Troy Corser gave BMW its first-ever World Superbike pole position today, the Australian storming through Superpole 3 to top the rest of the field by half a second at the Misano Circuit in Italy.
Corser saved his best for last, ending Superpole 2 in fourth but turning it up again in Superpole 3 to turn in a 1:35.001 for his first pole position in two years, the last one coming in June of 2008 at Misano when the Australian rode for Yamaha. It was the 43rd career World Superbike pole for the 39 year old and the first for BMW in just its second season of World Superbike racing.
"It seems that number 43 has been a long time coming, but in fact number 42 was only two years ago - funnily enough here at Misano," Corser said in a press release. "Misano is a difficult track, but it's a track where you can actually use different lines, instead of the ‘racing line', and still go fast. My lap in Superpole 3 was pretty much perfect and when you do an easy, smooth lap it's quite often the fastest.
"We had a really good test here in Misano last week and made a big step forward with a new rear link and chassis set-up and that has made the balance of the bike a lot better. If I had been able to use that set-up in the last round in USA I would've made the podium for sure. The bike is just so much easier to ride now and I really feel I can fight for the podium. I'm very happy with the bike's set-up and I've been able to run consistently good lap times on race tyres this weekend and although my Superpole lap was a very low 1:35, I reckon that race times are going to be in the high 1:35s or low 1:36s, but that will depend on the temperature tomorrow and how the tyres last.
"I had a couple of ‘moment's today - the first was in this morning's qualifying when I was on a hot lap. I saw Sylvain [Guintoli] as I approached turn one and could see that he was not at full speed, so I went for my racing line. Unfortunately, as I dived underneath him he came back a bit and I hit his bike with my rear tyre and down we both went. I was okay, but he was a bit battered and bruised. It was my fault and I hope he's not hurting too much. The second incident involved Michel [Fabrizio] and happened after the chequered flag, though this time it was not my fault. He suddenly sat up, more or less still on line and we touched. He crashed but I stayed on the bike okay. He took a hard fall and I guess he's going to be a bit sore this evening."
Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow looked to have second locked up after finishing Superpole 2 on top, but Aprilia's Max Biaggi and Ducati Xerox's Michel Fabrizio had other ideas, those two moving up the order in their final laps to move to second and third, respectively. Crutchlow, meanwhile, dropped to fourth. Biaggi's 1:35.502 was .501 slower than Corser's best, but good enough for second.
Row two for tomorrow's two races will be led by Carlos Checa, the Althea Ducati man ending Superpole 2 in second, then dropping all the way to eighth in Superpole 3 before his last lap bumped him back up the timesheets. He will be joined on row two by Alstare Suzuki's Sylvain Guintoli and Leon Haslam, and Ducati privateer Luca Scassa.
Ducati Xerox's Noriyuki Haga, the winner of race two at Assen last year (Ben Spies won the first race), didn't make it to Superpole 3 as the top 16 were covered by just .791 - from Crutchlow to 16th placed Jonathan Rea on the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda.
The front row will feature four different manufacturers - BMW, Aprilia, Ducati and Yamaha - with five of the six manufacturers in the top six spots.
1. Troy Corser (BMW)
2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
3. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati)
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
5. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
6. Simon Guintoli (Suzuki)
7. Leon Haslam (Suzuki)
8. Luca Scassa (Ducati)