Wild Card Makato Fastest So Far

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Honda's Makoto Tamada set the fastest World Superbike time, one second faster than the next rider, duringFriday's opening qualifying session for round four of the championship atSugo in Japan.

The Cabin Honda team wild card rider powered his VTR1000 SP-2 (RC-51) around the2.32-mile circuit in a time of 1m 28.658s, 0.9s inside Tady Okada's existinglap record. Tamada's team-mate for the weekend, Shinichi Ito was secondfastest with Troy Corser, the first of the World Superbike regulars, inthird...

Another wild card, Tamaki Serizawa was fourth quickest on a Kawasaki withSpain¹s Gregorio Lavilla fifth and reigning world champion Colin Edwardssixth.

Edwards quipped: "At that rate it's looking like two easy wins for Tamada onSunday! I've got a season to think about while Tamada hasn¹t had a race yetthis year so he's keen to impress. I'm happy with what we're achieving andit's Sunday that counts."

Joining Lavilla and Edwards on the provisional second row is seventh-placedWataru Yoshikawa with Akira Ryo - a Sugo race winner in 1999 - eighth ashard-charging wild card riders filled half of the top 10 places. The lastnon-Japanese rider to win a World Superbike race at Sugo was Carl Fogarty in1995.PBritish Ducati rider Neil Hodgson recorded the ninth fastest lap withSuzuki's Pier-Francesco Chili - riding injured after a crash at PhillipIsland, Australia last week - 10th. Castrol Honda¹s Tady Okada was 12thquickest and complaining of set-up problems with his machine.

Friday's World Superbike qualifying times:1 Makoto Tamada, Japan (Honda) 1m 28.658s,2 Shinichi Ito, Japan (Honda) 1m 29.650s,3 Troy Corser, Australia (Aprilia) 1m 29.666s,4 Tamaki Serizawa, Japan (Kawasaki) 1m 29.738s,5 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Kawasaki) 1m 29.935s,6 Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda) 1m 30.035s,7 Wataru Yoshikawa, Japan (Yamaha) 1m 30.126s,8 Akira Ryo, Japan (Suzuki) 1m 30.151s,9 Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1m 30.164s,10 Pier-Francesco Chili, Italy (Suzuki) 1m 30.176s.
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