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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Troy Bayliss secured provisional pole position at Phillip Island this afternoon, after knocking Frankie Chili from the top spot during the dying moments of the opening qualifying session. Chili was in for further disappointment when, just seconds later, he was demoted to third place on the provisional grid by a hard charging Colin Edwards. Noriyuki Haga claimed the final position on the provisional front row.

Fuchs Kawasaki riders, Hitoyasu Izutsu and Chris Walker, qualified 10th and 13th fastest, but both riders are confident of improving their positions during qualifying tomorrow.

For Izutsu, both of today's free practice and qualifying sessions were spent testing different tyre compounds and suspension settings, in an attempt to find the best combination for Sunday's two 22-lap Superbike races.

'We've tried a number of different tyre and suspension combinations on both of my bikes today and, while we've identified a tyre that will do us for the race, there are still a few changes I want to try in tomorrow's sessions,' said Izutsu. 'Setting a fast time in the first qualifying session is all well and good, but if you don't take the time to find a good race set-up on the first day, then you can find yourself in big trouble come the races. We'll continue testing tomorrow, before switching to a qualifier and setting a time to get us into Superpole.'

Considerably faster today than he was during preseason testing at the Phillip Island circuit, Chris Walker was confident that his lap times would improve further tomorrow.

'I've gone 1.6 seconds faster today than I did during pre-season testing here so, overall, I'm pretty happy with my day's work,' declared Walker. 'The top guys haven't really gone any faster during qualifying; they've just got more consistent - which means that, as long as I build up the speed tomorrow, I should be able to get a lot nearer to their lap times. The eye is a bit more of a problem around here than it was at Valencia, mainly because of the higher speeds and the increased draught through my visor, but I don't think it's going to be a drama during the races.'

World Superbike - Friday Qualifying Times

1. Troy Bayliss, Australia (Ducati) 1'32.656
2. Colin Edwards, USA (Castrol Honda) 1'33.064
3. Pier-Francesco Chili, Italy (Ducati) 1'33.291
4. Noriyuki Haga, Japan (Aprilia) 1'33.540
5. Ruben Xaus, Spain (Ducati) 1'33.626
6. Gregorio Lavilla, Spain (Suzuki) 1'33.834
7. Ben Bostrom, USA (Ducati) 1'33.846
8. Neil Hodgson, GB (Ducati) 1'34.022
9. James Toseland, GB (Ducati) 1'34.429
10. Hitoyasu Izutsu, Japan (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'34.663
13. Chris Walker, GB (Fuchs Kawasaki) 1'35.103

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Bayliss The Bullet on Home Tarmac

A superb ride from local demigod Troy Bayliss scored him the provisional pole position time, running his Ducati Infostrada machine to a best time of 1’32”656. Closest to him was Castrol Honda rider, Colin Edwards.

A hugely popular leader of the time sheets after the first day of the regulation Superbike qualifying sessions proved to be Troy Bayliss, from the Ducati Infostrada team. The reigning World Champion ran amok at the sharp end of the action, setting a time of 1’32’656, way ahead of his peer group.

Colin Edwards, from the Castrol Honda team, was second, just outside the 1’32 mark, with a 1’33”064.

A sparkling performance from Pierfrancesco Chili put him third fastest after the first timed hour, running swift and true on his ex-factory Ducati NCR machine. Chili, who struggled somewhat at the previous Valencia race, demonstrated his class around the technical sweeps and curves at Phillip Island, to oust Noriyuki Haga to the last place on the provisional front row. The Aprilia ace was nonetheless fast throughout qualifying, underlining his good pre-season test performances at Phillip Island.

Bayliss’ team-mate, Ruben Xaus, posted the fifth fastest mark of the session, and was the last rider inside a second of Bayliss’ best.

Pierfrancesco Chili’s replacement in the Alstare Suzuki team, Gregorio Lavilla, had an excellent run to sixth fastest time, posting a 1’33”846. Lavilla’s early competitiveness augurs well for the rest of the Phillip Island race weekend, adding another manufacturer into the list of potential podium finishers, and a second Spanish rider into the top six.

Ben Bostrom, running Dunlops on his L&M Ducati machine, went to seventh after a somewhat disappointing session, failing to find his feet in his usual assured fashion.

