Ducati Off SuperpolePortimao (Portugal), Saturday 27th March: Today did not go at all as planned for the Ducati Xerox riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga when they failed to reach the final phases of Portimao’s Superpole, meaning that they will line up in seventeenth and eighteenth position respectively on tomorrow’s race grid.
In secondqualifying this morning the top fourteen riders closed the session within six tenths of a second of each other and all fourteen registered times under 1m44. Michel made constant improvement, recording a series of fast laps. He saved his fastest lap for the final minutes of the session, thus finishing third on the combined qualifying timesheets. From mid-session Nori too recorded several fast laps, the best of which left him in eighth position overall, with both riders therefore qualifying very easily for the afternoon’s Superpole.In the first phase of the Superpole the two Ducati Xerox rider exited on race tyres. After just one lap, Michel unfortunately had a fall and although he was unhurt he inevitably lost precious time, returning to the track in the final minutes of the session on board his second bike. Fabrizio, unlike some of the other riders, did not use a qualifier and unfortunately he could not do enough to be able to pass to the next stage, finishing in seventeenth position, well below his usual standards. Haga, also ill at ease during the session, was unable to reach his normal levels of performance and finished in eighteenth place, citing grip problems. He was therefore out of the top sixteen and did not proceed to the subsequent Superpole stages. Michel Fabrizio"It’s been two days that I haven’t had good enough feeling at the front – and this lack of grip was the reason for my crash. We haven’t yet understood why but it’s evident that I don’t have grip at the front. We’ve really work hard over the two days, changing many things in the process, but we haven’t yet managed to resolve the issue." "We hope to solve things somehow in tomorrow morning’s warm-up but the races will obviously be extremely difficult as I’m starting from the fifth row. We will, as always however, give all we’ve got to try to score the best possible results."Noriyuki Haga"As I’ve said several times in the past, I don’t really like this track and today I’m definitely not about to change that opinion. What can I say? In Superpole, we understood straight away that after my first exit we needed to go back out and improve." "I thought I’d be able to make up at least a few tenths and so I preferred not to use a qualifier, saving them for the following two sessions. This was not the right decision to make evidently as I wasn’t able to improve on my time. We just have to wait and see tomorrow; it will of course not be easy to make a good start from 18th position on the grid."World Superbike Superpole Qualifing Results1. Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’42.0; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1’42.5; 3. Checa (Ducati) 1’42.5; 4. Haslam (Suzuki) 1’42.5; 5. Rea (Honda) 1’42.8; 6. Smrz (Ducati) 1’42.8; 7. Byrne (Ducati) 1’42.9; 8. Corser (BMW) 1’43.1…. 17. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1’43.5; 18. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1’43.6WSBK Race 1 and Race 2 are up next from Round 2 of World Superbike racing from Portimao.