Kyalami Superpole!

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
Kyalami, South Africa, March 31.

By Glenn LeSanto

Today's Superpole at Kyalami didn't fail to provide the nail-bitingentertainment that we're so used to from this unique qualifyingadd-on. Just as in Valencia it was down to the last man out, the fastestrider from the morning's qualifying session, to grab the best timeand with it pole position. But unlike Valencia, it was American BenBostrom that lines up on pole for Sunday's action, and this time it's aDucati that'll join him in the second slot on the grid. Troy Bayliss,who was way down in 9th after the morning qualifying session, put ina stunning lap, one that seemed at the time to be enough to grabpole position. Edwards came closest to beating Bayliss's time, but was,in his own words, "a little sluggish on the last part of the lap." Thereigning World Champion's time was good enough to line him up in thirdin what will be an all-twin line up on the front row of Sunday's tworaces as Troy Corser fills the fourth spot on his Aprilia RSV twin.

Speaking after the race Ben Bostrom was obviously very happy with hisperformance...

"That's my first Superpole win and it'll be one of many. Ijust put my head down and got on with the job. Sometimes it's not easyto know if you've ridden a fast lap so I was pleased when I saw mytime." Bostrom seemed to have been enjoying himself all weekend so far,and he picked out a particular corner for praise. "I really like WestbankCorner, it reminds me of the Corkscrew (at Laguna Seca). On the gearingwe're running here I have to bang it down two gears for the approach,which is blind. That gets the rear end sliding which kinda pumps me up forthe rest of the lap!" The corner has a blind uphill approach, a doubleapex turn, and a downhill exit. When asked if he would still be ridingthrough Westbank like that during Sunday's races Bostrom simply replied;"I'll be putting up a show on Sunday." After his impressive performanceat Valencia in race one, followed by the controversial yellow-flatstop-and-go penalty in race two there, Bostrom is obviously out formaximum points, so there can be no doubt he'll live up to his promise.

Troy Bayliss was another Ducati rider with a broad smile on his faceafter the end of Saturday's proceedings; "Things have come together inSuperpole, which is better than at Valencia where they came togetherin the warm up just before race one! I'm confident for the Sunday,I've now got a really good set up." Bayliss was very generous towardhis rival Bostrom despite being pipped to the pole by the American witha margin of only two tenths of a second: "He's on a Ducati, so that'sokay by me!" quipped the former British Superbike Champion who hails fromTaree in Australia.

The two Ducati riders won't have it all their own way -- Edwards is righton their case: "I tried a qualifying tire with a different profile inthe last five minutes of the qualifying and it worked well," explainedEdwards. "So we used it for Superpole and the bike felt really good. Ihad no problems with the bike but I was a bit less aggressive than Icould have been around the last part of the lap, but I am walking,talking and on the front row, and that's good enough for me." Edwardsalso had more to say on the controversy stirred up by his alleged racistcomments reported in the South African Newspaper the Saturday Star,where he was quoted as saying that he'd live in South Africa if they"nuked a few townships first". He was adamant that he didn't make thatcomment and obviously angry too. "It really pisses me off that the bitch(the female journalist) has written a thing like that. I'm used to beingmisquoted but I can't even kill a spider in my bathroom let alone awhole bunch of people. But that's the media for you, fuck 'em!"

Troy Corser on the Axo Aprilia makes up the front grid with fourth fastest inthe Superpole. His time of 1.42.249 was just quicker than his best timein qualifying, so he can't be accused of being slow, just not as fastas three of the other guys! Maybe the report from another South Africanjournalist that he's not riding at 100% is true after all. We'll soonsee on Sunday.

The second row is headed by Neil Hodgson, who'll be disappointed tohave been pushed off the front row, but his bike seems to be going welland I'm sure he'll be another Ducati rider "putting on a good show" onSunday. He's joined on the second row by Tady Okada, P-F Chili and Akira Yanagawa. Theunfortunate Suzuki rider Stephane Chambon suffered a breakdown early onin his Superpole lap, so he slipped back to 16th on the grid. There wereno crashers in the Superpole session.

The excitement is growing over here in South Africa and the crowds arestarting to pour into the circuit. The forecast for Sunday is hot anddry, the forecast for the two Superbike races is hot and fast. Watchthis space!

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