Phillip Island Via Ducati

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Ducati Infostrada rider Troy Bayliss topped the timesheets in the first dayof qualifying for Sunday's Australian round of the World SuperbikeChampionship. The Australian's time of 1m33.577s came in the final fewminutes of the session after Corser (Aprilia) and Edwards (Honda) had setthe pace in cold but sunny conditions.

"This was our first time back atPhillip Island after a long while," said Bayliss, "and it takes time to getthe right feeling...

"We had problems with the engine management system on onebike half-way through the session, but then the boys worked hard and came upwith a good setting on the spare bike before the end. We set a good time butthat doesn't mean we're not going to improve tomorrow."

Bayliss's Ducati Infostrada team-mate Ruben Xaus was unable to do many lapsin the one-hour session as he first had a few minor problems and was thenslowed by traffic when trying to improve on his ninth position. "I had a fewtechnical problems and so I didn't do many laps", declared Xaus. "Inparticular I have to improve in two curves, which I'm taking like I did inSupersport -- in the second left-hander and the one after the Honda curve, Istill have to get used to the power of my Ducati 996R Factory. Fridays forme are learning days and then on Saturday I try to improve."

Californian Ben Bostrom moved up the timesheets after a slow start to finishthe one-hour session in a positive sixth place. The Kyalami winner wasconfident he could get further up tomorrow after making some changes to hisDucati 996R Factory in time for Superpole. "We improved but we still need togo quicker on race tires," commented Bostrom. "We're going to try somedifferent gearings and changes tonight and then fine-tune the set-uptomorrow and go for a quick time. I've already found a couple of decenttires and we'll run them back-to-back tomorrow to see which is the best forthe race."

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Brent Avis
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