Doha, 12 March, 2009
It’s back to the track in Qatar for the second round of the SBK 2009 season. Unlike the other GP cousins, the production-derived bikes will race on the Losail circuit by day. In fact, the races will be held on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. local time (Qatar is two hours ahead of Central Europe). The track, which is covered in dust and sand, created some difficulties for the drivers, especially during the free practice, but later the grip gradually improved resulting in more interesting race times. During the first round of the official trials, Ben Spies achieved the best time with 1:58:886 on his Yamaha Factory.
Max Biaggi held on to fourth position with a time of 1:59:826, just 0:940 behind the American driver. The Roman put a great deal of effort into collecting as much data as possible about this completely new track for the RSV4, concentrating mainly on the suspension.
Instead, Nakano came in tenth, stopping the clock at 2:00:238, finishing 1:352 behind Spies. Shinya is continuing his apprenticeship in this new category with his RSV4.
"These practices were not easy,” declared Biaggi. “We started off without any data or parameters from previous years with which to work and this put us at a disadvantage with respect to the others since we debuted in this category with the RSV4. There was some improvement in the official afternoon trials and the bike became more manageable, but we’re still losing a few tenths of a second per lap with respect to the others because we’re missing stability, especially in the fast curves. Now, with help from the technicians, we’re trying to find some solutions to become more efficient, but there’s not much time to work with and so we’re mostly concentrating on the suspension.”
“It’s not easy to arrange the work we have to do here because we don’t have any data to analyse,” said Nakano, “but it didn’t go too badly today, in any case. Compared to Phillip Island, we managed to resolve a few problems. We have less chattering and this has allowed me to concentrate more on my driving. The track was quite slippery this morning, but the grip improved during the afternoon and we were able to work much better on the suspension. The engine is fine but the erogation is still far too aggressive.”