Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)

Losail (Qatar), Thursday 24 February: Qualifying for the opening round of the
2005 World Superbike Championship got underway this afternoon at the brand-new
Losail circuit in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, with Ducati Xerox Team riders
Rgis Laconi and James Toseland setting third and tenth quickest times

After the mornings free practice had turned into a washout due to heavy rain,
this afternoons one-hour session saw non-stop action as the riders made the
most of a dry track. Laconi, who remained at the top of the timesheets for the
first half of the session, was one of only three riders to break through the
2m02s barrier. The 29 year-old Frenchman was pleased with his eventual time of
2m01.980s, just over half-a-second behind front-runners Troy Corser (Suzuki) and
new arrival Jos Luis Cardoso (Yamaha).

I am quite pleased with third fastest time, but the conditions on the track
after this mornings rain are not yet perfect, declared Rgis. Today we
concentrated on the front forks with a different setting to try and improve the
bike on a race tyre and then I put the soft tyre on at the finish. Tomorrow we
will concentrate on going faster, in particular in the last sector where I am
losing a bit of time. There is a lot of action at the top of the timesheets,
this year will be an incredible championship for sure.

Reigning champion Toseland eased his way back into the seat of his Ducati 999F05
as he was still feeling somewhat stiff after Sundays come-off, in which he
suffered several bruises. The 24-year-old British rider was not too concerned
about his position in first qualifying and was confident there was more to come
in tomorrows second and final session.

Im just getting back up to speed, I wasnt that relaxed on the bike today
because I didnt realise just how big that crash was, declared Toseland. Im
still a bit stiff but tomorrow morning Ill be a lot better because Im loosened
up by riding. I was tenth but I feel my ideal position was seventh today and all
I need is more laps to get back into the rhythm. The bike doesnt have an ideal
setting at the moment, but a little bit more from the bike and me riding as I
did in the tests and Im sure well be fine. I should be doing the times of the
top 3 and I will be doing them eventually, he concluded.


 1. Corser (Suzuki)         2m01.244s
 2. Cardoso (Yamaha)        2m01.388s
 3. Laconi (Ducati Xerox)   2m01.980s
 4. Gimbert (Yamaha)        2m02.217s
 5. Neukirchner (Honda)     2m02.236s
 6. Kagayama (Suzuki)       2m02.284s
 7. Vermeulen (Honda)       2m02.469s
 8. Chili (Honda)           2m02.507s
 9. Haga (Yamaha)           2m02.687s
10. Toseland (Ducati Xerox) 2m02.754s