|Foggy PETRONAS Racing riders Chris Walker and Troy Corser face an uphill battle in qualification for Sunday’s two races of the penultimate round of the Superbike World Championship at Imola.|
Neither rider managed to make the top 16 at the end of the first qualifying practice on Friday afternoon before the heavens opened at the end of the session.
And, with more changeable weather forecast for tomorrow in Italy, the FPR team is relying on a dry morning qualification session in order to challenge for Superpole starts.
A day of frustration started in the morning free practice session when Chris high-sided coming out of the first chicane. And, although he escaped injury, a technical problem with his spare bike brought an early end to the session.
Then, Troy, on course to set the 14th fastest time and using his first qualifying tyre of his allocation, suffered a clutch problem and was forced to drop the bike in the gravel on entry into the Piratella left-hander at the end of the afternoon session.
As both riders fought to make up for a power deficit, particularly through Imola’s uphill sections, handling issues added to the challenge of reducing the gap to the pacesetters, led by Noriyuki Haga with a time of 1:50.969.
Chris said: “We have a lot of work to do to be competitive this weekend and we have major problems if the weather is the same tomorrow. Troy has been here before on the FP1 and he is having the same difficulties as I am. We have come from Assen, where neither of us had a bad set-up, and there has been a much bigger gap between us and the front runners. Coming out of the second gear hairpin Tosa corner they seem to leave us for dead. I don’t seem to have any grip at the rear going into corners yet we are using the same tyres as the other riders. And the bike just doesn’t seem to want to maintain contact with the floor after hitting the bumps. Normally you have the bike settled within metres but it is only settling down when you come out of the next corner.”
Troy said: “The track is really bumpy and I was getting a lot of up and down movement after each of the bumpy sections until I got to the next corner. It also doesn’t feel like there is much grip. We are being left coming out of sections like Aqua Minerale.”
Friday qualifying times, Superbike World Championship, round 10, Imola: 1 Haga 1:50.969; 2 Martin 1:51.118; 3 Vermeulen 1:51.140; 4 McCoy 1:51.147; 5 Borciani 1:51.308; 6 Toseland 1:51.325; 7 Laconi 1:51.393; 8 Chili 1:51.549; 9 Pedercini 1:51.718; 10 Romboni 1:52.294; 19 Walker (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:53.447; 20 Corser (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:53.607
Friday morning free practice: 1 Pedercini (Team Pedercini) 1:52.502; 2 Laconi (Ducati Fila) 1:52.598; 3 Toseland (Ducati Fila) 1:52.654; 4 Martin (DFX) 1:52.696; 5 Borciani (DFX) 1:52.711; 6 Vermeulen (Ten Kate Honda) 1:52.759; 7 McCoy (Xerox Ducati) 1:52.816; 8 Haga (Renegade Ducati) 1:53.180; 9 Clementi (Kawasaki Bertocchi) 1:53.398; 10 Romboni (Giesse Racing) 1:53.674; 14 Corser (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:54.409; 21 Walker (Foggy PETRONAS Racing) 1:56.024