Ducati on Pole at Brands Hatch

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
The Ducati Infostrada pairing of Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus set firstand third quickest times in Friday first qualifying for the EuropeanRound of the World Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch as theAustralian and the Spaniard sandwiched Honda^Òs Colin Edwards. The Texanwas quickest for much of the session, but after Pierfrancesco Chili(Ducati NCR) had a spell at the top, Troy bolted on a qualifying tire andpowered to a time of 1:26.398. Despite suffering from shivers and a hightemperature, Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) concluded his quick lap rightbehind Troy, ending up third quickest with a time of 1:26.599. BenBostrom (Ducati L&M) was unable to get on the pace of the leading groupand ended up with a 1:27.523, which earned him twelfth fastest time intoday's session...

"I'm happy to be fastest, who knows what tomorrow can bring at BrandsHatch," declared Troy. "We still have to work on a few more littlethings but in general the day has gone OK. We tried a lot of tires and onmy race tyres I set a pretty good time, a flat 27, but I need to improvethe bike set-up before I'm entirely satisfied. On my first lap onqualifiers at the end I had a big slide at Graham Hill Bend so I had topass on that but I just managed to squeeze one more lap out of the tireto set my time."

"I'm so exhausted," said Ruben Xaus, "but things have got a lot bettersince Thursday morning when I was shaking with a high fever. It'sdifficult to do a qualifying session when you feel like that but in theend on the bike it was not too bad. When eventually I had a tire at thefront that gave me confidence, it was quite late but then I put aqualifying tire on the rear and I set my good lap. Really I was thinkingso much about the way I was today so I wasn't able to concentrate 100-percenton the bike. Tomorrow I'll be better and I'm sure I can improve mytime but for the moment I'm happy with third place. Now I've set a goodtime, I can concentrate on race set-up and get ready to do a goodSuperpole tomorrow."

"We've still got some way to go at the moment, but Friday doesn't meanmuch, tomorrow is the important day," declared Ben Bostrom. "The bikefeels good and I'm pretty happy, but we played around too much in thatsession. I tried too many tyres and too many different gears. It's OKthough, tomorrow we'll only focus on the set-up and things will improvefor sure."

TIMES:1. BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:26.398;2. Edwards (Honda) 1:26.450;3. XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 1:26.599;4. Hodgson (HM Plant Ducati) 1:26.722;5. Chili (Ducati NCR) 1:26.786;6. Rutter (Renegade Ducati) 1:26.877;7. Byrne (Renegade Ducati) 1:27.242;8. Walker (Kawasaki) 1:27.294;9. Borja (Ducati) 1:27.382;10. Haga (Aprilia) 1:27.449
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