Rain dampens Suzuki hopes.

Having made heady progress in the dry, the return of rain during Superpole for the final World Superbike round of the season proved to be disastrous for the Alstare Suzuki team as all three riders finished towards the bottom of the timesheets.

Recovering from an anonymous performance in free practice, both Fonsi Nieto and Max Neukirchner were back on the pace in final qualifying as they secured a provisional third and fourth on the grid.

However, when rain forced Superpole to be declared 'wet', neither Nieto, Neukirchner nor Yukio Kagayama were on track at the right time as the conditions began to deteriorate quickly.

As such, all three riders will start in the mid-field, led by Kagayama in 13th, the Japanese rider getting the better of his team-mates despite suffering a perplexing fall in the latter stages.

"This afternoon's Superpole was very wet and slippery and not easy at all. There was a lot of standing water on the track and that made things very tricky. My crash happened without me knowing about it! I was letting off the brakes with the bike almost upright and suddenly I was on the floor!

“Tomorrow is going to be very hard because I am on the fourth row of the grid and I do not have a very good feeling for the bike - in either dry or wet conditions. We need to find some solution in the morning warm-up and then I need two good starts if I am to end the season with good results. But, I will try my hardest, as usual, and see what happens."

Having been positive about the circuit following free practice, both Neukirchner and Nieto were a little more scathing about its challenge in the wet.

"I do not like this track in the wet and I found it very slippery,” Nieto, who was 16th and slowest, said. “I had a small crash in the rain but I wasn't hurt at all. I could not get a good feeling with my bike in these conditions at all, so I am hoping that tomorrow will be dry.

“I have been on the fourth row of the grid before this season, so this situation is not new for me. I know that whatever the conditions tomorrow I need to get two good starts and that's what I will be aiming for. "

"In the dry this morning we found a set-up that was not so bad, but we didn't find a good front and rear tyre combination,” 15th place Neukirchner, who is still in with a shout of second in the standings, added. “Because this track is so new, there is not enough rubber down to give good grip and as soon as you go off-line you can get into trouble.

“We learned more about the feeling of the bike in the wet this afternoon, but even so I am hoping that tomorrow will be dry and we can have some good races. I am not happy with my fourth-row grid position, but I will try and make two really good starts and fight for good results."

Related Pictures

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Kagayama, Portuguese WSBK 2008
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Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
Hayden, AMA Superbike, SBK, 2002.
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