"Today's been a great start for us"
Kevin Curtain made his intentions for the 2007 Supersport World Championship clear by blasting his Yamaha YZF-R6 to pole position for tomorrow's opening race at the Losail circuit in Qatar.
The Australian had endured a tough day
in yesterday's practice, destroying his preferred machine when he was an innocent victim of a pile-up during the first practice session, but the Yamaha World Supersport team rider gave a virtuoso performance in today's second session, improving his time by almost two seconds.
Curtain instantly improved his Thursday time and topped the timesheets for most of the session, although it was his perfectly timed run right at the end of the session that finally grabbed the pole and gave his rivals no time to respond. The Yamaha man's 2:02.081 lap was a whole second quicker than last year's pole position and gives the 2006 championship runner up the third world championship pole of his career.
Curtain's team-mate Broc Parkes battled set-up problems throughout the qualifying sessions and will start tomorrow's 18 lap, 97km, race from the second row after improving his time and one place from yesterday's opening session. Parkes stopped the clock at 2:03.396 on the second of his three qualifying runs and although he went out to try and move up the grid at the end of the session, he was unable to improve his time. Italian youngster Massimo Roccoli improved his opening day time by over a second to make round out the top ten and make it three YZF-R6s in the first three rows.
Joining Curtain on the front row for what is expected to be a closely fought race will be Sebastien Charpentier, Katsuaki Fujiwara and Kenan Sofuoglu (all Honda). Last season's race saw Curtain finish second to eventual champion Charpentier on the still-developing R6's race debut.
Kevin Curtain (Yamaha World Supersport team)
“Today's been a great start for us and, to be honest, a little unexpected after what happened yesterday. I was a big victim of the oil on the track yesterday and I have to thank my mechanics for building me a brand new bike overnight, because the other one was destroyed. Thanks to them we were able to get on and concentrate on the work we wanted to concentrate on yesterday. The bike is working very good here and we've been able to do a lot of work on the chassis and suspension over the winter, so hopefully we can take advantage of that here this weekend.”
Broc Parkes (Yamaha World Supersport team)
“It's been a frustrating few days so far because when we came testing here I was able to do 2:02 laps all day long but so far this we've had a lot of problems with chattering and we can't quite put our finger on why that is. We've virtually turned the bike upside down but we've not been able to make much progress. We know that the bike's quick because Kevin's right on it, which is great for the team but frustrating for me. I know we'll try a few things for tomorrow and hopefully that will help us solve the chatter problem and put in a good race.”