Frustration for Foggy PETRONAS Racing at Imola
Steve Martin was denied a chance to challenge for a Superpole slot through a frustrating chain of events in the closing stages of the second qualifying session at Imola.
Lying just 0.05 seconds outside the top 16 and having saved the softest rear tyre until last, the session was stopped with 1:53 seconds remaining when a rider crashed and deposited oil on the circuit.
With his Foggy PETRONAS Racing crew preparing to send him out to try and complete a lap within that time from a standing start, the session was brought to a premature end, leaving Steve heading the fifth row for tomorrow's 11th round races.
Team-mate Craig Jones made further progress in morning qualifying, reducing his best lap time by another half a second despite an engine failure, and will start from 28th on the grid.
Both riders used the afternoon free practice to further evaluate potential race tyres, finishing the session 18th and 28th respectively, while champion-elect Troy Bayliss claimed pole position in the Superpole shoot-out.
Steve said: "To miss out on Superpole by 0.05 seconds was a bit of a disappointment, especially as I was out on the circuit on a new tyre with the chance to improve my time when the session was stopped. But I do not think it puts us at too much of a disadvantage because you finish the race where you are going to finish. We worked really hard in the afternoon with a full tank, our race times have come down and we look like we can lap in the 51s. At that pace, and with a bit of luck, we can challenge for points tomorrow."
Craig said: "I made more progress in the morning but in the afternoon I tried a different tyre which I wasn't as keen on. I used the afternoon to learn more and I was looking for people, like Fabrizio and Chili who know the circuit, to follow. I just need more laps here as the track is still new to me but I think I will be able to go quicker in the race. Obviously I would like to be further up the standings but I don't think my times are too bad, so I am not too disappointed."
Superbike World Championship round 11, Imola, Italy:
Saturday qualifying times (best time bracketed):
Saturday free practice: