World Superbikes, Monza, Italy - Superpole

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo

Ducati have three bikes on the front row for their home round of the World Superbike championship. Troy Bayliss put his full factory Ducati 996R on pole a few thousandths of a second in front of Neil Hodgson on the semi-factory 996RS. Riding for the GSE Ducati team, Hodgson qualified down in 11th after suffering another mechanical failure during the last session. But in Superpole he showed again that he is a force to be reckoned with, even if he is riding last year’s model, by scorching to his best time of the weekend’s practice sessions.

Championship leader, Australian Troy Bayliss had dominated the weekend’s practice sessions, and was only forced from top spot in qualifying by a last dash fast lap by local hero Francisco Chili. But the Italian, riding for Suzuki Alsatare, was unable to repeat his performance in Superpole, and slumped to ninth on the grid. Bayliss kept his head and turned in yet another fast lap in Superpole to grab the lead spot for Sunday’s two Superbike races at the historic Monza circuit.

Ben Bostrom crept up one place from fifth fastest in qualifying to fourth on the grid with his Superpole performance. The only bike on the grid without a Ducati tank badge is Akira Yanagawa’s Kawasaki ZX-7R. Yanagawa pulled a fast Superpole lap out of the bag, leaping up the order from 12th in qualifying to third on the grid. His Superpole time was just over a second faster than his previous best time in qualifying.

Colin Edwards was forced off the front row, dropping from third in qualifying to fifth on the grid. Edwards was on course for the front row start – his times at the first two splits put him ahead of Hodgson - but he lost a lot of time on the third section. He is joined on the second row by Troy Corser and Alessandro Antonello, both on Aprilias, and Ruben Xaus on the third full-factory Ducati 996R.

World Superbike championship, Monza, ItalySuperpole result and timesPosition Rider Country Manufacturer Total Time1 Bayliss AUS Ducati 1’48.6492 Hodgson GBR Ducati 1’48.7013 Yanagawa JPN Kawasaki 1’48.8124 Bostrom USA Ducati 1’48.8375 Edwards USA Honda 1’48.8426 Corser AUS Aprilia 1’48.9607 Antonello ITA Aprilia 1’49.5258 Xaus ITA Ducati 1’49.8309 Chili ITA Suzuki 1’49.86910 Laconi FRA Aprilia 1’49.994
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