WSBK : Wet Superpole rules used for the first time
The Spanish rain stayed mainly in the plains of Valencia before Superpole and this the ‘wet' rules were introduced, giving each of the top 16 riders 12-laps in which to set their best time, and earn their final grid spot.
prime starting slot eventually went to Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox). It was his third such success of the 2007 season, and comes only two weeks after he had to have most of his right little finger amputated, following a race crash at Donington.
The 2001 and 2006 champion had to ride throughout qualifying with a cricket box inside his leathers, to protect his injured groin, but he was a revelation on his way to a best ever SBK dry time on Friday and then his Superpole win.
Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Ducati) scored a spectacularly popular second place on the Valencia starting grid, after a weekend spent in the top echelons of the leader board. The nine-time SBK race winner is getting to grips with the electronics package on his 2006-spec factory Ducati 999F06, and in wet or dry is expected to be a threat to the leaders in Sunday's 23-lap races.
Weather conditions are expected to remain changeable, a factor which may help third place Superpole rider, Joshua Brookes (Alto Evolution Honda) in the races. The former WSS race winner looked assured and confident in the wet, but knows he needs similar conditions on raceday to allow him to compete for the top places. The final place on the front row of the grid was taken by Troy Corser (Yamaha Motor Italia) who scored fourth, despite some lurid slides during his fast laps.
James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) went fifth in Superpole, and was in the top end of the mix all weekend, despite not testing his latest electronics package here in March. He was in much better post Superpole shape than his main championship challenger, Max Biaggi (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra). The Italian Superstar was 12th after Superpole, clinging on to the last place on the third row of the grid. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) pushed his way to sixth, one place ahead of Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia). Haga's countryman, Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) was the last rider on row two of the grid.
Michel Fabrizio (DFX Corse Honda) enjoyed his day in the rain, taking a strong ninth classification, with the second Alto Evolution rider, Karl Muggeridge, the last combatant in the top ten, fighting rear traction problems. Row three is completed by Ducati privateer Giovanni Bussei (Ducati 999F06) and the aforementioned Max Biaggi.
Max Neukirchner (Suzuki Germany) fell under braking in the wet Superpole and thus starts the races from row four, but behind him the factory Kawasaki riders, Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse) and Regis Laconi (PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki) were unable to pick up their pace due to grip issues on the wet surface. They finished their pre-race preparations in 14th and 15th places only. The last Superpole slot was taken by local wild card rider Carmelo Morales (Team Laglisse Yamaha).
Roberto Rolfo (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was a high profile non-qualifier for Superpole, 17th after the regulation sessions, with Shinichi Nakatomi (Yamaha YZF Team) 18th. Twenty-three riders in total qualified for the 23-lap races on Sunday.
WORLD SUPERSPORT - CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER OUT FRONT AFTER WET SECOND DAY
Having set the fastest time in the dry conditions of day one Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) scored his first ever career pole position in the 600ccc class.
On the second day of qualifying wet track conditions ensured that none would improve on their opening day best, and this the final qualifying order on day two was a mirror image of Friday. Therefore Katsuaki Fujiwara (Althea Honda) will be second on the grid, Kevin Curtain (Yamaha SSP Racing) third and Pere Riba (Gil Kawasaki) fourth.
Qualifying was still a close affair, with three seconds covering 30 riders and less than four seconds covering all 37 qualifiers.
SBK Press Office