Hodgson on pole
Neil Hodgson managed to better his qualifying time to get the pole position for tomorrow’s two races despite the blustery wind.
Hodgson beat former team-mate James Toseland by 0.566 seconds and was only 0.049 seconds off the fastest ever Valencia Superpole set by Troy Bayliss, but that still left Toseland in his best ever qualifying position.
Troy Corser silenced all the skeptics by taking his Foggy FP1 on to the front row of the grid in fourth position with a time of 1:35.831.
Toseland’s team-mate Chris Walker only managed to take the HM Plant Ducati 998 up to eighth position on the grid despite ending the qualifying sessions with a time of 1:35.347, exactly the same as Toseland.
Walker admitted that he hadn’t done as well as he should: " I have to accept that I made too many mistakes out there and it’s impossible to make up the lost time over one lap. I guess that I just tried too hard to impress my new team at my first competitive event. "
Regis Laconi takes up the first position on the second row of the grid with a time of 1:35.853 after struggling to combat problems with his breaks in the earlier sessions. He said: " The guys have done a great work and it's a pity to miss the front row by such a small gap. Tomorrow I'm confident I will be fighting for the front positions, but not for the victory because Hodgson has proved to be faster throughout whole the weekend. "
Foggy FP1 rider James Haydon had a difficult day when a slow crash in the free practice session stole his concentration leaving him to come home in 14th with a time of 1:38.809.
James said: " In the afternoon I suffered problems which meant I was down to only one bike and missed half a session. Then that bike jumped out of gear into neutral and I ran into the gravel and tipped over. The tyre I had for Superpole just didn’t work properly and I was two seconds down on times I had done on race tyres. "
Two riders failed to complete the Superpole lap leaving them at the back of the front sixteen. NCR Ducati rider David Garcia crashed in free practice gaining a nasty bruise to the leg and did not have a machine ready to compete, while GiMotorsport rider Giovanni Bussei on a Yamaha R1 crashed heavily in Superpole after going out on cold tyres.
Don’t forget to check out the full race report in MCN, out March 5, from our man in Valencia, Andy Downes
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