Bayliss Fastest at Philip Island

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
From a Ducati Corse press release
Australian Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) stamped his authority onFriday qualifying for round 2 of the World Superbike Championship atPhillip Island, Australia with quickest time in today's first one-hoursession. Bayliss, whose provisional pole time came on his final lap, wasalmost half-a-second quicker than Colin Edwards (Honda) in second andPierfrancesco Chili (Ducati NCR) in third. Noriyuki Haga was next up forAprilia, a fraction of a second ahead of Bayliss' Ducati Infostradateam-mate Ruben Xaus in fifth, while Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was seventhquickest today.

Reigning champion Bayliss, who picked up two wins a fortnight ago in theValencia opener, was in superb form today around the 4.445 km track, butwas convinced there was more to come after slicing half-a-second off theofficial Superbike lap record...

"It was quite windy out there today, butI'm sure I could do a bit better tomorrow, because every day isdifferent here at Phillip Island" declared Bayliss. "The conditionswere not as good as when we came testing here a few weeks ago, but I feela lot happier now because the front tyre I used when I set my time is oneof my favourites. We'll make a few minor changes tomorrow because thebike already feels good and then I'll be well set up for Sunday'sraces."

Such was the blistering pace of Bayliss that his Ducati Infostradateam-mate Ruben Xaus was almost one second behind, but the young Spaniardwas a fraction slower than Haga in fourth and three-tenths behind Chili.

"The bike was perfect, the tyres also, but the rider just needs to ridea bit better" said Xaus. "I did a good time to go fifth quickest, butfor the moment I'm not worried about the times. Tomorrow we'll try afew more things and I'm sure I'll be able to improve on fifth place."

Californian Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was one of the quickest ridersduring the morning's free practice session, but could only manageseventh during qualifying. "We've still got a lot of work to dotomorrow before I'm happy," declared Bostrom. "Conditions were prettygood out there despite the wind and we had no real problems today.Tomorrow we've got to pick out the race tyres, get the bike set-up butmost importantly get the rider set up and then we'll be ready."

TIMES:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:32.656;2. Edwards (Honda) 1:33.064;3. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:33.291;4. Haga (Aprilia) 1:33.540;5. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:33.626;6. Lavilla (Suzuki) 1:33.834;7. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:33.846;8. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1:34.022;9. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 1:34.429;10. Izutsu (Kawasaki) 1:34.663.
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