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Unproductive opening day for FPR

Foggy PETRONAS Racing face a mountain to climb for tomorrow's qualifying sessions at Monza following an unproductive opening day of the fourth round of the Superbike World Championship.

A series of technical problems left riders Steve Martin and Craig Jones struggling to find a rhythm at the 'Citadel of Speed'.

Steve finished the day down in 27th position, two seconds off the provisional qualification time for Superpole and more than four seconds behind pace-setter Noriyuki Haga.

Craig, on his first visit to the circuit, also missed out on valuable track time and, with wet weather forecast over the next two days, was hopeful of another chance to improve his race set-up.

Craig said: "This morning's aim was to learn the circuit and to pick my final braking markers. It was a shame that we had a technical problem with one of the bikes at the other end of the circuit, as it takes ages to get back to the pits. But, after 13 laps, I was only two seconds off Steve on my first time out here, so I didn't find the circuit too difficult to learn. The speed of the circuit and proximity to the barriers certainly didn't faze me - I had been looking forward to getting onto the big long straights and fast chicanes. We changed the gearing for the afternoon but an old gremlin popped up again as it made the bike unstable in a straight line. We already have a plan to solve that but I would have liked to have made more progress than I have today."

Steve said: "We were dogged by a few unforeseen mechanical problems, which hampered us throughout the day and I couldn't get into any kind of rhythm. The team were trying to fix those problems in the afternoon, so we weren't really able to make any progress on set-up from the morning session. We now have 12 hours to regroup, although there is already a big gap to 16th and the Superpole places. We need tomorrow to be dry so that we at least have a chance of giving it our best shot."

Friday qualify times, Superbike World Championship, round 4, Monza, Italy:
1 Haga 1:47.007;
2 Bayliss 1:47.043;
3 Corser 1:47.591;
4 Toseland 1:47.751;
5 Laconi 1:47.763;
6 Barros 1:47.769;
7 Pitt 1:47.793;
8 Xaus 1:47.852;
9 Fabrizio 1:48.070;
10 Rolfo 1:48.334;
27 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:51.183;
29 Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:53.873

Friday free practice times:
1 Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1:47.214;
2 Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:47.401;
3 Pitt (Yamaha Italia) 1:47.435;
4 Xaus (Sterilgarda-Berik) 1:47.891;
5 Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:47.987;
6 Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 1:47.998;
7 Walker (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 1:48.096;
8 Barros (Klaffi Honda) 1:48.168;
9 Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 1:48.319;
10 Haga (Yamaha Italia) 1:48.444;
27 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:50.358;
30 Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:52.639