World Superbike Championship leader Troy Bayliss blamed traffic for his failure to go any higher than 12th on the provisional grid following first qualifying at Brands Hatch.

On a day when lesser fancied names, namely Ryuichi Kiyonari, Gregorio Lavilla and Karl Muggeridge starred, Bayliss was one of the bigger names to end the day outside the top ten.

Indeed, it has been a tough day all round for the Xerox Ducati crew, with Bayliss admitting that he has been finding it difficult to find the right set-up on his machine.

However, the Aussie rider is confident of a significant improvement in final qualifying having had his final efforts in the provisional session baulked by traffic, laps that could well have lifted him further up the standings heading into Saturday.

"Although I'm not particularly happy with a twelfth place today, I've been struggling a little with a few things, mainly grip on entry into the curves and the fact that I wasn't able to put the bike exactly where I wanted it to go.

"Then towards the end of the session I was feeling good on the bike but traffic meant that I couldn't get a clean lap in and my times were not as fast as they could have been as you can see from my ideal time which is a half second quicker.

"Tomorrow we'll make some changes and are confident of finding a good set-up. Times are already faster than last year which shows Pirelli are working well to give us tyres that perform very well on a track that has deteriorated somewhat since last year."

Out pacing his team-mate for once, Michel Fabrizio had little more to celebrate as he ended the day marginally ahead in 11th position. Still, like Bayliss, the Italian is convinced he will be making in-roads in final qualifying.

"It's gone fairly well today all things considered, although my position doesn't demonstrate this. Unfortunately during the afternoon's qualifying we made a bad rear tyre choice in the final few minutes and so failed to record the times that we expected.

"Anyway, it's not gone badly and I'm feeling pretty comfortable on the bike. I'm not a big fan of the first two curves but overall I like the track and haven't had any real difficulties. I am confident that I'll be able to improve on my times tomorrow."


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