Saturday, 10th May 2008
Troy Bayliss may have been only eighth fastest at the end of conventional qualifying, but the double world champion dug deep for his final Monza Superpole appearance to put his Xerox Ducati comfortably up front for the team's home event.
A stunning first sector saw Bayliss pull half a second over the previous fastest rider, Hannspree Ten Kate's Carlos Checa, before increasing his advantage to 0.7secs through the middle of the lap and then 0.835secs over the Spaniard by the flag.
Bayliss had lapped almost 1.5secs faster than his conventional qualifying time and broken Noriyuki Haga's 2007 Monza Superpole lap record, but with seven riders still to go, the Australian was far from assured of pole position.
However, when rider after rider failed to even get close to the Australian's scorching pace, the strength of Troy's flying lap quickly became apparent.
Nobody could match Bayliss' first sector and even the four-cylinders, with their supposedly superior top speed - Bayliss matched Max Neukirchner's top speed of 316km/h in Superpole and was only 1km/h behind the peak top speed during the session, set by Karl Muggeridge - continued to lose ground as the lap went on.
Neukirchner, fastest of all after second qualifying, was the only rider to get within 0.7secs of Bayliss - the impressive young German almost equalling Bayliss through the first sector, before his Alstare Suzuki slipped 0.356secs behind by the end of the lap.
2007 pole sitter and double race winner, Nori Haga, will start third on the grid. The Japanese, whose Yamaha Italia team is based next to the Monza circuit, suffered several scares as he pushed his R1 to the limit and was left 0.734secs from Bayliss, having lapped 0.3secs slower than one year ago.
Completing the front row will be Checa. The Spaniard was just 15th fastest heading into Superpole, but beat his previous best time by over one second, allowing him to leap dramatically up the order and put him in contention for victory on Sunday.
Neukirchner's team-mate Yukio Kagayama
slipped from third to fifth during Superpole, while Ruben Xaus
went in the other direction - rising from eleventh to sixth after a typically aggressive lap.
Xaus' team-mate, Max Biaggi, had been just 16th fastest at the start of Superpole, but was at least able to salvage ninth on the grid after delivering his best lap of the weekend by 0.8secs during Superpole.
Starting between Xaus and Biaggi will be Fonsi Nieto
(seventh) and Ryuichi Kiyonari
(eighth). Checa and Kiyonari will be the only Ten Kate WSBK riders present on Sunday after Kenan Sofuoglu
, eighth fastest in Friday qualifying, withdrew from the event following the death of his brother in Turkey.
Muggeridge produced a solid Superpole lap to claim tenth on the grid on his privateer DF Racing Honda, but there was disappointment for factory riders Regis Laconi
, Troy Corser
and Michel Fabrizio.
Laconi had been second fastest for PSG-1 Kawasaki by the end of second qualifying, but managed only eleventh when circulating on his own in Superpole, while Corser - traditionally a Superpole specialist - had a miserable run, lapping over 1.5secs slower than Bayliss and failing to match his previous best lap. The Yamaha Italia star will start twelfth.
Bayliss' team-mate Fabrizio had almost equalled Troy's pace heading into Superpole, but will start his home race from just 13th after a ragged Superpole lap. Makoto Tamada
(PSG-1 Kawasaki), Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Ducati) and Gregorio Lavilla (Ventaxia VK Honda) complete the Superpole order.
1. Troy Bayliss AUS Ducati Xerox 1098 F08 1min 44.931 secs
2. Max Neukirchner GER Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1min 45.287 secs
3. Noriyuki Haga JPN Yamaha Motor Italia YZF-R1 1min 45.665 secs
4. Carlos Checa SPA Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR 1min 45.766 secs
5. Yukio Kagayama JPN Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1min 45.777 secs
6. Ruben Xaus SPA Sterilgarda Go Eleven 1098 RS08 1min 45.795 secs
7. Fonsi Nieto SPA Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000 1min 45.942 secs
8. Ryuichi Kiyonari JPN Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR 1min 45.975 secs
9. Max Biaggi ITA Sterilgarda Go Eleven 1098 RS08 1min 46.039 secs
10. Karl Muggeridge AUS D.F. Racing CBR1000RR 1min 46.065 secs
11. Regis Laconi ITA PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse ZX-10R 1min 46.216 secs
12. Troy Corser AUS Yamaha Motor Italia YZF-R1 1min 46.496 secs
13. Michel Fabrizio ITA Ducati Xerox 1098 F08 1min 46.533 secs
14. Makoto Tamada JPN PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse ZX-10R 1min 46.549 secs
15. Jakub Smrz CZE Guandalini Racing by Grifo's 1098 RS08 1min 46.749 secs
16. Gregorio Lavilla SPA Ventaxia VK Honda CBR1000RR 1min 47.107 secs
17. Shinichi Nakatomi JPN YZF Yamaha YZF-R1 1min 46.944 secs
18. Ayrton Badovini GBR Team Pedercini ZX-10R 1min 47.301 secs
19. Sebastien Gimbert FRA Yamaha France Ipone GMT 94 YZF-R1 1min 47.669 secs
20. Vittorio Iannuzzo ITA Team Pedercini ZX-10R 1min 48.110 secs
21. Shuhei Aoyama JPN Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR 1min 48.144 secs
22. Russell Holland AUS D.F. Racing - Bertocchi CBR1000RR 1min 48.390 secs
23. Lorenzo Lanzi ITA RG Racing 1098 RS08 1min 48.523 secs
24. Luca Morelli ITA Alto Evolution Honda CBR1000RR 1min 48.531 secs
25. Lorenzo Mauri ITA Spring Ducati ASD 999RS 1min 48.768 secs
26. Giovanni Bussei ITA Hannspree Honda Althea CBR1000RR 1min 48.935 secs
27. Loic Napoleone FRA Grillini PBR Team YZF-R1 1min 50.113 secs
28. Michael Beck USA Yamaha France Ipone GMT 94 YZF-R1 1min 50.859 secs