Neil Hodgson, normally the fastest privateer in qualifying and race situations, was eighth overall, and was chased all the way by his pugnacious team-mate, James Toseland. The battle of the HM Plant Ducati Britons is shaping up to be one of the fights of the weekend, as Toseland grows in confidence every time out.

The top Kawasaki rider was Hitoyasu Izutsu, ahead of Juan Borja (Ducati), Steve Martin (Ducati) and Chris Walker (Kawasaki).

Broc Parkes, another globetrotting local rider, was 14th, while Lucio Pedercini, from Italy, was 15th. The last place on the provisional Superpole qualifying block was Pedercini’s team-mate, Marco Borciani.

The fastest lap in qualifying for any SBK race at Phillip Island remains Troy Corser’s 132.193, set on a factory Ducati in 1999.

25 riders competed on day one at Phillip Island, with two, Jiri Myrkyvka and Yann Gyger, outside the qualifying maxima at present.



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Top Riders Quotes From Day One

After the first day down under, the top of the SBK pops tell us how they made such a hit. Words of wisdom, from the men who were fastest on the first day.

Troy Bayliss: It was a bit windy out there today, and I’m sure I can go a bit faster here tomorrow. I’m pleased to have gone so well on the first day because even though the weather forecast is good, anything can happen at Phillip Island.

Colin Edwards: I’m happy. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone around here and we’ve still got tomorrow to go. And my best lap came when a rider had crashed at turn one and there was a bit of wind about. I put my best lap in on a soft rear tyre that Michelin have made for us. We’ve got a really good race tyre too. We know it’ll do the job so we’re looking in good shape. My only worry is a little bit of chatter in the front suspension, if we can get that sorted then the SP-2 will be about as close to perfect as you’re going to get.

Pierfrancesco Chili: When I arrived at the track I had many problems with chattering, but not when braking hard. When I let go the brake lever the front begins to chatter. This is not a big problem for me because I understand perfectly what I must make to have the best bike for tomorrow. In qualifying practice I only used race tyres. I am happy with the time because I know we can go faster tomorrow.

Ruben Xaus: The bike was perfect, the tyres also, the rider just has to ride a bit quicker. But for the moment I am not that worried about times… I’m sure I can improve on fifth place.

Ben Bostrom: I just felt really uncomfortable, like my mind wasn’t quite up to speed.

Hitoyasu Izutsu: We tried a number of different tyre and suspension settings on both bikes today, and although we have identified a tyre that will do us for the race, there are still a few changes I want to try. Setting a fast time in the first day’s sessions is well and good but if you don’t take time to find a good race set up on the first day you can find yourself in trouble on raceday.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·


(Phillip Island 22 marzo 2002)

The opening day of Australian WSBK round in Phillip Island ended in a fantastic way for Scuderia NCR. Pierfrancesco Chili scored the third fastest in the first qualifying session in the afternoon, while Piergiorgio Bontempi obtained the second position in the always hard fighted Supersport.

Just 20 seconds to the end of the session Frankie was the fastest and only in the last few seconds first Bayliss and then Edwards have been able to do a better lap time. We must however remember that factory Ducatis and Hondas were in Australia for a three day test surely very useful for a fast set up and Chili in this first practice day is just about 6/10 behind the best lap time obtained by Bayliss in February tests.

"Of course I am very happy of today's result, but most important will be to find the best set up in race conditions, because everything changes when we run all together. I was sure to score a 1'33" low as fastest lap time, but my lap has been not perfect. I have done a small mistake in the final part of the track and so I am sure to do better, of course if the conditions will be the same." - declared a satisfied Chili after he went back to the pit garage - "My 998R NCR Axo Ducati runs very well, now we have to do a fine tuning for the race set up. We are recovering the fact that we have been forced to start late our racing season looking at the best teams. Our team runs in a perfect way and I have a strong wish to give them, and keep for myself to, several satisfactions. However today is only the first day, only next Sunday we will evaluate our job."

If Chili has seen only in the last seconds to fly away a fantastic result, Piergiorgio Bontempi shot his final strike just at the last passage under the chequered flag. In this occasion too the long work made by all the team on the 748 NCR Nortel Networks Ducati was appeared in the first free session in the morning with the sixth fastest lap time, then in the afternoon in the qualifying session Piergiorgio scored a fantastic second fastest just in the last lap of practice session.

