2007-02-24 00:24
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Max Biaggi stunned everybody by storming to second place in Superpole for tomorrow's opening World Superbike Championship round in Qatar - despite never ever having done a Superpole lap before.

He was fifth overall in regular qualifying, but a super-smooth lap of 1:58.724 saw him finish just behind Troy Corser (Yamaha). Third quickest was James Toseland (Honda) with Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha) fourth.

Biaggi's team mate Yukio Kagayama made a few mistakes on his Superpole lap but claimed seventh and will start tomorrow's pair of 18-lap races from the second row of the grid.

Max Biaggi - 2nd, 1:58.724:

"Superpole was another new experience for me and I can tell you that I was a bit nervous before I started it. I didn't want to make any mistakes or crash, so I tried to ride as smoothly as I could and get round in the best time. I am very happy because my Superpole lap was the fastest lap I've done this weekend and it means that I am well-placed on the front row of the grid. The bike is working well and I am enjoying all these new experiences, but what matters now is what happens in the races tomorrow. I think we can make a good result and for that I have to thank my Alstare team for all the work they've done. I am just sorry that Francis Batta is not here to see us and I hope he watches it on TV and we can give him a good result."

Yukio Kagayama- 7th, 1:59.964:

"I think I made small mistakes almost all round the circuit in my Superpole lap and that lost a lot of time. That was mainly because I did not have a good feeling with the qualifying tyre. Maybe I was a bit too aggressive in the first part and by the time I smoothed myself out, it was too late. But my set-up for the race is good - better than for Superpole - and I am confident that I can make good results. After all, second row at this track is not so bad because the first turn is a long way from the start. As long as I make a good start, I can be on the podiums."

Final Qualifying:1 Corser (Aus-Yamaha) 1:58.402, 2, Max Biaggi (I-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:58.724, 3 Toseland (GB-Honda) 1:59.005, 4 Haga (J-Yamaha) 1:59.294, 5 Lanzi (I-Ducati) 1:59.537, 6 Bayliss (Aus-Ducati) 1:59.668, 7 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 1:59.964, 8 Neukirchner (D-Suzuki) 2:00.098, 9 Nieto (E-Kawasaki) 2:00.240, 10 Rolfo (I-Honda) 2:00.414.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story