With track temperatures nudging 50 degrees, Ryuichi Kiyonari set the sixth fastest time in this afternoon's opening qualifying session for Sunday's World Superbike races at Misano in Italy.
The Japanese rider was quickly on the pace in this morning's free practice session and backed that up with a provisional second row performance in today's 60-minute qualifying session, in which Italian Michel Fabrizio set the provisional pole time.
The top ten riders, however, are separated by less than half a second and Kiyonari has already improved on his qualifying time from last year's race at the 4.2km circuit.
Ryuichi Kiyonari Speaks... (P6, 1'37.396s)
"What a difference a year can make. Last time here, I really struggled but already I am comfortable with the track and lapping a second faster than last year's qualifying time. We have done a lot of racing and testing and development in the last 365 days and I was happy with the test we completed at Magny-Cours this week. We have been playing with the machine balance some more today but there is still a small problem with the weight transfer. But we will keep working to improve things and find a good setting for tomorrow's Superpole and the races on Sunday."
Ronald ten Kate Speaks... (Team Manager)
"Kiyo-san has made good progress today and has been near the top of the leaderboard in both sessions. It is clear that he is more at home here than he was last year and he and his crew will continue to fine tune his CBR1000RR for tomorrow."
2009 World Superbike championship, round eight - Misano, Italy
First qualifying, results:
1 Michel Fabrizio (ITA) Ducati 1'37.016s
2 Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1'37.102s
3 Yukio Kagayama (JPN) Suzuki 1'37.209s
4 Jonathan Rea (GBR) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1'37.238s
5 Broc Parkes (AUS) Kawasaki 1'37.281s
6 Ryuichi Kiyonari (JPN) Ten Kate Honda Racing 1'37.386s
7 Carlos Checa (ESP) Hannspree Ten Kate Honda 1'37.441s