February 25, 2005
With two minutes of 'Wet Superpole' remaining at today's World Superbike opening round in Qatar, Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Troy Corser was on course to give Suzuki a dream start to the new season with a Superpole win, but a gentlemanly gesture to Regis Laconi dropped him to second.
The Ducati rider managed to put in a lap of 2:01.593 - less then a tenth of a second faster - after Corser moved aside on his cooling-down lap when Laconi was on his charge.
In the press conference afterwards, Laconi responded by thanking Troy for giving him a chance on his fast lap.
Superpole had been declared a 'Wet Superpole' with all 16 riders allowed no more then 12 laps to set their fastest times. The session started mainly dry and most of the riders tried to take advantage of the conditions and go out straight away. But there were too many riders trying the same thing and Corser's team mate Yukio Kagayama (pictured) wasn't able to get out early on. By the time he did, the rain had started to fall and he found himself in 11th place. But towards the end, conditions improved and the Japanese rider managed a superb 2:02.643 lap and a place on the front row of the grid.
TROY CORSER - 2nd, 2:01.641:
"Conditions out there were very difficult in Superpole and it was a bit of a lottery deciding when to go out. Superpole started dryish, became wetter, then dryish again. Towards the end, I thought I'd go for it, so went out. That seemed to signal the start of everybody going out and the last five or six minutes were frantic. On my final lap, I knew I had been slow in the first two splits but I made up some time in the third split and that gave me a good lap time. It wasn't a perfect lap by any means because I had to run a bit wide on the last turn when I saw some marks on the track in front of me. I didn't know if it was oil or fuel, but I gave the marks a wider berth and that cost me even more time.
"Nevertheless, I was quickest - until Regis came along. I knew he was on a flyer and I didn't want to get in his way, so I moved over. I could tell it was a fast lap and it was no surprise when he went on Pole.
"I'm feeling very comfortable on the bike and my fast time was done on race rubber so I know what I can do. The Alstare Suzuki team are working together really well, so it would be good to be able to say thank you by starting the season off with a podium at least!"
YUKIO KAGAYAMA - 4th, 2:02.643:
"I am so relieved to be on the front row after the difficult conditions in Superpole today. I lost the chance to go out early and set a quick lap and then I found myself far down the order. At the end, it appeared to get much drier, so I thought I might have a chance of getting in the top six. I had a 'moment' this afternoon at the last turn and nearly crashed. The bike went down on the right side on my knee, but somehow I managed to keep it going and then it gripped again and I was ok! When I came into the pits and say my lap time, my heart was beating so strong! But I am on the front row and that makes me happy because this circuit is not good if you have to start from way down the grid. Like most riders, I would prefer a dry race because sometimes in the wet I am good and sometimes I am not!"
Friday Superbike qualifying: 1 Laconi (F-Ducati) 2:01.593, 2 TROY CORSER (Aus-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:01.641, 3 Gimbert (F-Yamaha) 2:01.889, 4 YUKIO KAGAYAMA ( J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:02.643, 5 Pitt (Aus-Yamaha) 2:02.670, 6 Cardoso (E-Yamaha) 2:02.745, 7 Haga (J-Yamaha) 2:02.766, 8 Vermeulen (Aus-Honda) 2:02.960, 9 Silva (E-Yamaha) 2:03.049, 10 Chili (I-Honda) 2:03.100,
FRIDAY SUPERSPORT QUALIFYING:
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Javi Fores was the only rider to im prove in the final qualifying session at Losail today, but it just wasn't quite enough to earn him a place on the second row of the grid.
Conditions today were difficult because of the ever-changing weather and Fores was particularly unlucky with the rain, but he is much happier with his bike set up and is now looking forward to tomorrow's race.
JAVI FORES - 9th, 2:06.844:
"I am certainly happier today than yesterday because my bike set-up is much better and I feel more comfortable on it. I think I was a bit unlucky when the rain came down because I think I could have gone a bit faster if the conditions had been a bit better. I am also happy because I improved my lap time and I don't think any other rider did that this afternoon.
"We made some small suspension changes today and they made a difference to how the bike behaved. Being on the third row here is not so good so I need a very good start if I am to have a good result. I may be happy with a top-six position but we will have to see how the race develops."
Friday Supersport qualifying: 1 Charpentier (F-Honda) 2:03.841, 2 Fujiwara (J-Honda) 2:04.808, 3 Fabrizio (I-Honda) 2:04.909, 4 Foret (F-Honda) 2:05.006, 5 Curtain (Aus-Yamaha) 2:05.196, 6 Cogan (F-Suzuki) 2:06.364, 7 Parkes (Aus-Yamaha) 2:06.436, 8 Chambon (F-Honda) 2:06.597, 9 JAVI FORES (E-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:06.844, 10 Nannelli (I-Ducati) 2:07.438.