Bayliss on Pole at Valencia

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Reigning champion Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) stormed to his firstpole position of the year in glorious weather conditions at Valencia,Spain as World Superbikes switched into top gear for tomorrow's openinground of the season. The Australian powered his Ducati 998R Factory bikeround the 4.005 km Ricardo Tormo Circuit in a time of 1:34.814, knockingwell over one second off the previous Superpole mark set by Troy Corser last year.

"I'll definitely be first into the first corner tomorrow,"declared Bayliss. 'There are a lot of excited riders around here lookingforward to the first race so the only way to keep out of trouble is toget a good start...

"My Superpole lap was pretty good, I got a good rhythmthrough the corners and I knew I was really quick in the final part ofthe track. Valencia is a strange circuit because it changes a lot everytime we come here so you simply have to adapt and change the bike aroundto suit it, but I'm very happy with the race set-up and my race tire andI'm sure you're going to see some good racing tomorrow."

Ducati L&M rider Ben Bostrom will start alongside Bayliss on the frontrow of the grid after clocking a time of 1:34.959 in Superpole, just atenth of a second slower than his fellow Ducati Corse rider.

TheAmerican, who was fastest in the morning's second and final qualifyingsession, slipped down one place on the grid after losing a little time inthe one-lap afternoon dash.

"On my Superpole lap I was just a little bittoo excited. I went really fast into the first two turns but then theyall started coming in at me a bit too quickly and I pushed too hard," declared Bostrom. "But overall we're pretty happy with the way thingshave gone today. I set a time of 1:35.1 on my race tire and the laptimes came easy. We did a long run in the afternoon and the bike andtires were working really well so I'm confident things will be OK fortomorrow. It's the first race of the season and I can't wait to get onthe grid and get it out of the way, but the Valencia track is very hardto pass on and it tends to burn the tires up on the left side, so you canbe sure it's going to be a long hard race."

STARTING-GRID:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:34.814;2. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:34.959;3. Edwards (Honda) 1:34.982;4. Haga (Aprilia) 1:35.015;5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1:35.065;6. Borja (Ducati) 1:35.891;7. Izutsu (Kawasaki) 1:35.904;8. Pedercini (Ducati) 1:35.909;9. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:35.937;10. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:35.948.
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