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Tough Task For Foggy PETRONAS Racing At Assen

Foggy PETRONAS Racing riders Craig Jones and Steve Martin face an uphill battle to qualify for Superpole after a challenging opening day to the ninth round of the Superbike World Championship at Assen, Holland.

Craig made huge strides forward during the afternoon qualifying session, bettering his free practice time by more than three seconds on his first meaningful visit to the circuit.

Steve was hampered in learning the new shorter circuit lay-out when a series of mechanical problems denied him essential track time.

He finished 22nd in the standings with a time of 1:42.443, with Craig just half a second behind with a time of 1:43.052. Troy Bayliss set a blistering pace with a lap of 1:39.336 in cool, overcast conditions.

Craig said: "It's hard to come to a new circuit and set a bike up from scratch, and the fact that there is a new lay-out meant we didn't even have any data from last year. So I didn't really know what I wanted the bike to do early on. But I took more than three seconds off my time in the afternoon and we have a direction to follow overnight. I want to continue learning tomorrow because the further up the grid I can get the better the chance I will have in the race, and this looks like a circuit with a lot of passing opportunities."

Steve said: "We have had a lot of problems throughout the day and I have had to walk back to the garage on two occasions. I am not going to make excuses about the new lay-out, because I know the lay-out as well as Bayliss does and he is two seconds a lap quicker. But it is important to get into a rhythm and that has been difficult over the last few meetings. I think I can go quicker tomorrow but it will be asking a lot to make Superpole."

Friday qualifying times, Superbike World Championship round 9, Assen, Holland: 1 Bayliss 1:39.336; 2 Lanzi 1:39.888; 3 Fabrizio 1:40.171; 4 Toseland 1:40.242; 5 Barros 1:40.415; 6 Pitt 1:40.474; 7 Kagayama 1:40.567; 8 Xaus 1:40.581; 9 Haga 1:40.612; 10 Muggeridge 1:40.746; 22 Martin 1:42.443; 26 Jones 1:43.052

Friday free practice times: 1 Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) 1:40.692; 2 Barros (Klaffi Honda) 1:41.227; 3 Haga (Yamaha Italia) 1:41.417; 4 Laconi (PSG-1 Kawasaki) 1:41.518; 5 Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:41.541; 6 Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) 1:41.563; 7 Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:41.594; 8 Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) 1:41.704; 9 Xaus (Sterilgarda Berik) 1:41.805; 10 Fabrizio (DFX Treme) 1:41.985; 18 Martin (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:43.136; 27 Jones (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:46.831