Toseland in Top Three After Superheated First Sess

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    Toseland in Top Three After Superheated First Session

    A keenly contested opening qualifying session at Phillip Island, held in high temperatures throughout, finally delivered third place to James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda) as the Englishman fought it out with local riders Troy Bayliss and Troy Corser, plus former MotoGP rider, Alex Barros. The top four were all within less than half a second of each other, with the next rider, Kagayama, over one second from provisional pole. Toseland put his best time in late in the session, having completed tyre endurance tests and machine set-up trials in the earlier periods of qualifying. Following on from Toseland’s opening win of the year, one week ago in Qatar, his opening day performance In Australia proves that he and his bike are set to be perennially competitive in 2006.

    Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) was not running at his full pace, seeming to be over-anxious to get into contention right away, and losing ground in both set-up and individual lap times. His top 13 placing, from 28 runners, is expected to be improved upon in the final qualifying hour, to be held on Saturday morning.

    Hot track temperatures of over 50 degrees did not help any of the top riders in their search for outright grip, and made for a physically gruelling session.

    Ronald Ten Kate – Team Manager
    “Normally in the Superbike class we have a slow start to the weekend, so to see James up there already, and doing so well, is very positive. He has been doing longer runs as well and setting fast times during them. The bike is very fast around here in top speed too. We had to take some pieces from our fairing, because it seems to out of spec with the rulebook, and now we are even faster in top speed. So that was a nice thing to be directed to do by the technical director. Karl is playing catch up at the moment, but he will get there. Maybe he is trying too hard, in front of his home crowd. I am expecting him to get the front of the second row and the bike in general is working very well, even though there are some more things to try tomorrow.”

    James Toseland – SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider
    (3rd position – 1’33.851)
    “We stuck a new tyre in the bike near the end and still did a pretty decent time. This tyre was spinning towards the end a lot more than the others so I think if we had the same tyre in the rear as we had earlier we could have challenged even more. The power of the Honda is awesome now so we need to try and get as much grip as we can. It’s no good to have this power and just get it spinning. But the bike is good, and I’m happy that I’m riding consistently.”

    Karl Muggeridge – SBK Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider
    (13th position – 1’34.756)
    We just started off today on the wrong leg, just racing, racing around to try and get everything sorted out. I’m putting too much pressure on myself to try and get it right, rather than being calm. So I made too many mistakes and not getting things right. It’s a little bit foreign at the moment to I just need to get it settled down. It’ll work out for sure.”

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