Aussie former double world champion begins quest to end his losing streak in best possible way.
A delighted Troy Corser has made it clear he is extremely intent on regaining winning form in Qatar this weekend, after converting his qualifying pace into pole position for the opening two World Superbike Championship races of the 2008 campaign.
The Aussie former double world champion proved peerless in the critical Superpole shoot-out, backing up his fastest times in the earlier two qualifying sessions with a searing lap in still windy conditions to see off his nearest rival Ruben Xaus by a staggering six tenths of a second.
“I like this track,” the 1996 and 2005 WSBK king enthused afterwards. “The Yamaha works really well here. I now feel more relaxed on the bike and I know my team well, [so] I guess my confidence is up. I have to say thanks to the guys; they have worked hard.
“We had a really good test here, so now I need to get my head down and concentrate on being consistent. I struggled in free practice two; we were trying out tyres and they weren't working like they did yesterday, so we have made some changes. I'm going for the win.”
Xaus and Sterilgarda Go Eleven team-mate Max Biaggi had said the previous day that their efforts were very much on achieving race pace, so both were understandably thrilled to seal front row starting positions in second and third, separated by less than a tenth of a second.
“The bike worked well,” Spaniard Xaus remarked. “I have been focusing on race pace and race distances. The bike is perfect, the team is good and having Max as my team-mate has made me focus more.”
“What can I say?” Biaggi added. “Everything looks good. I have improved in every session, and my feeling with the bike is good now. I made a small mistake in turn one and lost some tenths, but I'm third I am happy. I'm happy for my team and for my first time on the Ducati.”
Max Neukirchner ended up as the highest-placed Team Suzuki Alstare representative in fourth, almost a second shy of the leading pace but four places ahead of team-mate Yukio Kagayama and seven in front of early practice pace-setter Fonsi Nieto, who has slipped further away from the head of the pack as the meeting has progressed.
The consistent Lorenzo Lanzi wound up fifth, but there was less good news for Corser's Yamaha Motor Italia team-mate Noryuki Haga and Ducati Xerox star Troy Bayliss, the only man to really push the pace-setter throughout the two qualifying sessions.
Haga crashed at turn one on Thursday, when his bike developed a water leak. He high-sided and landed on his head, rendering the Japanese ace a little sore on his way to sixth on the grid during Superpole. Bayliss, for his part, has seen his testing injury from last month aggravated by the high winds, leaving him all the way down in seventh spot.
The leading 16 contenders for the two races are completed by Kagayama, Carlos Checa (the top candidate for defending champions Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), Bayliss' Ducati team-mate Michel Fabrizio, Nieto, Jakub Smrz (Guandalini Racing by Grifo's), Gregorio Lavilla (Ventaxia VK Honda), Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda Jr.), Roberto Rolfo (Hannspree Honda Althea) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini).
Yamaha France GMT-94's Sébastien Gimbert missed the Superpole cut in second qualifying by a scant three hundredths of a second.
If you can't race fast, atleast you can look fast...