World Superbike First Qualifying

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
World Superbike racing in the sun, ahh, this is the life. Beach, babes, bikes and sunshine...Anyway, enough of my sun-drenched ramblings already, if you want to know who's hot in the heat of Misano, read on...

Boz is back

After weeks of struggling with injuries sustained after crashing out at Monza, Ben Bostrom made it clear that he was back with the fast guys in the World Superbike championship.During the first qualifying session at Misano on Friday there was a titanic battle between Bostrom, Corser, Bayliss and Edwards for the four provisional front row spaces in the searing afternoon heat. Bostrom headed the time sheet on his L&M Ducati until the closing minutes when Troy Bayliss edged his Infostrada Ducati ahead to snatch provisional pole from the American. The other Troy, fellow Australian Troy Corser, had been fastest but both he and Colin Edwards finally succumbed to hold third and fourth spot respectively.

Steve Martin, who rides a privateer Ducati, showed that both he and his Pirelli tyres have got what it takes to qualify well up the order. Martin, who was on the provisional front row until the final minutes, finished seventh behind another privateer Pedercini Ducati rider, Mauro Sanchini. The pair are joined on the provisional second row by Tady Okada, who was fifth fastest on his Castrol Honda, and Infostrada Ducati rider Ruben Xaus, who had a big crash late in the session.

If conditions remain the same then both Saturday’s Superpole and Sunday’s two races will be a severe test of the staying power of the riders and their tyres. The circuit is situated within the principality of San Marino on the Adriatic coast of Italy, where the weather at the moment is very hot and very dry. Air temperatures reached the mid 30 degrees centigrade while track temperatures hover at around 50 degrees centigrade.

Britain’s Neil Hodgson, who has enjoyed great form recently, struggled in the heat and finished the session ninth fastest. Peter Goddard managed to get plenty of attention on the fabulous Benelli Tornado, competing in the World Superbike series for the first time. However the bike isn’t yet as good as it looks, he qualified way down in 23rd.

Friday Qualifying times:1, Troy Bayliss, AUS, Ducati, 1’35.7492, Ben Bostrom, USA, Ducati, 1’35.9993, Troy Corser, AUS, Aprilia, 1’36.1554, Colin Edwards, USA, Honda, 1’36.5585, Tady Okada, JPN, Honda, 1’36.5946, Mauro Sanchini, ITA, Ducati, 1’36.6407, Steve Martin, AUS, Ducati, 1’36.7918, Ruben Xaus, ESP, Ducati, 1’36.9229, Neil Hodgson, GBR, Ducati, 1’36.93610, James Toseland, GBR, Ducati, 1’37.084
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