February 20, 2005
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra riders Yukio Kagayama and Troy Corser topped the World Superbike tests in Qatar today with Kagayama deposing his team mate with 10 minutes to go.
The Japanese rider had been second quickest to Corser all day on his new GSX-R1000 Suzuki, but just as the sun was setting over the desert behind the grandstand, he blasted round the 5.380 kilometre circuit a tenth of a second faster.
At the end of the two days, both Yukio and Troy were happy about how the tests had gone and were feeling positive about the season-opening race next weekend at the Losail circuit.
The only note of caution, according to the Alstare team, is the varying condition of the track: Over the past two days, the World Superbike and Supersport riders had put down quite a bit of rubber and grip level has improved considerably. But now there are three days of inaction and so the first day of practice on Thursday this week may once again see the teams back to stage one.
However, Yukio and Troy's performances over the two days have been impressive and has also fired an early-warning shot to their competitors.
YUKIO KAGAYAMA - Best lap, 2:01.480:
"I am very happy with everything we have done over these two days and I want to thank my team for all the good work they have done and all the help they have given me. We have tried many different things and many different tyres and now I hope that the condition of the track will be as good, if not better. If conditions improve, it may be possible for me to go quicker, but we will have to wait and see. At the moment, I am still learning about the Pirellis and the limit so I know there is more to come from me. For the race, my plan is the same as always: Head down, full gas and ride my maximum. It is the only way I know!"
TROY CORSER - Best lap, 2:01.554:
"I'm happy that we finished 1-2 because it is a good reward to the team for all the work and effort we have all done. I had a sneaky feeling that Yukio might go a bit quicker at the end and I might have had a chance to go a bit quicker, but Cardoso was waiting for me and looking for a tow, so I eased-off at the end. We've done a lot of work with altering the mapping and improved it considerably, though there's more to do. We also made chassis and suspension changes - not big changes - and we've improved in that area as well.
"There are still a couple of sections on the track where I know I can go quicker, so Yukio had better watch out! Each day the track has felt different, so it's been really good to have some understanding about how it behaves. If it changes next week, hopefully we'll have the info to respond quickly and keep ahead of the rest. Here's to it!"
Overall best times (2 days):
1 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:01.480, 2 Troy Corser (Aus-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:01.554, 3 Cardoso (E-Yamaha) 2:01.797, 4 Laconi (F-Ducati) 2:01.827, 5 Gimbert (F-Yamaha) 2:01.956, 6 Silva Aberola (E-Yamaha) 2:02.194, 7 Walker (GB-Kawasaki) 2:02.442, 8 Borciani (I-Yamaha) 2:02.548, 9 Haga (J-Yamaha) 2:02.591, 10 Toseland (GB-Ducati) 2:02.639,
FORES ON THE PACE:
Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra rider Xavier Fores finished the Qatar tests with the ninth fastest time, but was happy about the prospects ahead.
He and the team worked hard during the two days and gathered a lot of useful information, whilst learning the track and getting used to Pirelli tyres.
XAVI FORES - Best lap, 2:06.582:
"We came here to learn the bike, track and the tyres and I feel happy because we have made a lot of progress in just these two days. The track definitely got better today and the grip improved s o I began to feel a bit more confident about it.
"Over the two days, we changed the balance of the bike to try and improve my feeling and I'm happy because we made some steps forward. Today the bike was easier to change direction and at the end, I was happy enough with my lap times, all things considered."
Overall best laps:
1 Charpentier (F-Honda) 2:04.259, 2 Foret (F-Honda) 2:05.083, 3 Curtain (Aus-Yamaha) 2:05.194, 4 Fabrizio (I-Honda) 2:05.295, 5 Fujiwara (J-Honda) 2:05.662. 9 Xavier Fores (E-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:06.582.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office