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Walker tops first qualifying at a very wet Sugo

Published: 22 April 2003

Chris Walker has topped the time sheets during a wet first qualifying session at the World Superbike round in Sugo, Japan.

The session was ended with nine minutes to go, due to poor visibility, and more bad weather is forecast for Saturday’s qualifying.

The HM Plant Ducati rider completed 14 laps, with a best time of 1:43.829. Walker’s team-mate James Toseland is currently third with a time of 1:44.588. Splitting the two is Frenchman Regis Laconi on the Caracchi NCR Ducati.

Current championship leader Neil Hodgson suffered in the wind and rain, finishing seventh quickest with a 1:48.629, around five seconds down on Walker. He’s just behind leading wildcard Hitoyasu Izutsu on the Honda SPW.

The top Petronas rider is Troy Corser down in 21st position on a 1:59.414, but the Australian had only managed to complete five laps. Corser’s team-mate James Haydon has crashed twice in the terrible conditions, and failed to finish a lap in qualifying. Ruben Xaus tried to match Haydon by also crashing twice, on the Fila Ducati 999, but managed to qualify 14th quickest.

" I have never felt like that in the wet. There was no grip and I couldn’t move the bike from dead straight. It was sliding when tipping into a corner, even without getting on the gas. But at least it didn’t happen tomorrow and we are all hoping that it is dry for the rest of the weekend, " said Corser.

1) Walker 1:43.829. 2) Laconi 1:44.227. 3) Toseland 1:44.588. 4) Chili 1:45.135. 5) Lavilla 1:45.845. 6) Izutsu 1:47.545. 7) Hodgson 1:48.629. 8) Watanabe 1:48.914. 9) Borja 1:49.234. 10) Nakamura 1:49.533. 11) Martin 1:49.539. 12) Numata 1:49.675. 13) Sanchini 1:49.776. 14) Xaus 1:50.050. 15) Bussei 1:51.783. 16) Russo 1:51.838. 17) 1:52.500. 18) Tortoroglio 1:52.512. 19) Clementi 1:52.740. 20) Borciani 1:57.215. 21) Corser 1:59.414. 22) Pedercini 2:00.717.

Supersport:

Suzuki rider Katsuaki Fujiwara was the fastest World Supersport rider in qualifying, heading Japanese wildcard Ryuichi Kiyonari. Jorg Teuchert went third fastest, followed by former Supermoto champ Thierry Van Den Bosch.

1) Fujiwara 1:44.832 2) Kiyonari 1:44.900. 3) Jorg Teuchert 1:46.734. 4) Thierry Van den Bosch 1:46.949. 5) Stephane Chambon 1:47.152. 6) Broc Parkes 1:47.569. 7) Christophe Cogan 1:47.773. 8) Tekkyu Kayo 1:47.831. 9) Iain MacPherson 1:47.902. 10) Pere Riba 1:47.958. 11) Robert Ulm 1:48.133. 12) Stefano Cruciani 1:48.231. 13) Gianluca Nannelli 1:48.845. 14) Chris Vermeulen 1: 48.979. 15) Christian Kellner 1:49.223. 16) Daemen Werner 1:49.800. 17) Alessio Corradi 1:50. 588. 18) Karl Muggeridge 1:50.644. 19) Sebastien Charpentier 1:51.175. 20) Mattieu Lagrive 1:51.552. 21) Jurgen van der Goorbergh 1:51.579. 22) Fabien Foret 1:52.938. 23) Simone Sanna 1:53.129. 24) Kai Borre Andersen 1:53.154. 25) Didier Vankeymeulen 1:55.038.

There will be regular updates from Sugo, and the MotoGP action in South Africa, throughout the weekend, so make sure you check motorcyclenews.com regularly.

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