World Superbike Championship leader Troy Corser finished within four-tenths-of a-second off pole in today's opening qualifying for Sunday's Brno race in the Czech Republic.
The Australian put his Team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra GSX-R1000 into provisional second place on the grid behind Chris Walker as team-mate Yukio Kagayama recorded 11th on his first visit to the circuit.
The morning Free Practice session was dominated by the Ducatis of reigning World Champion James Toseland and Regis Laconi with Walker third quickest: All three had tested at Brno just two weeks or so ago.
In the afternoon, Walker surprised everybody by taking provisional pole with a time of 2:03.064 with Corser setting 2:03.487. Third quickest was Max Neukirchner (Honda) with Jose-Luis Cardoso (Yamaha) fourth.
Kagayama spent the day learning the demanding 5.403 kilometre Brno track and was not concerned about his position at the end of the day, knowing that he will improve his time considerably tomorrow.
Troy Corser - 2nd, 2:03.487:
"I know I've been here before but that was some time ago. Today the track wasn't giving me much feedback so I took it fairly steady. Interestingly, when I put my qualifying tyres on, I felt I had much better grip and was able to push much harder. When I returned to the race rubber I couldn't go nearly as fast and I didn't feel the bike had much grip. We'll have a look at the telemetry and see what is going on and maybe even try the kind of set-up we had at Qatar."
Yukio Kagayama - 11th, 2:04.782:
"The first time I saw the track properly was today so I am not unhappy with 11th position. This track is very long and it is a hard track to learn quickly because it is also very wide and it is difficult to find braking points. It is a technical track and a track where you have to get the sequence of corners right if you want to make a fast lap.
"Because it is so long, it is not possible to put in many laps in a session, so that makes it more difficult to learn. Today, I spent the time learning the track and trying to find out where I could go fast. I made a little mistake going into turn one and went straight on and into the gravel. Then, I just tipped over at a very slow speed, but there was no damage to the bike - or me!"
Friday Qualifying: 1 Walker (GB-Kawasaki) 2:03.064, 2 Troy Corser (AUS-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:03.487, 3 Neukirchner (GER-Honda) 2:03.912, 4 Cardoso (ESP-Yamaha) 2:03.917, 5 Laconi (FRA-Ducati) 2:04.184, 6 Sanchini (ITA-Kawasaki) 2:04.330, 7 Clementi (ITA-Ducati) 2:04.336, 8 Vermeulen (AUS-Honda) 2:04.436, 9 Toseland (GB-Ducati) 2:04.613, 10 Haga (JPN-Yamaha) 2:04.729. 11 Yukio Kagayama (J-Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra) 2:04.782.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office