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Qualifying ordeal for FPR at Monza

Foggy PETRONAS Racing's run of impressive qualifying performances was brought to a halt at the high-speed Monza circuit today.

Having achieved consecutive front row starting positions in the previous two rounds of the Superbike World Championship, Steve Martin was only able to qualify in 23rd position having missed out on Superpole. Team-mate Craig Jones, on his first visit to the Italian circuit, will start tomorrow's races from 30th position.

Despite stability problems on the start-finish straight, both riders were able to improve on yesterday's times by 1.5 seconds and Steve's fastest lap on race rubber was nearly two seconds quicker than his best time on qualifying rubber last year.

However, in dry and warm conditions conducive to fast times, Troy Corser claimed pole position with a new best lap at the circuit of 1:46.564, while championship rival Troy Bayliss set a new top speed of 314kmh, highlighting the power deficit faced by the FPR team.

Steve said: "I can take some positives out of the day. I think the lap of 1:48.9 this morning was about as quick as we are going to go at this circuit. I am pretty sure we are getting the most out of our package although we still need to get rid of high-speed weave when the tyres are worn. I will be happy if we can have two consistent and trouble-free races tomorrow."

Craig said: "We have tried everything except turning the bike upside down to try and get rid of the wobble down the start-finish straight. I am probably losing around half a second down that straight alone and we need to make improvements overnight if I am going to be able to race with anyone tomorrow."

Superpole results, Superbike World Championship, Monza, Italy:
1 Corser 1:46.058;
2 Bayliss 1:46.360;
3 Barros 1:46.511;
4 Laconi 1:46.597;
5 Walker 1:46.978;
6 Pitt 1:47.015;
7 Muggeridge 1:47.082;
8 Toseland 1:47.133;
9 Kagayama 1:47.156;
10 Haga 1:47.627;
11 Rolfo 1:47.975;
12 Foret 1:48.009;
13 Lanzi 1:48.170;
14 Nieto 1:48.240;
15 Fabrizio 1:48.969;
16 Xaus, no time.

Saturday qualifying results (best time bracketed):
1 Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:46.564;
2 Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1:46.984;
3 Pitt (Yamaha Italia) 1:46.985;
4 Haga (Yamaha Italia) 1:48.026 (1:47.007);
5 Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:47.094;
6 Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:47.199;
7 Barros (Klaffi Honda) 1:47.218;
8 Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 1:47.352;
9 Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:47.414;
10 Xaus (Sterilgarda-Berik) 1:47.865 (1:47.851);
23 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:48.939;
30 Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:51.275

Free practice times:
1 Corser 1:46.576;
2 Bayliss 1:46.700;
3 Barros 1:46.866;
4 Muggeridge 1:47.154;
5 Laconi 1:47.233;
6 Toseland 1:47.422;
7 Haga 1:47.438;
8 Kagayama 1:47.526;
9 Pitt 1:47.555;
10 Foret 1:48.049;
25 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:49.889;
29 Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:51.501