Yamaha Motor Italia’s Troy Corser topped first qualifying in the return of the World Superbike Championship to the Nurburgring in Germany.
Corser won the last race at the Nurburgring back in 1999, but the track has since been lengthened. From 2.83 miles, it now measures 3.204 miles. And the lap times have understandably gone up.
So when Corser lapped the dry track in 1:57.257 mins. this afternoon he set a new lap record. And he also took seven seconds off his morning time, which was done on a damp track.
Behind Corser came Ducati Xerox’s Troy Bayliss. The reigning world champion wasn’t racing in World Superbike in 1999 and has less local track knowledge. His time was .437 secs. off of Corser’s.
Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa comes to Nurburgring after his double breakthrough wins in the previous round at Miller Motorsports Park. Checa was third today, .2 secs. off Bayliss.
On the weekend between Salt Lake City and here, the Spaniard flew to Japan to prepare for the Suzuka 8 Hours by racing in the Suzuki 300 kms race. Checa and teammate Ryuichi Kiyonari finished second. Checa last raced at the Nurburgring on a 500cc Honda back in 1997. He didn’t finish the GP, which was won by Honda's Mick Doohan.
Local hero Max Neukirchner qualified fourth on the Suzuki Alstare GSX-R1000. The rising German superstar is under considerable scrutiny this weekend given his rapid ascent in World Superbike. He arrived home third in the championship. Neukirchner was half a tenth slower than Checa.
Neukirchner’s teammate Yukio Kagayama Was a very close fifth, as was Kawasaki PSG-1 Corse’s Regis Laconi and Yamaha Motor Italia’s Nori Haga, all four on the same tenth.
World Superbike has raced here twice before, in 1998 and '99. Brit Carl Fogarty won both races in '98 and the first race in '99 before crashing out in the second.
1. Troy Corser (Yamaha) 1:57.257
2. Troy Bayliss (Ducati) 1:57.694
3. Carlos Checa (Honda) 1:57.878
4. Max Neukirchner (Suzuki) 1:57.929
5. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) 1:57.956
6. Regis Laconi (Kawasaki) 1:57.989
7. Nori Haga (Yamaha) 1:58.020
8. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) 1:58.044
9. Ruben Xaus (Ducati) 1:58.258
10. Max Biaggi (Ducati) 1:58.311
25. Jason Pridmore (Honda) 2:00.620