"During the morning session I was quite satisfied. In the qualifying session we have tested a new ignition set up with very good results and the machine performed better. Dunlop gave us very good soft tyres and everybody has seen the result!" - commented Bontempi at the end of the day - "We still have to improve as the set up with race tyres as the engine's acceleration (today's engine was the same that we did use in Valencia for the race) but today I am really satisfied. We start finally to see the result of the hard job that the team has done."

Broc Parkes went back to Phillis Island after the splendid race of last year, and the young Aussie wont to repeat in front of his public a good performance, also if he still suffers for the missing winter training on the bike.

"My NCR Parmalat 998R Ducatiruns very well, with a good top speed. We tested several solutions with the tyres and I have to take a better acquaintance of their reactions. The front is perfect, for the rear tyre we are selecting the best solutions and I am confident that I will be able to do better and find a good set up for Sunday race."

Qualifying - Friday's session:

Superbike: 1.BAYLISS Troy (Ducati) 1'32.656; 2.EDWARDS Colin (Honda) 1'33.064; 3.CHILI Pierfrancesco (NCR Axo Ducati) 1'33.291; 4.HAGA Noriyuki (Aprilia) 1'33.540; 5.XAUS Ruben (Ducati) 1'33.626; 6.LAVILLA Gregorio (Suzuki) 1'33.834; 7.BOSTROM Ben (Ducati) 1'33.846; 8.HODGSON Neil (Ducati) 1'34.022; 9.TOSELAND James (Ducati) 1'34.429; 10.IZUTSU Hiroyuki (Kawasaki) 1'34.663; …14.PARKES Broc (NCR Parmalat Ducati) 1'35.125

Supersport: 1.FORET Fabien (Honda) 1'36.553; 2.BONTEMPI Piergiorgio (Ducati NCR Nortel Networks) 1'36.728; 3.PITT Andrew (Kawasaki) 1'36.817; 4.WHITHAM James (Yamaha) 1'36.882; 5.MacPHERSON Iain (Honda) 1'36.999; 6.CHAMBON Stephane (Suzuki) 1'37.050; 7.TEUCHERT Juergen (Yamaha) 1'37.091; 8.VERMEULEN Chris (Honda) 1'37.115; 9.COGAN Christophe (Honda) 1'37.249; 10.ELLISON James (Kawasaki) 1'37.393

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<font color=red>PHILLIP ISLAND - FRIDAY QUALIFYING</font color=red>
Ducati Corse Press

Australian Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) stamped his authority on Friday qualifying for round 2 of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, Australia with quickest time in today’s first one-hour session. Bayliss, whose provisional pole time came on his final lap, was almost half-a-second quicker than Colin Edwards (Honda) in second and Pierfrancesco Chili (Ducati NCR) in third. Noriyuki Haga was next up for Aprilia, a fraction of a second ahead of Bayliss’s Ducati Infostrada team-mate Ruben Xaus in fifth, while Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was seventh quickest today.

Reigning champion Troy Bayliss, who picked up two wins a fortnight ago in the Valencia opener, was in superb form today around the 4.445 km track, but was convinced there was more to come after slicing half-a-second off the official Superbike lap record. “It was quite windy out there today, but I’m sure I could do a bit better tomorrow, because every day is different here at Phillip Island,” declared Bayliss. “The conditions were not as good as when we came testing here a few weeks ago, but I feel a lot happier now because the front tyre I used when I set my time is one of my favourites. We’ll make a few minor changes tomorrow because the bike already feels good and then I’ll be well set up for Sunday’s races.”

Such was the blistering pace of Bayliss that his Ducati Infostrada team-mate Ruben Xaus was almost one second behind, but the young Spaniard was a fraction slower than Haga in fourth and three-tenths behind Chili. “The bike was perfect, the tyres also, but the rider just needs to ride a bit better,” said Xaus. “I did a good time to go fifth quickest, but for the moment I’m not worried about the times. Tomorrow we’ll try a few more things and I’m sure I’ll be able to improve on fifth place.”

Californian Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) was one of the quickest riders during the morning’s free practice session, but could only manage seventh during qualifying. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do tomorrow before I’m happy,” declared Bostrom. “Conditions were pretty good out there despite the wind and we had no real problems today. Tomorrow we’ve got to pick out the race tyres, get the bike set-up but most importantly get the rider set up and then we’ll be ready.”

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