The following is from Yamaha…Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike riders Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland made a purposeful start to the first race weekend of the season today at the Phillip Island circuit. The riders faced a day of serious heat with track temperatures hitting 45°C. Having now solved the chatter issues that dominated the test last week, both Crutchlow and Toseland spent both the practice and qualifying sessions exploring the limits of the 2010 bike. With significant power increases across the rev range through off-season engine development, this was the first real opportunity for the riders to experience the changes and work on the set up of their bikes in advance of race day.The high track temperatures drastically reduced grip on the track surface, causing Toseland to lose the back end of his R1 in turn 11, becoming one of seven riders to fall in the session. He was unhurt and came back out on his second bike.One of the developments of the bike for 2010 include a lighter carbon fuel tank, this was changed to the heavier 2009 tank for today’s sessions, seeming to help eliminate the chatter issue.Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (10th 1’33.038)”I think we’ve worked hard and got rid of the chatter problem. The 2009 parts that we’ve used seem to have helped us in that way. The tank and the seat unit seemed to have stopped the chatter now. If you look at our times, although we’re not initially fastest straight away we’ve got consistency across the sessions. We’ve got some more areas to work on and I’m looking forward to making the bike even better tomorrow. We’ve got a good direction to work in, it was just a little unfortunate that the track temperature was so hot today. Even so we were still doing the same times as Ben’s race pace from last year. Hopefully it will cool off over the next couple of days and work better for us.”James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (13th 1’33.422)”Unfortunately had a big crash today coming out of the penultimate corner which didn’t help things. I did go back out on the other bike but had a pain in my hand so came in as I wanted to make sure it was ok. We’re definitely making improvements, we’ve just had a lot to do in one day to work through the package. We’re only a bit over a second off pole now so we’ll focus down and keep moving forward tomorrow.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager”Today we rode two practice sessions without chattering which is a very good improvement, so now the riders have to find the limits of the 2010 bike. Last weekend they couldn’t as the chatter held them back. Looking at this as the first day I think we’ve improved quite a lot. Unfortunately James crashed but he is fine, so we will see what they can both do tomorrow.”The following is from Ducati…The World Superbike Championship officially got underway at Phillip Island today and, for the Ducati Xerox team and riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, results of the first qualifying session were very positive, Fabrizio propelling himself to second place on the timesheets and Haga concluding in fifth.After the very encouraging results of the recent tests held here last weekend, Michel closing fastest and Noriyuki in sixth, the team returned to work today in a motivated and enthusiastic frame of mind.In the early afternoon the Superbike riders took to the tracks for the first free practice session. Faced with hotter track temperatures (circa 45°C) compared to those of last week’s test, both Noriyuki and Michel continued to work on the set-up of their Ducati 1198 machines. Both riders concentrated on tyre durability, trying to find the best set-up on used tyres. Michel was victim of a crash mid-session caused by an unexpected lack of grip at the front on entry into a corner, the asphalt was extremely slippery due to the heat. Having lost valuable time, the Italian rider exited on his second bike but was unfortunately unable to record a very fast lap, closing the session in 11th. Noriyuki made his fastest lap near the start of the session, closing in seventh place, but confident.Later on, in the first qualifying session, the two factory riders significantly improved on their times , lapping consistently fast and towards the end of the session, on soft compounds, they both registered times that left them both happy and in the top five. Noteworthy performances also came from Carlos Checa and Shane “Shakey” Byrne (Althea Racing), they too riding the 1198, who finished the session in first and fourth placed respectively.Michel Fabrizio 1m32.1s
“We tried different tyre solutions this morning and various setting solutions in agreement with my engineer. I had a fall, losing the front, but without causing myself, or my bike, too much damage fortunately. Then in the qualifying session we found a good direction with the tyre solution that may well be the one to choose for the race; the results were quite encouraging. During my fast lap I lost a couple of tenths through the last corner but I’m happy; we’ve worked well and I’m satisfied with the results. We have a good race pace but a lot will depend on Sunday’s weather.”Noriyuki Haga 1m32.7s
