Troy Bayliss has obliterated the competition in Qatar during Superpole for the first round of the Alstare Corona Extra World Superbike Championship, taking a dominate pole position on his Xerox Ducati with a time of 1min 59. 696secs.
The only other rider to hit the sub 2 min lap was Winston Ten Kate's Karl Muggeridge, who unfortunately crashed on his Superpole lap, which now puts him second row of the grid. It was a shame to see him hit the gravel as he was on song during free practice and looking set for a front row start.
His team-mate and former World Champion James Toseland will start from the front row in fourth place. Second fastest was Lorenzo Lanzi, Bayliss' team-mate, who just eased Andrew Pitt on the Yamaha R1 into third place.
Current World Champion Troy Corser will start from the second row of the grid which will be a bit of a change for him as he spent most of last season in pole or on the front row.
Toseland is pleased to be front row on his first outing with his new team, "This is my first year on a four in this Championship and as we know the Ten Kate Honda has no lack of speed. It is a great package, the '06 Fireblade is coming on strong and it is a great team to be working with." When asked what was the difference between the twin and the four at this circuit Toseland quipped "I wasn't on the front row with the twin, so I'm happy."
Andrew Pitt has been on the pace all weekend and in the race for his first podium in World Superbike. "We have been working on making it easier to run a lap time and sorting out the throttle response," said Pitt "I need to understand the bike better and see where it works best. We've also made it easier on tyres." He likes racing in Qatar "I enjoy the fast turns here, it's better than some stop go go-kart track!" he concluded.
With the Xerox Ducati's one two on the grid Lorenzo Lanzi was happy with his progress "I'm very happy, we did a lot of work on the bike at this circuit. It is not much different to last year's bike, just some suspension changes," he said.
Finally pole sitter, Bayliss was over the moon with his first pole in Superbike for three years, "I'm happy to be back with a team that I know and I'm comfy on the bike. It took a little while to get used to the tyres, but I got into the feel quite soon." He admitted that initially the bike did feel strange, "Once we made a few changes it felt just like my 2002 bike," he said "It has got different electronics which is something that has filtered down from Moto GP and will eventually arrive on a customer bike so its all good."
WSBK Superpole results – Qatar:
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