The following is from Ducati…The World Superbike riders completed the first qualifying session of the 2009 season this afternoon at Phillip Island in hot and humid conditions, with track temperatures in the low forties.Both Ducati Xerox factory riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio registered consistently fast laps on their Ducati 1198 machines throughout the day, to conclude today’s proceedings in second and seventh place respectively. The only really difficulty faced by the riders in red was tyre-wear due to the elevated temperatures in the afternoon. As expected there were many fast riders on track today with the first eleven lapping in under 1m33s, despite the conditions.The Ducati Xerox squad declared that a very positive start has been made here today although Noriyuki, Michel and their teams hope for slightly cooler temperatures for the second qualifying session of tomorrow morning and for Sunday’s races too.Noriyuki Haga 1m32.5s”This morning we checked that everything was still ok after the tests and we modified one bike slightly, with good results. This afternoon I completed a long run of about fifteen laps but the tyres were a problem as they began to wear after a while because of course it was very hot. Having said that, the feeling I have with the bike is very good and so far I’m happy with my performance and with the bike’s setting. We hope it will be cooler tomorrow and on Sunday and I should be able to improve on my qualifying times but I think that on Sunday everything will depend on the temperature, the weather and on the tyres…”
Michel Fabrizio 1m32.9s”We tried the race tyre and set-up today and I would say that we are up to race pace. I went quite well on the same tyre that Nori was using and didn’t have too much difficulty but, having said that, I didn’t complete a long-run as he did and so I can’t predict the tyre-wear if it were to be this hot for Sunday’s races. Tomorrow morning should be cooler and so in the second qualifying I want to be faster. I still have tyres at my disposition and so I’m feeling quite confident about being able to achieve that goal in the morning.”The following is from Suzuki…The opening day of the first round of this year’s Superbike World Championship showed that the season ahead is going to be probably the most competitive in its twenty-two year old history. Just one second separated the top fifteen riders at the end of this afternoon’s qualifying session and Team Suzuki Alstare riders Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama were well on the pace, finishing with the fourth and fifth fastest lap times respectively. Jakob Smrz (Ducati) finished on the top of the standings today, with a lap of 1:32.312. Second is Noriyuki Haga (Ducati), with Leon Haslam (Honda) third.Max 1:32.673
My general feeling is that the afternoon went much better then the morning. We worked hard in the morning, but we didn’t seem to make much improvement. In the afternoon we made some changes to the rear suspension and the bike improved. For me the grip level was better last weekend, but I am sure it will get better over the next two days.Yukio 1:32.704
This afternoon, it was not so good for me because I felt that the grip level was down compared to the morning, but that was probably because the track temperature was much higher. We started off with the settings from the test last weekend and just tried to fine tune the bike for the race on Sunday. We had some small gearbox problems this morning, but solved them in the afternoon session. I think that the track temperature may have a significant effect on how the bikes behave and for me, it would be better if it would not be so hot on Sunday as it was this afternoon.The following is from BMW…BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus ended the first day of qualifying at Phillip Island with the sixteenth and twentieth fastest times respectively. But lap times are very close and Troy was only a second slower then today’s quickest rider, Jakob Smrz (Ducati), with Ruben just seven tenths of a second further behind. Since the test last weekend, some new parts have arrived for the team to evaluate and the work carried out in this area meant that neither Troy nor Ruben were able to chase any lap times.Troy 1:33.377
Since the test last weekend we received some new parts to try out and today that’s what we did. The new parts affected the way the bike’s chassis worked, so we had to find out what was going, what we had to do and then try and do it. But, I think we did a lot of good work today and definitely got some info and ideas that we can work on tomorrow. Considering what we were doing today, I think that it’s pretty good to be only one second off the pace. All day, I was just working on evaluating the new stuff, improving the bike and not chasing any lap times. I had a little tip-off this afternoon when I lost the front end in Honda corner, but it was a very slow speed crash and I didn’t hurt myself at all.Ruben 1: 34.080
It’s going good here and we were able to solve some problems we didn’t get round to solving last week. This morning was not so easy, but we made some changes to the bike and the afternoon was better. We are trying to get both my bikes set up well for the race, but one bike is working better than the other one and so we have some work to do. I know that this is the first day of a race weekend and there is a lot to do, but I know that we are improving every time out and as long as we do that, I think we are all happy.Rainer Baeumel (Team manager)
In some ways today was a little frustrating because we had some new parts to try out and I guess it was necessary to go a bit backwards before going forwards again. The riders had to work with a lot of new stuff, but I’m happy because they did this very well and gave the team lots of information. I am sure that we will improve and improve. We have some ideas about what to do and now we are all eagerly waiting in anticipation to see how it all goes tomorrow.