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Ducati’s Troy Bayliss Takes Superbike Pole for Daytona 200

Sunday’s prestigious Daytona 200 Superbike race will find Ducati’s Troy Bayliss on pole position. Bayliss, who has never before raced at Daytona, was a quick study as he blitzed through to a very fast time, edging Suzuki’s Mat Mladin by .008 of a second. Mladin will grid in second spot, ahead of Honda’s Nicky Hayden and Ducati’s Larry Pegram, who will fill out the front row.

The second row is led by Kawasaki teammates Doug Chandler and Eric Bostrom, with Honda’s Miguel Duhamel qualifying seventh, and Ducati’s Steve Rapp qualifying eighth.

In the post-qualification press conference, Bayliss was calm in discussing his performance, and humble about his chances in Sunday’s race. He noted that he never before raced at Daytona, and had never before dealt with pit stops for tire changes. Mladin, meanwhile, felt he could have gone quicker, but problems with his “fast lap” tire held him back. Nicky Hayden also felt he could have gone quicker on the new Honda v-twin RC51.

Honda’s Miguel Duhamel was disappointed with seventh place — still suffering neck pain and spasms.

In final qualifying for tomorrow’s 600 Super Sport race, Honda’s Kurtis Roberts broke the track record for a 600 to take pole, with Kawasaki’s Eric Bostrom in second, followed by Honda’s Nicky Hayden and Kawasaki’s Doug Chandler. The 600 race at Daytona is always a thriller, and tomorrow’s race should be a real treat. This is the only time all year that three-time AMA Superbike champion Doug Chandler will ride the 600 class, and the Kawasakis were apparently very fast and well set-up for a redesigned bike. Honda has the depth, however, taking four of the top six qualifying spots (the only bike in the top six other than the Kawasakis of Bostrom and Chandler).

Somewhat surprisingly, Yamaha’s Tommy Hayden qualified back in 11th position. Tommy had been on pole more than once last year in the 600 class, and battled his brother Nicky throughout the year for the championship before finishing second overall. Indeed, the 600 field is so deep that the man way back in 13th place in qualifying, Yamaha’s Jamie Hacking, was a race winner last year in the 600 class. We’ll have a thorough race analysis tomorrow.

Superbike Combined Qualifying Results (Top 10)

  1. Troy Bayliss (#88 – Ducati) 1:49.075
  2. Mat Mladin (#1 – Suzuki) 1:49.083
  3. Nicky Hayden (#69 – Honda) 1:49.500
  4. Larry Pegram (#72 – Ducati) 1:49.887
  5. Doug Chandler (#10 – Kawasaki) 1:50.044
  6. Eric Bostrom (#32 – Kawasaki) 1:50.683
  7. Miguel Duhamel (#17 – Honda) 1:50.774
  8. Steve Rapp (#82 – Ducati) 1:50.957
  9. Tommy Hayden (#22 – Yamaha) 1:51.188
  10. Aaron Yates (#20 – Suzuki) 1:51.234

600 Super Sport Combined Qualifying Results (Top 10)

  1. Kurtis Roberts (#80 – Honda) 1:54.147
  2. Eric Bostrom (#32 – Kawasaki) 1:54.431
  3. Nicky Hayden (#1 – Honda) 1:54.731
  4. Doug Chandler (#101 – Kawasaki) 1:55.045
  5. Miguel Duhamel (#17 – Honda) 1:55.249
  6. Joshua Kurt Hayes (#131 – Honda) 1:55.294
  7. Jason Pridmore (#43 – Suzuki) 1:55.622
  8. Aaron Yates (#20 – Suzuki) 1:55.668
  9. Damon Buckmaster (#6 – Suzuki) 1:55.682
  10. Richard Alexander (#5 – Yamaha) 1:55.701