The ISILON MSS Discovery Kawasaki team endured a frustrating qualifying day at the Croft circuit, home of round 10 of the Bennetts British Superbike championship.
Michael Rutter secured 12th place in qualifying for tomorrow's two races, but has found it hard to get the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R set-up to his liking around the 2.13-mile North Yorkshire circuit. The 34-year-old from Kirkby Mallory is also suffering from a bout of the flu and has been running a temperature since the start of the weekend. His team-mate Stuart Easton starts tomorrow's MAXXIS British Supersport race in ninth place on the grid. The 23-year-old from Hawick, in Scotland, will be looking for a good start from the head of the third row of the grid to try and secure the team's elusive first podium of 2007.
Michael Rutter, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R (12th - 1m 21.301s)
"We've struggled a bit really and ending up in 12th obviously isn't where I want to be. I've suffered with a terrible cold, but I don't want to use that as an excuse, I should still be OK for tomorrow though. It's a bit annoying, as I've always done well around here, so that angers me a bit! If we knew exactly what the problem was we'd fix it. Come the races tomorrow I think all I can do is try and get a pair of top ten finishes."
Stuart Easton, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R (9th - 1m 23.249s)
"We're still having problems with the bike on qualifying tyres, but we have to put that out of our heads now and look forward to the race. We know our race pace is good as is our race set-up, we just need a good start and some luck to try and bag our best result of the year."
Jack Valentine, Race Team Manager
"It's just not happening for us at the moment today. We know that the other Kawasakis are having problems too, but we need to move forward ourselves, so it's a little frustrating to not go quicker today. The is partly down to the fact that we missed our second qualifying tyre slot as Michael left the pits too late, but he was confident that the time could have been better. On race tyres the bike doesn't steer the way Michael wants it to, it seems better on qualifying tyres. I think Michael's flu hasn't helped at all so if he was 100% I'm sure we'd get a bit more out of the rider. With Stuart it's still the opposite: the bike still doesn't work as well as it should on qualifiers, which means we can't get the front row start we need to make the podium easier to obtain. He needs a good start tomorrow to do the business."
Nick Morgan, Team owner
"Michael's physical condition hasn't helped us at all today. He's not well at all, blocked nose and running a temperature. We're a bit mystified as to why the bike doesn't seem to work so well around here. I guess this isn't a strong circuit for our machine: and you only have to look at where the other Kawasakis are to see it's not just us. We will have a chat tonight and see if we can turn things around for both riders in warm-up tomorrow."
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Saturday qualifying 1. Cal Crutchlow 2. Jonathan Rea 3. Leon Haslam 4. Tom Sykes 5. Tommy Hill
12: Michael Rutter, ISILON MSS Discovery Kawasaki
MAXXIS British Supersport Championship, Saturday qualifying
1. Billy McConnell 2. Ian Hutchinson 3. Ian Lowry 4. Dennis Hobbs 5. Michael Laverty
9: Stuart Easton, ISILON MSS Discovery Kawasaki