consistent. We actually struggled a bit in the last free practice after making a few small changes but we went back to we know what works well and hopefully now we can go for the win tomorrow”.
“The team is working very well, I was here testing and was really focused on this race”, said Xaus. “The bike worked perfect, the team is incredible, Max Biaggi next to me has given me really more motivation and also more focus so what can I say? Second and third and front row for the team is fantastic!”
“I don't know if the factory is happy or not but we made an amazing job to be second and third”, said Biaggi.
“We have a kind of OK set-up for tomorrow, it all depends on the conditions. I more or less made an endurance run for the tyre and I know what it is doing. We will see tomorrow but it looks like it's going to be tough here as always.”
“Today was not so bad for us, I was not testing here unlike my team-mates and I think we have now a good set-up”, said Neukirchner. “For one lap we are really fast but I think we must try and do a good race to score some points tomorrow.”
Lorenzo Lanzi (RG Team) will line up on the outside of the second row in fifth place on another Ducati 1098 customer machine, a fraction ahead of Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia WSB). Troy Bayliss could only manage seventh on the factory Ducati Xerox 1098, ahead of Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki) and Carlos Checa (HANNspree Ten Kate Honda), taking part in his first-ever Superpole, while Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) rounded out the top 10.
Frenchman Fabien Foret (Yamaha World Supersport) continued his impressive start to the weekend as he notched up the first pole position of the year at Losail on his YZF-R6 machine.
Foret, WSS champion in 2002, knocked a tenth of a second off the circuit's best lap to record a time of 2'01.928. He will be joined on the front row of the grid by Craig Jones on the Parkalgar Honda CBR600RR, the British rider looking promising for this new Portuguese-backed team. Two more Hondas are alongside, the Intermoto Czech version of Matthieu Lagrive and the HANNspree Ten Kate version of BSB sensation Jonathan Rea.
2007 runner-up Broc Parkes was fifth quickest on the other Yamaha World Supersport machine, while Triumph had an encouraging debut with Australian veteran Garry McCoy powering the 675cc triple machine to seventh place ahead of another Triumph of Italian Ivan Clementi.
SBK Press Office