World Superbike Superpole

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
Superpole here in Misano was a delight to watch. Thrills and spills in the sun. Full report below for those who don't want to wait for the TV coverage...

Hodgson makes it two in a row

Neil Hodgson stormed to his second front row start in two meetings today in Superpole. The GSE Ducati rider set the fastest time in fine style, backing his 996 Ducati into turns to set a scorching 1’ 35.532 second lap, shaving a thousandth of a second off Troy Bayliss’s fastest lap in qualifying. Bayliss had been fastest in qualifying, but was relegated back to sixth after Superpole. Alessandro Antonello, who had been in provisional third, crashed early on in his lap, putting him to the back of the row behind, in eight, for tomorrow’s race.

Tady Okada was another Superpole loser, he had a big shimmy between two corners, losing over half a second, demoting him to eleventh from provisional second on the grid.

Hodgson was delighted to have made it two Superpole victories in a row. “It’s a good habit,” joked Hodgson. When asked how he had managed to beat this year’s factory bike on last year’s model Hodgson was modest, “I just put it down to a bit of good luck.” This brought cry from a spectator of, “It isn’t luck, it’s because he’s a better rider.” While there will be many who disagree with her sentiment, there’s no doubting that Hodgson’s form must be attracting the attention of Ducati’s factory racing team manager Davide Tardozzi.

Troy Corser declared himself happy with second on the grid but reckoned that the heat had changed things since he tested here earlier in the week. “The temperature has changed things. The tyres that worked so well here in testing still work, but not as well. It’s so hot that as soon as you stop the bike you get really steamed up.”

Colin Edwards agreed with Corser, “It’s tough to get a good set up, I don’t really know why. Maybe the temperature has changed things, or maybe I just have my head stuck up my arse!” he quipped.

All the teams know that the heat will make tyre choice critical but Hodgson is confident in his Dunlop tyres, “My tyres can go race distance,” said the 2000 British Superbike champion.

Final World Superbike qualifying times: 1 Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1m35.235s, 2 Troy Corser, Australia (Aprilia) 1m 35.396s, 3 Colin Edwards, USA(Honda) 1m 35.532s, 4 Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1m 35.665s, 5 RegisLaconi, France (Aprilia) 1m 35.834s, 6 Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1m35.906s, 7 Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Kawasaki) 1m 36.074s, 8 AlessandroAntonello, Italy (Aprilia) no time recorded (crashed), 9 Steve Martin, Australia(Ducati) 1m 36.339s, 10 Akira Yanagawa, Japan (Kawasaki) 1m 36.344s.
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