Hodgson on Provisional Monza Pole

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
From Castrol Honda:
Neil Hodgson set the fastest time in the opening qualifying session for round five of the World Superbike championship atMonza in Italy on Friday.

The British Ducati rider and second-placed Colin Edwards, the 2000 world champion, were the only two riders to beat theexisting lap record for the3.6-mile circuit near Milan...

Castrol Honda's Edwards said he was happy with his display in the one-hour session and on his opening day performance afterleading the way in this morning's free practice session.

"I know that we've got a lot more to come from the SP-2 yet," said Edwards. "We've spent today working on the machineset-up but mainly looking for potential race tires.

"The rain this morning and a damp track at the start of this afternoon's session hasn't helped but it's the same for everyone. Igot two clear laps in the whole of the one-hour session and both of them were 1:48.6. It's really difficult to get a lap with riderslooking around everywhere trying to get into your slipstream at 200 mph."

Edwards was also twice penalised for overshooting the circuit's first chicane, he joked: "Braking's not my strong point at thatchicane at the moment!"

World Champion and this year's series leader Troy Bayliss was third quickest as the sun shone on the picturesque parklandtrack.

Ben Bostrom, on a Ducati, completes the provisional front row for Sunday's two 18-lap races. Pier-Francesco Chili ­ back frominjury after breaking a shoulder at the South African round five weeks ago ­ heads the provisional second row, in fifth place.

James Toseland took sixth on his private Ducati with Chris Walker seventh on a Kawasaki and Suzuki's Gregorio Lavillaeighth.

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