Bostrom Fastest at Kyalami

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
California's Ben Bostrom blitzed his L&M Ducati into the top spot at the end of today's qualifying for Sunday's World Superbike race in Kyalami, South Africa. Bostrom, who hails from Redding in the USA, set his fastest lap at the very end of the session, as did Suzuki Alstare rider Pierfrancesco Chili. The pair demoted Colin Edwards into third place. Edwards had previously led the session on his Castrol Honda VTR SP-2.

He was followed very closely by his team mate Tadayuki Okada, who was obviously keen to make up for his Valencia misfortunes...

The ex-GP rider failed to finish a race at the opening round after dropping out with electrical trouble in the first race and crashing out in the second. He'll be more determined than ever to show that he can come to grips with the Superbike series aboard his Honda V-Twin.

Troy Bayliss, who took Bostrom's Ducati Infostrada ride from him midway through last season, was 5th fastest, narrowly beating Troy Corser on the Axo Aprilia. Corser slid off at turn 7, without damage to bike or rider.

"The bike is slightly different from the winter tests," explained Corser. "I'm still trying to find the right ratios."

Bayliss' team mate Ruben Xaus was 7th fastest, despite crashing unhurt in the closing minute of the session. Gregorio Lavilla was the first Kawasaki rider on the list in 9th. Meanwhile Troy Corser's team mate, Regis Laconi, fought with the pain from injuries suffered at Valencia to come in 10th.

Akira Yanagawa was 11th, just a fraction of a second faster than young British rider James Toseland aboard his GSE Ducati. Reigning British Superbike champion Neil Hodgson, also on GSE Ducati, wasn't having fun in the African sun as he languished back in 16th.

Bostrom goes into Saturday's session full of confidence and riding well, but expect to see Edwards and Corser putting plenty of pressure on him in the run up to Superpole on Saturday afternoon.

Friday World Superbike qualifying times:1 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1m 42.646s,2 Pier-Francesco Chili, Italy (Suzuki) 1m 42.949s,3 Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda) 1m 42.961s,4 Tady Okada, Japan (Castrol Honda) 1m 42.977s,5 Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1m 43.047s,6 Troy Corser, Australia (Aprilia) 1m 43.078s,7 Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 1m 43.177s,8 Stephane Chambon, France (Suzuki) 1m 43.381s,9 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Kawasaki) 1m 43.445s,10 Regis Laconi, France (Aprilia) 1m 43.612s.
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