Ben Bostrom Fastest at Imola

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Ben Bostrom set the pace with the fastest time in Friday's openingqualifying session for the 13th and final round of the World Superbikechampionship at Imola in Italy.

The American Ducati rider moved to the top of the leaderboard in the finalminute, overhauling team-mate Ruben Xaus while Castrol Honda's Colin Edwardsended the day third despite leading the one-hour session for 55 minutes...

"I was really pleased with my quick lap," said Ben Bostrom. "And although I thought I could have got down into the 1:48s, that will have to wait for tomorrow. We've managed to get a good set-up already with race tires so tomorrow I'll be trying to get my time down even further. The track is pretty bumpy in places after all the Formula 1 cars but there are quite a few spots to overtake."

"I spent a lot of the session testing tyres with a view to a good set-up forSunday's races," said Edwards. "But we've got a long way to go and I'll trya Superpole qualifying tire in tomorrow morning's session for a fast lap."

New world champion Troy Bayliss was fourth to complete the provisional frontrow of the grid for Sunday's two 21-lap races. Frenchman Regis Laconi on anAprilia took fifth place to lead row two with British Ducati rider NeilHodgson sixth and Castrol Honda¹s Tady Okada seventh.

Suzuki's Stephane Chambon was eighth with young British rider James Toselandninth and 1996 champion Troy Corser 10th.

Friday's World Superbike qualifying times:1 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1m 49.218s,2 Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 1m 49.368s,3 Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda) 1m 49.681s,4 Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1m 49.708s,5 Regis Laconi, France (Aprilia) 1m 49.755s,6 Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1m 50.150s,7 Tady Okada, Japan (Castrol Honda) 1m 50.261s,8 Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 1m 50.466s,9 James Toseland, GB (Ducati) 1m 50.501s,10 Troy Corser, Australia (Aprilia) 50.528s.
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