A day of crashes, stoppages, changeable weather and the usual intense Superbike competitiveness was finally put to rest by the impressive pace of Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox), who beat the existing race lap record with a 1’27.011 lap. His best circuit of the Silverstone track was set on race tyres, and came despite a double fall in the twice-interrupted first qualifying session in the afternoon. Just behind Bayliss, only 0.057 seconds down, Troy Corser (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) went second quickest, and in a dazzlingly close session, the top 26 qualifiers were all within two seconds of pole.
The true competitiveness of the 2006 series was indicated again, even at an early stage, when five different manufacturers filled the top five places on the provisional grid. Third place went to the late charging Fonsi Nieto (PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse), fourth to the Yamaha of Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) and fifth to 2004 champion and 2005 Silverstone race winner, James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda).

WET AND DRY FOR EVERYONE AS CRASH TOTAL MOUNTS With a high possibility of poor weather for Saturday’s final regulation qualification, today’s times may well end up as those which determine the top 16 to go forward to Superpole – and thus could be the times that determine grid positions for all the other competitors. The wet morning session limited the dry testing time for all riders, enough to make the qualifying period a real challenge of character and set-up skill, even before the two crash-inspired interruptions when possible grid positions were won and lost. An unidentified slippery patch caused havoc in the timed session, and as well as the second of Bayliss’ two crashes, a further five riders were to slide off or highside at the infamous 21st marshal’s post. The lead in the timed session changed no fewer than 16 times.

Despite having to watch their team-mates finish ahead of them on the opening day’s time sheets, Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia), Yukio Kagayama (Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) and Karl Muggeridge scored provisional second row starts, with Pitt sixth and Muggeridge eighth. PSG-1 Kawasaki team-mates Chris Walker and Regis Laconi secured top ten finishes, one place ahead of two time leader of the pack in the first session, Sebastien Gimbert (Yamaha Motor France Ipone)

WILDCARD HILL CLIMBS INTO TOP 12 BSB regular Tommy Hill (Virgin Mobile Yamaha) enjoyed his first day in the top flight at Silverstone, pushing Ruben Xaus (Sterilgarda Berik Ducati) and Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda) to 13th and 14th places respectively. The wildcard rider is well used to the International Silverstone layout, as used in BSB racing. Michel Fabrizio (DFX Honda) and Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France Ipone) complete the current Superpole qualified 16. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Xerox) has not currently qualified for Superpole, and will be wishing for dry weather on Saturday morning, to give himself a chance to improve.

WORLD SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP Sebastien Charpentier (Winston Ten Kate Honda) got his Silverstone weekend off to a flying start by posting the provisional pole time, 1’30.516, after an opening qualifying session which was twice red-flagged to a halt. In the first incident Robbin Harms crashed out on his Honda and in the second, former full time WSS rider and current UK Supersport wild card rider Pere Riba fell from his Kawasaki. With only 45 seconds left on the clock, and the earlier delay, the session was halted at that point.
Yamaha Motor Germany rider Kevin Curtain scores second quickest time, his team-mate Broc Parkes third and Riba, despite his crash, fourth.
Massimo Roccoli (Yamaha Team Italia) and Matthieu Lagrive (Intermot Czech Klaffi) went fifth and sixth fastest).

SUPERSTOCK 1000 FIM CUP Claudio Corti (Yamaha Team Italia) took the fastest time in the Superstock 1000 class, with double 2006 race winner Alessandro Polita (Celani Suzuki) second, almost half a second down on his countryman. Luca Scassa (EVR Corse Ormeni Racing) went third on his MV Agusta, and the Lightspeed Kawasaki of Riccardo Chiarello made it four Italian riders in the top four, but four different makes of machines in the top positions to boot.

EUROPEAN 600 SUPERSTOCK CHAMPIONSHIP Niccolo Canepa (Ducati Xerox 749R) boomed his way to provisional pole in the smallest Superstock division, finishing an impressive 0.790 seconds clear of second place rider, Davide Guigliano (Lightspeed Kawasaki). Another Lightspeed Kawasaki rider, Davide Guigliano, posted the third fastest time, in a field of 35 entrants.



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