Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)
YRC News
WSB : Popular R1 on the pace in superpole
Round: 1 - Qatar
Circuit: Qatar
Date: 25 February 2005
Temp: 21C
Weather: Wet

Yamaha riders will occupy four of the top seven places on the grid for
tomorrow's opening round of the Superbike World Championship at the Losail
circuit in Qatar.

Yamaha Motor France's Sbastien Gimbert was the early pace setter in a superpole
session run under wet weather regulations, giving each rider a maximum of 12
laps in which to set their best lap. The arrival of the rain coincided with the
start of the 50 minute session and consequently all the riders rushed to put in
a quick lap before returning to the pit box. The Yamaha Motor France rider set a
benchmark 2 1'889 before returning to his garage to wait and see if the weather
would improve sufficiently to allow his rivals to challenge his lap times. Rgis
Laconi (Ducati) and Troy Corser (Suzuki) eventually put in quicker laps to
relegate the Frenchman to third, with Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki) fourth.

Yamaha Motor Italia riders Andrew Pitt and Noriyuki Haga will start tomorrow's
opening round in fifth and seventh places respectively. Both riders made a good
tactical decision, leaving the pits early to avoid the worst of the traffic and
weather and establish an early lap time. Pitt's best of 2: 02.670 was good
enough to hold fourth place until Laconi put in his fast lap at the end of the

Sandwiched between the Yamaha Motor Italia duo is the R1 of Spanish privateer
Jose Luis Cardoso. Gimbert's team-mate Norick Abe was less fortunate in his
timing and will start his first superbike race from the fourth row of the grid,
in 15th place. Ivan Silva was another of the many Yamaha riders showing well in
Qatar, the Spanish rider finished ninth fastest on his lightly modified R1.

Wet weather, a surprise for many at this desert location, has restricted running
time for the riders and made it difficult to find ideal settings for tomorrow's
two 18 lap races. The morning session on both days has been run in wet
conditions, meaning that qualifiers for today's superpole session were based on
yesterday's qualifying times.

Grid positions for tomorrow's Supersport World Championship round were
determined by yesterday's times. Although the track was drying out after the
morning downpour, conditions did not improve enough to allow any of the front
runners to improve their times. Yamaha Motor Germany's Kevin Curtain did set the
third fastest time of the session, but his best was still almost two seconds
slower than yesterday's time. He will start the race from fifth on the grid,
with team-mate Broc Parkes alongside him on the second row of the grid, in
seventh place.

Sbastien Gimbert (Yamaha Motor France IPONE) - third, 2: 01.641

"I am used to working in endurance racing so the changeable conditions we had
today are quite usual for me. The lap I put in at the beginning of the session
was perfect, and on a race tyre too. I feel we have a good set-up for the race
and good tyre life, so I am looking forward to tomorrow."

Andrew Pitt (Yamaha Motor Italia) - fifth, 2: 02.670

"I am a little disappointed to have been knocked off the front row so late in
the session but if someone had said to me this morning that I could qualify
fifth then I would have gladly taken it. We made a lot of changes overnight. The
team made some changes to the gearbox and we changed the engine mapping back to
how it was at the test here last week. We've lost a lot of track time because of
the weather but we have found a consistent race set-up and I am much happier
with the bike today."

Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha Motor Italia) - seventh, 2: 02.766

"Still the feeling from the front is not so good. The weather was difficult but
we found a little improvement in superpole. I was using a qualifying tyre so I
am not so sure how it will feel in the race. Tomorrow I hope it is sunny as we
still have some things to try in warm-up. I still need to get a better feeling
with the bike and we need a little more power but I will try to get the best
possible result tomorrow."

Norick Abe (Yamaha Motor France IPONE) - 15th, 2: 04.354 

"This was my first superpole and the conditions were quite difficult. I was able
to put in some consistent laps but I made a mistake and that possibly cost me a
faster time."

Round: 1 - Qatar

Circuit: Qatar
Circuit Length: 5400m
Fastest Lap Ever: 2' 1.244 (Troy Corser, 2005)
Date: 25 February 2005
Temp: 21C

Session 2 :

Pos.Rider           Manufacturer  Nat.  1st Qualifying  2nd Qualifying   Superpole
 1  R. Laconi       Ducati        FRA   2' 1.980        2' 23.844        2' 1.593
 2  T. Corser       Suzuki        AUS   2' 1.244        2' 25.345        2' 1.641
 3  S. Gimbert      Yamaha        FRA   2' 2.217        2' 24.187        2' 1.889
 4  Y. Kagayama     Suzuki        JPN   2' 2.284        2' 26.013        2' 2.643
 5  A. Pitt         Yamaha        AUS   2' 2.769        2' 25.419        2' 2.670
 6  J. Cardoso      Yamaha        ESP   2' 1.388        N/A              2' 2.745
 7  N. Haga         Yamaha        JPN   2' 2.687        2' 25.941        2' 2.766
 8  C. Vermeulen    Honda         AUS   2' 2.469        2' 25.330        2' 2.960
 9  I. Silva        Yamaha        ESP   2' 2.759        2' 21.602        2' 3.049
10  P. Chili        Honda         ITA   2' 2.507        2' 32.534        2' 3.100
11  C. Walker       Kawasaki      GBR   2' 2.921        2' 23.646        2' 3.138
12  G. Bussei       Kawasaki      ITA   2' 3.268        2' 37.644        2' 3.189
13  D. Toseland     Ducati        ITA   2' 2.754        2' 26.992        2' 3.357
14  M. Neukirchner  Honda         GER   2' 2.236        2' 28.398        2' 3.671
15  N. Abe          Yamaha        JPN   2' 2.868        2' 26.584        2' 4.354
16  M. Borciani     Yamaha        ITA   2' 3.178        N/A              2' 5.041
21  G. Vizziello    Yamaha        ITA   2' 4.587        2'27.786
22  M. Praia        Yamaha        POR   2' 4.627        N/A