World Superbike Releases: Updated

Paul Carruthers | June 27, 2008

The following is from Ducati…

With scorching track temperatures that rose as high as 53°C, the Ducati Xerox riders Troy Bayliss and Michel Fabrizio faced a very physical challenge during today’s sessions at Misano.

Already off to a flying start in this morning’s free practice session, Troy Bayliss continued to make storming progress in first qualifying this afternoon, to conclude the session at the top of the time sheets with a fastest lap time of 1m36.8s. The only rider on track to lap in under 1m37s today, Bayliss set a new best lap at this “new” circuit (the track configuration having been recently modified). As the Australian rider has a history of victories at the Santamonica track, he hopes to repeat those performances once again come race day.

Michel Fabrizio finished the free practice session in third place but then struggled a little during the afternoon’s qualifying to conclude today with the fourteenth fastest time, with just over one second separating his time from Troy’s.

Troy Bayliss 1m36.8s

“I was reasonably happy with today. This track is like a home track to us so we feel under a bit of pressure to do well, and also because I’ve done well here in the past. I’d say we’re satisfied with the changes we’ve made through the day and I reckon we’ve done a good job. It’s hard due to the heat of course so I’m trying to look after myself and keep as cool as possible.”

Michel Fabrizio 1m38.0s

“It’s all going ok. This morning we were going well and I felt pretty comfortable on the bike from the start of practice. Then this afternoon I just got a bit agitated I think and it just didn’t go as well. There were no technical issues with the bike or anything, and it wasn’t really the heat affecting me either, I just didn’t feel quite right. Anyway, tomorrow’s another day and we will definitely go faster.”

The following is from Suzuki…

As temperatures rose to 34C this afternoon at Misano for the first day of qualifying for the eighth round of the World Superbike Championship, Max Neukirchner, Fonsi Nieto and Yukio Kagayama had to work hard in difficult conditions as they began finding good set-ups for their GSX-R1000 Suzukis.

Neukirchner ended the fastest of the trio, in ninth place, with Nieto 11th and Kagayama 20th. The Japanese rider was suffering from his injured left hand and there was some speculation about whether or not his it would be strong enough to ride, but he is determined to be on the grid on race day.

Troy Bayliss (Ducati) ended with the day’s fastest lap, with Jakub Smrz (Ducati) second, Troy Corser (Yamaha) third and Max Biaggi (Ducati) fourth.

Max Neukirchner – 9th, 1:37.751:

“We began with one bike with the Nurburgring set-up and the other bike with a slightly lowered front and that was the one that worked better. I had some problems exiting the corners because the bike was spinning a bit and that caused me to lose time. Otherwise I probably could’ve finished much higher up. I think we’ve more or less decided on which rear tyre to use in the race, but we’re not sure about the front yet. One thing I do know is that it’s going to be a very difficult day on Sunday to do two races in this kind of heat!”

Fonsi Nieto – 11th, 1:37.759:

“After Germany, today was much better and I was happy to be amongst the fastest in the morning session. Later, it was hard to find that last three or four tenths-of-a-second, but the lap times are very, very close, so I am not unhappy. Tomorrow I want to be fast straight away and do a good Superpole so that I don’t have to start way down the grid again. I don’t think I have ever ridden in such heat as today. After five or six laps it was difficult to breathe properly and there’s no air coming inside the helmet. Sunday is going to be very tough for all of us.”

Yukio Kagayama – 20th, 1:38.636:

“It was very difficult for me out there today because of my hand. The doctors told me that it would be three weeks before the bone would be OK and longer for the ligaments I damaged. The ligaments are causing me problems when I am trying to get the bike to change direction – especially from left to right. Tomorrow I might try a pain-killing injection. It will be good for the pain, but the problem is that it will reduce the feeling in my hand!”

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.