Toseland eventually ran out with a 0.211 second advantage over his closest challenger Troy Corser, with Troy Bayliss third quickest. Toseland’s main championship target, Noriyuki Haga, was 11th quickest, 0.843 down on provisional pole.
In 12th place Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda) found Imola more of a challenge, setting an identical time to Haga. The top 13 riders were all within one second of Toseland’s time.
Ronald Ten Kate – Team Manager
“A good start to the race weekend for James, pretty consistently fast on the race tyres. He is already enjoying some benefits with the traction control system from PI Research, which we have added to the machine since the Magny-Cours test session. We are also using it here for the first time in a race weekend. We still have some issues to resolve on the machine in general, especially the rear end, which we have to improve a bit. I’m sure that we will be capable of making the bike even better tomorrow. It’s all looking good but there is still some work to do today and tomorrow. The other side of the garage is a bit more complicated at the moment. Karl is still trying to resolve some issues with his machine set-up but as it is one of his favourite circuits, I’m sure that he will be able to move up the grid tomorrow.”
James Toseland – Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (Pole position - 1’50.039 - 20 Laps)
“The reactions of the bike were very good and the tyres are working well, so I think set-up and tyre life on a race set-up are already pretty good. We did a consistent and fast run on what we hope will be our race tyre. The engine mapping and electronics changes were really good, even if we used traction control at only a small percentage of its settings. So far so good, and we’re going in a good direction with set-up.”
Karl Muggeridge – Winston Ten Kate Honda Rider (12th position - 1’50.882 - 20 Laps)
“I found it difficult to get into a good rhythm today but it is just a few little things, so it will be all right. We’re not a mile away - only 0.8 from the first guy, who happens to be my team-mate. That’s cool; he’s showing how it can be done. I think that it won’t be a problem to find our feet tomorrow, and we’ve just been a little bit off the boil today.”
1. Toseland - Winston Ten Kate Honda - 1'50.039
2. Corser - Suzuki - 1'50.250
3. Bayliss - Ducati - 1'50.265
4. Kagayama - Suzuki - 1'50.357
5. Barros - Honda - 1'50.388
12. Muggeridge - Winston Ten Kate Honda - 1'50.882