Hot day of action for top SBK stars at PI
One weekend after the first race of the 2007 season at Qatar the World Superbike grid reformed at Phillip Island in Australia for the first qualifying session.
Top of the first day times was a 1'32.040, set by James Toseland
(Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), some 0.601 seconds up on 2006 champion and second best rider today, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox). A superb qualifying session from Spanish Superstar Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) delivered him third best time, just ahead of second Ducati Xerox rider, Lorenzo Lanzi.
Double World Champion Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) was the second best placed Australian, fifth overall, while Losail race one winner Max Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) qualified sixth, before falling off late on his slow down lap, walking back through the pitlane entrance with his number three machine being pushed behind him. Each of these riders was within a second Toseland's impressive time.
Japanese ace Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) suffered a heavy fall in qualifying on day one, breaking his left collarbone and suffering a suspected punctured spleen, probably due to a suspected broken rib. He was flown to a hospital in Melbourne for more detailed checks and examinations.
Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) was next fastest rider on the stopwatches; eighth, with private riders Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) filing out the top ten places.
Michel Fabrizio and Steve Martin from the DFX Corse Honda team ended day one 11th and 12th respectively, with another Aussie Honda rider Karl Muggeridge (Alto Evolution Honda) 13th. Roby Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) had a struggle in qualifying to go 14th but a great run from new SBK rider Jakub Smrz (Caracchi Ducati SC) saw him 15th, one place up on local rider Josh Brookes (Alto Evolution Honda), who was struggling with his machine's suspension settings. (Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) had a difficult first day, finishing 17th on his factory Kawasaki.
Fabien Foret (Team Gil Motorsports Kawasaki) scored an important result for his team by finishing the first timed qualifying session on provisional pole, despite suffering a crash that destroyed his number one bike in the morning session. The 2002 World Champion was on top form throughout and beat the previous best lap time at PI with a 1'35.166 lap.
In second place today, Kevin Curtain (Yamaha SSP Racing) was some 0.259 seconds from Foret, with Gianluca Nannelli (Caracchi Ducati SC) third quickest. Broc Parkes (Yamaha SSP Racing) was fourth after his first timed session at his home track. Current championship leader, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), was one place up on his team-mate Sebastien Charpentier (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda).
SBK Press Office