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Disappointing start for FPR in Qatar

The first round of the new Superbike World Championship proved one to forget for Foggy PETRONAS Racing.

Australian Steve Martin finished both races in 18th place, while new team-mate Craig Jones suffered two crashes.

The battle for the honours provided two thrilling finishes: James Toseland profiting when Noriyuki Haga crashed and took out Yukio Kagayama on the final lap of the first race, and Troy Corser emerging victorious over fellow Aussie Troy Bayliss in a fairing-bashing final lap of the second race.

The start of each race left Steve with a mountain to climb as he battled to fight his way back through the field. Craig, who injured his knee in a fall yesterday, crashed in the early stages of both races but did not aggravate the injury.

Steve said: "I was on the outside of the grid and everyone was taking an inside line so I got stuck. It would have been better to be 11th or 12th on the grid. Once I got into a rhythm I could tell we had made an improvement from the first race and I was able to lap in the 2:02s. I also got an average start in the first race and then went into neutral going into the hairpin and lost a lot of time when I ran off. I caught Battaini and then Ianuzzo but could not get past him. There is a lot of acceleration at this circuit, which is not our strongest point, but I am a lot more positive than at this point last year. However, we still need to sort the stability problems we have experienced here. At least I finished both races and I know we have good pace - we just need it throughout the race and I hope we can find that in Australia next week."

Craig said: "It was a disastrous weekend for me. I didn't have a good set-up the whole time we were here. In the second race crash I don't think I did anything differently than any of the previous laps. I was going really steady, so that I would finish the race, and the front end still went. In the first race the bike was set-up a lot different to how I rode it in the morning warm-up, with more weight on the front and obviously more fuel. So the front tyre was more loaded up and I was unlucky to be caught out. I did consistent 2:02s in testing here when I was ill. So I'm now looking forward to finding some improvements at Phillip Island so that I can show what I can do."

Race two results, Superbike World Championship, round 1, Losail, Qatar:
1 Corser;
2 Bayliss 1.025;
3 Haga 3.462;
4 Toseland 3.463;
5 Pitt 4.350;
6 Lanzi 19.610;
7 Barros 20.548;
8 Fabrizio 21.183;
9 Muggeridge 23.198;
10 Xaus 26.533;
11 Abe 26.854;
12 Nieto 28.132;
13 Rolfo 28.135;
14 Borciani 34.176;
15 Gimbert 35.395;
18 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 51.504

Race one results:
1 Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda);
2 Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 0.088;
3 Pitt (Yamaha Italia) 2.390;
4 Corser (Alstare Suuki Corona Extra) 2.599;
5 Fabrizio (DFX Treme) 6.999;
6 Barros (Klaffi Honda) 14.717;
7 Rolfo (Ducati SC - Caracchi) 15.224;
8 Chili (DFX Treme) 21.183;
9 Borciani (Sterilgarda Berik) 36.675;
10 Neukirchner 23.932;
11 Abe (Yamaha France) 24.816;
12 Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 25.643;
13 Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 29.139;
14 Gimbert (Yamaha France) 29.977;
15 Xaus (Sterilgarda Berik) 36.675;
18 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:06.594