Team Suzuki Press Office - September 20.
Team Alstare Suzuki riders Max Neukirchner and Yukio Kagayama will start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow's 12th round of the World Superbike Championship at Vallelunga in Italy.
With no dry track time yesterday, the riders started to work with dry set-ups and learn how to ride the 4.110 kilometre circuit in the dry. The afternoon free practice was disrupted by a power cut and the 25 minutes or so lost because of TV scheduling for Superpole then took place after Superpole had finished.
Troy Bayliss (Ducati) stormed to his seventh Superpole win of the season with Troy Corser (Yamaha) second, Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) third and Max Biaggi (Ducati) fourth.
Max Neukirchner - 6th, 1:37.427:
"I had a little problem with grip in Superpole, lost some time and that stopped me from a front row grid place. Most of my rivals tested here before and they had dry track data to work with straightaway, whereas I had to start from scratch. Having said that, I don't think we did too bad today and I am happy with my set-up for tomorrow. Grip may be a problem in the races, but if all goes well, I see know reason why I cannot get a podium or two."
Yukio Kagayama - 8th, 1:37607:
"Because I could not get good grip out of my qualifying tyres I used regular race rubber in Superpole instead. So I think eighth is not good, but it's not so bad either. Second row is not too bad here, but I need to make good starts tomorrow. Because yesterday was so wet, we had to find a good dry set-up from the start of today and we were at a bit of a disadvantage compared to some other riders because they have tested here before and we have not.
"There is still some work to do to make the bike more comfortable to ride around this track and we will have to try and work on the engine characteristics as the bike feels a bit peaky to ride at the moment - and that is not so good. If we can improve this in the warm-up, I think I can make some good races, but I am optimistic that this can be done."
Fonsi Nieto -10th - 1:37.820:
"Well I guess this is almost my normal, third row, grid position, after yet another Superpole that has not been so good for me. I need two good starts tomorrow and be in the front group as soon as I can if I am to get good results. In Superpole, I was getting some movement at the rear end and that made life a bit difficult exiting the corners. At the end of the free practice - the one that took place after Superpole - the temperature dropped quite a bit and that affected the grip a lot. We'll do some work on the electronics in the warm-up and try and improve the bike so that I can ride it harder and faster. If we cannot improve the bike much, it's going to be along, hard day for sure.
Final WSB qualifying: 1 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:36.606, 2 Corser (Aus-Yamaha) 1:36.730, 3 Haga (J-Yamaha) 1:36.915, 4 Biaggi (I-Ducati) 1:37.134, 5 Kiyonari (J-Honda) 1:37.342, 6 Max Neukirchner (D-Alstare Suzuki) 1:37.427, 7 Fabrizio (I-Ducati) 1:37.550, 8 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare) 1:37.607, 9 Lanzi (I-Ducati) 1:37.692, 10 Fonsi Nieto (E-Suzuki Alstare) 1:37.820.
RES Software Hoegee Suzuki's Barry Veneman will start tomorrow's World Supersport Championship race from the front row after setting second-fastest time this afternoon.
Although Veneman was searching for the right settings of his Suzuki GSX-R600 K8 during the morning session, he showed in the afternoon from the beginning that he was able deal with the fastest riders.
Team mate Didier Van Keymeulen set a good time with sixth fastest in the morning and in the afternoon secured 10th place on the starting grid.
Marc Hoegee - Team owner RES Software Hoegee Suzuki:
"Of course this is a great result which is also a result of the good test on this circuit earlier this season. Last year we didn't test here and we were not able to ride a good race. Now we see that this years test worked out and the results are good this weekend. Again the team worked very hard and with two riders into top 10 we are looking forward to tomorrow's race."
"I am happy with my second place on the starting grid, especially when I look back at last year's result. We decided to change some things on the front forks after the free practice this morning and that gave me much more control. I could really push hard during the qualifying practice and I got the right feeling with the circuit. Second place on the starting grid is a good position for tomorrow's race and although this circuit is not one of my favourites, my lap times are good enough to ride in the front."
Didier Van Keymeulen:
"It was pretty hard this morning because there were some wet places on the track. In spite of these circumstances I found my rhythm soon and I was able to put in constantly fast lap times. We made some adjustments on the suspension after the free practice but they didn't work out well. During the qualifying session we tried to set it back but we didn't have enough time so I had to ride with some alternative adjustments. At the end of the session I was able to improve my fastest lap time with a new tyre and so I secured 10th place on the starting grid. I am looking forward to tomorrow's race."