“We’ve tested the different rear tyres that Pirelli make available to us this weekend but we are still undecided as to which will have the best durability in these hot conditions. Tomorrow we’ll try a different solution for the setting but overall I’m happy. The lap times have been consistent but today was very hot and although I felt I could have pushed a little more, I didn’t want to risk it, also because I saw that several riders crashed.”The following is from Suzuki…Team Suzuki Alstare rider Leon Haslam didn’t chase lap times in today’s first qualifying session but still ended with the third fastest lap of the day. The young Briton worked all day trying to find a good race set-up and did not even use any soft tyres during the timed session this afternoon, when his best lap was set on race rubber.His team mate Sylvain continued to improve his understanding of his GSX-R 1000 Suzuki and finished qualifying with the eighth quickest time. Spaniard Carlos Checa (Ducati) posted the fastest time in qualifying, with Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) second.Leon – 3rd, 1:32.373
I am really happy with today because we are well on the way to finding a good set-up for the race on Sunday. We tried all three different tyres and now we have good ideas about which one we will use -depending on the conditions. I didn’t even use a soft tyre this afternoon and my fastest lap was done on ordinary race rubber. The differing temperatures have given us different challenges, but I’m pretty confident about the bike’s set-up, unless of course it rains and then we’ll all be in trouble. The track felt a bit slippery and greasy today, because of the hotter temperatures, and the wind was a bit of a problem in turns 1 and 2 and sector 4, but it was the same for everybody and we just had to cope with it. No problems really today, except that I heard from home this morning that my 19 year-old dog had died. He’s had a good, long life, but he will be missed.Sylvain – 8th, 1:32.902
We’ve made a good step forward today – maybe part of it was down to me using my right hand better – and I am really loving riding the bike. We tried many different settings and also did a lot of work on trying to improve the tyre life and, like Leon, I did my best lap on normal race rubber. At the moment, I am struggling a bit finding problems with the bike and everything is going very well. That’s also down to the hard work put in by the whole team and we are feeling good about our prospects on Sunday. First aim tomorrow morning is getting into Superpole. After that, we’ll see what happens.The following is from InFront Sports…Scorching weather conditions for the first qualifying session at Phillip Island saw Carlos Checa (Ducati Althea) continue his good testing form with a 1’32.155 lap, leading Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) and Leon Haslam (Suzuki Alstare). Checa was only 0.007 seconds ahead of Fabrizio, 0.218 ahead of Englishman Haslam.The air temperature in qualifying was 33°C, the track temperature a very high 51°C, which made the hour-long session hard work for all competitors.Checa’s team-mate Shane Byrne went fourth fastest but suffered a fast highside crash at the final corners of his last lap, while trying to improve his ranking still further. Several riders fell in what was an expectedly close and intense period of qualifying.Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) was fifth today, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia Racing) went sixth fastest but was also a faller in the final session of the day.Jonathan Rea (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was top Honda rider in the opening qualifying battle, seventh, with Sylvain Guintoli’s Suzuki eighth.Jakub Smrz was ninth fastest on his privateer Pata B&G Racing Ducati, and the top ten was rounded out by Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha World Superbike) the top Yamaha rider.Chris Vermeulen scored 12th on his Kawasaki Racing Team bike, Troy Corser, another late faller, put his BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR 16th, but was on course for a vast improvement in lap time before his fall.
James Toseland was a faller in the session, while Ruben Xaus crashed three times today, but recovered each time and went 19th in the ranking.One more session remains for riders to try and qualifying for Superpole on Saturday, with Superpole determining the final top 20 grid places.The top 20 riders were all within 1.910 seconds, the top ten within 0.883 seconds today.Carlos Checa: “I know what I can do. I have to confirm my time tomorrow but I know that I wish we had the same weather as today for the race. The crash in qualifying was not a problem. Ducati’s work very well at Phillip Island and my pace at the moment is very good. I do not know yet if it is good enough for the race.”Michel Fabrizio: “We tried different tyre solutions this morning and various small things that my engineer wanted to test. I had a fall, losing the front, but without causing myself, or my bike, too much damage thankfully. Then in the qualifying session we sorted a lot of things out and with the tyre solution that may well be the one to choose for the race many riders were able to drop their times. During my fast lap I lost a couple of tenths through the last corner but I’m fairly happy anyway; we’ve worked well and I’m satisfied with the results. We have a good race pace but a lot will depend on Sunday’s weather.”World Supersport ChampionshipLascorz leads on day one of new schoolThe first qualifying session of the year proved to be the property of Kawasaki Provec Motocard.com rider Joan Lascorz, who was also fastest man in the official tests a few days ago.Second was the perennially powerful Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda), who left it very late to move up.Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) posted third while another old stager in this class, Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki) was fourth. Sofuoglu’s team-mate Michele Pirro secured fifth best lap time, while changes in set-up allowed Chaz Davies to jump up the order to sixth on his Triumph BE1 triple, ahead of another Kawasaki rider, Fabien Foret. The top six riders were within only 0.310 seconds of each other.