As 2007 R1 continues impressive debut
Troy Corser lived up to his reputation as the king of superpole in Qatar today, setting a blistering lap time to grab pole position for his first races with the Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team.
The new-for-2007 YZF-R1 has made an
immediate impact in its first world championship outing with Noriyuki Haga setting the pace yesterday and Corser taking pole today. Haga continued his great form in superpole and will join his team-mate on the front row for tomorrow's races.
Corser, who will sit on pole for the 39th time tomorrow, didn't have the ideal preparation for his superpole lap after crashing at the end of the preceding free practice session. The Australian rider had gone out to test the soft qualifying tyre used for superpole but slid off as he entered the second turn.
His job looked doubly difficult when superbike newcomer Max Biaggi (Suzuki) became the first man to record a sub 1:59 lap time in superpole. Corser, who elected to run a tried and tested race tyre rather than the super-sticky qualifier, simply put the crash behind him and stormed to a 1:58.402 lap – one-third of a second quicker than the Italian and the fastest ever superbike time around the Losail circuit.
Team-mate Haga was delighted to secure an all-important front row start for tomorrow's 18-lap races. The Japanese star also opted not to use the softer qualifying tyre, preferring to use the softest race option instead. Haga's lap was, by his own admission, less than perfect but the combination of the R1's power and Haga's own skill and determination helped him stop the clock in 1:59.294, good enough for fourth place on tomorrow's grid.
Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team)
“I'm delighted to get the pole, although I think that Yamaha and the team are even more excited! You always just go out to have a clean lap and not make any mistakes. The front row is what you want but pole is always a nice bonus.
I had a little crash just before the superpole. I went out on the qualifier and I don't really know what happened. I guess that I was probably taking it too easy because the back end just slid away as I turned in for the second corner. It was unfortunate. I got caught out yesterday as well, when went down on some oil, but I'm thankful that I slid down the way I did, because it could have been a nasty highside.
It's a new bike and Nori and I are working really well together in the box. We're both doing our own things but we're also sharing a lot of information, especially on the suspension settings and tyre selections, to get the best out of the bike. I've got a really good feeling with the team and even though we've only been working together a short time we're working together well and it can only get better.
The track is getting better the more we ride on it and I thought the tyres worked pretty well today. I did a lot of laps with James (Toseland) in practice and our lap times were pretty good. If we can make a good tyre choice then I think we should be up the front tomorrow.”
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italy WSB Team)
“I'm very happy to be on the front row. During the superpole I made a mistake with my braking early in the lap, so I pushed hard and made another small mistake. But the lap time was good and the front row is always the target. We did a lot of work on the suspension today as we are trying to get the maximum from the tyre in race condition and I think that we can feel the benefit of this tomorrow.”