Izutsu injured in qualifying at Sugo
Eight crashes, three stoppages and three restarts marked one of the most incident-laden qualifying sessions in the history of WSB at Sugo on Friday – with Hitoyasu Izutsu ruling himself out of racing for up over a month.
The other ten crashers included Ben and Eric Bostrom, Noriyuki Haga, Steve Martin, Allessandro Antonello and provisional pole position man Makoto Tamada.
Izutsu was the only injury – everyone else escaped without a scratch. For Izutsu the crash is a disaster as he will not only miss his strongest event of the year at home in Sugo but will certainly also miss the next two events at Monza and Silverstone recovering from the broken radius bone in his left arm. Medics at the track estimate it will take him two months to recover.
The only rider to get any kind of good news from the session was HM Plant Ducati’s Neil Hodgson who managed to pick his way through the on-track carnage to move himself from 11th to fifth overall.
Hodgson said: " It was a really weird session because of all the red flags and it was difficult to keep concentration with everyone crashing around the track but we have found decent settings and just need to find a race tyre to match them now. It makes a change to be on the pace of the front guys after the first day as sometimes this season we have been two seconds off pole position. "
For Hodgson’s team-mate James Toseland and Kawasaki’s Chris Walker it was not such good news as both suffered because of the red flags. Toseland finished the day 18th fastest and Walker was 13th.
For reigning WSB champion Troy Bayliss and team-mate Ruben Xaus it was another disappointing first day at Sugo – Bayliss could only net eighth fastest time and Xaus 11th.
IN the World Supersport class Brit hope Jamie Whitham was well pleased with his sixth fastest time – just 0.5s off the provisional pole time set by Suzuki’s Katsuaki Fujiwara and a near identical time set by second-placed Fabien Foret.
Whitham said: " Qualifying has been going well all year and here seems to be just the same. The bike feels great and once we can sure the front end chatter I am positive about the race. "
Iain MacPherson suffered two big crashes today and finished 11th overall with world champion Andrew Pitt down in 14th and British youngster James Ellison second-slowest in 24th place after struggling to get to know the tricky Sugo track on his Kawasaki ZX-6R.