Bayliss Fastest at Kyalami

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Championship leader Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) headed thetimesheets at Kyalami, South Africa as Friday qualifying turned into aterrific three-way battle between the Australian, Honda's Colin Edwardsand Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M). The three riders were separated by afraction as Bostrom's one-year-old lap record tumbled by a full second.Ducati Infostrada's Ruben Xaus was half-a-second off the pace in fourth,ahead of HM Plant Ducati's Neil Hodgson and Noriyuki Haga (Aprilia).

Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) set a time of 1:41.961 on a qualifying tireat the end of the hour, smashing the lap record of 1:42.92, but theAustralian was convinced there was more to come in tomorrow's session...

"I got a good start to the weekend today in qualifying," declaredBayliss, "but I'm still not 100% happy as we went a full second quickerthan this in January testing. We made a couple of changes on the bikeafter the morning session and we found some good tyres, with this circuitit's really just a case of working your way into it. We haven't changedmuch on the bike since the last test here, but you just can't relax withthe other guys breathing down your neck. I'm fastest for the moment, butthere's a long way to go."

Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was separated from Bayliss by 30/100ths of a second,sandwiching Honda's Colin Edwards, but was pleased with his provisionalthird-quickest time of 1:41.996. "The bike was great and the tires wereworking really well, maybe I could have rode a bit better, but I feellike I'm back in the race," declared Bostrom. "On my fast lap time of1:41.9, I made a few mistakes so tomorrow I reckon I can get down to atime of 1:41.0. The only problem is that I'm sure there are a few otherriders who are going to do it as well. It's going to be a great battletomorrow!"

Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) was fourth-quickest in today's first qualifyingsession after changing to his second 998 due to a minor technicalproblem. "I feel a lot more happy than I was at the start of qualifyingbecause I was just unable to put together a good lap," commented Xaus.

"Kyalami is a difficult track and you have to stay on the line all thetime. I set a good time on my race tire, but then my number 1 bikedeveloped a temperature problem and I switched to the other one whichwasn't set up exactly the same. I was going better on my second run, butI lost time in the last section which is very hard on the brakes, so Ineed to work more on the final couple of corners."

FRIDAY QUALIFYING:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:41.961;2. EDWARDS (HONDA) 1:41.973;3. BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 1:41.996;4. Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) 1:42.505;5. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1:42.687;6. Haga (Aprilia) 1:42.830;7. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:42.929;8. Pedercini (Ducati) 1:43.304;9. Borja (Ducati) 1:43.336;10. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati).
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