James Toseland has taken his HM Plant Ducati to provisional pole position at the Imola round of the World Superbike championship.
After setting the pace in practice it was Regis Laconi who continued to lead the field in the first qualifying session but Toseland pulled out all the stops to beat him to the top spot by 0.461 seconds with a time of 1:49.011.
Laconi had to settle for second on the provisional grid ahead of Fila Ducati team-mates Ruben Xaus, third on 1:49.505, and world champion Neil Hodgson, fourth on 1:49.538.
Toseland’s team-mate Chris Walker put in a 1:50.145 lap to land the sixth fastest time ahead of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Gregorio Lavilla.
The Foggy Petronas team had expected the hilly Italian circuit to pose a problem for the three-cylinder FP1, but work on the bike’s fuel mapping and suspension set-up has seen Troy Corser take it to seventh place on the provisional grid, less than a second down on Toseland and 0.2 seconds ahead of eighth-placed Frankie Chili.
In a press conference held at the circuit Pirelli officially confirmed it will be the sole supplier of tyres to the World Superbike, World Supersport and World Superstock championships for the next two years. The announcement was made in a bid to quiet the rumours that FG Sport, the promoter of the three championships, is going to back down on the decision to use controlled tyres.
Kawasaki also announced that it has decided not to race an official factory team in the Supersport championship next year. The move means that there is now no direct factory involvement in the championship by any Japanese manufacturer.
1 James Toseland 1:49.011, 2 Régis Laconi 1:49.472, 3 Xaus 1:49.505, 4 Ruben Hodgson Neil 1:49.538, 5 Chris Walker 1:50.145, 6 Gregorio Lavilla 1:50.570, 7 Troy Corser 1:50.752, 8 Pierfrancesco Chili 1:50.859, 9 Steve Martin 1:50.892, 10 Lucio Pedercini 1:51.206, 11 Juan Bautista Borja 1:51.424, 12 Sergio Fuertes 1:51.848, 13 David Garcia 1:51.863, 15 Marco Borciani 1:51.924, 16 Mauro Sanchini 1:51.985, 17 Ivan Clementi 1:52.188, 18 Horst Saiger 1:53.938, 19 James Haydon 1:54.023, 20 Walter Tortoroglio 1:54.042, 21 Alex Gramigni 1:54.198, 22 Luca Pini 1:54.361, 23 Giuseppe Zannini 1:55.182, 24 Simone Conti 1:55.261, 25 Jiri Mrkyvka 1:55.895, 26 Lorenzo Mauri 1:57.224, 27 Gianmaria Liverani 1:57.604, 28 Luca Pedersoli 1:58.692.
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