Team Suzuki Alstare Brux riders Yukio Kagayama and Max Neukirchner both had problems in the new Superpole qualifying system and will have to start from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid at tomorrow's second World Superbike Championship round in Qatar.
Neither riders were able to find good set-ups for their bikes in practice and regular qualifying and struggled to get into Superpole 1. Neukirchner didn't make it into Superpole 2 but Kagayama managed it by setting the eighth-quickest time in the session. But Superpole 2 was as far as he got as his lap of 1:59.134 was only the 14th fastest time of the session.
American Ben Spies (Yamaha) won Superpole with Jakob Smrz (Ducati) second, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) third and series leader Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) fourth.
Yukio Kagayama - 14th, 1:59.134:
"The situation is not so nice, having to start from the fourth row of the grid, but I am a racer and I will give my 100% - as usual. We changed many things on the bike from yesterday, but I don't think there was much improvement, so we will have to make some more changes in the warm-up tomorrow. Today, I wanted the bike to steer better in the corners, but what we tried did not help much. Here in Qatar, the bike is completely different on race tyres compared to qualifying tyres and you can lap much faster on a qualifier. My Superpole lap does not reflect my potential so I am hoping the adjustments we make in the warm-up tomorrow will allow me to make a good fight in the races."
Max Neukirchner - 19th, 1:59.926:
"It has been a hard day, with many problems in different areas. Also I had a big crash and that didn't help. I was OK, but my bike wasn't and I am sorry because my mechanics had to work so hard and build another bike. I had to use my number two bike in Superpole because my other bike wasn't finished, and it didn't work the same way. We lost some time making some adjustments and by the time we put on the qualifying tyre, the flag had come out and it was too late. I am disappointed how the day went, but I am hoping that tomorrow will be much better."
Results: 1 Spies (USA-Yamaha) 1:57.280, 2 Smrz (CZ-Ducati) 1:57.384, 3 Biaggi (I-Aprilia) 1:57.694, 4 Haga (J-Ducati) 1:57.850, 5 Sykes (GB-Yamaha) 1:57.878, 6 Nakano (J-Aprilia) 1:58.755, 7 Checa (E-Honda) 1:59.090, 8 Byrne (GB-Ducati) 2:00.021, 9 Rolfo (I-Honda) 1:58.734, 10 Fabrizio (I-Ducati) 1:58.919, 14 Yukio Kagayama (J-Suzuki Alstare Brux) 1:59.134, 19 Max Neukirchner (D-Suzuki Alstare Brux) 1:59.926.